Philemon the Slaveowner

Temiloluwa Adeniyi-Ipadeola
2 min readOct 25, 2020

This week's reading was very interesting. it deals with how can understand slavery in the biblical context and does paul seem to promote slavery in some texts and oppose it in others. is there a contradiction between the letter to Philemon and 1 Cor 7.21–24; Ephesians 5–6; Colossians 3–4; 1 Timothy 6.1–2;

Philemon the letter, seems to me like a letter of recommendation or rather reconciliation between to opposing party and honestly, paul seems to excel in words as I think anyone in Philemon's shoes will simple dissolve himself of any conflicts he had after reading paul’s persuasive statements. The major problem I found with Philemon was with a comparison with 1 cor 7.21–24 on the surface it could be said that Paul in 1 cor 7 to escape the bonds of slavery for freedom. while in Philemon, he seems to be sending a runaway slave back to his master. How do we make sense of these two sources? There seems to be a contradiction with pauls theology, or is it possible there is a misunderstanding in our understanding of Paul’s theology. On this note, I come to realize now more than ever the necessity of a theological understanding of the biblical narrative. you can’t study Socrates without understanding the Socratic method and his philosophy.

“Were you a bondservant when called? DO not be concerned about it. (but if you can gain your freedom avail yourself of the opportunity.”

On this, I'm curious about the opinion of other students. let me know what you think on this subject. Is paul telling slaves to run away for their masters any chance they find available for a life of freedom? I don't think that what he meant but let me know.