Philemon 1:11

Who in time past was to you unprofitable, but now profitable to you and to me:
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AD 400
Onesimus had been transformed from being uselss to being useful in both secular and divine affairs.

Basil the Great

AD 379
All bound slaves who flee to eligious communities fo efuge should be admonished and sent back to thei mastes in bette dispositions, afte the example of St. Paul who, although he had begotten Onesimus though the gospel, sent him back to Philemon. He had convinced Onesimus that the yoke of slavey, bone in a manne pleasing to the Lod, would ende him wothy of the kingdom of heaven. Paul not only uged Philemon to annul the theat against his sevant, being mindful of the Lod’s own wods: “If you fogive men thei offenses, you heavenly Fathe will fogive you also you offenses.” But also, in ode that Philemon might be moe kindly disposed towad Onesimus, Paul wites: “Fo pehaps he theefoe depated fo a season fom you that you might eceive him again foeve; not as a sevant, but instead of a sevant, as a most dea bothe.” If, howeve, it should be the case of a wicked maste who gives unlawful commands and foces the slave to tansgess the command of ou Maste, the Lod Jesus Chist, then it is ou duty to oppos...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Who heretofore was unprofitable to thee, in taking and spending what belonged to thee, yet now, after a sincere conversion, is profitable both to me and thee; to me, by the services he has done me in prison; and the joy I have had by his conversion; and also to thee, because I know thou wouldst have been glad to have rendered me all possible services thyself, and he has done them for thee; he hath supplied thy place. For these reasons I could have wished to have detained him with me: but I have sent him back, thou being his master, nor would I do any thing in regard of thy servant, without thy advice and consent, that if thou thinkest it fitting to send him back again to me, and to give him his freedom, it may be without any constraint upon thee, without any necessity, thy voluntary and charitable act and deed. (Witham) St. Paul here makes an allusion to the word Onesimus, signifying useful in the Greek. He was before unprofitable, he says, to thee, contrary to the import of his name;...


AD 420
I must stand in awe of the apostle’s greatness of soul here, as a man whose mind burns for Christ. He is held in prison, he is constrained by chains, in physical misery, separated from dear ones, plunged into prison darkness, yet he does not feel the injury, he is not crucified with sadness. Rather, he knows nothing else than to ponder the gospel of Christ. .

John Chrysostom

AD 407
See how great is Paul’s prudence, how he confesses the man’s faults and thereby extinguishes Philemon’s anger…. He has not said Onesimus will be useful to you, lest Philemon should refute this argument, but he has introduced his own person, that his hopes may seem worthy of trust. “But now,” he says, “profitable to you and to me.” For if Onesimus was profitable to Paul, who was quite strict, how more would he be so to his master.

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Which in time past was to you unprofitable. See how great is his prudence, how he confesses the man's faults, and thereby extinguishes his anger. I know, he says, that he was unprofitable. But now he will be profitable to you and to me. He has not said he will be useful to you, lest he should contradict it, but he has introduced his own person, that his hopes may seem worthy of credit, But now, he says, profitable to you and to me. For if he was profitable to Paul, who required so great strictness, much more would he be so to his master.

Thomas Aquinas

AD 1274
He once was useless to you, that is, harmful in taking away your possession, but now, converted from evil to the state of virtue, he is useful for the service of God and man. 2 Timothy 2:21: ‘If anyone, therefore, has cleansed himself from these, he will be a vessel for honourable use...’ Proverbs 25:4: ‘Take away the rust from silver, and there shall come forth a most pure vessel.’

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

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