Tychicus to Ephesus
“So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage your hearts.”- Ephesians 6:21–22
We return to Ephesians today to finish our study of this important letter. Paul has just concluded his exposition of the armor of God, and, as was customary for letter writers in that day, he sends some closing greetings and information about his companions.
Today’s passage informs us that Paul sent his epistle to the Ephesians with the assistance of Tychicus as his courier (Eph. 6:21–22). In the first-century Roman Empire, personal friends and co-workers of the letter writer would deliver mail from one person to another. This custom was introduced by Caesar Augustus, and it was designed in part so that the courier could answer any questions the recipients might have about the sender. Tychicus, as we saw in our study of Colossians, was one of Paul’s fellow ministers, a believer who was originally from the province of Asia (Acts 20:1–5). Although we do not know a lot about him, it is clear that he was important to the apostle’s ministry, for Paul mentions his activities in 2 Timothy 4:12 and Titus 3:12 as well as in Colossians 4:7–8. Incidentally, the text of Colossians 4:7–8 and the text for Ephesians 6:21–22 are nearly identical in the original Greek. It is almost as if Paul’s secretary, or even Paul himself, wrote the greeting in the letter to the Colossians and then copied it to the epistle to the Ephesians, or vice versa. This corroborates the theory that Ephesians and Colossians were written at the same time, and it may even provide some strong evidence that Ephesians is equivalent to the letter from Laodicea mentioned in Colossians 4:16.
Tychicus was sent not only to bring the letter but also that the Ephesians might have more information about Paul’s condition in prison. In Paul’s mind, this would greatly encourage his readers (Eph. 6:21–22). Thus, even as he suffered for the gospel, the apostle was working hard to set a good example of all the things he spoke about. One of Paul’s concerns in Ephesians was to promote the unity of the body of Christ and to pray that his audience would develop a deep love for Jesus (Eph. 2:11–22; 3:14–21; 4:1–16). In sending word about his condition, the apostle would help his readers to develop empathy and solidarity with him, and the Ephesians would learn how the great love of Jesus was operating as Paul was in prison.
As Christians, we are called not just to be hearers of the Word but doers as well (James 1:22). We fail at this; before we die, we never live in a manner wholly consistent with what we know and say is right. Yet by the grace of God and empowering of the Holy Spirit, our lives become more consistent with our speech over time, just like Paul. Let us strive to live consistently and be quick to repent when others point out our inconsistencies.
Passages for Further Study
1 Peter 2:1; 5:12–14