Women play an important role in Acts 16 and 17. First you have Timothy’s mother in 16:1. Then Paul preaches to women in 16:13 and Lydia converts in 16:14. In 17:4 many (or not a few) leading women are converted. Later in 17:12 several “prominent/high standing” women believe. Finally, in 17:34 Damaris converts after Paul’s sermon on Mars Hill.
What is really fascinating is that all of these women appear to be prominent. Timothy’s mother is married to a Gentile who did not believe. Lydia is the head of her household and appears to be a woman of some standing. Purple fabric was in high demand and expensive. So she was probably well known and wealthy. Paul uses the word “protos” meaning “first or chief” in 17:4 to describe the women converted there. This word is used in 13:50 of the chief men in Antioch. In 17:12 he uses a different word for the women meaning “elegant/beautiful,” “honorable,” “influential,” or “wealthy.” This same word is used in 13:50 to describe the women who drove Paul out of the Antioch of Pisidia. So these women had enough influence to be a part of the “city council” that decided Paul had to go. Now here in 17:12 women like these being converted to Christ at Berea. And it appears that Damaris was sitting at Mars Hill with the philosophers. I am not sure what this all means, but it is interesting how the Christian faith was brought to these women and what their conversions meant for the early church. It also makes me wonder do our churches focus on evangelizing women enough?