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Home昔日真理報2014年 真理報文章2014 年 3 月【雙語園地】得回你的弟兄--讀懂《腓利門書》

【雙語園地】得回你的弟兄--讀懂《腓利門書》

 

得回你的弟兄--讀懂《腓利門書》
作者:盧國禮     翻譯:蕭凌

《腓利門書》篇幅短小,其希臘原文從頭到尾只有 335 字;而這短短幾節經文竟然自成一書,也難怪有人會感到驚奇了。實際,本書是保羅在第一次被囚於羅馬監獄時,寫給腓利門的一封信。

這位在希臘原文中被保羅稱為「親愛的朋友和同工」的腓利門,住在歌羅西。這封信的收件人不單是腓利門一家,還有設在他家中的教會。從應用的層面,這封書信亦是寫給當代所有跟隨基督的人,使他們能夠理解饒恕的真義,以期在日常生活當中也能饒恕那些得罪自己的人。單單饒恕並遺忘是不夠的,還要饒恕並且刻意地忘記因遭受不公而承受的痛苦,從而效法基督對罪人的赦免。 赦免的能力,不僅能修復人與人之間破碎的關係、醫治疲憊困頓的教會,更能使家庭破鏡重圓。這正是福音的核心內容之一,也是腓利門書的關鍵所在。

這封書信的背景並不複雜,從信中的內容我們可以知道。阿尼西母曾是腓利門的奴隸,他在偷了主人的財物以後逃到羅馬。在神的引導下,他遇見了保羅,認識了耶穌基督。從那時起,阿尼西母變成了基督忠心的僕人,並有份參與到保羅的事工當中。在當時,奴隸制是社會文化的重要組成部分。羅馬法律規定,逃奴一旦被主人抓住,將要受到嚴厲的懲罰。雖然阿尼西母是保羅「心上的人」,但他還是依照羅馬法律,將阿尼西母送回腓利門身邊。

請留意保羅在信中是如何遣詞造句,他是以朋友的立場來寫這封信的。與《歌羅西書》不同,保羅在信中並沒有刻意強調他的使徒身份,而是使用「為耶穌基督被囚」者的口吻。保羅希望他的書信不止被腓利門一家閱讀,也能傳閱於設立在他家的教會中。

保羅在第8節中等於是說,他大可以用使徒的身份,命令腓利門按他的要求去作;但他卻選擇以基督裡的愛心求他。他在信中是這樣說的:「我......這有年紀的保羅,現在又是為基督耶穌被囚的,......為我在捆鎖中所生的兒子阿尼西母求你。他從前與你沒有益處,但如今與你我都有益處。」(8~11節)。

保羅雖然希望能將阿尼西母留在身邊,為著福音的緣故,給獄中的他提供幫助(12節)。但他懇請腓利門重新得回阿尼西母,不再以奴隸的身份,而是主內的弟兄(15~16節)。保羅恰到好處地將他的請求陳述如下:

1. 請求腓利門像歡迎保羅一樣,歡迎阿尼西母的回歸(17節);

2. 他若虧負你,或欠你甚麽,都歸在我的賬上(18節);

3. 深信你必順服,知道你所要行的,必過於我所說的(21節);

最後,保羅以對眾人的問安和祝福作為書信的結尾。

那麼我們在屬靈上可以從《腓利門書》中得到什麼的樣啟示呢?正如司德曼在《聖經探險》一書中所說的:

「這是恩典、是福音,這個例子顯明了神通過耶穌基督,為我們所成就的:我們欠的債,有人替我們還了。呈現在我們眼前的,是一個接納與代贖的奇妙示範。馬丁路德曾說過:『我們所有人都是神的阿尼西母。』我們是奴隸、是欠債的,更是罪人。我們甚麽都不配得。在公義聖潔的神面前,我們是赤裸裸的惡貫滿盈。但是主耶穌對天父說:『若此人虧負了你,或欠你甚麽,都歸在我的賬上。我來為他償還。』而在這封書信中,保羅也是這麼說的。」

A Brother Restored -- Understanding Philemon

Written by Francis Loo     Translated by:Evie Xiao

We may be surprised that the book of Philemon in its original form consists of 335 words in Greek. In fact, this particular book is a letter that written by Paul while he was a prisoner in the city of Rome for the first time.

Philemon whom Paul addresses as dear friend and fellow worker lived in the Greek city of Colossae. This letter in fact is not only for Philemon and his family, but also for the church that meets in [his] home. Then too it applies in a practical way in this modern world to Christ's followers to grasp to understand and practise the true nature of forgiveness. It's not just to "forgive and forget" but "forgive and remember deliberately to forget" wrongs suffered—i.e., the Christ-like forgiveness. It is the power to restore broken relationships, to heal shattered churches, to make families whole once more. It is the heart of the gospel. It is the key to the book of Philemon.

