The name Tychicus comes to us five times in Scripture. An examination of each mention gives us a picture of Christian service in the early church, which functions as an example for us today.
The first mention is in Acts 20:4, a list of Paul’s companions on his third missionary journey (AD 52–57), including “the Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus.”
The second and third mentions were written from prison in Rome (AD 60 or 61). To the Colossians, Paul stated, “Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord” (Col 4:7). He said basically the same to the Ephesians (Eph 6:21). Willing to travel hundreds of miles by boat and foot from Rome to these nearby congregations, Tychicus was a messenger to the churches, a beloved brother, a faithful minister, and a fellow servant.
The fourth mention was to Titus in AD 64 or 65. Titus was told by Paul, “When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there” (Titus 3:12). Tychicus was one of the men that Paul, from wherever he wrote Titus, was possibly sending to Crete to free Titus to join Paul at Nicopolis, about 400 miles away from Rome, roughly halfway between Rome and Ephesus.
Written in AD 66, the fifth mention of Tychicus is brief: “Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus” (2 Tim 4:12). Tychicus may have carried this letter or was coming later to likely replace Timothy for him to be able to join Paul in prison in Rome (2 Tim 4:9, 21; cf. 1:8, 16–17).
From this handful of mentions of Tychicus in the Bible, we can learn some lessons for ourselves today.
First, we should be enduringly faithful in service. From the dates above, the ministry of Tychicus spanned at least ten years.
Second, we should be willing to work hard for the sake of the gospel. In each reference above, Tychicus is actually or potentially traveling. Given the frequency and length of these travels, it is not improbable that he shared in Paul’s travel sufferings to some degree (cf. 2 Cor 11:23–28).
Third, we should expect God to give us tasks that are fitted to who we are. When sent to Asia Minor, Tychicus the Asian was native to this general region. He was a welcome servant to the Jewish missionary Paul.
Fourth, we should be ready to go wherever the body of Christ most needs us. Sometimes God moves Christians from one congregation to another to use their unique gifts to meet unique needs.
These are some tips that we can take from Tychicus in serving as Christians today. May God give us grace as we learn from this example and serve Him all the better.