v8 There is something that you ought to do. I could tell you that you must do it. I could tell you that clearly, with the authority that comes from Christ. v9 But I am not telling you that you must do it. Instead, I am asking you to do it because you love people. I am Paul, and I am an old man. Also, I am in prison now because I am Christ Jesus’s servant. v10 So I am asking you on behalf of Onesimus, who is like my own child. I taught him about Jesus while I was in prison. And now he has become really alive because he believes Jesus. So he is like my own child. v11 Before, Onesimus did not help you. But now he can help both you and me.
v12 I love Onesimus so much that he is like part of me. But I am sending him back to you. v13 I wanted to keep him here with me while I am in prison. I am in prison because I taught people the good news about Jesus. If you were here, you would have helped me. I know that. And I wanted Onesimus to help me on your behalf. v14 But I wanted to ask you first. I did not want to do anything unless you agreed. I did not want you to think that you had to help me. I did not want you to help me because you thought like that. Instead, I wanted you to help me because you really want to help.
v15 Perhaps God let Onesimus leave you for a short time so that you could have him back for always. v16 You can have him back again not only as your slave. Now he can be something much better than a slave. He can be like a brother, that you love. I love Onesimus very much. But you will love him even more than I do. You will love him as a slave and you will love him also as a brother. He is like a brother to you because you and he are both the *Lord’s people.
v17 I am your friend, who works with you. If you think about me as a friend like that, then please say ‘welcome’ to Onesimus. Be happy that he has come back to you. And be kind to him. If I came to meet you, you would say ‘welcome’ to me. And you would be happy to meet me. Be happy about him in the same way. v18 If Onesimus has done anything wrong to you, I will make it right again. If he ought to pay you some money, I will pay the money to you on his behalf. v19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay the money back to you. But remember how very much you yourself have received from me. You have become really alive by Jesus Christ because I taught you about him.
v20 So, my friend, I really want you to help me, because we are both the *Lord’s. Help me, so that I can feel stronger and happier. Help me because we are both united to Christ. v21 I write to you because I am sure about you. You will do what I ask. I am sure about that. Also, I know that you will do even more than this.