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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

 

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TYCHICUS

tik'-i-kus (Tuchikos, lit. "chance"): Mentioned 5 times in the New Testament (Acts 20:4; Eph 6:21; Col 4:7; 2 Tim 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" (Acts 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 (Acts 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," Acts 20:4) to describe Tychicus. He was with Paul at Troas, and evidently journeyed with him, as one of "Paul's company" (Acts 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 LAODICEANS, EPISTLE TO THE) 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 (1 Tim 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 (2 Tim 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 (2 Tim 4:20).
It is possible that Tychicus is the brother referred to in 2 Cor 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.
John Rutherfurd

Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Definition for 'TYCHICUS'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". bible-history.com - ISBE; 1915.

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