23. ARISTARCHUS - a faithful
"Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with us" (Acts 27:2).
On his missionary journeys the apostle Paul co-opted a number of people
into his team, training them and using them in the Lord's work.
Aristarchus was such a man.
Consider the person
Aristarchus joined Paul on his third missionary journey. He travelled
through Asia Minor, and was with the apostle during the riot in
Ephesus. Later he preceded Paul to Troas. Consider Acts 19:29 and 20:4
here. Aristarchus was quite close to Paul. He accompanied him to Rome
and supported him while he was under house arrest (Acts 27:2). When
Paul wrote to the Colossian church he referred to him as a
fellow-prisoner (Col.4:10; cf. Phlm.24).
Study the Scriptures
Unlike Timothy and Titus, Aristarchus does not appear to be one of
Paul's converts (cf. 1 Tim.1:2; Tit.1:4; 2 Tim.1:2), but he relates
closely to Paul as one 'in Christ'. There is an intimate fellowship in
Christ, which is suggested by the word 'fellow'. In Acts Aristarchus is
a fellow-traveller (Acts 19:29); in Colossians he is a fellow-prisoner
(Col.4:10). Paul recognises his fellow-workers (e.g., Rom.16:3,9,21; 1
Cor.3:9). The New Testament also speaks of fellow-citizens (Eph.2:19),
fellow-soldiers (Phil.2:25; Phlm.2), fellow-servants (Col.1:7), and
fellow-elders (1 Pet.5:11).
1. That Aristarchus was a faithful friend may be inferred from
the Letter to Philemon (vv.1,2), and from the fact that he stood by
Paul during his time of trouble in Ephesus and during his Roman
imprisonment. He also experienced the shipwreck of Acts 27 with Paul.
Do you agree that there is (or should be) a special friendship or
fellowship in Christ?
2. Use a Bible concordance to study the phrase 'in Christ'. Is
it equivalent to 'in the church'?
3. Some preachers tend to see Paul as a loner - an
isolationist, but does the way he refers to some of his companions as
friends contradict this? See Rom.16:5,9,12; Col.4:14.
4. Consider the advice given in Proverbs on friends and
friendships (Prov.17:7; 18:24; 19:4,6; 27:6,9,10).
Apply some thoughts
1. Although Paul was a highly disciplined person, he
functioned best when surrounded by others, that is, in fellowship. Take
time to name and pray for those in your life and church whose
friendship is important to you individually or as a church.
2. Pray for team ministries in your church, e.g., the
leadership team and the worship team.