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BIBLE CHARACTER: Tychicus

A “beloved brother” in the New Testament…..

 

Tychicus, like many others, is mentioned by name a few times in the New Testament. His name, which means fortunate, is found in Acts, Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Timothy, and Titus. By comparing the Scriptures where he is named it is possible to draw a few helpful conclusions.

 

 

 

Perhaps the first chronological reference is Acts 20:4-5 where he is named as one of a group of seven men travelling with Paul, probably around AD57. These companions reached Troas before Paul and waited there for him to arrive. Tychicus would thus have witnessed to miracle of Eutychus being restored to life after falling from an upstairs window while Paul was preaching.

 

 

Whether or not he travelled with Paul after this, we cannot be sure. However, two similar references follow. In Ephesians 6:21 we read of Paul sending Tychicus, “a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord” to Ephesus. Paul had every confidence in Tychicus and knew that he could be trusted to give an accurate report of Paul’s circumstances. Colossians 4:7 uses the same terms and also refers to him as a “fellowservant in the Lord”. Again, Paul had no doubts over Tychicus; he was aware of Paul’s condition and would provide the Colossians with current news of the apostle. In addition to this, Paul had sent Tychicus to Colosse to obtain news as Paul was interested in his friends who lived there. He also knew that Tychicus would encourage their hearts (Col.4:8). Although we cannot be certain, it is quite likely that the epistles to Ephesus and Colosse were both written about AD62 when Paul was in prison in Rome.

 

 

 

In Colossians 4 Tychicus was associated with Onesimus, the converted former runaway slave who had lived in Colosse. He was therefore capable of working harmoniously with others. In the next reference he is again linked with somebody else. Titus 3:12 names Artemis and Tychicus, one of whom would be sent by Paul to Crete. It is generally believed that Paul wrote to Titus in AD63. Perhaps a year later, in Paul’s final epistle, we read of Tychicus having been sent by Paul to Ephesus (2 Tim.4:12).

 

 

 

FILLING IN THE PICTURE

What do these scattered references reveal to us of Tychicus? Clearly he was a messenger who was ready to respond to a need. If Paul required someone to carry an epistle, Tychicus was prepared to go. He was a co-operative individual. Although not one of the apostles, he was ready to help in the work of the Lord. The reference in Titus shows that he was available to be sent, while in 2 Timothy he had actually been sent.

 

 

He was dependable and able to encourage others. He did not feel the need of taking centre-stage. He would gladly take news of someone else and bring back news of those he had visited, rather than having to use the first person in order to report on his own mission.

 

 

The little glimpses of his character are also worth pondering. To Paul he was “a beloved brother” (Eph.6:21; Col.4:7) because he happily co-operated with Paul. Twice he could be commended by the apostle as a “faithful minister” (Eph.6:21; Col.4:7). The term “minister” does not signify a position of status. It could equally be translated as “servant” or “deacon”. It describes one who is an attendant. In that role, Tychicus was “faithful” and was therefore reliable and trusted. He had been given tasks to perform which he carried out conscientiously. Finally, in Colossians 4:7 he is identified as a “fellowservant in the Lord”. Although Paul was an apostle to whom truth was revealed, he saw Tychicus as one who worked alongside him. There are certainly no New Testament epistles from Tychicus, but this does not mean that his role was unimportant. Paul saw Tychicus as being like he was – simply a servant.

 

 

Not much may be recorded about this brother, but clear practical lessons remain. Are we prepared to do “lesser” things than others for the Lord? Can we function in harmony with others and prove ourselves responsible? God looks for servants who will be faithful in their ministry, like Tychicus was. Can we join him?