The Gospel Breaks Down Social Walls
The reader enters Paul’s letter to Philemon without being provided with the backstory. The traditional interpretation of the letter views it as Paul’s request for Philemon to welcome back Philemon’s slave Onesimus. Another interpretation suggests that Onesimus was not a fugitive but had committed some misdeed and sought out Paul to intercede for him with his master. One thing is clear: meeting Paul in prison resulted in Onesimus becoming a Christian. What is the meaning of the letter for us today? The inclusion of this incident in the New Testament canon reveals how the Christian faith breaks down what seems to be insurmountable social walls.