Authorship and Origin:

Written personally by Paul about a runaway slave he probably met in prison. The letter is written directly to Philemon, but also to the church at Colossae - perhaps at the same time as Colossians. The letter was probably written from Ephesus about 55 A.D. (about the same time as Corinthians).

Overview and Significant sections

Philemon's slave Onesimus had been a slave in Laodicea and had robbed and run away from his master only to be found by Paul and be converted. The penalty for a runaway slave was death by Roman law, so Paul recommends Onesimus to the church at Colossae as well as to Philemon. This is clearly a personal letter of Paul's, which makes it somewhat unique. It contains lessons of righteousness, brotherhood, and love.

Significant sections:

For more detailed study:
Read Chapter 1. (the entire book is available here.)
The Concise Matthew Henry Commentary on this book. study of this book.
the World Wide Study Bible has Dictionary, Commentary, Scripture and sermons available on this book.