In Philemon 1 we see the co-authors of this letter and how they’d like to be thought of by the recipient of their epistle.
Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother,
Philemon Author: Paul
So, we have Paul who sees himself as a prisoner of Jesus Christ.
Paul was in prison at this time. He was a prisoner – but why? It’s because of Jesus Christ. He is in prison for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s not for his own crimes that he’s there. He’s incarcerated for serving Christ and doing his will.
So then, Paul writes from a position of weakness and servitude and self-denial – all attitudes and actions that he will call the recipient of this letter to in the ensuing verses.
And when it comes down to it, Paul eventually asks the recipient of this epistle to send a helper back to him. And we can see why he needs this helper – because he is in prison. Not a modern American prison with room service and all the frills. But we’re talking about an ancient Roman prison where you can use all the help you can get.
So, that’s one author of this book – Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ. The one in prison because of Jesus Christ.
Philemon Author: Timothy
We also have Timothy who is a brother.
The brother of whom? we may ask.
Timothy is the brother of both Paul and of the recipient of this letter – but not in the physical literal sense. They didn’t share a father or a mother. We know that fact from the book of Acts. Timothy was not physically related to Paul.
So, Paul is speaking metaphorically of Timothy being his brother. In Christ, our union with fellow-believers is so close it can be compared to a family setting. We’re all brothers and sisters. And we share one common Father – the Lord who saved us from our sins through the death of his Son, Jesus Christ.
So, these are the authors of this New Testament letter.