Aristarchus of Thessalonica - Acts 27

Aristarchus of Thessalonica

Acts 27:1-44

Bible students are usually acquainted with the names of Paul, Barnabas, Silas, Timothy, Mark, and Luke.  At one time or another they were missionary companions of the apostle Paul.  Aristarchus?  Who was he?

During Paul's second missionary journey, the apostle traveled to the city of Thessalonica.  His stay was brief, possibly only three weeks, but "a great multitude of the devout Greeks" were saved as a result of his ministry.  We don't know whether or not Aristarchus came to know the Lord at that time.  We do know that Thessalonica was his hometown, and Paul undoubtedly had made a profound impression upon his life.

Later on his third missionary journey we find the apostle Paul in Ephesus, preaching the gospel and disrupting the silver shrine-making business of Demetrius, the silversmith, and other craftsmen.  Being frustrated and angry about their loss of profit, they went looking for the apostle Paul, anxious to get their hands on him.  But he could not be found.  Instead, "they seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians, Paul's traveling companions."  Acts 19:29.  We don't know when Aristarchus joined Paul.  This is the first reference to him by name in the Scriptures.  Here he was a traveling companion of the great apostle.

In Acts 20:4 we find that Aristarchus and others went to Troas, and waited for Paul.  From there Aristarchus traveled with Paul to Jerusalem and Caesarea.  Two years later when Paul appealed to Caesar, and boarded the ship to take him to Rome, he did not travel alone.  Luke writes, "Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, was with us." 

During Paul's first Roman imprisonment, the apostle wrote letters to the brethren at Ephesus, Philippi, and Colosse, as well as a personal letter to Philemon.  He ends that letter, "Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow laborers."  Philemon 23, 24. 

The last reference to Aristarchus of Thessalonia is found in Colossians 4:10, where he writes, "Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you." 

Tradition says that Aristarchus was martyred in Rome under Nero.  He had an abundant entrance into the kingdom of God.  He is someone of whom it could be said, "The world was not worthy."  Hebrews 11:38.

Many Christians know the names of great missionaries of the past, such as David Livingstone, William Carey, and C. T. Studd.  Today many men and women are serving the Lord in dangerous places in obscurity.  The Lord is standing with them.  Will you?


Loving Lord, today we would pray for those in difficult places.  Though unknown to us, we know that they are not unknown to You.  Minister to them and through them by Your Spirit.  In Jesus' name.  Amen!


Persuading Others - Acts 28