Thursday, October 8, 2009

Philemon and Onesimus

As my homework of a Bible study group, I was reading Paul's letter to Philemon. I have read it before, but I must confess that I did not pay much attention.
I am not a good reader so I thought I would have fun reading it if I looked up the meaning of the names, using a Greek dictionary, as I read. In doing so, I would more likely finish reading it until the end. 

It turned out to be fascinating. Philemon means 'forgiveness' and he had a slave named Onesimus. This slave fled from Philemon, he possibly stole something from Philemon according to what Paul said, and ended up in prison where Paul was. Onesimus means 'useful or profitable'.

This reminded me of the Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan. This is one of my favorite books. In this book people's names show who they are. You don't have to see them. You can imagine what they are like. The names explain it.

The letter to Philemon is just like that! You can't tell by reading the translated version of the Bible. ( Not that I can read the original language.....:( )
Basically Paul is asking Philemon (=Forgiveness) to be ready to be kind, forgive and accept Onesimus (=Useful), who used to be non-useful to him, but now, a changed man.

Isn't that interesting!!

That was the joy of my day when I read it.
(from 07/2008)


ジョンバンヤンの天路歴程 を思い出します。彼の本の登場人物はみな、名が体を現すのです。 パウロの手紙もこんなんだったのねって。うれしい一日でした。

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