The background story seems not complicated and can be comprehended by the content of the letter. The person named Onesimus was a slave belonging to Philemon. Somehow Onesimus might have stolen from his master and fled to Rome. Providently, he encountered Paul who had brought him to Jesus Christ his savour. Onesimus had since been transformed in character into a devoted servant of Christ assisting the apostle Paul in his ministry. At that time slavery was accepted social culture. The Roman law imposes severe and cruel punishment on runaway slavery. Slaves had no rights of life or liberty. Though Onesimus became endeared to him, Paul knew that according to the Roman law he had to send Onesimus back to Philemon.

Notice carefully how Paul wrote this letter on a friend to friend basis. Unlike in the epistle to Colossians, he does not assume his authority of an apostle, he speaks of himself as a prisoner of Christ Jesus. Paul intends his letter to be read not only by Philemon's family but those attending his home church.

In verse 8, Paul virtually says that he as an apostle could command Philemon to do what he ought to do, but he chooses to appeal to him on his love in Christ. He further says, "I...an old man and now I also a prisoner of Christ Jesus—appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me." (vv.8-11).

Paul would have liked to keep Onesimus with him so that he could help him while he is in chains for the gospel. (v. 12). But he is appealing to Philemon to have Onesimus back, no longer as a slave, but as a dear brother in Christ. (vv.15-16). Paul nicely puts them as follows:

• Philemon is asked to welcome Onesimus as he would welcome Paul. (v.17).

• If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. (v.18).

• Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask. (v.21).

Paul closes his epistle with some greeting from others and benediction.

On reflection what are the spiritual admonition that we may learn from the epistle of Philemon. Ray C. Stedman in his ADVENTURE Through the Bible says it well:

This is grace. This is the gospel. It exemplifies what God has done for us through Jesus Christ. The debt we owe has been paid by another. Here is the doctrine of acceptance and the doctrine of substitution wonderfully portrayed for us in a living object lesson. In fact, Martin Luther once observed, "All of us were God's Onesimus." We were slaves. We were debtors. We were sinners. We merited nothing.On our own we stand naked and wretched before a God, who is righteous and holy, yet the lord, Jesus says to the Father. "If this man has done anything wrong, or owes you anything, charge it to my account. I will pay it" That is what Paul says here.

 

Double


神的同在

翻譯:小米

在你的生活中,是否經歷過神的同在呢?

在我的生活裡面,耶穌不是紙上談兵的神。

事情實際還沒有過去多久:
上週六的時候,我見了一個很久沒有去教會的小姊妹。聚會末了,她告訴我,對於我她有很多意見,以後也不想要多見面。我要到晚上躺在床上,才發現自己原來受了傷害,反反復復地沒有辦法入眠。我問主耶穌說:"為什麼呢?為什麼會這樣呢?"

早晨的時候,自己手機裡的應用發來一句經節,是腓利門書的1章18:"他若虧負你,或欠你什麼,都歸在我的賬上。"我查了一下《聖經》,在這之後的一句經節是 "我必償還" 我於是跟神禱告說,"主啊,那你就還吧,不僅把那欠的還了,我還要從你那裡得更多。" 沒過多久,我就遇到了一個我所寶愛的主內肢體,而對方的名字在我的禱告本上,已經存在了很久。因著之前所發生的一切,我知道這是神在履行他的諾言。然而事情並沒有到此為止,在接下來的幾個小時裡面,我又碰到了另外兩個我所為之不住禱告的弟兄姐妹。能夠看到他們回到教會,一直是我的心願。在我的心裡面滿是感恩。

下午的時候,在查經小組裡,我分享了自己早上的經歷。
10分鐘以後,那個星期六說不再想要見我的姊妹,來了!
神把人所虧欠的,都還了,並且耶和華澆灌的祝福,超過我所求所想,遠遠超過。
我的救贖主,祂活著。

Pay Back

Written by Naomi

Have you experienced Jesus Christ in your life?
I have.

Here is what happened:
Last Saturday afternoon, I met a sister who hadn't been to church for a while. She told me that I had been so bad, and she wouldn't meet me often. I was so hurt that I couldn't fall asleep at night. I asked the Lord Jesus, "What's going on?"

Next morning, I received a Bible verse from my IPhone App. It was Philemon 1:18 "If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me." I checked the verse in Bible; the next verse was, "I will pay it back" I prayed to the Lord, "O.K. You pay me back then. Not only pay me back, pay me more, Dear Lord." Shortly after that prayer, I met a person who I had loved dearly and prayed for long time. Because of the perfect timing, I got that God was paying me back. After that, I met another two people who had been on my prayer list. I was so happy to see them coming to church.

In the afternoon, I shared my experience in my Bible Study group.
10 minutes later, the sister who met me on Saturday came!
GOD PAID ME BACK MUCH MORE THAN I HAVE EXPECTED!
MUCH MORE!
Jesus is alive.

 

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