bible study devotion

Devotion: charge that to my account

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

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Philemon: 10-25

Philemon is a story on providence. Onesimus escaped to Rome and met the great apostle Paul. Paul saved his soul and gave him a new life, a new faith, a new hope, and a new beginning. Reconciled to his old master Philemon and freed from slavery, he served his new master Jesus Christ. 

Philemon 10-25

10 I beg you for my child, whom I have become the father of in my chains, Onesimus,11 who once was useless to you, but now is useful to you and to me. 12 I am sending him back. Therefore receive him, that is, my own heart, 13 whom I desired to keep with me, that on your behalf he might serve me in my chains for the Good News. 14 But I was willing to do nothing without your consent, that your goodness would not be as of necessity, but of free will. 15 For perhaps he was therefore separated from you for a while, that you would have him forever, 16 no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me, but how much rather to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. 17 If then you count me a partner, receive him as you would receive me. 18 But if he has wronged you at all or owes you anything, put that to my account. 19 I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it (not to mention to you that you owe to me even your own self besides).20 Yes, brother, let me have joy from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in the Lord. 21 Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even beyond what I say. 22 Also, prepare a guest room for me, for I hope that through your prayers I will be restored to you.23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, 24 as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers. 25 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.



Paul converted, mentored, and adopted Onesimus as his spiritual godson. Onesimus in Greek means useful. Note the wordplay. The Greek word for useless is “achreston”. The Greek word for useful is “euchreston”. Onesimus, (useful), who was once useless (achreston) to Philemon was now useful (euchestron) to him. 

When he knew that Onesimus ran away from Philemon, he quickly sent Onesimus back to him. He urged Philemon to extend his right hand of fellowship to Onesimus.  

Paul wanted to keep Onesimus but not without Philemon’s blessing. Paul urged Philemon to receive Onesimus as a brother in Christ and set him free. In the first-century world, a runaway slave had committed a capital crime. Paul took a risk by sending Onesimus back. Onesimus could face capital punishment. 

Paul told Philemon to charge all of Onesimus’s crimes into his (Paul’s) account reminding him (Philemon) that he owed him (Paul) his soul. Paul emphasised that he hand-wrote this letter. 

Paul urged Philemon to forgive and release Onesimus. Paul requested Philemon to pray for his own release and prepare a guest room for him

Paul was a team player with a personal touch. He sent greetings from Epaphras, Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke. Epaphras was also a prisoner in Rome. He pronounced a blessing of grace to Philemon. 


Onesimus ran away from his master. Have you run away from your master Jesus Christ? If you have, you must come back to Him and be useful to Him again, 1 John 1:9. 

No matter what circumstances you may be facing today it will eventually work for good in your favour. You may not see it now but you will see it in the future, Romans 8:28. 

You and I are sinners before a Holy God. We owed a debt of sin to God that we could never repay. Jesus Christ paid for our sin debt 2000 years ago, when He died on the cross. Jesus charged our debt of sin into His account.

According to tradition, Philemon forgave and freed Onesimus and he became a bishop of Ephesus. Onesimus was arrested, tortured, and martyred for his faith.

Jesus Christ forgave us. He restored us to fellowship when we come back to him in repentance.

Romans 6: 23, “for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord’’.

2 Corinthians 5:21, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”.

Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose”. 


Heavenly Father, thank You for the epistle of Philemon. Thank You for the promise of Romans 8:28. Thank You for the forgiveness of sins, salvation by grace, justification by faith in Christ, sanctification, and the gift of eternal life. We pray for those who have run away from You to return back to You and be useful to You in the kingdom again, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

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bible study devotion

Devotion: Grace and Peace

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

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Paul wrote 4 prison epistles during his first Roman imprisonment between AD 60-62, Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon. Nero arrested Paul and put him under house arrest in Rome where he awaited trial. He lived in a house chained to a Roman Pretorian guard 24 hours a day. Epaphras visited Paul with a love gift from the Collosian church. 

