Ephesiansby Robert M. Solomon
Paul concludes his letter with a personal note and a benediction. He mentions Tychicus, possibly his scribe. A native of Asia Minor (Acts 20:4), Tychicus was a younger fellow worker whom Paul trusted and often used as a messenger (Acts 20:4; Colossians 4:7; 2 Timothy 4:12; Titus 3:12). He was linked with Trophimus, an Ephesian (Acts 21:29), and could have been an Ephesian too.
Paul entrusted Tychicus with his letters for Ephesus and Colossae from Rome (Colossians 4:7–8). He had high regard for the man he called a “dear brother” and “faithful servant in the Lord” (Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7). Tychicus was to tell the Ephesians “everything” so that “you also may know how I am and what I am doing” (Ephesians 6:21). He was sent to deliver Paul’s personal greetings and news and to encourage the recipients of the two letters. Such personal links and communication in the early church helped to unite the believers in love and in their mission.
In his benediction, Paul uses four words that he has been emphasising in the letter to the Ephesians: peace, grace, love, and faith (vv. 23–24). Grace and peace were mentioned in his opening greeting. God’s grace makes salvation possible and results in peace in the heart, church, and home. Faith is how we respond to God’s grace and is connected to love. Paul has already taken us to the heavenly realms to show us how much God loves us and how much Christ loves us, His church. And he has urged us to live with this divine love, expressing it in all our relationships as we love God and others.
Paul uses the phrase “undying love” (v. 24) to express the quality of love the saints in Ephesus have for the Lord Jesus. It is therefore sad, that we will later hear the Lord telling the Ephesian church, near the end of the first century, that “You have forsaken the love you had at first” (Revelation 2:4). The quality of our love for God may decline if we are not careful. We must always be connected with the triune God. Thus Paul ends the letter by mentioning the Father and the Lord Jesus, and the undying love that is a fruit of the Spirit.
What does this passage say about the quality of relationships between God’s workers and churches in the early days of the church? How can this quality be recovered and maintained today?
Reflect on the words: peace, grace, love, and faith. How did Paul focus on them in the letter? How can we love the Lord Jesus with an undying love? How would this strengthen and enrich the church?