29 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.
30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,
31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”
32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, “We will hear you again on this matter.”
33 So Paul departed from among them.
34 However, some men joined him and believed, among them Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
offspring (v.29) — If men are living, rational and moral, how can their gods be man-made idols?
art (v.29) — in Athens, especially, art reached its highest levels in statues and temples dedicated to their religion.
ignorance (v.30) — see Acts 14:14-16.
overlooked (v.30) — God didn’t excuse their idolatry, but He did not interfere to prevent them from practicing it. But the time is coming when He will.
but now (v.30) — Once men heard of Christ, they could no longer plead ignorance.
repent (v.30) = reconsider, think differently — to turn from idols to God
To hold that repentance has no place in the Pauline message is to misunderstand the nature of repentance, but on the other hand, to preach repentance, rather than grace, is to display ignorance of the message which the risen, ascended Lord committed to Paul and to us.
… Paul was answering the champions of idolatry. Quite naturally he would, in such a case, call upon them to repent and turn to the true God (cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:9). And quite naturally he would confirm what Peter had said with respect to our Lord’s resurrection to “judge the world in righteousness.” — Stam, page 113.
in righteousness (v.31) — with justice — the guilty will not get off
ordained (v.31) — the same Greek words as that translated “determined” in verse 26.
given assurance (v.31) — