Philemon 1:6 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Philemon 1:6, NIV: I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ.

Philemon 1:6, ESV: and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.

Philemon 1:6, KJV: That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.

Philemon 1:6, NASB: and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for the sake of Christ.

Philemon 1:6, NLT: And I am praying that you will put into action the generosity that comes from your faith as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ.

Philemon 1:6, CSB: I pray that your participation in the faith may become effective through knowing every good thing that is in us for the glory of Christ.

What does Philemon 1:6 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul again mentions prayer (Philemon 1:4), asking for effective evangelism by Philemon. This was an important early emphasis in this letter. Paul's grounds for asking Philemon to free his runaway slave Onesimus is the fact that Onesimus had become a Christian, and could fulfill his God-given purpose even more effectively as a free man.

The "full knowledge" Paul mentions is a reference to spiritual maturity. This maturity is said to be in regards to "every good thing," stressing a mature knowledge about all areas of life. In particular, this requires growth and development in one's Christian walk. This is an important point from Paul—he is about to ask Philemon to perform an enormous act of forgiveness and free his runaway slave. The slave, Onesimus, had actually returned along with the letter.

The reference to Christ can be translated as "for the sake of Christ," "for Christ's service," or even "for the glory of Christ." This highlights Paul and Philemon's mutual role in serving Christ together, both in personal growth and evangelism. Every believer is called to grow in the Lord and to share Him with others. Paul and Philemon had different spiritual gifts, but were part of the same "body" committed to serving the Lord (1 Corinthians 12) and fulfilling the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18–20).