Little Chelsah, I enjoyed reading and talking through this with you so much I thought I'd record some of the things we were thinking. I'm going to do it in bits though so I can think about some of the things for a few more days!
Philemon 1 : 4 - 7
NIV: 4 I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, 5 because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints. 6 I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. 7 Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.
NLT: 4 I always thank God when I pray for you, Philemon, 5 because I keep hearing of your trust in the Lord Jesus and your love for all of God's people. 6 You are generous because of your faith. And I am praying that you will really put your generosity to work, for in so doing you will come to an understanding of all the good things we can do for Christ. 7 I myself have gained much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because your kindness has so often refreshed the hearts of God's people.
NKJV: 4 I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, 5 hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, 6 that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in [fn2] you in Christ Jesus. 7 For we [fn3] have great [fn4] joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother.
So I've paired off the New International Version and New Living Translation and then left the New King James Version all by its lonesome. The first two are interesting, and satisfying, because they say that through our work for Christ we come to know the good things he has for us more fully, and I agree with this because I've come to know it through experience. We also talked about it a bit, and had a very good time.
The second gains interest for me in comparison with the first two. It plays the role of the converse saying that when we come to know (acknowledge) every good thing which is in us in Christ, then the sharing of our faith becomes effective. Now it doesn't exactly fit the role of a converse (at first sight!) to the first two because they don't speak at all of effectiveness, but I call it one in that it begins with our acknowledging the good things in us in Christ.
The word effective in the NKJV is very interesting to me. We must examine it because our converse depends on it. Without the Greek, the verse seems rather confusing. Thankfully, we know the Greek word is energes meaning active! And everything makes sense. Of course if we acknowledge all the good Christ has done and is doing in us we will be forced to share our faith.
Taking both translations together, we have an if and only if statement, an equivalence! So let us examine all that he's done and with thankful and energetic hearts share our faith with those around us!