The DEEP

Love Letters

The shepherd loves his sheep and they love him.

Ephesians 6:21–24 (NKJV)

But that you also may know my affairs and how I am doing, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make all things known to you; whom I have sent to you for this very purpose, that you may know our affairs, and that he may comfort your hearts.

Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

Paul closes with a personal note. This is, after all, a letter to dear friends. He knows that the emperor might have him killed at any moment. Paul can’t know whether this letter will be his last.

But a note at the end of letter isn’t good enough of a personal update. He needs to send someone who can answer questions. Tychicus is the perfect one for the job.

Paul’s omission of personal details is curious, even prescient. It’s as if Paul knew that his letters would be much more than letters. This epistle contains many things of great, enduring value. The personal words at the end are beautiful but brief.

By using Tychicus to communicate the details of his affairs, Paul keeps this epistle shorter than it might have been. His other epistles are similarly shortened. The result is a New Testament that isn’t laden with things that wouldn’t be relevant centuries later.

This is yet another way that the Bible feels inspired.


Paul’s inspired closing is a clinic in how to write from the heart. He seems totally comfortable in his own skin. He knows that the Ephesians are worried about him. So, he doesn’t shrink for saying that when they, “know our affairs,” that will, “comfort your hearts.” Paul’s real humility eliminates the need for false humility.

That gives weight and power to his final paragraph. Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

This must have sent a tingle up the spine of the people who read it. Imagine using that as an email signature line. Could it work? Or are words like this only appropriate within a romantic relationship?

That’s the point. This conclusion sounds like something a soldier would write home to his wife.

But Paul can pull this off because of his incredibly sincere heart. He can write to the Ephesians in the language of a love letter because that’s how he lives his life. Few, if any, of us function at that level.

Still, that’s the goal. Real Christian koinonia has this level of intensity, even intimacy. That’s the level of intimacy that sheep have with their shepherd too.


The weekly study guides, which include all five devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

The Job book is published! Here's the link:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/f-michael-slay/higher-purposes-the-lesson-from-god-to-job-the-lesson-from-job-to-us/paperback/product-24444025.html

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.