For this reason, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do your duty, yet I would rather appeal to you on the basis of love-and, I Paul, do this as an old man, and now also as a prisoner of Christ Jesus
It is difficult to separate these two verses and it is for this reason why I have combined them. The use of the phrase, ´as an old man´ seems to point out that Paul was now in advanced age. Most scholars think that he was in his late 50s or early 60s. The phrase ´prisoner of Christ´ is back again. I have never read a proud prisoner like Paul but he has all the reasons to be proud of being a prisoner for Christ.
The tone of the two verses suggests that Paul is up to something here. These two verses are now pointing us to the main subject of the letter. Hold your breath we will be there soon. In the letter Paul makes it clear that he has the authority over Philemon but instead he loves a request type of approach in asking for favours. Very soon we will know of the favour Paul wants but what is important is that a loving appeal is better than an authoritative command. Two takeaways: 1. Respect is important even when dealing with subordinates. 2. A request is more Christian than a command.
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