Philemon 1:10 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Philemon 1:10, NIV: that I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains.

Philemon 1:10, ESV: I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment.

Philemon 1:10, KJV: I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds:

Philemon 1:10, NASB: I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, whom I fathered in my imprisonment,

Philemon 1:10, NLT: I appeal to you to show kindness to my child, Onesimus. I became his father in the faith while here in prison.

Philemon 1:10, CSB: appeal to you for my son, Onesimus. I became his father while I was in chains.

What does Philemon 1:10 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul repeats the term used in verse 9, "appeal," regarding Onesimus. Paul prefers to make a request of Philemon, rather than commanding him. Paul refers to Onesimus as his own child, implying that Paul had led Onesimus to faith in Christ during his imprisonment. This took place sometime around AD 60—62 while Paul was living under house arrest in Rome.

During these two years of confinement, Paul lived in his own apartment and preached to both Jews and Gentiles who came to him (Acts 28:30–31). According to Acts 28:30, Paul was open to anyone who visited him. Onesimus likely knew of Paul prior to being converted. Epaphras had taken the gospel to Colossae, where Onesimus was a slave of Philemon, during Paul's three years of ministry in Ephesus (Acts 19:10; Colossians 1:7–8). Onesimus probably escaped to Rome because the massive city was the ideal place for a runaway slave to disappear. While there, it seems he visited Paul, heard the gospel, and accepted it.