(De·meʹtri·us) [Of (Belonging to) Demeter [Greek goddess of agriculture]].
1. A silversmith of the city of Ephesus in Asia Minor who stirred up a riot against the apostle Paul and his companions at the close of Paul’s stay of between two and three years in Ephesus (c. 53-55 C.E.), in the course of his third missionary journey. Paul’s preaching had been blessed with success, many turning from the practice of magic and burning their books. Demetrius, who conducted a flourishing business of making silver shrines of the goddess Artemis, becoming alarmed at the prospect of loss of income through Paul’s success in making disciples of Christ, roused the craftsmen and others. With a twofold argument of threatened loss of business and the danger of disrepute to the temple of Artemis, he succeeded in causing the entire city to be thrown into confusion.
After about two hours the city recorder managed to quell the disturbance; he pointed out that if Demetrius and the craftsmen had a charge against Paul and his companions, there were courts to handle the matter legally but that this disorderly demonstration made the city liable to a charge of sedition by the Roman government. The crowd then quieted down, releasing Paul’s fellow workers and leaving the theater, the scene of the disgraceful riot. Shortly afterward Paul set forth for Macedonia.—Ac 19:18, 19, 23-41; 20:1.
2. A Christian mentioned favorably by the apostle John in a letter to Gaius, about 98 C.E. Demetrius may have delivered the letter to Gaius. John’s recommendation of Demetrius may have been to encourage hospitality on the part of Gaius, as it seems to have been a custom of the congregations to assist in providing food and lodging for the faithful brothers who traveled in behalf of the good news.—3Jo 1, 12.