Alexander in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
al-eg-zan'-der (Alexandros, literal meaning "defender of
men." This word occurs five times in the New Testament, Mk
15:21; Acts 4:6; 19:33; 1 Tim 1:19,20; 2 Tim 4:14): It is
not certain whether the third, fourth and fifth of these
passages refer to the same man.
1. A Son of Simon of Cyrene:
The first of these Alexanders is referred to in the passage
in Mk, where he is said to have been one of the sons of
Simon of Cyrene, the man who carried the cross of Christ.
Alexander therefore may have been a North African by birth.
Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record the fact, with varying
detail, that Simon happened to be passing at the time when
Christ was being led out of the city, to be crucified on
Calvary. Mark alone tells that Simon was the father of
Alexander and Rufus. From this statement of the evangelist,
it is apparent that at the time the Second Gospel was
written, Alexander and Rufus were Christians, and that they
were well known in the Christian community. Mark takes it
for granted that the first readers of his Gospel will at
once understand whom he means.
There is no other mention of Alexander in the New Testament,
but it is usually thought that his brother Rufus is the
person mentioned by Paul in Rom 16:13, "Salute Rufus the
chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine." If this
identification is correct, then it follows, not only that
the sons of Simon were Christians, but that his wife also
was a Christian, and that they had all continued faithful to
Christ for many years. It would also follow that the
households were among the intimate friends of Paul, so much
so that the mother of the family is affectionately addressed
by him as "Rufus' mother and mine." The meaning of this is,
that in time past this lady had treated Paul with the tender
care which a mother feels and shows to her own son...