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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]


A Macedonian Christian and a native of Thessalonica who became one of the companions of St. Paul on his third missionary journey. He is first mentioned on the occasion of the riot in Ephesus, where along with another companion of the Apostle named Gaius ( q.v. [Note: quod vide, which see.] ), probably of Derbe, he was rushed by the excited multitude into the theatre ( Acts 19:29). He seems to have been an influential member of the Church of Thessalonica, and was deputed along with Secundus ( q.v. [Note: quod vide, which see.] ) to convey the contributions of the Church to Jerusalem ( Acts 20:4). He was thus present in the city at the time of St. Paul’s arrest, and seems to have remained in Syria during the two years of the Apostle’s imprisonment in Caesarea, for we find him embarking with the prisoner on the ship bound for the West ( Acts 27:2). It is not certain that he accompanied St. Paul to Rome. He may, as Lightfoot supposes ( Phil .4 34), have disembarked at Myra ( Acts 27:5). On the other hand, Ramsay ( St. Paul 3, 316) believes that both Aristarchus and St. Luke accompanied the Apostle on the voyage as his personal slaves. In any case Aristarchus was present in Rome soon after St. Paul’s arrival, and it is not impossible that he came later with contributions from the Philippian Church to the Apostle. When the Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon were written, Aristarchus was with the Apostle in Rome. In the former ( Colossians 4:10) he is called the ‘fellow-prisoner’ (συναιχμάλωτος) of the writer, and we find the same term, which usually indicates physical restraint, applied to Epaphras ( q.v. [Note: quod vide, which see.] ) in  Philemon 1:23. While the idea in the Apostle’s mind may be that Aristarchus, like himself, was taken captive by Jesus Christ, it is more probable that Aristarchus shared St. Paul’s prison in Rome, either as a suspected friend of the prisoner or voluntarily as the Apostle’s slave-a position which he and Epaphras may have taken alternately. In  Philemon 1:24 he is called ‘fellow-labourer’ of the writer. Nothing is known of his subsequent history. According to tradition he suffered martyrdom under Nero.

Literature.-W. M. Ramsay, St. Paul the Traveller 3, London, 1897, pp. 279, 316; J. B. Lightfoot, Colossians and  Philemon 1:3, do. 1879, p. 236, Philippians 4 , do. 1878, p. 34; articles in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) and in Encyclopaedia Biblica  ; R. J. Knowling, in Expositor’s Greek Testament ii. [1900] 414.

W. F. Boyd.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [2]

ARISTARCHUS . The name of one of St. Paul’s companions in travel. He was ‘a Macedonian of Thessalonica’ (  Acts 19:29;   Acts 27:2 ), and a convert from Judaism (  Colossians 4:10 f.). From Troas, Aristarchus accompanied St. Paul on his departure for Jerusalem at the close of the third missionary journey (  Acts 20:4 ); he also embarked with the Apostle on his voyage to Rome (  Acts 27:2 ). In   Colossians 4:10 he is called St. Paul’s ‘fellow-prisoner’ (cf.   Philippians 1:23 , where Epaphras, not Aristarchus, is styled ‘my fellow-prisoner in Christ Jesus’). The expression probably refers not to a spiritual captivity, but either to a short imprisonment arising out of the turmoil described in   Acts 19:29 , or to a voluntary sharing of the Apostle’s captivity by Aristarchus and Epaphras.

J. G. Tasker.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [3]

Aristarchus: of Thessalonica. Paul's companion on his third missionary tour, and dragged into the theater with Gains by the mob at Ephesus; he accompanied Paul to Asia, afterward to Rome ( Acts 19:29;  Acts 20:4;  Acts 27:2). Paul calls him "my fellow prisoner" (lit. fellow captive, namely, in the Christian warfare), "my fellow laborer," in his epistles from Rome ( Colossians 4:10;  Philemon 1:24). Epaphras similarly ( Philemon 1:23;  Colossians 1:7) is called "my fellow prisoner," "our fellow servant." Paul's two friends possibly shared his imprisonment by turns, Aristarchus being his fellow prisoner when he wrote to the Colossians, Epaphras when he wrote to Philemon. Bishop of Apamaea, according to tradition.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [4]

Among the faithful helpers who travelled with Paul on his preaching tours was Aristarchus, a Christian from Thessalonica in the northern Greek province of Macedonia ( Acts 19:29;  Acts 20:4). Though attacked during a riot in Ephesus ( Acts 19:28-29), Aristarchus stuck firmly with Paul throughout the remaining journeys recorded in Acts. He accompanied Paul on his final visit to Palestine ( Acts 20:1-6), probably stayed with him during his imprisonment there, and went with him on his journey to Rome ( Acts 27:2). He remained with Paul during Paul’s two-year imprisonment in Rome ( Acts 28:16;  Acts 28:30;  Colossians 4:10; Philem 24).

