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The Business Letter: Paul’s Persuasive Business Writing Tip

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

An online devotional for writers

A Word From The Word

 I am confident as I write this letter that you will do what I ask and even more! (Philemon 21, NLT)

A Word For Writers

In his shortest New Testament letter, the Apostle Paul offers a powerful business writing tip: make your point with brevity and respect.

The Business Letter: a business writing tip in Paul's letter to Philemon. A #devotional for writers with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #ChristianWriting #FreelanceWriting

The tip is delivered in the book of Philemon.

It’s Paul’s only New Testament letter that does not focus on teaching.  Rather, it’s a business letter. 

The purpose of a business letter is to convey information, correct a mistake, reply to an inquiry, lodge a complaint, tender a resignation … or as in this case, make a request. Paul asked Philemon, his friend and a wealthy nobleman, to forgive his escaped slave, Onesimus.

The letter’s content focuses on this sole issue

And it’s short, clocking in at just 25 verses. After a quick salutation (verse 1-3) and words of appreciation (verses 4-7), Paul uses the bulk of the letter to make a clear, respectful appeal (verse 8-22) before closing (verses 23-25).

Rather than flexing his arm of authority and demanding action, Paul words his request as a favor. 

The business writing tip is clear: respectful, concise requests are persuasive.

A Wise Word

A persuasive business letter is concise and respectful.

A Word To Pray

Loving Father,

Thank You for the model You offer in Paul’s letter to Philemon. Show me how to use this model as I write business letters. Let me write with clarity, brevity, and respect. 

In Jesus’s name, Amen.

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