Bible Names N-Z: Onesimus
Onesimus in Easton's Bible Dictionary
useful, a slave who, after robbing his master Philemon
Colosse, fled to Rome, where he was converted by the
Paul, who sent him back to his master with the
bears his name. In it he beseeches Philemon to
receive his slave
as a "faithful and beloved brother." Paul offers to
Philemon anything his slave had taken, and to bear
the wrong he
had done him. He was accompanied on his return by
bearer of the Epistle to the Colossians (Philemon
The story of this fugitive Colossian slave is a
evidence of the freedom of access to the prisoner
granted to all, and "a beautiful illustration both
character of St. Paul and the transfiguring power
principles of the gospel."
Onesimus in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
("profitable".) Philemon's runaway slave, of Colosse
(Colossians 4:9, "one of you"), in whose behalf Paul wrote
the epistle to Philemon: Philemon 1:10-16. Slaves were
numerous in Phrygia, from whence Paul dwells on the relative
duties of masters and slaves (Colossians 3:22; Colossians
4:1). Paul's "son in the faith," begotten spiritually while
Paul was a prisoner at Rome, where Onesimus hoped to escape
detection amidst its vast population. Onesimus doubtless had
heard the gospel before going to Rome, in Philemon's
household, for at Paul's third missionary tour (Acts 18:23)
there were in Phrygia believers. Once unprofitable, by
conversion Onesimus became really what his name implies,
"profitable" to his master, to Paul, and to the church of
God; "the faithful and beloved brother" of the apostle and
of his master; godliness is profitable for both worlds, and
makes men so (1 Timothy 4:8). Sent with Tychicus his
safeguard, and put under the spiritual protection of the
whole Colossian church and of Philemon. He probably had
defrauded his master, as well as run away (1 Timothy 18);
Paul offered to make good the loss.
The Apostolic Canons (73) make him to have been
emancipated by Philemon. The Apostolic Constitutions (7:46)
make him to have been consecrated bishop of Berea by Paul,
and martyred at Rome. Ignatius (Ep. ad Ephes. i.) makes an
Onesimus the Bishop of the Ephesians. Instead of violently
convulsing society by stirring up slaves against their
masters, Christianity introduces love, a principle sure to
undermine slavery at last; "by christianizing the master,
Christianity enfranchises the slave" (Wordsworth). Onesimus
so endeared himself to Paul by Christian sympathy and by
personal services that he calls him "mine own bowels," i.e.
vitals: he bore for him a parent's intense affection for a
child. Paul would gladly have kept him to minister to him,
but delicate regard to Philemon's rights, and self denying
love, made him waive his claims on Philemon and Onesimus
(Philemon 1:13-14; Philemon 1:19). Onesimus "was parted"
from his master "for a season" to become his "forever" in
Christian bonds. In Philemon 1:20 he plays again on the
name, "let me have 'profit' (Greek onaimen) of thee in the
Lord," "refresh my bowels," i.e. gratify my feelings by
Onesimus in Hitchcock's Bible Names
Onesimus in Naves Topical Bible
-A fugitive slave and subsequent convert of Paul
Col 4:9; Phm 1:10
Onesimus in Smiths Bible Dictionary
(profitable, useful), the name of the servant or slave in
whose behalf Paul wrote the Epistle to Philemon. He was a
native, or certainly an inhabitant, of Colosse. Col 4:9 (A.D.
58.) He fled from his master end escaped to Rome, where he was
led to embrace the gospel through Paul's instrumentality.
After his conversion the most happy and friendly relations
sprung up between the teacher and disciple. Whether Paul
desired his presence as a personal attendant or as a minister
of the gospel is not certain from verse 13 of the epistle.
Onesimus in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
o-nes'-i-mus (Onesimos, literally, "profitable," "helpful"
(Col 4:9; Philem 1:10)):
1. With Paul in Rome:
Onesimus was a slave (Philem 1:16) belonging to Philemon who
was a wealthy citizen of Colosse, and a prominent member of
the church there. Onesimus was still a heathen when he
defrauded his master and ran off from Colosse. He found his
way to Rome, where evil men tended to flock as to a common
center, as Tacitus tells us they did at that period. In Rome
he came into contact with Paul, who was then in his own
hired house, in military custody.
What brought him into contact with Paul we do not know. It
may have been hunger; it may have been the pangs of
conscience. He could not forget that his master's house in
Colosse was the place where the Christians met in their
weekly assemblies for the worship of Christ. Neither could
he forget how Philemon had many a time spoken of Paul, to
whom he owed his conversion. Now that Onesimus was in Rome--
what a strange coincidence--Paul also was in Rome.
The result of their meeting was that Onesimus was converted
to Christ, through the instrumentality of the apostle ("my
child, whom I have begotten in my bonds," Philem 1:10). His
services had been very acceptable to Paul, who would gladly
have kept Onesimus with him; but as he could not do this
without the knowledge and consent of Philemon, he sent
Onesimus back to Colosse, to his master there...
Onesimus in Wikipedia
Saint Onesimus (d. ca. 90 AD) (Greek: Ὀνήσιμος, meaning
"useful," also called Onesimus of Byzantium and The Holy
Apostle Onesimus in some Eastern Orthodox churches) was a
slave to Philemon of Colossae, a man of Christian faith.
Eventually, Onesimus transgressed against Philemon and fled to
the site of Paul the Apostle's imprisonment (most probably
Rome or Ephesus) to escape punishment for a theft he had
committed  , there, he heard the Gospel from Paul and
converted to Christianity. Paul, having earlier converted
Philemon to Christianity, reconciled with the two and wrote a
letter to Philemon (which today exists in the New Testament as
the Epistle to Philemon  ). The letter read (in part):...
Onesimus Scripture - Colossians 4:18
The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds.
Grace [be] with you. Amen. <[Written from Rome to Colossians
by Tychicus and Onesimus.]>
Onesimus Scripture - Colossians 4:9
With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is [one] of
you. They shall make known unto you all things which [are
Onesimus Scripture - Philemon 1:25
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with your spirit.
Amen. <[Written from Rome to Philemon, by Onesimus a
If you notice a broken link or any error PLEASE report it by clicking HERE
© 1995-2017 Bible History Online