To get what Philemon 1:13 means based on its source text, scroll down or follow these links for the original scriptural meaning , biblical context and relative popularity.

“Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel:”

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Popularity relative to other verses in Philemon chapter 1 using average monthly Google searches.

Philemon 1:13 Translation & Meaning

What does this verse really mean? Use this table to get a word-for-word translation of the original Greek Scripture. This shows the English words related to the source biblical texts along with brief definitions. Follow the buttons in the right-hand column for detailed definitions and verses that use the same root words. Use this reference information to gain deeper insight into the Bible and enrich your understanding. Information based on Strong's Exhaustive Concordance[1].

KJV Verse Original Greek Meaning/ Definition
This is a simplified translation of the original Greek word. Follow the buttons on the right to get more detail.
Use the buttons below to get details on the Greek word and view related Bible verses that use the same root word.
Whom ὃν The relatively (sometimes demonstrative) pronoun, who, which, what, that Whom
I ἐγὼ I, me I
would ἐβουλόμην To "will," i.e., (reflexively) be willing would
have retained κατέχειν To hold down (fast), in various applications (literally or figuratively) retained
with πρὸς A preposition of direction; forward to, i.e., toward (with the genitive case, the side of, i.e., pertaining to; with the dative case, by the side of, i.e., near to; usually with the accusative case, the place, time, occasion, or respect, which is the destination of the relation, i.e., whither or for which it is predicated) with
me, ἐμαυτὸν Of myself so likewise the dative case ἐμαυτῷ, and accusative case ἐμαυτόν me
that ἵνα In order that (denoting the purpose or the result) that
in stead ὑπὲρ "over", i.e., (with the genitive case) of place, above, beyond, across, or causal, for the sake of, instead, regarding; with the accusative case superior to, more than stead
thy σοῦ Of thee, thy thy
he might have ministered διακονῇ To be an attendant, i.e., wait upon (menially or as a host, friend, or (figuratively) teacher); technically, to act as a Christian deacon might ministered
unto μοι To me unto
me μοι To me me
in ἐν "in," at, (up-)on, by, etc in
the τοῖς The (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom) the
bonds δεσμοῖς A band, i.e., ligament (of the body) or shackle (of a prisoner); figuratively, an impediment or disability bonds
of εὐαγγελίου A good message, i.e., the gospel of
the τοῦ The (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom) the
gospel: εὐαγγελίου A good message, i.e., the gospel gospel

Verse Context

See Philemon 1:13 with its adjacent verses in bold below. Follow either of the two large buttons below to see these verses in their broader context of the King James Bible or a Bible concordance.

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  • 11  Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me:

  • 12  Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels:

  • 13  Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel:

  • 14  But without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly.

  • 15  For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever;


The King James Bible (1611) and Strong's Concordance (1890) with Hebrew and Greek dictionaries are sourced from the BibleForgeDB database ( within the BibleForge project ( Popularity rankings are based on search volume data from the Google AdWords Keyword Planner tool.

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