The following comments are from Navigator's and Quiet Time Diary journals. One verse will be entered, then the comment, then the date.

:4    . . . but without your consent I did not want to do anything, so that your goodness would not be, in effect, by compulsion but of your own free will.

    Onesimus was Philemon's slave. Paul was writing to Philemon to ask for forgiveness for Onesimus' running away and to be returned without charge.
    While we don't know the answer that Philemon gave, certainly  this letter was cordial and shows Paul's respect for Philemon.
    Letters today seem to be a lost art. We use e-mail more now, but the thought is the same. We need to ask permission on cases like this. Paul's ministry was to proclaim Jesus, and all involved should want His Kingdom proclaimed, no matter the cost. (DRM 11/3/16)

:6    and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ's sake.

    What was Paul praying for Philemon? Fellowship of your faith = sharing with others; may become effective through the knowledge = study and understand of the gospel; of every good thing = the gospel; which is in you = as a believer; for Christ's sake = to bring more people to Christ. (DRM 11/21/03)

:7    For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.

    Paul clearly knew Philemon from the way this verse is worded. He knew how Philemon encouraged other believers (saints) that he was in contact or worshipped with.
    Do I motivate and encourage other believers like Philemon did? Right now I need more improvement on that! I try not to discourage, but haven't been helping in the encouragement department either, recently. I always need to grow more spiritually! (DRM 11/20/09)

:8, 9    Therefore, though I have enough confidence in Christ to order you to do that which is proper, 9yet for love's sake I rather appeal to you - since I am such a person as Paul, the aged, and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus -

    Apparently Paul had not only written his thoughts to the early churches and Christians, but he also had some authority to tell them what to do (v. 8). These verses mention the authority, but Paul's choice not to use it. I don't consider myself an "authority" on anything. (DRM 11/10/06)

:10    I appeal to you for my child, whom I have begotten in my imprisonment, Onesimus,

    This verse was the purpose of Paul's letter to Philemon. Onesimus had run away from his master, as he was a slave, but now had become a Christian. Paul wanted Philemon to forgive Onesimus' past sin and to be welcomed back into the family. (DRM 11/11/06)

:11    . . . who formerly was useless to you, but now is useful both to you and to me.

    In this personal letter from Paul to Philemon, he was returning Philemon's slave, Onesimus, to him reluctantly.
    While with Paul, Onesimus apparently was useful to his ministry, probably becoming a Christian under Paul's teaching.
    In this verse, Paul points out that Onesimus was previously Philemon's slave, thus of little perceived value, but now that he was a brother (v. 16) in Christ, he had value to Paul's ministry - and could be more useful to Philemon.
    As Christians, we have more value to Jesus, as we can feel His leading to do His will - more than the other residents of earth.
    Whenever we "hear" His voice, be sure to do His will - that's what sets us apart. (DRM 9/20/17)

:12, 13    I have sent him [Onesimus] back to you in person, that is, sending my very heart, 13whom I wished to keep with me, so that on your behalf he might minister to me in my imprisonment for the gospel;

    As a single person and alone most of the time, I can understand Paul's feelings here somewhat - even though I'm not in jail.
    I have very few friends that I can confide in - when we are together, I don't want them to leave - and then I'm alone again. Paul referred to this as "sending my very heart."
    It is not good to be alone. (DRM 10/21/11)

:17    If then you regard me a partner, accept him as you would me.

    Paul was writing to his friend, Philemon, and asking him to accept his slave, Onesimus, back as a free man. The verse shows me that Paul [and Jesus] wants us to do the same. After Onesimus became a Christian, he became a part of God's family. All believers should consider other believers as "family" and love them as brothers and sisters in Christ. (DRM 11/23/03)

:18    But if he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge that to my account;

    Paul's letter to Philemon concerns the slave Onesimus. Since Onesimus ran away, he became a Christian and was serving under Paul. Paul is requesting Onesimus' freedom.
    In this verse, Paul is willing to pay the cost for Onesimus' freedom. Jesus paid the cost for my life/freedom by His death for my sins. We (I) need a 'P'erson who is willing to "stand up" for us in times of trouble. (DRM 11/21/09)