Philemon 1:20

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Yes, brother, let me have joy from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in the Lord. Philemon 1:20

The translation here, following the KJV, misses the pun which Paul is making. The Greek literally reads, “Yes, brother, from you may I have profit in the Lord.” The word he uses, rightly translated as “may have profit,” is oninémi. It is found only this once in the Bible, and it signifies to derive “benefit,” or “profit.” The similarity of the word to Onesimus is not to be missed. Paul is making a confirmatory statement as indicated by the word “Yes.” He then makes it an endearing statement by again stating the word “brother.” And then from that, he makes his verbal pun by saying, “let me have profit from you.”

He is asking for a type of gain from the hand of Philemon, and that gain is the pardon and release of his profitable son in the faith Onesimus, or Profit. The words are as carefully written now as they were when he was preparing to state what was on his mind in the earlier verses. And to show the depth of his request, he adds in, “in the Lord.” In essence, he is saying that Philemon’s approval of Paul’s request would indicate that the Lord’s hand was, in fact, involved in everything that has happened. It would then confirm the Lord’s presence as Paul had surmised was the case in verse 15 with the words, “For perhaps.”

From there, Paul restates his desires with the words, “refresh my heart in the Lord.” The word translated here as “heart” signifies the inward parts; the internal organs. It thus refers to the deep-seated, visceral feelings of a person. Paul is looking to have the aching in his heart, the growling pains of his stomach, and the empty feeling which is deep inside of him refreshed by Philemon’s granting of his request.

As a side note, some manuscripts say in this second clause, “in Christ,” instead of “in the Lord.” As Christ is the Lord, nothing doctrinal is missing. Either way, he is placing the entire request, including the easing of his heart, in the context of being united together with Philemon in Christ the Lord.

Life application: Sticking to one translation of the Bible is not a wise way of pursuing the word of the Lord. If one doesn’t know the original languages, reading multiple versions, and then studying why there are differences between them, will greatly help the reader learn what is actually being said. For example, the use of irony is often missed by one translation, but brought out well in another. Be a wise student of Scripture and read the Bible as often as you can, and in a multitude of translations.

Lord God, thank You for the many varied translations of the Bible that You have granted to us through the hard work of many scholarly teams. We now have a much rounder idea of what is actually said in Your word by comparing various translations with the originals that are also available to us. What a blessed generation we are. Help us not to squander the great blessing of such marvelous access to Your word. Our lives are brief. May we use our time wisely in the pursuit of Your superior word! Amen.

6 thoughts on “Philemon 1:20

  • Wednesday, July 25th, 2018 at 7:57 am

    Well I am not going to touch the multiple translations issue here as I believe there are both benefits and dangers to this especially for new believers learning how to decern the word of the lord from translation to translation.

    On another note Paul making a pun gives him something I think we miss in all the apostals! They are human and fully capable of making a joke from time two times! I think we tend to put them on a pious pedestal and forget the the human aspect of them. I like to think that Charlie is a mirror image of Mathew a totally down to earth guy totally acceptable by those around him. I love a good joke and I hope they are in endless supply when we get home Amen

    We are another day closer to home

    Grace Mercy and peace on you and your family
    God bless my friend(s)

    • Wednesday, July 25th, 2018 at 8:08 am

      FYI I picked Mathew because I feel a bond to him and his ministry! He was a tax collector ” not exactly a person of the people ” but he was down there at ground level with them experiencing first hand their trials and tribulations of life with an insight that only being there can provide.

      There is more to the story but I will leave it there for now

      God bless all

  • Wednesday, July 25th, 2018 at 10:38 am

    I have downloaded on my tablet the Hebrew OT and the Greek NT so I can follow and check every time Pastor Charlie uses those languages i n his writing. It really helps. In addition I also have on my tablet the blue letter bible which gives many translations. I am thankful to the SW for opening my eyes to this so I can now truly understand the word of God. I have so much to learn.

  • Wednesday, July 25th, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    Thank you for giving us such great beautiful insight into this study, and all these studies. I appreciate them all immensely. I don’t always write giving my thanks but know that I thank God every day for your studies, and profound, wise life applications and important ending prayers! God bless you and all who go to the SW to learn, grow in faith, study and stay in the Word. Trusting God to be all that God has called us to be and trust He will help us always along life’s path. Praise the Lord!

  • Wednesday, July 25th, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    BLESS GOD PRAISE JESUS! You know Muslims say JESUS was just a prophet, they got it half right HE is >100% profit and also KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS , GOD MADE MANIFEST!

  • Thursday, July 26th, 2018 at 11:32 am

    You all are the best. Thank you for sharing in the word with me, and being willing to go deeper than just five minutes of contemporary music a day! 🙂

    And Gordon, do you suppose Matthew had a long beard. I bet he did.


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