Commentary: Paul rejoices at what he heard of Philemon’s strong faith in God (for Paul is still in prison). This faith and love has strengthened the Colossian Church. He prays that Philemon would continue to share these blessings with others. Philemon was the master of Onesimus, and therefore, Paul wanted Philemon to welcome him home and forgive him. Onesimus was as a son to Paul, because he helped him so much in prison. Paul would like to keep Onesimus with him; however, he feels that Onesimus should go back to his master.
Onesimus had become useless to Philemon; however, Paul is confident that Onesimus is better and ready to come back. However, that’s Philemon’s decision to welcome him back. Whatever Philemon does, Paul wants him to do it decisively, and not because Paul has forced him to do so. If Onesimus stole or damaged anything in making his escape, Paul wants to pay the cost of it. Paul believes that Philemon would act with generosity, and give him complete freedom. To end the letter, Paul hopes to be released soon and visit Colossae. Meanwhile, he and his group send greetings to Philemon, and to the whole Church in the Colossian letter.