English Standard Version
(Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.)
King James Bible
Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me:
American Standard Version
who once was unprofitable to thee, but now is profitable to thee and to me:
Who hath been heretofore unprofitable to thee, but now is profitable both to me and thee,
English Revised Version
who was aforetime unprofitable to thee, but now is profitable to thee and to me:
Webster's Bible Translation
Who in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me:
Weymouth New Testament
Formerly he was useless to you, but now--true to his name--he is of great use to you and to me.
Philemon 1:11 Parallel
CommentaryVincent's Word Studies
A play on the word Onesimus profitable. Compare unprofitable (ἀχρεῖος) servant, Matthew 25:30. These plays upon proper names are common both in Greek and Roman literature. Thus Aeschylus on the name of Helen of Troy, the play or pun turning on the root ἑλ, hel, destroy: Helene, helenaus, helandras, heleptolis: Helen, ship-destroyer, man-destroyer, city-destroyer ("Agamemnon," 671). Or, as Robert Browning: "Helen, ship's-hell, man's-hell, city's-hell." So on Prometheus (forethought): "Falsely do the gods call thee Prometheus, for thou thyself hast need of prometheus, i.e., of forethought" ("Prometheus Bound," 85, 86). Or Sophocles on Ajax. Aias (Ajax) cries ai, ai! and says, "Who would have thought that my name would thus be the appropriate expression for my woes?" ("Ajax," 430). In the New Testament, a familiar example is Matthew 16:18; "thou art Petros, and on this petra will I build my church." See on Epaenetus, 2 Corinthians 8:18.
"Christianity knows nothing of hopeless cases. It professes its ability to take the most crooked stick and bring it straight, to flash a new power into the blackest carbon, which will turn it into a diamond" (Maclaren, "Philemon," in "Expositor's Bible").
And to me
The words are ingeniously thrown in as an afterthought. Compare Philippians 2:27; Romans 16:13; 1 Corinthians 16:18. A strong appeal to Philemon lies in the fact that Paul is to reap benefit from Onesimus in his new attitude as a christian brother.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment.
I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart.
Jump to PreviousFormerly Great Indeed Once Past Profit Profitable Serviceable Time True. Unprofitable Use Useful Useless
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ESV Text Edition: 2016. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.