An online devotional for writers
I am confident as I write this letter that you will do what I ask and even more! (Philemon 21, NLT)
In his shortest New Testament letter, the Apostle Paul offers a powerful business writing tip: make your point with brevity and respect.
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 persuasive business letter is concise and respectful.
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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Award-winning content writer and author Kathy Widenhouse specializes in writing for nonprofits and faith-based organizations.
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