In studying the short letter to Philemon, we’ve looked at the central players of Paul (the author), Philemon (the recipient), and Onesimus (the subject).
There are also brief mentions of eight others: Timothy, Apphia, Archippus, Epaphras, Aristarchus, Luke, John-Mark, and Demas.
The foundational character, however, is Jesus. He is mentioned more often than any other in this letter, a total of six times.
The reality is that without Jesus, none of this matters. He is the ultimately the reason why this letter was written and he is the reason why each person was mentioned.
Without Jesus, Paul would not have been a missionary; without Jesus, Onesimus would have no desire to return to his master; and without Jesus, Philemon would have no reason to show mercy and offer forgiveness.
And it is because of Jesus that each of the eight other characters are worthy of inclusion.
Jesus is the reason for the letter to Philemon — and the entire Bible. Without him, nothing else really matters.
A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and numerous books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.