The Apostle Paul has gone all the way to this part of the letter before he writes about the runaway slave, Onesimus (v. 10). One can imagine what Philemon and family and the church that met in his house thought when they heard that word.
What kind of emotions would be going through their minds when he arrives with Tychicus.
Verse 8: John McArthur writes, “Because of his apostolic authority, Paul could have ordered Philemon to accept Onesimus.”
In a very eloquent way, Paul is telling Philemon that Onesimus submitted to Jesus Christ and is now a Christian.
Chuck Smith further writes, “Paul could have given a bold command to Philemon, appealing to his apostolic authority. But he did not do that.
Verse 9: Smith continues his thoughts, “But he did not do that. Instead he appealed for love’s sake,” begging him to do the right thing. It is tragic when church leaders appeal to their positions to exercise authority and wiled power over people. The old maxim that ‘power corrupts’ can sadly be demonstrated in the church, as well as in human secular government and in the business world.
Paul demonstrated, on the other hand, the servant leadership taught by Jesus. He did not throw his weight around, but appealed to love. Godly leaders will always do that. Leaders who flex their muscles and intimidate people only show their lack of Christlikeness.”
Verse 10: This is the first mention of Onesimus. Paul calls him “my child (son) whom I fathered while in Chains.