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Posts Tagged ‘Apostle Paul’


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A    20  Let each man remain in that condition in which he was called.

B    [Me:  Freedom is better]  21  Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that.

C    a    22  For he who was called in the Lord while a slave,    b    is the Lord’s freedman;    b’    likewise he who was called while free,    a’    is Christ’s slave.

B’   [Me:  Freedom is better]  23  You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.

A’   24  Brethren, let each man remain with God in that condition in which he was called.

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I came across a chiasmus for Philemon at the blog “studywithme” the other day.  It was posted by Joey Wulf.  It inspired me to take a look at Philemon myself.  Joey’s chiasmus has 10 parts and a double center.  My attempt has 17 parts and a single center.

John Paul Heil has also produced a chiasmus for Philemon, which can be found here and here.  John’s chiasmus has 9 parts and a single center. 

It seems to me that, at the very least, Philemon is chiastic. 

Like it. 

Interesting center.

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A    1   Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our beloved brother and fellow worker,  2  and to Apphia our sister, and to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house:  3  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

B    4  I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers,  5  because I hear of your love, and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all the saints;  6  and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake. 

C    7  For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.

D    8  Therefore, though I have enough confidence in Christ to order you to do that which is proper, 

E    9  yet for love’s sake I rather appeal to you— since I am such a person as Paul, the aged, and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus–

F    10  I appeal to you for my child, whom I have begotten in my imprisonment, Onesimus,  11  who formerly was useless to you,  /  but now is useful  /  both to you and to me

G    12  And I have sent him back to you in person, that is, sending my very heart,

H    13  whom I wished to keep with me, that in your behalf he might minister to me in my imprisonment for the gospel,

I    14  but without your consent I did not want to do anything, that your goodness should not be as it were by compulsion, but of your own free will.

H’   15  For perhaps he was for this reason parted from you for a while,

G’   that you should have him back forever, 

F’   16  no longer as a slave,  /  but more than a slave, a beloved brother,  /  especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

E’   [Me: The appeal:]  17  If then you regard me a partner, accept him as you would me.  /  18  But if he has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account;  19  I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand, I will repay it

D’    (lest I should mention to you that you owe to me even your own self as well).

C’   20  Yes, brother, let me benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. 

B’   21  Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, since I know that you will do even more than what I say.  22  And at the same time also prepare me a lodging; for I hope that through your prayers I shall be given to you.

A’   23  Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you,  24  as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow workers.  25  The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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The following chiasmus is from Kenneth E. Bailey‘s book “Poet and Peasant“.  Another nice center:  “The righteous man shall live by faith”.  As with the center, the chiasmus also ends with “faith”.  :

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A    5  Does He then, who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?  6  Even so Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.

B    7  Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.  8  And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “ALL THE NATIONS SHALL BE BLESSED IN YOU.”  9  So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.

C    10  For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM.”

D    11  Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident;

E    for, “THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.

D’   12  However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “HE WHO PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM.”

C’   13  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us– for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”–

B’   14  in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles,

A’   so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit / through faith.

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Here’s Bailey’s comment on the above chiasmus:

The parallels in the above inversion are as follows:

A    Spirit, Faith, Righteousness

B    Gentiles, Blessing of Abraham

C    Curse

D    Law

E    Righteousness by Faith

D’   Law

C’   Curse (Christ)

B’   Gentiles, Blessing of Abraham (Christ)

A’   Spirit, Faith, Righteousness

All the parallels are strong and unmistakable.  The climax is in the center.  The center is related theologically to the beginning and the end.  This is particularly clear when the two quotes in A and E are compared.  The second half introduces Christ, who is the significant missing element in the first half.

Bailey’s book, the above chiasmus, and many other chiasmi can be viewed online here.

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