Paul was an apostle and he had been involved in starting many churches among the gentiles. He was not always there to teach the followers and to encourage them in their pursuit of God’s kingdom. Sometimes, he faced persecutions and he was imprisoned because of his faith. Writing the epistles was one way of continuing his ministry. He used the letters to teach the people, resolve any misunderstanding that the followers had, and encourage the churches. He also requested for prayers from his fellow believers, especially during the time that he was imprisoned. He got encouragement from the letters he received and he learnt what was happening to the believers. He tried to solve the conflicts that emerged between the gentile and Jewish believers and he taught the Jesus tradition to the people. For instance, he discusses the issue of circumcision in Galatians and of rituals and traditions in the book of Colossians (Carson & Moo, 2005).
Paul sent Onesimus
with a letter to Philemon. Onesimus had been a slave to Philemon, who was a
Christian and had a church in his home. He had run away from his former master,
and Paul urged Philemon to take him back. He spoke well of Onesimus, in a way
that would entice Philemon into taking him back. Paul showed the importance of Onesimus
to him, and he told Philemon to charge him whatever the former slave owed him. By
writing the letter, Paul was encouraging Philemon to set Onesimus free and
allow him to serve in the Christian ministry instead. He told Philemon to
consider Onesimus as a brother instead of a slave (Alexander & Alexander,
2005). Paul influenced Onesimus to become a Christian. The two of them
comforted each other during the time that Paul was a prisoner in Rome. Other than the
issue of Onesimus, the epistle was also meant as an encouragement to Philemon
as he continued with his work of serving Christ. Paul told Philemon of the
prayers and thanksgiving he offered for him. He also thanked him for the
support that he had provided him.
Alenxander, D., & Alexander, P. (2005). Zondervan Handbook to the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House
Carson, D. A., & Moo, D. J. (2005). An introduction to the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan
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