Acts 17:34

ESV But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.
NIV Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.
NASB But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
CSB However, some people joined him and believed, including Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
NLT but some joined him and became believers. Among them were Dionysius, a member of the council, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
KJV Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

What does Acts 17:34 mean?

Paul has given an educated, erudite argument on the nature of God and the judgment of sin at the Areopagus in Athens. He related the Creator God to an altar dedicated to "an unknown god," showed how worshiping an idol made by human hands to represent the Creator is foolishness and called the Athenians to repent of their idolatry. God will judge them and has already identified His judge by raising Him from the dead. The majority of his audience determines he's a fool, some even mock Paul. Neither Epicureans nor Stoics believed in the resurrection of the dead, so they didn't believe in a final judgment. Paul leaves (Acts 17:22–33).

A few, however, want to know more. And some join Paul, believing his message. Dionysius is a judge at the Areopagus Court. Nothing more is known about him from the Bible, but Eusebius reports that he becomes the first Bishop of Athens. Damaris is a mystery.

Some suggest that the low conversion rate in Athens causes Paul to change his evangelism tactics. His next stop is Corinth and in his first letter to the Corinthian church, he writes, "For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2). Critics say that instead of using elaborate, academic arguments, Paul simplifies his message and lets the Holy Spirit work (1 Corinthians 2:4–5). Paul says, "Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?" (1 Corinthians 1:20).

But Paul is not comparing his methods in Athens to his methods in Corinth. He is explaining his methods in Corinth in light of the Corinthians' attempts to complicate the gospel. Instead of following Jesus, the people broke into sects, following Paul, Apollos, or Peter (1 Corinthians 1:12).

There's no indication that Paul regrets how he presented Christ to the Athenians, despite the low number of people who believe him. It's entirely possible that even fewer people would have responded to other approaches. He spoke to them in a way he thought they would best be able to accept the message about Jesus' offer of salvation. This is his strategy everywhere he ministers (1 Corinthians 9:19–23).
What is the Gospel?
Download the app: