Philemon 1:1 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Philemon 1:1, NIV: "Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker--"

Philemon 1:1, ESV: "Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our beloved fellow worker"

Philemon 1:1, KJV: "Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer,"

Philemon 1:1, NASB: "Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our beloved brother and fellow worker,"

Philemon 1:1, NLT: "This letter is from Paul, a prisoner for preaching the Good News about Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy. I am writing to Philemon, our beloved co-worker,"

Philemon 1:1, CSB: "Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother: To Philemon our dear friend and coworker,"

What does Philemon 1:1 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Verses 1–3 introduce this letter, written to Philemon, regarding his runaway slave Onesimus. Verse 1 identifies the authors as Paul and Timothy, though Paul is traditionally considered the primary writer. Timothy was likely writing down Paul's words, though Paul clearly put pen to paper with his own hands for part of it (Philemon 1:19).

Paul calls himself "a prisoner of Christ Jesus." This refers to his period of house arrest around AD 60—62 in Rome (Acts 28:30–31). His reference to "Christ Jesus" rather than "Jesus Christ" is a feature Paul mostly uses in his letters.

Timothy was a convert of Paul and the recipient of Paul's letters 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy. He served with Paul on many occasions and was clearly with Paul for part of his house arrest.

Philemon is referred to as a beloved brother and a fellow worker. Philemon was clearly a believer in Christ, but he was probably a Gentile—he lived in the city of Colossae and had a Greek name. And yet, in Christ, Paul—a Jewish man—sees him as an equal and a "brother."