Philemon; the first of 3 studies

2 Oct

Design for relationship, a study with Philemon’

Purpose: the purpose of this relationship study is to deepen the understanding and character of each participant by providing an enriching experience with a biblical perspective.

Overview of study:

·         This study is in 3 sessions. The first session is composed of reading the Letter of Paul to Philemon and the church that meets in Philemon’s house. There are three versions of this Letter: NIV; The Message; Yong’s Literal Translation. Ideally, all three translations of this letter are read in the first session. In short, the NIV is a standard accessible translation; The Message gives a ‘looser, big picture’ view of the Letter to Philemon. Young’s Literal is very word specific. These translations give a range of readings of this one complete-though short- (25 verses) of a book in the Bible.

·         The principle under-gridding this study is reading the word, washing one self and others, in His word. This is for the purpose of building a deeper relationship with the word and character/heart of God. Reading (and rereading) of this short Letter should take place at the beginning of each session. All three should be read out loud in a shared reading by all participants inly in the first session.

The study has 6 component parts:

a.      Bible passage-

b.      introduction/ background

c.       essential questions

d.      unpacking the Bible passage

e.      closing connection

Outline for the first session:

– Bible passage

Chorally read the three translations out loud. Divide the readings equally among all participants. (If you are doing this study as an individual, still read all translations out loud. Why? The principle is to wash oneself and others in the word. Reading out loud somewhat stops your heart or mind wandering.)

-introduction/ background

background –

Paul is writing from a Roman prison. During his time in chains he has shared the Gospel of Jesus with a runaway slave whom he probably had some knowledge of from Colossi, Onesimus. Philemon was the owner of this household slave and had a church meeting in his house. Undoubtedly, Onesimus took something from the house and travelled a great distance to escape being a slave. Paul has convinced him to go back and be received as a Christian brother in Philemon’s household.

Addition background here,

-essential question

Listen for what stands out, similarities or differences in the translations.

Essential question: What is the one thing, one image, one thought, one word that stands out to you? Write it down here:

-unpacking the Bible passage

Answer the ‘why’ question: Why does this one thing, image, word stand out to you? Write down your response here:

Now in your group, share your ‘why’ responses in turn

closing connection

Pray for His Spirit to give you time to read this passage in all three translations at least twice more this week. Something like, Lord, wash me and I will be cleansed. Wash me in your word; your time; your thoughts; your Spirit.

Bible passage-

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