Philemon was a wealthy man from Colossae whom Paul converted and mentored in Ephesus. He (Philemon) returned to Colossae and planted the Colossian house church. Onesimus was one of Philemon’s slaves who ran away and escaped to Rome. There, Onesimus met Paul who converted and mentored him. Tychicus accompanied Onesimus to Philemon with this personal letter from Paul, Colossians 4:7-9. Ancient Colossae was a Roman province along the Lycus River valley in Asia Minor, modern-day Turkey.

Now when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard; but Paul was permitted to dwell by himself with the soldier who guarded him

Acts 28:16

 Philemon: 1-9.

Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon, our beloved fellow worker, to the beloved Apphia, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the assembly in your house: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers,hearing of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all the saints, that the fellowship of your faith may become effective in the knowledge of every good thing which is in us in Christ Jesus. For we have much joy and comfort in your love because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.Therefore though I have all boldness in Christ to command you that which is appropriate, yet for love’s sake I rather beg, being such a one as Paul, the aged, but also a prisoner of Jesus Christ. 



Paul mentioned his spiritual godson, Timothy, as his co-worker, in his opening salutation. Paul considered himself a prisoner of Jesus Christ and not Nero. Paul had great insight. He new that it was Jesus Christ and not Nero who put him in prison.  Nero had no power to incarcerate and imprison Paul unless Jesus Christ sanctioned it.

Paul greeted Philemon, Apphia, and Archippus, his co-workers in the gospel. Scholars believed that Apphia was Philemon’s wife and Archippus was Philemon’s son, who was also a pastor of the Colossian house church. The Greek word for grace is “charis”, which means getting what we do not deserve to get. The Hebrew word for peace is “shalom”, which means tranquility. Paul combined the Greek greeting of grace with the Hebrew greeting of peace. Grace and peace come to us from God, the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace precedes peace. Justification and forgiveness of sin result in triple peace, peace with God, peace from God, and peace of God, Philippians 4:6-7, Romans 5:1-2. Paul was a prayer warrior. He wrestled with God in prayer every day, remembering all his friends, and co-workers, by name, and interceding for them. Paul took the time to pray specifically for Philemon.

Paul was encouraged by Philemon’s love for the Lord, love for the saints, and love for the Gospel. The Greek word for saint is “hagios”, which means holy or separated. Christians are saints because they are holy and separated to serve God. Christians are holy people and a royal priesthood, 1 Peter 2:9.

Paul was refreshed when he remembered the time he spent with Philemon in Ephesus. The Greek word for refreshed is “anapsucho”, which means relief. Paul found joy, encouragement, comfort, and relief in Philemon’s love and faithfulness.

Paul was old by now. Although he had the apostolic authority to command Philemon to free Onesimus, he preferred to be diplomatic.

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light

1 Peter 2:9

For this reason, I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church

1 Corinthians 4:17

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light

1 Peter 2:9

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus

Philippians 4:6-7

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God

Romans 5:1-2


Paul was a prayer warrior. Even though in chains, he spent time interceding for everyone. Are you a prayer warrior? Do you pray for all your family, relatives, friends, colleagues, church members, acquaintances, and co-workers, mentioning them by name and interceding for them at a personal level?

Paul rejoiced even though he was in chains. Paul thought about others even though he was incarcerated. He was Christ-centered, and others-centered but never self-centered. Are you Christ-centered, others-centered or self-centered?

Have you experienced the peace from God that transcends all understanding? Have you experienced the triple peace, peace from God, Peace with God, and the peace of God? 


Heavenly Father, help us to rejoice even when things are not going smoothly in our lives. Help us to be Christ-centered, and others-centered but never be self-centered. Help us to be prayer warriors. Help us to take the time to intercede for our family, friends, and co-workers by name, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

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Our catalog

books written by Dr. Andrew C S Koh

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Book Series: Gospels and Acts

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book series
  1. The Gospel according to Matthew

2. Daily Devotion: Gospel of Mark

3. The Gospel according to Luke

4. Daily Devotions: Gospel of John

5. Acts: from Jerusalem to Rome

Book Series: Pauline Epistles

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  1. Romans

2. 1 Corinthians

3. 2 Corinthians

4. 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, Philemon

5. Galatians

6. Pastoral Epistles, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus

Book Series: Prison Epistles

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  1. Prison Epistles: Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians

