John Adey – Philemon

Noted that they are meeting in a house.

Bowels –

Paul describes himself as aged, but Philemon is described as of his bowels. this aligns him with Abraham, having a child in his old age.

Gen 15

4. And, behold, the word OF THE LORD came unto him, saying,This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.

Paul is preserving this idea. Using the idea of bowels to configure this sense.

2 Sam 7

12. And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.

13. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.

14. I will be his father, and he shall be my son.

Jesus is David’s son.

There is a linking of bowels in these.

Isa 49

1. Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; THE LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.

Womb and bowels are in close association here.

Paul is carrying this idea on. The translation of bowels is very important.

Acts 1

16. Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.

17. For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.

18. Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.

19. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.

Going back to Philemon, we can see that there is a message of truth, it’s important that this translation isn’t changed.

Many versions put “heart” here. It misses the point Paul is making. You don’t beget a son from your heart.

It’s important to recognise that it’s got meaning to be translated bowels.

There is lots of intimacy associated with the bowels. This is an important layer in Paul’s thinking here.

Phil 1

6. Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

7. Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.

8. For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.

Heart is closely associated with the bowels, no problem with this, but they’re not interchangeable.

There is a sense of intimacy here. There is also a sense of begetal.

Phil 2

1. If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,

2. Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

Heart is translated wrongly here by some translation.

It’s important to keep the sense of bowels here.


Phillipians note.

3 v 14 is another translation issue.

14. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Massive change in the translation in versions like NIV.

In some translations, a holy kiss is changed to a handshake!

Heb 1

6. And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.

Some version put an idea of pre-existance by saying into the world of MEN.

1 John 2

1. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

Advocate is actually the comforter word.


Lam 1

Different parts of the body are affected by how we feel. This is normal, but perhaps translators were not happy with this.

19. I called for my lovers, but they deceived me: my priests and mine elders gave up the ghost in the city, while they sought their meat to relieve their souls.

20. Behold, O LORD; for I am in distress: my bowels are troubled; mine heart is turned within me; for I have grievously rebelled:abroad the sword bereaveth, at home there is as death.

21. They have heard that I sigh: there is none to comfort me: all mine enemies have heard of my trouble; they are glad that thou hast done it: thou wilt bring the day that thou hast called, and they shall be like unto me.


Links with Noah and the idea of being comforted. Notice in Lam that there is no comforter therefore this is why the bowels are troubled. In Mat 5, those that mourn are comforted. Jesus is described as the comforter. Philemon describes the bowels and picks up the comfort idea in v9 translated beseech.