Philemon was a prominent Christian in the city of Colossae. In those days, wealthy people. usually owned slaves. Philemon was no exception. One of his slaves—Onesimus by name—escaped and somehow came in contact with Paul.
Onesimus was converted by Paul’s message that Jesus Christ was his Saviour from sin. But what should Onesimus do next? Remain where he was, or return to his master, Philemon, in Colossae?
Paul advised Onesimus to return to his master, and sent a letter with him, encouraging Philemon to accept Onesimus back as a brother in the faith. This letter is now the book of Philemon in the New Testament, and is a masterpiece of tact and diplomacy.