By the time Paul was in prison in Rome in the years 60-62 AD he had made contact with
believers in Colosse. One individual who Paul had led to the Lord was a man by the name of
Philemon who was a wealthy citizen of Colosse, a slave owner and the owner of a house large
enough for the church of Colosse to meet in (Philemon 2). One of Philemon’s slaves, named Onesimus, had escaped and ran away from Philemon in Colosse and ended up in Rome. Many details are missing in this account but it would seem Onesimus came to Paul on his own free will, most likely, to secure some kind of assistance in getting back in good standing with his master. Onesimus appears to have stolen something (Philemon 18), at the least, Onesimus stole time and missed work by leaving Philemon. But, it would appear that Onesimus had not been identified
by the authorities as a run-away slave, arrested and placed in prison, otherwise Paul, who is a prisoner himself, would not have the ability to send Onesimus back to Philemon.
While Onesimus was with Paul seeking to secure Paul’s assistance in restoring him favorably to his master Philemon, Paul shares the Gospel with him and secures his salvation (Philemon 10 and 16).
Paul begins his appeal for Onesimus in verse 8 by saying that, as an apostle, Paul is Philemon’s superior in Christ and because Paul led Philemon to the Lord (Philemon 19), Paul could order Philemon to take Onesimus back. But, since Paul and Philemon are also friends, Paul is going to first ask Philemon as a friend to accept Onesimus back.
Paul admits that Onesimus (euchreston in the Greek, a name that means “useful”) was “useless”
as a man and as a slave, but now because he is a believer and he wants restoration Onesimus (euchreston or, “useful”) is “useful” to both Paul and Philemon.
While Timothy is in Ephesus Paul writes the letter of First Timothy to him from Macedonia. In 5:23 Paul tells Timothy to "use a little wine because of your stomach." But, yet the wine produce in Ephesus was well known at the time to be bad! Pliny the elder wrote:
"As for the vintage of Mesogis, it has been found to cause headaches, and that of Ephesus has also proved
to be unwholesome,
because seawater and
boiled grape juice are employed to season it."
(From a section in Pliny's "Natural History" that reviewed the different wines in the middle of the first century AD.)