Damaris is only mentioned once in the Bible.
But certain men joined unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them. —Acts 17:34
In this passage, Paul has just finished preaching his famous sermon on Mars’ Hill in Athens, Greece. He made quite a stir by the things that he said. Some of those who stood by and listened were not convinced, but were willing to talk to him again later. Others, however, believed on the Lord Jesus Christ as a result of Paul’s preaching. Among them was this woman named Damaris. Her name means “a little woman,” and it can also mean “gentle,” as it is probably derived from the Greek damazo, meaning “tame.” Some suppose her to be the wife of Dionysius, but it seems as though that would have been mentioned if it were true. Others suppose her to be his disciple.
So, honestly, the only thing we know for sure is that she was present to hear Paul preach at Mars’ Hill, and she trusted in Christ for salvation by faith. That she is mentioned by name probably suggests that she was a significant woman in the community. For that matter, the fact that she was present at the Areopagus is significant, for it would have been quite rare for a woman to be there. Either she was of high social status, or she was a foreigner, or perhaps she was an educated woman. This third point would make sense if she were indeed a disciple of Dionysius.
One thing is sure, it is an honor to have one’s name recorded in the Holy Bible, but the greater honor by far is to have one’s name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Damaris had her name recorded in both places because she put her faith in Christ. The canon of Scripture is complete, but the Lamb’s Book of Life is not. Is your name in it?
Next week: Rhoda
Photo taken in Pensacola, Florida, 2017