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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament


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1. In Romans 16:23 Erastus is ‘the treasurer of the city’ (ὁ οἰκονόμος τῆς πόλεως, arcarius civitatis) of Corinth, who sends salutations with ‘Quartus the brother.’ His office was an important one. He stands almost alone in the NT as a convert of position and influence.

2. In Acts 19:22 the name is given to one of two-Timothy being the other-who ‘ministered’ to St. Paul in Ephesus, and who were sent by him on some errand into Macedonia.

3. In 2 Timothy 4:20 Erastus is a companion of St. Paul, said to have remained in Corinth, i.e. during the interval between the first and second imprisonments.

Are these three to be identified? It is possible that 2 and 3 are the same man, but on account of the nature of the office held by 1 it seems unlikely that he could have been a missionary companion and messenger of the Apostle. To meet this difficulty, it might be suggested that he had resigned the treasurership on becoming a Christian. Again, if 1 and 3 are identical, there would seem to be little point in St. Paul’s informing Timothy that an important city official ‘abode at Corinth.’ It is held by some scholars that these salutations from Corinthian Christians in the postscript of the ‘Roman’ Epistle point to an Ephesian destination of the passage. It is easier to believe that the members of the Church at Corinth had friends at Ephesus than at Rome; but, as Lightfoot reminds us, personal acquaintance was not necessary in the Apostolic Church to create Christian sympathy. Also, ‘the descriptive addition “the steward of the city” is much more appropriate if addressed to those to whom his name was unknown or scarcely known, than to those with whom he was personally acquainted’ (Lightfoot, Biblical Essays, 1893, p. 305). If we could accept the theory of the Ephesian destination, we should be more inclined to identify all three names.

T. B. Allworthy.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Erastus'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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Tuesday, October 27th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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