St. Erastus―A Spiritual Counselor to the Corinthians
St. Erastus is listed on the July 26 page of the current Roman Martyrology.
Then he [Paul] sent to Macedonia two of his assistants, Timothy and Erastus, while he himself stayed for a while in the province of Asia. ―Acts 19:22
Bible readers first meet up with St. Erastus during Paul’s third missionary journey. Paul was in Ephesus proclaiming the message of Christ. He baptized many, debated persuasively, and performed an abundance of miracles. After two years, he sent two assistants, Timothy and Erastus, ahead to Macedonia, with plans to follow behind. This sending ahead expressed great trust and confidence in the two men. Paul evidently felt that Erastus and Timothy would be competent to pave the way―perhaps to find a place to stay, to check in on the Christians already there, or to begin preaching to non-Christians. It is plausible that Erastus met up with St. Lydia during this journey to Macedonia and visited her house church in Philippi.
Two other references to the name of Erastus are found within the New Testament. When Paul wrote his Letter to the Romans, he was staying in Greece, most likely Corinth, and sent greetings from an Erastus whom he also referred to as the city treasurer. In his Second Letter to Timothy―the same Timothy who had traveled with Erastus to Macedonia—Paul mentioned that an Erastus had remained in Corinth.
Many biblical scholars consider these references to Erastus to be one person. If so, these brief references strongly suggest that Erastus spent much time in Corinth, helping the early Christians there build their faith. The Christians of Corinth at the time experienced many problems. There were uncomfortable divisions and lax moral mind-sets among the believers there. It is imaginable that Erastus faced these problems and worked hard to counsel the Corinthians so they could better resist the cultural attitudes of their surroundings and better embrace the fullness of their new faith
Nowadays, among the ancient ruins of Corinth, visitors can find a section of pavement containing an inscription that reads “ERASTVS PRO AEDILIT E S P STRAVIT,” which, translated, tells that a city official named Erastus had laid the pavement at his own expense. Many claim that this Erastus was the same as the St. Erastus who was the city treasurer and helped Paul guide the Christians of Corinth.
Bible Journaling with St. Erastus
St. Erastus is listed on the July 26 page of the current Martyrologium Romanum (Roman Martyrology). People who are treasurers might ask St. Erastus to pray for their positions, and Spiritual Directors might turn to St. Erastus as well—for he was so helpful in guiding and teaching the early Christians of Corinth of the true message of Christ. Consider spending four days with St. Erastus. Read one passage below a day. Try to imagine yourself at each scene, and write down any reflections or insights. You might want to read a surrounding verse or two as well. During your four days with St. Erastus, prayerfully ask him to pray for any special intentions you have.
- Day 1) Acts 19:21–22
- Day 2) Romans 16:23
- Day 3) 2 Timothy 4:20
- Day 4) 1 Corinthians 1:10