2. Ephesians

3. Philippians

4. Colossians

Book Series: Genesis

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  1. Understanding Genesis 1-11: From Adam to Abraham

2. Faith Journey of Abraham: Genesis 12-25

3. Life Story of Jacob: Genesis 26-36

4. The Story of Joseph: Genesis 37-50

Book Series: Non Pauline Epistles

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  1. Hebrews

2. General Epistles: 1 Peter, 2 Peter, & James

3. 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, & Jude 

Stand Alone

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  1. Memoirs of a Doctor

2. ABCs to Amazon Self Publishing

3. Expository Preaching

4.Apocalypse: Understanding the book of Revelation

5.Moses: let My people go, Exodus 1-20

6. Manna of Life

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bible study books devotion

Book: Prison Epistles

by Dr. Andrew C S Koh

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A Christ-centred, Biblical-based, Holy Spirit-enabled, Life-changing commentary, bible study, and devotion


Rev. Ng Wah Lok, ex-principal, Tung Ling Seminary, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The book of Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon are the prison epistles of Paul. This is expositional, biblical teaching, and devotional guide to help readers encounter the God of the Word through the Word of God.

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart

Hebrews 4:12

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

2 Timothy 3:16

What people are saying

“A great study on apostle Paul’s prison epistles. An informative book for all ages which helps in building better faith in the understanding of the doctrines. Beautiful prayers accompany this book. I am on the ARC team and I leave an honest review. I recommend this book to other readers”

— Sharmani Jeyaram, Bookbub, 5 out of 5 stars

“This book is on the prison epistles of Paul. This is a great study of the word of God. Simple explanations and prayers help in greater devotion to God. A very useful book for understanding epistles. A very helpful book for all. I am on the ARC team. I leave an honest review. I recommend this book to other readers”

— Sharmani Jeyaram, Goodreads 5 out of 5 stars.

What people are saying

“Paul’s prison epistles of Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon contain important teachings to counter false teachers and early Gnosticism.  They are very applicable to our modern church because there are many false teachers and prophets who preach corrupt doctrines today”

— Rev. Ng Wah Lok

“The author gives a clear background and simple explanation for every passage in Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon. At the end of each lesson, he gives a devotional application and prayer. Readers can use these 50 lessons in the book as a weekly bible study guide over 50 weeks”

— Rev. Ng Wah Lok

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Trailer: 1 & 2, Thessalonians & Philemon



A great book to study the scriptures in the Bible and gain a better understanding of these lessons. It is a great daily devotional and study for all ages. Each lesson has a beautiful prayer. I am on the ARC team and I leave an honest review. I recommend this book to other readers, J Sharmani, Goodreads, and Bookbub, 5 out of 5 stars.


Archbishop Ng Moon Hing, Anglican Archbishop of Southeast Asia These few Epistles of Apostle Paul addressed the main issues of the churches of his time which is wrong teachings, unholy living, and suffering. He was very systematic and thorough in his teaching and witness. As much as he was firm on having correct theology and truth, he was also very conscious and persistent on the proper conduct and holy living of Christ’s followers, the disciples of Christ. He believed that theology that does not lead to holy living and Christ-liked conduct is useless and worthless. On one hand, he praised the belief of the Thessalonians Christians, especially in their ‘work of faith, labour of love, and patience of hope’ in the Lord Jesus Christ, he was also, at the same time, commending them of their imitation of the Lord Jesus Christ and became a model for all believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The author of this book has also emphasized that holy living and proper theology must always go hand in hand. The missing of any one part of the equation will only lead to an imbalanced life which will not please and not bring glory to God Almighty. This book speaks of the plan of God at the end times where God’s children will be taken up to meet Christ in the air before Christ’s second return. In answering the concerns of the Thessalonians Christians, Apostle Paul is also telling us today that God has already considered and included all our pains, shortcomings, sufferings, disappointments, mistakes, failures, and rebellions into His master plan so that He can and has started a good work at His Will of a better future for us.