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Tychicus (Eph. 6:21; Col. 4:17)

Role: Messenger

Gender: Male

Date: mid-first century CE

Place: Rome; Ephesus; Colossae

Language:  Greek

Literary Genre: Letter

Title of Work: Ephesians; Colossians

Reference:  Eph 6:21; Col. 4:7. 

Original Text (Selected):

Ἵνα δὲ εἰδῆτε καὶ ὑμεῖς τὰ κατ’ ἐμέ, τί πράσσω, πάντα γνωρίσει ὑμῖν Τύχικος ὁ ἀγαπητὸς ἀδελφὸς καὶ πιστὸς διάκονος ἐν κυρίῳ, (Eph. 6:21)

Τὰ κατ’ ἐμὲ πάντα γνωρίσει ὑμῖν Τύχικος ὁ ἀγαπητὸς ἀδελφὸς καὶ πιστὸς διάκονος καὶ σύνδουλος ἐν κυρίῳ, (Col. 4:7)

English Translation:

So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus will tell you everything. He is a dear brother and a faithful minister in the Lord. (Eph. 6:21)

Tychicus will tell you all the news about me; he is a beloved brother, a faithful minister, and a fellow slave in the Lord. (Col. 4:7)


Tychicus is a messenger mentioned in both of the deutero-Pauline epistles Ephesians and Colossians. In Colossians he is identified as a “loyal servant” (πιστὸς διάκονος) and fellow-enslaved (σύνδουλος) person to Christ. That he is identified as a servant (διάκονος) differentiates him from Timothy, Paul’s putative co-author (Col. 1:1), and Onesimus, Tychicus’s fellow-traveler (Col. 4:9). Instead, his description parallels the description of Epaphras in Col. 1:7, which might suggest that they work in a similar role in Colossae. Tychicus’s task in Col. 4:7-8 is somewhat unclear; he may have been sent to obtain information about the church in Colossae, or that he might impart information about Paul (Head). In Ephesians Tychicus’s remit is not simply to deliver the letter but to perform interpretive and pastoral work of encouraging their hearts (παρακαλέσῃ τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν).” (6:22)

Although it is not explicitly stated, we can assume that Tychicus was the primary bearer of the letters  (Cf. Rom. 16:1–2; Phil 2:25–30). A lengthy subscription to Colossians found in several manuscripts (K, L)  reads:  “To the Colossians, written from Rome (and delivered) through Tychicus and Onesimus (ἐγράφη ἀπὸ Ῥώμης διὰ Τυχίκου καὶ Ὀνησίμου).”  A Tychicus is also mentioned as a companion of Paul in Acts and is referenced as a messenger in the pseudepigraphical pastoral epistles (2 Tim 4:12; Titus 3:12). In some manuscripts of Acts (D) Tychicus is said to be an Ephesian, in most manuscripts he is identified as hailing from Asia Minor. 

The name Tychicus derives from the Greek “Τύχη” (fortune) and is one of a cluster of names used for enslaved and formerly enslaved men (CIL 6. 623;  CIL 6. 7775; CIL 6. 8547;  CIL 6. 26717;  CIL 6. 33766; CIL 15.5929). 

Keywords: Christian; Literate Worker; Messenger; New Testament; Paul; Secretary

Related Entries:  Onesimus (Phlm)


Head, Peter M. “Tychicus and the Colossian Christians: A Reconsideration of the Text of Colossians 4:8.” Pages 303–15 in Texts and Traditions: Essays in Honour of J. Keith Elliott. Edited by Peter Doble and Jeffrey Kloha. Leiden: Brill, 2014. 

Hemer, Colin J. The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History. Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 1990.

Solin, Heikki. Die stadtrömischen Sklavennamen: Ein Namenbuch I-III.  Forschungen zur antiken Sklaverei, Beiheft 2. Stuttgart: Steiner, 1996.

How to Cite:

Moss, Candida R. “Tychicus.” Ancient Enslaved Christians. Accessed DAY MONTH YEAR <URL>


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