(ay' ssi uhrchss) A somewhat general term for public patrons and leaders named by cities in the Roman province of Asia. They used their wealth for the public good, especially for supporting worship of the emperor and of Rome. They underwrote expenses of games sponsored in connection with religious festivals. Having served in the position, a person seemed able to continue to use the title. Paul won friends among this elite class (Acts 19:31), and they helped protect him from a religious riot in Ephesus. Note that some versions transliterate Asiarchs from Greek while others translate it to chiefs or officials.
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'ASIARCHS'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".