Damaris was a woman from Athens who became a believer in Jesus after she heard Paul’s sermon at Mars’ Hill, the highest court in Athens – Acts 17:19 “And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?” She was an idol worshiper who heard, and accepted by faith, Paul’s message, while the disbelieving crowds belittled him and called him a “babbler.” (Acts 17:18)
We have to wonder who this womanly spectator was who listened so intently to Paul’s preaching at the Areopagus. Scripture mentions her in the same verse with the Athenian judge, Dionysius. This suggests that she was quite a woman of distinction and prominence. She could have been one of the hetairoi (a group of intellectual women who associated with philosophers and politicians), and as free women, they may have been part of such a gathering as this one at Mars’ Hill.
On the other hand, Luke, the author of Acts, refers to Damaris merely as “a woman,” which, though unlikely in this setting and context, could have implied that she was a “public woman,” perhaps one of low moral character, or even a prostitute. Refined, respectable women of that day would not usually attend a public gathering such as the one Paul addressed – Acts 17:22 – “Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.”
Whether Damaris was a prominent woman or a public woman, she listened carefully to the Gospel message of Salvation. Then, with rare courage and God-given wisdom, she chose to oppose the mocking debaters and to express her commitment to the resurrected Christ! (And God is no respecter of persons. He will use whom He will, whomever is willing to share His Gospel.) Like other believing women, Damaris became more than just a spectator of Paul’s ministry. She became a teammate, a woman in the early church who helped to further the Cause of Christ. The power of God’s Holy Spirit moves in each of His children, when we are willing and obedient, to give courage and strength and a burning desire to share the Good News without fear!
Throughout God’s Word there are accounts of how He chose to use women for His glory: Abigail, Esther, Ruth, Deborah, Mary, and many others. What an honor!