The Mystery of the Gospel
Ephesians 6:19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. 21 Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. 22 I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you. 23 Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love. (NKJV)
The book of Ephesians is part of what is known as the Prison Epistles. The writings, themselves, affirm that the epistles were written by the Apostle Paul from prison.
There are differing opinions as to during which of Paul’s prison confinements the epistles were written. There are many sources that discuss this subject fully. For our purposes, we will go along with the thought of most scholars that Paul wrote the prison epistles during his house arrest in Rome from AD 60-62.
It is believed that the epistle was written about AD 61 to the house churches in Ephesus, Asia. The idea was that this authoritative letter would be passed along to the other churches.
The book of Ephesians can be divided into two halves. The first half, the first three chapters, is concerned with the positional; doctrine outlining our position in Christ.
The second half, the last three chapters, is concerned with the practical; how we work out our position in the practical living of our Christian life. This is similar to the breakdown of the book of Romans, Paul’s previous writing.
With this passage, Paul concludes the book of Ephesians. He begins the passage by writing “Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel” (v. 19).
He is asking the readers for prayer, that the Holy Spirit would give him the words to preach the gospel. All preachers must be open to hearing the Holy Spirit when preparing their message and when delivering their message.
Paul is also asking for boldness in preaching the gospel, no matter the dangers that he always faced. He divulges his current danger, one of being under house arrest in Rome.
He writes “for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” (v. 20). Preaching the gospel, while already incarcerated, could possibly bring an even more harsher sentence for Paul.
Paul asks for prayer that he may preach boldly, despite the risks, as he “should”. Paul is already “in chains”, but he remains a representative, an “ambassador”, of Christ.
His circumstances do not change his position in Christ. Our circumstances do not change our position in Christ. We must always remain faithful, despite our circumstances in life.
This is a fitting conclusion to Paul’s letter. Paul describes himself in a way that sums up his ministry. He has always been “an ambassador in chains”, being persecuted in one way or another for representing his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Paul finishes the letter by explaining who will deliver his letter and their role in doing such. He writes “Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing.” (v. 21).
Tychicus was a “dear brother and faithful servant of Christ”. He would deliver this letter and bring the Christians in Ephesus up to date on Paul’s situation in Rome.
Paul writes “I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you.” (v. 22). Tychicus was not just a messenger. His purpose was to “encourage” the Ephesian believers.
According to Catholic tradition, Tychicus was a Bishop in Asia Minor and Cyprus. Hippolytus of Rome listed Tychicus as one of the “seventy disciples” of Jesus. This would make him one of the earliest apostles of Christ, even before Paul.
Tychicus was a faithful friend, and fellow traveller, of Paul’s. Tychicus, and his brother Trophimus, were Gentiles from Ephesus. The Jew, Paul, had been brought close together with the Gentile, Tychicus, by the Gospel.
Paul closes the letter with his usual greeting, “peace and grace”. He writes “Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.” (vv. 23-24).
It is interesting to note that Paul’s traditional greeting of “peace and grace” combines the Jewish greeting of “peace”, or “shalom”, and the Gentile word “grace”. The Gospel joined together the Jews and Gentiles, who were once bitter enemies.
This is “the mystery of the Gospel”, as mentioned in verse 19 and throughout this letter – Jews and Gentiles have now been made one in Christ!
Online Bible Commentary