These small group studies of Philemon contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications.  Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

Philemon 1:1-7 Inductive Bible Study

Philemon 1:1-7

Paul’s High Regard and Prayer for Philemon

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

2 and to Apphia our sister, and to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house:

3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

4 I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers,

5 because I hear of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints;

6 and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake.

7 For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.

Cross References Verse by Verse – 

1. Philemon 1:1 – Phil 1:1

2. Philemon 1:1 – Eph 3:1

3. Philemon 1:1 – Gal 3:26

4. Philemon 1:1 – 2 Cor 1:1; Col 1:1

5. Philemon 1:1 – Phil 2:25; Philem 24

6. Philemon 1:2 – Rom 16:1

7. Philemon 1:2 – Col 4:17

8. Philemon 1:2 – Phil 2:25; 2 Tim 2:3

9. Philemon 1:2 – Rom 16:5

10. Philemon 1:3 – Rom 1:7

11. Philemon 1:4 – Rom 1:8f

12. Philemon 1:5 – Eph 1:15; Col 1:4; 1 Thess 3:6

13. Philemon 1:6 – Phil 1:9; Col 1:9; 3:10; 3 John 1:4

14. Philemon 1:7 – 2 Cor 7:4-6, 13; Phil 4:1; Ps 23:4; 2 Cor 1:3-7; 1 Thess 3:7; 1 Thess 4:18

15. Philemon 1:7 – 1 Cor 16:18; Philem 20; Acts 4:36; Prov 25:13

Discussion Questions

1. When he says he’s a prisoner of Christ Jesus, does he mean that that is how he relates to Jesus (as His prisoner) or that he’s a prisoner in Rome because of His service to Jesus?

1. When he says “our brother” is he talking about His and Jesus’?

2. Was Apphia Philemon’s wife?

2. Why might Paul refer to Archippus as a fellow soldier instead of a fellow worker?

6. Exactly what is Paul praying for Philemon in this verse?

6. Why does God so richly bless us? For Jesus’ sake!

Verse by verse observations/verse by verse commentary

1. Paul was the author.

1. Timothy is not referred to as his son here, but as a brother.

1. Timothy was at Paul’s side ministering to him in prison.

1. Philemon was greatly loved by Paul.

1. After Paul states his love for Philemon, he recognizes him for his faithful work.

1. Though Paul was a preeminent apostle, he speaks humbly by acknowledging Philemon as a fellow worker

1. Philemon was the primary recipient of the letter.

2. This is the only place Apphia is mentioned in Scripture.

2. At least one congregation of the Colossian church met in Philemon’s home.

3. This was basically Paul’s standard greeting in all his epistles.

3. He is wishing his beloved friends, God’s rich grace which none deserve as well as His perfect peace while they were still in this corrupted world which was full of trials.

3. These blessing are bestowed by all three members of the Trinity though only the Father and the Son are mentioned here.

3. The Father is given the title of God.

3. The Son is really given two titles here.

A. He is the Lord which communicates His sovereign authority over all.

B. He is also referred to as “Christ” which means the anointed One or the Messiah.

4. God wasn’t abstract to Paul, but very real and personal (my God).

4. Paul didn’t dwell on the negative.

4. All of Paul’s thoughts about Philemon were positive and good.

4. Paul was devoted to prayer.

4. He often prayed for Philemon.

4. Paul was humble, continually acknowledging his dependence on the Lord.

5. Christians had an effective communication network even without the internet!

5. Philemon had a good reputation.

5. Philemon loved and trusted the Lord Jesus.

5. Jesus is the only One worthy to put our trust in.

5. Philemon also had a genuine love for all the saints.

5. Paul tended to pray more for those who were doing well than for those who weren’t.

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

6. 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. ESV

6. 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. NIV

6.  that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. NKJV

6. 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. NLT

6. Paul prayed that Philemon’s faith would become more effective in practice.

6. Faith is demonstrated by action.

6. Faith is built by knowledge Rom 10:17

6. By the grace of God, there are many good things within us. Eph 1:3, 7-9

6. Though we certainly benefit from God’s blessing in our life, the primary reason God has so richly blessed us is for Jesus’ sake!

7. True love produces joy and comfort in fellow believers.

7. It’s our hearts more than our bodies that need refreshment.

7. Christians are part of God’s family.

7. We have a very close bond with other believers, so close that it is referred to as a brother/sister relationship.

7. The love that binds together Christian brothers and sisters can certainly be stronger than physical family ties.

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