the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments Sutcliffe's Commentary
by Joseph Sutcliffe
ST. PAUL’S EPISTLE TO PHILEMON.
THIS epistle has been reckoned one of the most elegant pieces, in regard to composition, that antiquity can boast; Philemon was a man of consideration in Colosse, a city of old Phrygia. He had a church in his house. Therefore the letter is addressed, not to Philemon alone, but also to Apphia his wife, and to Archippus the minister. Of course it is not wholly a private letter, as some have argued. For indeed, though it was in part a private letter, yet it has the usual characters of inspiration, being written entirely under a divine influence. Origen quotes it as such. Tertullian refers to it, and Caius puts it in the number of St. Paul’s epistles. Eusebius also, from a list of ancient writers, considers it as inspired.
It is not a little surprising, however, that some moderns should gravely ask questions which cannot be answered, and make a load of conjectures quite irrelevant. Du Pin places its chronology as written in the year sixty one.