Philemon 1:14

But without your consent would I do nothing; that your benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
And addressing himself to Philemon, Paul says: “that your kindness may not be as it were of necessity, but voluntary.” … Now wherever there is the express statement not to do this or that, and whenever the performance of the will is required to do or refrain from some action, in keeping with God’s commandments, that is sufficient proof of the free choice of the will. Let no one, therefore, blame God in his heart whenever he sins, but let him impute the sin to himself.


AD 420
This verse answers the question of why God, in creating human beings, did not constitute them invariably good and upright. If, indeed, God is good not out of some impersonal necessity but because in his essence he freely wills his own goodness, he should in making man have made him to the divine image and likeness, that is, that he be good willingly and not by necessity. .

John Chrysostom

AD 407
This is a strategy that is particularly flattering to the person asked. The idea is that since the act proposed is a thing profitable in itself, it is brought forward in such a way as to win Philemon’s concurrence. For two good effects are thus produced: the intercessor gains his point, and the other person is rendered more secure.

John Chrysostom

AD 407
This particularly flatters the person asked, when the thing being profitable in itself, it is brought out with his concurrence. For two good effects are produced thence, the one person gains, and the other is rendered more secure. And he has not said, That it should not be of necessity, but as it were of necessity. For I knew, he says, that not having learned it, but coming to know it at once, you would not have been angry, but nevertheless out of an excess of consideration, that it should not be as it were of necessity.

Thomas Aquinas

AD 1274
Hence, but I did not want to do anything... As if he said: if I should keep him, it would please you who do not wish to resist but it would be a kind of force. But I did not want that, indeed I wanted it to come about voluntarily. Exodus 25.2: ‘Of every man who offers of his own accord, you shall take them,’ that is, the first fruits. 2 Corinthians 9:7: ‘Let each one give according as he has determined in his heart, not grudgingly or from compulsion, for “God loves a cheerful giver.”’

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

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