Lessons on Ephesians

Commentary on the Book of Ephesians

By: Tom Lowe                                   Date: 2/25/18

 

Lesson 28: The Commendation of Tychicus (6:21-22)

 

 (Ephesians 6:21-22, KJV)

21 But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:

22 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts.

 

Introduction

Verses 21 and 22 contain the most extensive verbal connection between Ephesians and Colossians.  If Colossians 4:7-8 (below) should be compared, it becomes clear that the communication contained in the two passages is the same.

All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord:

Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts;

“Tychicus” is the informant of Paul’s immediate circumstances to the Asian churches; and he is warmly commended with the apostle’s fine character reference.

 

The Lesson

21 But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:

Someone may ask, "Who was Tychicus?" Answer: Tychicus is one of those Bible characters who probably don’t receive the recognition due them. True, Tychicus is only mentioned five times in the New Testament, but the ministry he provided is worth mentioning.  He will inform the congregation of the apostle’s personal situation. He is an especially dear Christian brother and valued colleague to Paul who had rendered “reliable” service to him, the Colossians or to Christ.  “In the Lord” could mean “in the Lord’s work,” or else be a reference to the fact that he performs his task as one “in the Lord,” i.e., as a Christian. By “my affairs” is probably meant “the things concerning me,” and “how I do” means “how I fare” [In our day, we might say, “How I am getting along.”].

We first meet Tychicus in Acts 20:4, during Paul’s third missionary journey. He is mentioned as one of Paul’s companions on the way from Corinth to Jerusalem to deliver a gift to the church there (see Romans 15:25–26). We learn that Tychicus was a native of Asia (Acts 20:4), or what we would call Asia Minor today, and was possibly a citizen of Ephesus; that makes him a fit messenger for bearing the Epistles to Ephesus and Colosse (Acts 20:4; 2 Timothy 4:12).

Tychicus is called here a “dear brother” of Paul’s and a “faithful servant” of the Lord’s―by his long service he well earned the title of “faithful servant.” In Colossians 4:7, Tychicus, the pastor of the Ephesian Church, is called a “faithful minister and fellow servant” who was with Paul during his first Roman imprisonment. He was entrusted to deliver Paul’s epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians [These were circular letters, that is, they were meant to be read by all Christian churches.] and to bring news of the apostle to those congregations: “Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. . . . I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts” (Colossians 4:7–8).  By bringing news of Paul’s situation in Rome, he will put fresh heart into these Christians.  This is the plane sense of 21-22.  Encouragement is also mentioned as part of Tychicus’s ministry in Ephesians 6:22.

In traveling to Colossae, Tychicus accompanied Onesimus, the former slave who was returning to Philemon. No doubt, Tychicus, as a good friend of Paul’s, emphasized the need for grace in receiving Onesimus back home (see Philemon 1:17).

Paul intended to send either Tychicus or another man to Crete in order to give Titus a chance to visit Paul (Titus 3:12). Later, Tychicus was with Paul in Rome during the apostle’s second Roman imprisonment, and Paul sent him to Ephesus in order to free up Timothy for a visit (2 Timothy 4:12). In both Crete and Ephesus, then, Tychicus was an “interim pastor” of sorts, filling in for Titus and Timothy.

There is an unnamed believer alluded to in 2 Corinthians 8:22, described as a “brother who has often proved to us in many ways that he is zealous, and now even more so because of his great confidence in you.” Many commentators surmise that this is a reference to Tychicus. The description seems to fit.

We may not know much about Tychicus, but what we do know is impressive and praiseworthy. Tychicus was a trusted messenger, faithful preacher, and loyal friend. Paul placed great confidence in him, sending him to accomplish important works. He sent the letters he wrote to the Asian churches―Ephesians and Colossians―with him, and instructed him to report on the apostle’s condition and to encourage the churches. He also gave him a personal letter to Philemon to deliver.  The mail and other news were normally carried by travelers, because the Roman Empire had no official postal service except for imperial business.  Tychicus obviously had the ability to minister in a variety of situations, bringing encouragement to those he served. Tychicus surely modeled the quality that all church elders are to possess: “He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it” (Titus 1:9).

22 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts.

“Whom I have sent.”  Paul is sending him, but at the time they read the letter he will have been sent. Paul is sending Tychicus for the express purpose of giving the Colossians news of the apostle and impressing his teaching on the congregation in order to strengthen them.  The brotherly love exhibited in the early church is the undertone of all of Paul’s epistles.  Paul had a real concern for the brethren.

“For the same purpose” would be better stated as “for this very purpose.” “Our affairs” here means “the things concerning us,” namely, “concerning myself.”


Final Thoughts

We are not fighting the battle alone.  There are other believers to stand with us in the fight, and we ought to be careful to encourage one another.  Paul encouraged the Ephesians; Tychicus was an encouragement to Paul; and Paul was going to send Tychicus to Ephesus to be an encouragement to them.  Paul was not the kind of missionary who kept his affairs to himself.  He wanted the people of God to know what God was doing, how their prayers were being answered, and what Satan was doing to oppose the work.  His motive was not selfish.  He was not trying to get something out of them.

What an encouragement it is to be part of the family of God!  Nowhere in the New Testament do we find an isolated believer.  Christians are like sheep; they flock together.  The church is an army and the soldiers need to stand together and fight together.

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