Colossians 4:7-9

Paul wraps up his letter with commendations, greetings, and final words. The first of these is found here: a warm introduction to two faithful brothers.

Tychicus (7-8): Paul sent Tychicus to deliver this letter.[1] He was a long-time companion of Paul's who knew his circumstances well.[2] Thus, Paul sent him to give an update on their situation in Rome.[3] Moreover, he was to "encourage your hearts"[4] with the Word. In addition to giving an update, he was to give this encouragement. Paul calls him a "beloved brother" and commends him as "a faithful minister and fellow slave in the Lord."[5] This man was dependable. The Word of God advanced through reliable men like Tychicus.

Onesimus (9): The second man, Onesimus, was to join Tychicus in informing the church. He was a Colossian native ("one of your number") and a slave who escaped from his master. While a fugitive in Rome, he was saved through Paul (Phm. 10) and became a "beloved brother," but more than that, a "faithful brother," even a personal minister to him (Phm. 13). But Paul returned him to his master. The will of God for slaves was clear: they must obey their master (3:22). God's Word always trumps our own wants/needs. Thus, Paul sent Onesimus to serve his master, and he willingly went. He was indeed faithful.

[1] In addition to Colossians, he delivered two more epistles on this trip: Ephesians and Philemon.

[2] During his third missionary journey (which begins in Acts 18:22-23), Tychicus and others accompanied Paul from Greece onward (Acts 20:1-4). He likely remained with Paul from then on until his Roman imprisonment.

[3] This update was for Paul and his companions (4:10-14). Tychicus updated others also (Eph. 6:21-22).

[4] In 2:2, this phrase describes the effect of the preaching of the Word (1:25-2:2). Tychicus was a capable minister of the Word whom Paul relied on to relieve other like ministers (2 Tim. 4:9-13; Tit. 3:12). The task of encouragement was given to him (not Onesimus), and it is best to see it as involving the ministry of the Word.

[5] "Servant" (NASB) is a "minister" (ESV). "Bond-servant" is the word for "slave." Paul used both phrases to describe another fellow worker, namely, Epaphras (1:7). Tychicus was a fellow minister like him.