|Dr. Couch, who is Aristarchus?|
ANSWER: First, his name means "best ruler." He was a Greek or Roman and close companion to Paul whom tradition says was killed in Rome by Nero. This would stand to reason in that he was one of the closest followers of Paul. He was a native of Thessalonica. What is so interesting about him is that we know little about him! But he was always seen with the great apostle. Apparently, he was just "there," always at Paul's side, doing whatever was necessary to make the burden of ministry easier.
Aristarchus was seized along with Gaius during the great riot at Ephesus (Acts 19:29). He traveled with Paul from Troas on his last journey to Rome (Acs 27:2). He was with Paul at Rome when the apostle wrote the epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon. It is suggested that he shared his imprisonment voluntarily.
Various verses speak of the simplicity of Aristarchus' silent companionship. He did not have to do big and great things to be of help to Paul. He must have been simple but always dependable in his nearness to the apostle. Aristarchus was part of Paul's traveling companions who, as a fellow worker, sent his greetings to Apphia and Archippus in Philemon 24. He was in prison with Paul when he sent a greeting to the Colossian saints. He would be an instructor to them if he was able to travel to that city (Col. 4:10). And with a larger group of followers he was seen with Paul when the apostle was threatened with death by the Jews (Acts 20:4).
Sometimes just one's presence is sufficient to encourage and give comfort to another believer. That seems to have been the role of Aristarchus!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch