Tychicus

TYCHICUS (tĭk'ĭ-kŭs, Gr. Tychikos, fortuitous). An Asian Christian and close friend and valued helper of Paul. First mentioned in Acts.20.4, he is described as being “of Asia,” perhaps a native of Ephesus. As one of the delegates chosen by the churches to bear the collection to the poor in Jerusalem (2Cor.8.19ff.), he apparently went all the way there with Paul. He was with Paul during the first Roman imprisonment and carried the letters to the Ephesians (Eph.6.21) and the Colossians (Col.4.7-Col.4.9), being delegated to report to them concerning Paul. Onesimus, returning to his master, accompanied him (Col.4.7-Col.4.9; Philem). Paul told Titus that he would send either Artemas or Tychicus to replace him in the difficult work on Crete (Titus.3.12). Tychicus was with Paul during his second Roman imprisonment and was sent to Ephesus by him (2Tim.4.12). Tychicus was a man distinguished for integrity and fidelity; he held the affection and confidence of Paul as an able worker in the service of Christ (Col.4.7).


TYCHICUS tĭk’ ə kəs (Τύχικος, fortuitous), a close friend and valued helper of the Apostle Paul. He and Trophimus were the two Asian Christians chosen to bear the collection to Jerusalem (2 Cor 8:19ff.) along with six other delegates who accompanied Paul on this mission (Acts 20:4-6).

Tychicus was with Paul during his first Rom. imprisonment and was entrusted with the important mission of delivering the letters to the Ephesians (Eph 6:21) and the Colossians (Col 4:7-9) with instructions to inform them of Paul’s welfare and to encourage them. Traveling with Tychicus was Onesimus, the runaway slave of Philemon, whom Paul was returning to his master in Colossae. The presence of Tychicus would reduce the possibility of harsh treatment to Onesimus and give Tychicus opportunity as Paul’s representative to mediate personally between the slave and his owner.

Paul purposed to send either Artemas or Tychicus to relieve Titus in the oversight of the churches on the island of Crete, that Titus might be free to join the apostle at Nicopolis (Titus 3:12). Tychicus is thus seen laboring again with Paul after the latter’s release from his first imprisonment. Loyal and useful to the end, Tychicus was dispatched during the second Rom. imprisonment to Ephesus (2 Tim 4:12) to care for the churches in and around what was prob. his native home (Western text has “Ephesians” for “Asians,” Acts 20:4). This would free Timothy to rejoin Paul who desperately wanted to see him before the apostle met his fate as a martyr for the Gospel (2 Tim 4:9, 21). The NT portrays Tychicus as a man whose ability and experience commanded respect and authority as an apostolic delegate. He justifies Paul’s high regard for him as “a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord” (Col 4:7).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

Mentioned 5 times in the New Testament (Ac 20:4; Eph 6:21; Col 4:7; 2Ti 4:12; Tit 3:12); an Asiatic Christian, a friend and companion of the apostle Paul.

(1) In the first of these passages his name occurs as one of a company of the friends of Paul. The apostle, at the close of his 3rd missionary journey, was returning from Greece through Macedonia into Asia, with a view to go to Jerusalem. This journey proved to be the last which he made, before his apprehension and imprisonment. It was felt, both by himself and by his friends, that this journey was a specially important one. He was on his way to Jerusalem, "bound in the spirit" (Ac 20:22). But another cause which gave it particular importance was that he and his friends were carrying the money which had been collected for several years previous in the churches of the Gentiles, for the help of the poor members of the church in Jerusalem (Ac 24:17). No fewer than eight of his intimate friends companied him into Asia, and one of these was Tychicus Luke uses the word "Asian" (English Versions of the Bible "of Asia," Ac 20:4) to describe Tychicus. He was with Paul at Troas, and evidently journeyed with him, as one of "Paul’s company" (Ac 21:8 the King James Version), all the way to Jerusalem.

(2) The 2nd and 3rd passages in which the name of Tychicus occurs (see above) give the information that he was with Paul in Rome during his first imprisonment. In Colossians Paul writes, "All my affairs shall Tychicus make known unto you, the beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow-servant in the Lord: whom I have sent unto you for this very purpose, that ye may know our state, and that he may comfort your hearts" (4:7,8). In almost identical words he writes in Ephesians, "But that ye also may know my affairs, how I do, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things: whom I have sent unto you for this very purpose, that ye may know our state, and that he may comfort your hearts" (6:21,22).

Paul had entrusted Tychicus with a very important mission. He was to deliver the Epistle to the Ephesians, that is, "the circular letter" (see Epistle To the Laodiceans) to the churches in proconsular Asia, to which it was sent, giving a copy of it to the church in Laodicea. He was then to proceed to Colosse, with the Epistle to the church there. In Colosse Tychicus would plead the cause of Onesimus, who accompanied him from Rome. "Under his shelter Onesimus would be safer than if he encountered Philemon alone" (Lightfoot, Commentary on Colossians, 314). In Laodicea and Colosse Tychicus would not only deliver the Epistles from Paul, but he would also, as the apostle had written to the churches in those places, Communicate to them all information about his "state," that is, how things were going with him in regard to his appeal to the emperor, and his hope of being soon set at liberty. Tychicus would make known to them all things.

(3) The passages in the Epistles to Titus and to Timothy show that Tychicus was again with Paul, after the appeal to the emperor had resulted in the apostle regaining his freedom. The passage in Titus evidently refers to the interval between Paul’s first and second Roman imprisonments, and while he was again engaged in missionary journeys. The apostle writes to Titus, who was in Crete in charge of the churches there, that he intended to send either Artemas or Tychicus to him, so as to take the oversight of the work of the gospel in that island, that Titus might be free to come to be with the apostle at Nicopolis.

(4) The last passage where Tychicus is mentioned occurs in 2 Timothy, which was written in Rome not long before Paul’s execution. To the very end Paul was busy as ever in the work of the gospel; and though it would have been a comfort to him to have his friends beside him, yet the interests of the kingdom of Christ are uppermost in his thoughts, and he sends these friends to help the progress of the work. To the last, Tychicus was serviceable as ever: "Tychicus I sent to Ephesus" (4:12). As Timothy was in charge of the church in Ephesus (1Ti 1:3), the coming of Tychicus would set him free, so as to enable him to set off at once to rejoin Paul at Rome, as the apostle desired him (2Ti 4:9,21).

It should also be noted that at Ephesus Tychicus would be able to visit his old friend Trophimus, who was, at that very time, only a few miles away, at Miletus, sick (2Ti 4:20).

It is possible that Tychicus is the brother referred to in 2Co 8:22,23 as one "whom we have many times proved earnest in many things .... (one of) the messengers of the churches .... the glory of Christ."

(5) The character and career of Tychicus are such as show him altogether affectionate, faithful and worthy of the confidence reposed in him by Paul, who, as already seen, sent him again and again on important work, which could be performed only by a man of ability and of high Christian worth and experience. Thus, all that is known regarding Tychicus fully bears out the description of his character given by the apostle himself, that he was a beloved brother, a faithful minister and fellow-servant in the Lord.