Philemon 1:8–16 (NIV)
8 Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, 9 yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. It is as none other than Paul — an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus — 10 that I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. 11 Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me.
12 I am sending him — who is my very heart — back to you. 13 I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. 14 But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do would not seem forced but would be voluntary. 15 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever — 16 no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.
Galatians 3:26–29 (NIV)
26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
1. Spend a few minutes researching which modern-day industries are propped up by slavery, forced labor, and other unjust working conditions. What surprised you? What did you discover?
2. What do you think enables slavery to continue today?
3. Read the book of Philemon. What is Paul asking Philemon to change about how he views and treats Onesimus?
4. What are some changes you could make in your lifestyle or purchasing habits to help advocate for human dignity and justice?
5. What is something you can do to treat people who are not in positions of power with honor and dignity?
Dig deeper into these “little books” of the Bible with recommended resources from our teaching team.