Mo 10/30Tu 10/31We 11/1Th 11/2Fr 11/3Sa 11/4Su 11/5
2 Kings 12
2 Tim. 2
2 Kings 13
2 Tim. 3
2 Kings 14
2 Tim. 4
2 Kings 15
Titus 1
2 Kings 16
Titus 2
2 Kings 17
Titus 3
2 Kings 18
Philem. 1


Our last reading in this week is the short letter to Philemon from the Apostle Paul. Philemon deals with slavery, Christian ethics, and the interplay between love and duty. The Apostle Paul states clearly what the right thing is for Philemon to do with Onesimus, Philemon’s runaway slave that has become a Christian. Yet he refuses to “order” Philemon to do it. Instead he “appeals” to him to release Onesimus in order that Onesimus might continue serving Paul. 

To support his appeal, Paul doesn’t hesitate to call attention to his own need—his age and imprisonment. But he wants Philemon to do this voluntarily, not under compulsion. Why?

Philemon’s “goodness” wouldn’t be as good if his obedience were forced. By leaving it voluntary, Philemon is able to perform a service for the Apostle Paul, whom he owes everything to.

Cheerfully, voluntarily doing the right thing is how we want our children to treat one another, not grudgingly forced, nor even cheerfully forced.

It is also how we are to give to the Lord, to whom we owe everything. 

Sometimes it is better to not give a command, but to let somebody’s voluntary goodness shine, to the glory of God who has made their heart glad to do what is right.


Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, since I know that you will do even more than what I say.
— Philemon 1:21


  • Adoration – Praise God that He is never stingy with His love. 
  • Confession – Confess that all too often you know the right thing, and even do it, but only grudgingly or under compulsion.
  • Thanksgiving – Give thanks for the people who have voluntarily served us so often.
  • Supplication – Pray for wisdom when it is better to ask than require something of somebody.

Click HERE to ask the pastors a question about anything in your Bible reading.

This post by Joseph Bayly

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. All rights reserved.

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