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [5]

spoken of by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Colossians,  Colossians 4:10 , and often mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles. He was a Macedonian, and a native of Thessalonica. He accompanied St. Paul to Ephesus, and there continued with him during the two years of his abode in that place, sharing with him in all the dangers and labours of the ministry,  Acts 19:29;  Acts 20:4;  Acts 27:2 . He was near losing his life in a tumult raised by the Ephesian silversmiths. He left Ephesus with the Apostle, and went with him into Greece. From thence he attended him into Asia; from Asia into Judea, and from Judea to Rome.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [6]

Aristar'chus. (The Best Ruler). A Thessalonian,  Acts 20:4;  Acts 27:2, who accompanied St. Paul on his third missionary journey.  Acts 19:29 He was with the apostle on his return to Asia,  Acts 20:4, and again,  Acts 27:2, on his voyage to Rome. We trace him afterwards as St. Paul's fellow prisoner in  Colossians 4:10 and  Philemon 1:24. Tradition makes him bishop of Apamea.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [7]

Aristarchus ( Ăr-Is-Tär'Kus ), Best Ruler. A Macedonian of Thessalonica who accompanied Paul upon his third missionary journey.  Acts 20:4;  Acts 27:2. He was nearly killed in the tumult which Demetrius excited in Ephesus,  Acts 19:29, and it is said that he was finally beheaded in Rome. Paul alludes to him both as his fellow-laborer and fellow-prisoner.  Colossians 4:10;  Philemon 1:24.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [8]

A native of Thessalonica, a faithful fellow-laborer with Paul,  Acts 20:4   27:2   Philippians 1:24 . His life was endangered in the riot at Ephesus, excited by the silversmiths,  Acts 19:29; but having escaped, he continued with Paul, and was a prisoner with him at Rome,  Colossians 4:10 .

Morrish Bible Dictionary [9]

A Macedonian of Thessalonica, companion of Paul on several journeys and on his way to Rome. Paul once calls him 'my fellow prisoner.'  Acts 19:29;  Acts 20:4;  Acts 27:2;  Colossians 4:10;  Philippians 24 .

Easton's Bible Dictionary [10]

 Acts 20:4 Acts 19:29 27:2 Colossians 4:10 Philippians 1:24

Holman Bible Dictionary [11]

 Acts 19:29 Acts 20:4 Acts 27:2 Acts 4:10

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [12]

ar - is - tar´kus ( Ἀρίσταρχος , Arı́starchos , "best ruler"): He was one of those faithful companions of the apostle Paul who shared with him his labors and sufferings. He is suddenly mentioned along with Gaius as having been seized by the excited Ephesians during the riot stirred up by the silversmiths ( Acts 19:29 ). They are designated "men of Macedonia, Paul's companions in travel." We learn later that he was a native of Thessalonica ( Acts 20:4;  Acts 27:2 ). They were probably seized to extract from them information about their leader Paul, but when they could tell nothing, and since they were Greeks, nothing further was done to them.

When Aristarchus attached himself to Paul we do not know, but he seems ever after the Ephesian uproar to have remained in Paul's company. He was one of those who accompanied Paul from Greece via Macedonia ( Acts 20:4 ). Having preceded Paul to Troas, where they waited for him, they traveled with him to Palestine. He is next mentioned as accompanying Paul to Rome ( Acts 27:2 ). There he attended Paul and shared his imprisonment. He is mentioned in two of the letters of the Roman captivity, in the Epistle to the church at Col ( Ephesians 4:10 ), and in the Epistle to Philem ( Philippians 1:24 ), in both of which he sends greetings. In the former Paul calls him "my fellow-prisoner." According to tradition he was martyred during the persecution of Nero.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [13]

( Ἀρίσταρχος , Best Ruler, a frequent Greek name), a faithful adherent of the Apostle Paul in his labors. A.D. 51-57. He was a native of Thessalonica, and became the companion of Paul in his third missionary tour, accompanying him to Ephesus, where he was seized and nearly killed in the tumult raised by the silversmiths ( Acts 19:29). He left that city with the apostle, and accompanied him in his subsequent journeys ( Acts 20:4), even when taken as a prisoner to Rome ( Acts 27:2); indeed, Aristarchus was himself sent thither as a prisoner, or became such while there ( Philemon 1:24), for Paul calls him his "fellow-prisoner" ( Colossians 4:10). The traditions of the Greek Church represent Aristarchus as bishop of Apamea in Phrygia, and allege that he continued to accompany Paul after their liberation, and was at length beheaded along with him at Rome in the time of Nero. The Roman martyrologies make him bishop of Thessalonica.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [14]

Aristar´chus, a faithful adherent of St. Paul, whose name repeatedly occurs in the Acts and Epistles ( Acts 19:29;  Acts 20:4;  Acts 27:2;  Colossians 4:10;  Philemon 1:24). He was a native of Thessalonica, and became the companion of St. Paul, whom he accompanied to Ephesus, where he was seized and nearly killed in the tumult raised by the silversmiths. He left that city with the Apostle, and accompanied him in his subsequent journeys, even when taken as a prisoner to Rome: indeed, Aristarchus was himself sent thither as a prisoner, or became such while there, for Paul calls him his 'fellow-prisoner' ( Colossians 4:10). The traditions of the Greek Church represent Aristarchus as bishop of Apamea in Phrygia.