Biblical People

Biblical People: Demas

Demas is another associate of Paul. The Bible mentions Demas three times, which gives us some insight into him.

First, we know Demas is with Paul when he writes to the church in Colossae. This is because Demas, along with Luke, sends their greetings to the Colossian church in this letter.

Similarly, in Paul’s letter to his friend Philemon, Demas is among four people who send greetings. In addition to Demas, we have Aristarchus, Mark, and Luke. Paul affirms all four as his fellow workers.

The third mention of Demas is in Paul’s second letter to his protégé Timothy. In this instance, the reference to Demas is sad. Paul is overwhelmed because most of his support group is gone.

He has dispatched Crescens to Galatia and Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke remains. This is because Demas deserted Paul and took off for Thessalonica.

However, we don’t know the chronological order of these three events, and Bible scholars can only speculate as to when Paul wrote each letter.

If Paul writes to Philemon before he writes to Timothy, then we see Demas, who was once a fellow worker of Paul, desert him later.

However, if we consider these in the opposite order, we see Demas leaving Paul and later being reconciled to him, earning the status of being called a fellow worker.

The optimist in me hopes that Demas ends well, as a fellow worker of Paul. The pessimist in me fears that in his last action, Demas lets Paul down and brings about one of Paul’s darkest moments.

Yet regardless of Demas’s actions and our actions, Jesus still loves us, offering us his grace and mercy.

When we mess up, like Demas did, will we allow it to define us or seek God’s grace and mercy to restore us into a right relationship with him?

[Discover more about Demas in Colossians 4:14, 2 Timothy 4:9–10, and Philemon 1:23–24.]

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