Colossians 4:9 (NET) 9 I sent him with Onesimus, the faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you about everything here.
I sent him with- meaning Paul sent Tychicus, from the previous verse, with Onesimus. Sending out pairs is very common in the New Testament.
Discussion questions: Can you name other pairs sent out in the New Testament? Why do you think this was an important practice?
- Onesimus was from Colossi.
- He was also a slave of Philemon.
- It appears he left Philemon and then became a Christian upon meeting Paul.
- He then served Paul while Paul was imprisoned.
- Paul sent him back to Philemon to receive his consent that he may continue to serve Paul. See the below passage from Paul’s letter to Philemon about Onesimus.
- His name means profitable or useful. See how Paul does a play-on-words with his name in the below passage.
Philemon 1:10-19 (NET)
10 I am appealing to you concerning my child, whose spiritual father I have become during my imprisonment, that is, Onesimus, 11 who was formerly useless to you, but is now useful to you and me. 12 I have sent him (who is my very heart) back to you. 13 I wanted to keep him so that he could serve me in your place during my imprisonment for the sake of the gospel. 14 However, without your consent I did not want to do anything, so that your good deed would not be out of compulsion, but from your own willingness. 15 For perhaps it was for this reason that he was separated from you for a little while, so that you would have him back eternally, 16 no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, as a dear brother. He is especially so to me, and even more so to you now, both humanly speaking and in the Lord. 17 Therefore if you regard me as a partner, accept him as you would me. 18 Now if he has defrauded you of anything or owes you anything, charge what he owes to me. 19 I, Paul, have written this letter with my own hand: I will repay it. I could also mention that you owe me your very self.
Discussion questions: Do you remember being spiritually useless before your conversion? In what way are we now useful?
the faithful – meaning Onesimus was trusted and can be relied upon.
Discussion Questions: provide examples how members of our church have faithfully helped other saints in or outside the church?
Challenge: are we faithful in serving the Lord’s people?
and dear brother – meaning Onesimus was beloved by Paul and that he was a spiritual brother in Christ.
Discussion question: other than your spouse, share who is dear to you?
who is one of you – meaning Onesimus was a Colossian and a fellow believer with them.
They will tell you about everything here – meaning Tychicus and Onesimus will tell the Colossian saints everything that was going on with Paul while he was imprisoned.
Listening Prayer method – a method where you write what you think God would say to you after meditating and studying a Bible passage.
Do You Remember Being a Useless Onesimus?
Be thankful for those ministry pairs that I put in your life – remember those married couples who impacted you.
Be like Onesimus. Be dear to others by serving them. Be faithful – someone they can rely on.
Don’t forget how useless you were to Me before your spiritual birth. You were a slave to sin. Self, self, self were your thoughts continually. Then My Spirit came in and convicted you. He continues to santify and to work within you. Now you are useful to Me and to others. Continue to serve others. Continue to teach others My words. Continue to grow into the image of My Son.