When Luke recorded his travels with Paul he often mentioned others who came alongside them throughout the journey. In Acts 20:4 Luke lists off several companions who joined him as he traveled through Macedonia and Greece. While Luke does not really include a lot of details here, several of Paul’s letters fill them in. The main point of this leg of the journey was to assemble a delegation from the churches Paul planted who would come with him to present the monetary gift he’d collected for the impoverished Jerusalem believers (Rom. 15:25-33; 1 Cor. 16:1-4; 2 Cor. 8:1-9, 15). It is during this time that Paul encounters some struggles with the Corinthian church which resulted in a series of letters to correct the issue (two have survived in our New Testament) and a visit in Corinth afterwards which lasted for 3 months during which he composed his letter to the Romans. The list of names includes some we recognize readily such as Timothy and Titus. Others are less well known but may have some recognition because they are mentioned in other Scripture passages (Aristarchus- Acts 19:29, 27:2; Phile. 23-24, Gaius- Acts 19:29, 3 Jn. 1:1, Tychicus- Eph. 6:21; Col. 4:7; 2 Tim. 4:12; Tit. 3:12, and Trophimus- Acts 21:29; 2 Tim. 4:20) but two are a complete mystery since they only appear here (Sopater son of Pyrrhus and Secundus of Thessalonica).
It is interesting to note the character of these men. We know a lot about Timothy and Titus. Paul entrusted both of them to be overseers in the churches he established in Ephesus (Timothy) and on the island of Crete (Titus) so we will not spend a lot of time on them. What is interesting to note is that with only a few passages concerning them, we find that Aristarchus, Gaius, Tychicus and Trophimus were men of great moral character, loyal, demonstrated a deep faith and commitment to the Lord to the point of imprisonment for a few of them, came from mixed backgrounds and shared a willingness to follow Paul to Jerusalem even when it was apparent suffering may take place there (Acts 20:22-24, 36-38). Three words illustrate this by their actions. Paul had “determined” that he would go to Jerusalem. This Greek verb is associated with the process of decision making and implies the sense of accord or counsel. In other words Paul’s decision was probably based on discussions he had with his entourage. The second word is also a verb which means to follow or accompany. Apparently the discussion included their participation in Paul’s trip. And lastly as the trip is adjusted to deal with the Corinthian Church issues, these men adapted to the plans and even went ahead to Troas to help with some of the travel accommodations. Not only were they men of character, they were action oriented.
Who walks with you on your faith journey? Do you have the kind of friends or family that supports you, takes action to make your walk better, or goes all out and follows you through thick and thin? It is my hope that you will have someone in your life of whom you can say like Paul did of Tychicus, “He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord.” Those are the best life-traveling companions of all.
Ann H. LeFevre, M. Div.
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