Philemon 1:11

“Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me:”

King James Version (KJV)

Other Translations

Which in time past was to thee vnprofitable: but now profitable to thee and to me:
- King James Version (1611) - View 1611 Bible Scan

who formerly was useless to you, but now is useful both to you and to me.
- New American Standard Version (1995)

who once was unprofitable to thee, but now is profitable to thee and to me:
- American Standard Version (1901)

Who in the past was of no profit to you, but now is of profit to you and to me:
- Basic English Bible

once unserviceable to thee, but now serviceable to thee and to me:
- Darby Bible

Who in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me:
- Webster's Bible

Formerly he was useless to you, but now--true to his name--he is of great use to you and to me.
- Weymouth Bible

who once was useless to you, but now is useful to you and to me.
- World English Bible

which sumtyme was vnprofitable to thee, but now profitable bothe to thee and to me; whom Y sente ayen to thee.
- Wycliffe Bible

who once was to thee unprofitable, and now is profitable to me and to thee,
- Youngs Literal Bible

Bible commentary

Wesley's Notes for Philemon 1:11

1:11 Now profitable - None should be expected to be a good servant before he is a good man. He manifestly alludes to his name, Onesimus, which signifies profitable.

People's Bible Notes for Philemon 1:11

Phm 1:11 Which in time past was to thee unprofitable. He may not only have been a restless, discontented servant, but in addition, he ran away. But now profitable to thee and to me. Such a change has taken place in him. He has served Paul in his bonds well, and will also serve Philemon well.

Discussion for Philemon 1

  • BSP
    Paul was encouraging Philemon to show forgiveness and was even willing to take the blame for Onesimus so that peace could be restored.
  • Steve Harmon
    Ann Braun Paul is saying he is his Spiritual father, he led him to the Lord. In bonds means he led him to the Lord while he was in prison. He also calls Timothy his son which we know he was a teen when Paul met him. Paul helped teach him in the things of God.

  • Terri
    Anne, bond does not mean from one's bowels.
  • Breeze
    I think shows a great lesson. From how I read the chapter, I think Philemon had no problem receiving his servant back. It makes me wonder if he had been praying for Onesimus to meet someone to lead him to the Lord. How wonderful that the Lord reconnected them through a mutual friend. I hope to have my own Onesimus testimony one day with a long-lost friend.
  • Joe
    Anne - What I understand is that Onesimus was a slave who belonged to Philemon and that Philemon was a believer who loved both God and the saints. At some point Onesimus ran away to Rome, heard the word of God, and became a believer. Paul calls Onesimus his son because of their common bond, Jesus Christ.
  • Anne Braun
    You all have confused me in interpreting words that Paul did not say. Paul refers to Onesimus as his son. There is no mistaking this: 10 "I beseech thee for my son Onesimus whom I have begotten in my bonds." 12 "....that is, mine own bowels." Nowhere am I reading in this chapter that Onesimus was Paul's slave, but was his SON. Acting as ones servant is entirely different. It sounds to me as if Paul begot a son while he was in bondage, this son at some point ran away, or left the fold so to speak, now he has returned a changed person and Paul is asking now that he is aged, elderly , that Onesimus be received as if he were Paul himself. How are you all interpreting the situation to be different other than what Paul said? Explain?

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