I’m Confident You Will Do More Than I Ask (Philemon 21-22)

November 2, 2017

Paul has set a high bar for Philemon. Given Philemon’s social world, Paul’s requests are astounding. As Philemon’s slave, Onesimus has neither social status nor civil rights. Onesimus cannot sit at the same table with his master. He cannot marry whom he chooses, and he has no real options other than what Philemon decides. As […]


No Longer Just a Slave (Philemon 12-16)

October 16, 2017

Listening to this letter within the community of his own house church, Philemon hears Paul’s affection for Onesimus. He is not only Paul’s child but Paul’s own “heart.” “I am sending my heart back to you,” Paul writes. This simple statement has several significant rhetorical functions. First, Paul not only does not secretly hide Onesimus […]


1 Peter 2:18-20 – Living as Slaves in the Empire

July 12, 2015

Even “slaves” in the empire are “free.” They are “free” because they are bound to no authority other than God (cf. 1 Peter 2:16). But they “submit” as “slaves” within the empire because they fear (worship) God. This is the mystery of exiles living for the sake of Gospel within an oppressive empire: free from […]


Recommended Books

June 28, 2008

Thanks to everyone for their well-wishes by email and comments.  I appreciate them very much.  My wife and I had a wonderfully relaxing, peaceful and calm time in the mountains of Virginia as we camped together. It was a blessing to see God’s good creation, sit by the fire at night and spend lots of […]