- Martin Luther called Paul’s language in Philemon “holy flattery”.
- John G Nordling argues that instead of being a random, unrelated epistle, one can easily find the “Gospel in Philemon” when he writes,
"Paul’s specific repayment of Onesimus’ debt (Phlm 18-19a) was founded upon and intentionally reflects the payment for all sin which the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished for the world (for example, Isa 53:ll; Matt 1:21; Rom 3:25; 1 John 2:2)."
- John Calvin explained that Paul’s theology elevated such a practical everyday subject to the heights of theological genius and loftiness:
The singular loftiness of the mind of Paul, though it may be seen to greater advantage in his other writings which treat of weightier matters, is also attested by this Epistle, in which, while he handles a subject otherwise low and mean, he rises to God with his wonted elevation
- In his introduction to his three week series in Philemon, Bible teacher Alistair Begg says, “Through their experience, we will see that the Road of Reconciliation begins in a restored relationship with God offered to us by Christ’s death on the cross.”
- Great preacher John Macarthur has described Philemon as “Scripture’s clearest real-life example of human forgiveness in action.”
- Acknowledging Philemon’s powerful treatment of the slave phenomenon, John Piper writes,
The upshot of all this is that, without explicitly prohibiting slavery, Paul has pointed the church away from slavery because it is an institution which is incompatible with the way the gospel works in people’s lives. Whether the slavery is economic, racial, sexual, mild, or brutal, Paul’s way of dealing with Philemon works to undermine the institution across its various manifestations. To walk “in step with the truth of the gospel” (Galatians 2:14) is to walk away from slavery.
- Church historian and pastor Mark Dever has preached a sermon series on Philemon dealing with prayer, grace and repentance and friendship here
Is there a word to help us feel
the weight of Adam’s fall?
How heavy will this burden weigh,
(Spare not!) on those who fell?
O Lord, so great this forfeiture!
Was there sufficient reason?
Then whence could any traitor hope
before your burning face?
But surely that will cost beyond
our wage. How is it priced?
Entirely paid? By him? O God,
and is that gift for me?
I would receive this gift, O Lord!
How soon would you allow?
— God Answers by John Piper
"Oh that young and old would turn off the television, take a long walk and dream about feats of courage for a cause ten thousand more important than American democracy - as previous as that is. If we would dream and if we would pray, would not GOd answer? Would he withhold from us a life of joyful love and mercy and sacrifice that magnifies Christ and makes people glad in God? I plead with you, as I pray for myself, set your face like flint to join Jesus on the Calvary road."
— John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life, p129
Boasting Only in the Cross
Seeing and Savoring the Supremacy of Jesus Christ Above All Things
The God of Worship and the Heart of Worship
How the Supremacy of Christ Creates Radical Sacrifice
Fighting for Faith with God’s Word
How I Distinguish Between True and False Gospels
25 Years of Desiring God
Did Jesus Preach the Gospel of Evangelicalism?/Did Jesus Preach the Same Gospel as Paul?
The Life of the MInd and the Love of God
Getting Old for the Glory of God
A God Entranced Vision of All Things: Why we need Jonathan Edwards 300 years later