christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

book of philemon chiastic structure

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Read Philemon at Bible Gateway.

The book of Philemon forms its own chiastic structure:

1a) Phil 1:1-4, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus to Philemon et al: grace + peace;
1b) Phil 1:4-8,
— 1b.1) Phil 1:4, I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers;
— 1b.2) Phil 1:5-7, Your love + faith which has refreshed the hearts of the saints;
— 1b.3) Phil 1:8, Though I might be very bold in Christ to command you what is fitting;
1c) Phil 1:9-11, I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten while in my chains;
1d) Phil 1:12-13, I am sending him back/ receive him + I wished that he might minister to me on your behalf;
central axis) Phil 1:14, That that your good deed might not be by compulsion, as it were, but voluntary.
2d) Phil 1:1519a, Perhaps he departed that you might receive him forever + if he owes anything I will repay;
2c) Phil 1:19b, You owe me your own self besides;
2b) Phil 1:20-22,
— 2b.2) Phil 1:20, Brother, refresh my heart in the Lord;
— 2b.3) Phil 1:21, I have confidence in your obedience, knowing that you will do even more than I say;
— 2b.1) Phil 1:22, I trust that through your prayers I shall be granted to you;
2a) Phil 1:23-25, Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus et al greets you: grace be with your spirit.

Good deeds not by compulsion, but voluntary. Good deeds are commanded and encouraged by Scripture … good deeds or good works are not antithetical to true Christianity, but indicative of true Christianity:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Mat 7:21-23

The bias against obedience to God’s word and God’s Law, His instruction in righteous living and conduct, is a learned bias and not one taught by Scripture. Just because salvation is not earned by obedience, does not mean that obedience is not beneficial or desirable. But God, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, transforms our hearts, so that the good deeds which result from obedience to God’s will are voluntary, coming from the desire of our own hearts, and not by compulsion from religious obligation.

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