Healthy Leaders


Glimpses of Church Life in Philemon

Malcolm WebberMalcolm Webber

Paul’s letter to Philemon tells us many things about the earliest churches. These are glimpses into the life of the church; they are not fully-formed doctrines. In this letter, we learn that the church is to be a place of:

All of these things are expressions of healthy church culture, and they are expressed in the letter in thoroughly practical ways. Notably, there is nothing in the letter about programs or organizational strategies, structures or forms; there is just life.

Find out more about each of these glimpses in Glimpses of Church Life, by Malcolm Webber.

About Glimpses of Church Life, by Malcolm Webber:

In Christ, there is neither slave nor free.

“… that you might have him back forever, no longer as a bondservant but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother …” (Philemon 15-16)

The message of Philemon, the shortest and most personal of Paul’s letters, is needed by the whole family of God, in every era and culture.

Philemon is not merely an example of how to skillfully make a difficult request of someone ‒although Paul demonstrates his mastery of that. But more than that, this is a wonderful letter about church life. 

In Philemon we see many clear descriptions of what happened in the earliest churches and what their culture was like. While short, Philemon is a beautiful and deep articulation of healthy church life.

Philemon also gives a crystal clear picture of God’s position on slavery; we have dedicated a chapter to this at the end.

Glimpses of Church Life is available for purchase here. To purchase more of our books, visit

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