Regular Christians (Part 6): Tychicus

Regular Christians

Tychicus was one who encouraged his brethren by informing them of Paul’s condition. He was mentioned by the apostle in his letter to the church at Colossae.

As to all my affairs, Tychicus, our beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow bond-servant in the Lord, will bring you information. For I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts” (Colossians 4:7-8).

Tychicus was one of Paul’s traveling companions. He was among the group that journeyed with him from Macedonia to Troas on the way to Jerusalem (Acts 20:4). Since he was acquainted with the apostle’s circumstances, he would be able to inform the brethren who were concerned about him of his condition. For this reason, Paul sent him to the church at Colossae. He was also sent to Ephesus for the same reason (Ephesians 6:21-22). Paul, through his labors, was an example for brethren to follow and an inspiration for them in their own work. By informing them of his condition (including his labor and the results of it), Tychicus would be able to provide encouragement to the brethren.

When Elijah was discouraged, he asked the Lord to take his life because he thought he was the only one left standing for what was right (1 Kings 19:4, 10). Paul described the complaint of Elijah and God’s response to him: “‘Lord, they have killed Your prophets, they have torn down Your altars, and alone am left, and they are seeking my life.’ But what is the divine response to him? ‘I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal’” (Romans 11:3-4). The Lord knew that Elijah would be heartened to learn that he was not alone. Knowing that there are others who are faithfully following the Lord in other places is encouraging. Even if we do not know them or see them in person, we can be built up by those who inform us of what they are doing and how they are standing firm for the truth.

Christians work together in autonomous congregations. In discussing the local church, Paul described it as “the pillar and support of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). That means the local church, as God designed it, is fully sufficient to carry out the work that He gave it to do without relying upon other congregations to participate in the work. However, autonomy (each congregation being self-governing) does not require isolation. It is helpful to know of what is going on in other places – not to meddle or gossip, but for encouragement.

  • It is encouraging to know of others who are faithfully serving the Lord – Notice what Paul said about the church in Thessalonica: “So that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything” (1 Thessalonians 1:7-8). These brethren sounded forth the word by proclaiming the gospel to those around them. However, they were also sounding forth the word by having the word of God dwell in them and then living accordingly. By their lives of faithful obedience, they were proclaiming the word of God to others.
  • We are to follow the example of those who are faithful – Paul wrote, “Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us” (Philippians 3:17). These godly individuals are able to lead by example. We are to take note of them and follow their lead in living according to the pattern found in the New Testament.

We can be encouraged by others and follow their example as we are made aware of who they are and what they are doing. Therefore, the one who brings news of the faithfulness of such brethren – like Tychicus did – is able to “encourage [our] hearts” to show the same faithfulness.

Tychicus certainly may have been able to provide encouragement to his brethren by providing help and fostering unity as Barnabas did or by giving support to those who were taking a public role in the cause of Christ as Aquila and Priscilla did. Yet the Holy Spirit saw fit to reveal another way that Tychicus provided encouragement – by relaying information about Paul’s situation to his brethren. Do we know of others who are faithfully upholding the truth, laboring diligently in a difficult work, standing boldly in the face of opposition, or are having success in leading others to Christ? If so, we may be able to encourage our brethren to do the same by sharing these stories with them.

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