All my state shall Tychicus declare to you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord:…
"What is in a name!" Nothing, is the ordinary reply, but there may be much. The names of Solomon, Alexander, Napoleon, and Paul are associated with important events in history. Each is a record, and stirs up admiration, desire, dislike, or sorrow as the case may be. If the names of great men interest us, those of the good men who shared the labours of St. Paul may also do so. Those labours are more important than the conquests of captains and the speculations of philosophers. Note —
I. THE VALUE OF CHRISTIAN FRIENDSHIP. True friendship will —
1. Show a kindly interest in the welfare of its objects. Paul had such an interest in the Colossians and vice versa.
2. Mutual interest will lead to reciprocal communications. Paul could not go to Colossae so he sent Tychicus and Onesimus to inform them of himself and the affairs of Christ's kingdom, to comfort them and bring back a report.
3. Distance and difficulty will not be allowed to stand in the way. Colossae was far off and Paul was in prison, but both were surmounted.
4. Written messages will not be allowed to supersede personal communications when the latter are practicable. So Paul sent his Epistle by trusted friends who were charged also with verbal communications, better spoken than written,
II. THE PROPRIETY OF CHRISTIAN COMMENDATIONS. In naming the two messengers he speaks of them in high terms, but not in the style of fulsome eulogy.
1. Tychicus is(1) "a beloved brother" which indicates his relation to the Church.
(2) "Faithful minister," or attendant, which indicates his relation to the Apostle as a trusty helper.
(3) "Fellow servant in the Lord," which indicates his relation to Christ — a coadjutor of the apostle in the service of the same Master.
2. Onesimus, the whilom runaway slave, is now a faithful and beloved brother a commendation which would secure for him the welcome that he sorely needed.
3. The spirit of this commendation should be cultivated. The true ground of honour is not in a man's social standing, but in his moral worth and relation to Christ.
III. THE FORCE OF CHRISTIAN SALUTATIONS.
1. Christianity sanctifies the commonest things. How common for us to send our respects to some friend through the letter of another. "Give him my kind regards," etc. We have only to think of St. Paul as here using the expressions equivalent in his day. Little did these good men think that their simple expressions of affection would be handed down to prove the sympathy and the unity of the Church throughout the world and time.
2. The saluting brethren were Jews, which would show to the Gentile Church that they had learned what the apostle would teach them, not to call anything that God had cleansed common or unclean.
IV. THE SOLACE OF CHRISTIAN CO-OPERATION.
1. Loneliness is very depressing, but the apostle was spared this.
2. Co-operation in labour divides its burden and ensures success.
3. Unity in Christian toil brings the greatest in touch with the humblest, and gives the humblest a share in the glory of the greatest.
(J. Spence, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord: