6. That the communication of thy faith may become effectual, by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.
6. Ut communicatio fidei tuae efficax sit cognitione omnis boni, quod in vobis est erga Christum Iesum.
7. For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother.
7. Gratiam enim habemus multam et consolationem super dilectione tua, quia viscera sanctorum per to refocillata sunt, frater.
The singular loftiness of the mind of Paul, though it may be seen to greater advantage in his other writings which treat of weightier matters, is also attested by this Epistle, in which, while he handles a subject otherwise low and mean, he rises to God with his wonted elevation. Sending back a runaway slave and thief, he supplicates pardon for him. But in pleading this cause, he discourses about Christian forbearance fd1 with such ability, that he appears to speak about the interests of the whole Church rather than the private affairs of a single individual. In behalf of a man of the lowest condition, he demeans himself so modestly and humbly, that nowhere else is the meekness of his temper painted in a more lively manner.
1.A prisoner of Jesus Christ. In the same sense in which he elsewhere calls himself an Apostle of Christ, or a minister of Christ, he now calls himself “a prisoner of Christ;” because the chains by which he was bound on account of the gospel, were the ornaments or badges of that embassy which he exercised for Christ. Accordingly, he mentions them for the sake of strengthening his authority; not that he was afraid of being despised, (for Philemon undoubtedly had so great reverence and esteem for him, that there was no need of assuming any title,) but because he was about to plead the cause of a runaway slave, the principal part of which was entreaty for forgiveness.
To Philemon our friend and fellow-laborer. It is probable that this “Philemon” belonged to the order of pastors; for the title with which he adorns him, when he calls him fellow-laborer, is a title which he is not accustomed to bestow on a private individual.
2. And to Archippus our fellow-soldier. He next adds “Archippus,” who appears also to have been a minister of the Church; at least, if he be the same person who is mentioned towards the conclusion of the Epistle to the Colossians, (<510417>Colossians 4:17,) which is not at all improbable; for the designation — ”fellow-soldier” — which he bestows on this latter individual, belongs peculiarly to ministers. Although the condition of a soldier belongs to all Christians universally, yet because teachers may be regarded as standardbearers in the warfare, they ought to be ready more than all others to fight, and Satan usually gives them greater annoyance. It is also possible, that Archippus attended and shared in some contests which Paul maintained; and, indeed, this is the very word that Paul makes use of, whenever he mentions persecutions.