Biblical People

Biblical People: Aristarchus

Aristarchus isn’t a leading player in the early church, but his name comes up on five occasions. From these we see a man committed to advancing the cause of Jesus.

We first encounter Aristarchus in Ephesus, during the riot caused by Demetrius (1) and his followers. Unable to locate Paul, the mob grabs Gaius and Aristarchus simply because they’re part of Paul’s team. Aristarchus and Gaius escape harm, but surely it must be a couple of tense hours as they wonder what will happen to them.

We see these two men a bit later when Paul travels through Macedonia. Not only are Aristarchus and Gaius part of his squad, so too are Sopater, Secundus, Timothy, Tychicus, and Trophimus.

When Paul writes to his friend Philemon, Aristarchus is present and sends his greeting to Philemon. In this correspondence, Paul calls Aristarchus one of his “fellow workers,” along with Mark, Demas, and Luke.

Much later in Paul’s life, as a prisoner, he boards a ship headed for Rome. Aristarchus is with him. We don’t know if Aristarchus is also a prisoner or merely there to support Paul. However, when Paul writes to the church in Colossae, he does refer to Aristarchus as a fellow prisoner.

Though we don’t know much about him, Aristarchus is part of Paul’s missionary team, is esteemed as a fellow missionary, and suffers in prison for the work he has done.

Like Aristarchus, are we content to play a supporting role in a greater ministry?

[Discover more about Aristarchus in Acts 19:29, Acts 20:4, Acts 27:2, Colossians 4:10, and Philemon 1:24.]

Read more about other biblical characters in The Friends and Foes of Jesus, now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at