Bible References: Acts 20:4-6; Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7-9; 2 Timothy 4:12; Titus 3:12
Heart of the Story: A close friend of the apostle Paul, Tychicus had the gift of encouragement which he used to succor Paul during his first Rome imprisonment and to build up the early Christian churches in Ephesus and Colosse.
Story Line: Snippets of information about Tychicus are found in five New Testament books: Acts, Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Timothy and Titus. He was Paul’s close friend and valued helper; he was loyal to the end of Paul’s life. Tychicus was from Asia possibly around Ephesus. Likely Tychicus met Paul on Paul’s second missionary journey when Paul spent a short time in Ephesus. Their relationship deepened when Paul stayed in Ephesus during his third missionary journey. Tychicus represented the Asian churches when Paul took the monetary collection to Jerusalem from the largely Gentile churches in Asia and Greece.
Tychicus was with Paul when he was on house arrest in Rome. During this two year period, Paul wrote the Letters (around 60 AD) to the Ephesian, Philippian and Colossian churches, and the personal letter to Philemon. Paul trusted Tychicus to deliver the letters to the churches at Ephesus and Colosse. In these letters, Paul named Tychicus a dear brother, fellow minister and faithful servant. He assured the Ephesians and Colossians that Tychicus would tell them about his welfare. Possibly Paul didn’t want to take letter space to describe his actual living arrangements in Rome or he feared to be explicit about them, lest the letter fall into his enemies’ hands. Tychicus had intimate knowledge of Paul’s circumstances in Rome and could share that knowledge when appropriate.
Analysis of Tychicus’ Friendship: The Colossian church was attacked by heretics who introduced several add-ons, e.g., asceticism, angel worship, and secret knowledge to the gospel of salvation by grace. The situation was so dire that church founder, Epaphras, traveled to Rome to consult Paul. The result was Paul’s letter to the Colossian church and his sending the doctrinally-clear Tychicus to strengthen true believers at Colosse. Tychicus was Paul’s voice to the churches at Ephesus and Colosse
In his letters to the two churches, Paul stated that Tychicus would encourage their hearts. The Amplified Bible translated “encourage” as “console and cheer and encourage and strengthen” (Ephesians 6:22). Members of the Ephesus and Colosse churches were young in the faith and needed both guidance and encouragement. Paul identified encouragement as a God-given gift. When Paul called Tychicus an encourager, he meant that Tychicus would both teach and exhort church members to greater accomplishments in their walk with Christ.
In addition to his other virtues, e.g., encouragement, loyalty, faithfulness, Tychicus submitted to Paul’s headship and authority in the Christian church. Tychicus went where Paul thought his leadership was needed most. Paul wrote to Titus that he would send either Tychicus or Artemus to oversee the church on Crete so Titus could join him in Rome (2 Titus 3:12). Apparently, Tychicus was with Paul at the beginning of his second (and last) imprisonment in Rome. During his final Roman imprisonment (66-67 AD), Paul wrote Timothy that he sent Tychicus to Ephesus (2 Timothy 4:12).
Reflection: A friend loves at all times (Proverbs 17:17). Do you love your friends at all times? Is this even a rational requirement for friendship?
If you are interested in reading more about these relatively obscure early Christian church leaders, investigate my book Lesser Known Bible Characters at http://www.CarolynRothMinistry.com.