Paul Urges Philemon to Free a Slave

Based on Paul’s letter Philemon 


  • In a small group, participants might simply read their lines, or glance at their lines to get the idea so they can speak in their own words.
  • Most POY! skits require no practice in advance.
  • Have any small children play a brief part. Most scripts have an optional part for children, listed last under Participants.
  • Most scripts have a Narrator who should read the script beforehand to see how to keep moving the story along.
  • It is not necessary to employ costumes and objects, unless the skit recommends such.
  • It is not required to have an audience watch the skit. All present may participate.
  • Scripture and paraphrases, if any, usually appear in bold.


Onesimus (also serves as Narrator)

Prompter (Optional). Prompter shouts a brief line and Companions repeat it.
Companions (Optional): children and all adults who want to take part. Make sure Companions know who the Prompter is, and that they are to repeat Prompter’s words.


Onesimus  Let me go, Philemon! Let me go!
Philemon  (Firmly leading Onesimus by the arm.)
You stole from me, Onesimus, and disobeyed.
Have you forgotten that you are my slave? I own you! I am going to lash you!
Onesimus  I will never work for you again, you swine! I would die first!
(Jerk your arm loose and run a distance away from Philemon.)
Philemon  You won’t get far, Onesimus! I’ll make you pay, you lazy thief!
Do you hear? You’ll pay!  
Prompter &

You’ll pay! You’ll pay!


(Stand at a distance from Philemon.)
I run far away and years pass.
Now I’m in Rome, where I come to know the Apostle Paul and visit him in prison.
That changes things for me. Paul tells me about Jesus, and I repent.

Paul  (Stand by Onesimus.) Onesimus, I appreciate your visits; you are a great help to me.
Onesimus  And I deeply appreciate your bringing me to know our Lord Jesus Christ.
Everything is different now, nothing like when I was a Philemon’s slave.
I swear I’ll never go back to that life. I would die first. 
Paul  Onesimus, now that you are my son in the faith, and are living obediently, I advise you to return to your former owner, Philemon.
Onesimus  What? Go back to Philemon? Never! How can you suggest I return to slavery?

Philemon is a believer now. I will write him a letter; you can take it to him.
Things will be different.

Onesimus  I trust you, Paul, and I trust God, so I will do as you say. Pray for me.
(Walk to Philemon.)
Philemon  Onesimus! I never expected to see you again!
Onesimus  I never expected to see you again, either! Something happened that changed that.
The apostle Paul wrote this letter to you! (Pretend to hand a letter to Philemon).

I read the letter and weep. Let me repeat portions of it that I recall vividly.

I Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, to Philemon our beloved brother, and to the church in your house: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ…  

I have joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.

I appeal to you for my spiritual child Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my imprisonment. He formerly was useless to you, but now is useful both to you and to me.

I have sent him, who is my very heart, back to you.

He was separated from you for a time, that you would receive him back forever, no longer as a slave, but a beloved brother in the Lord.

If you regard me a partner, accept him as you would me.
If he owes you anything, I will repay it

Having confidence that you will comply, I write knowing that you will do even more than what I say.

Brother Onesimus! (Hug Onesimus.)
Welcome back! You are no longer my slave; you are my brother!

Onesimus  Oh! I praise God! He is good!
Prompter &
God is good! God is good!



What do you suppose Philemon thought when he first saw his slave Onesimus come back?

Although slavery is unlawful in most civilized countries, serious social abuses still abound. What current abuses in your (our) city or neighborhood should believers seek to resolve?




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