This bible book was written by the Apostle Paul, in Rome and this was completed in c. 60-61 C.E. This very tactful and loving letter of Paul is of great interest to Christians today. Not only is it the shortest epistle preserved from the hand of the “apostle to the nations” but in the whole bible only second and third John contain less material.
Also, it is the only “private” letter of Paul, in that it was not addressed official to a congregation or a responsible overseer but was addressed to private person and salt dealt with the special Problem Paul wanted to discuss with this problem Paul wanted to discuss with this Christian brother, the apparently well to do Philemon, who lived in the Phrygian city of Colossae, in the very heart of Asia Minor.-Roman 11:13.
The purpose of the letter is clearly revealed: During his feet imprisonment in Rome (59-61 C.E), Paul had great freedom to preach the kingdom of God. Among those who listened to his preaching was Onesimus.a runaway slave from the household of apahilemon, Paul’s friend. As a result,Onesimus became a Christian , and Paul decided, with Onesimus consent,to send him back to Philemon.
It was at this time, also, that Paul wrote letter to the congregation in Ephesus and colossae. In both of these letters,he gave good counsel to Christian slaves and slave owners on how to conduct themselves properly in this relationship. (Eph. 6:5-9; Col:22-4:1) However over and above this ,Paul composed a letter to Philemon in which he personally pleaded in behalf of Onesimus. It was letter written with his own hand – an unusual thing for Paul.
Paul was the original writer of Philemon because in the first verse his name was mentioned. He was acknowledge as such by Origen and Tertullian. The authenticity of the book is supported by its being listed, with others of the Paul’s epistles, in the Muratorian Fragement of the second century C.E.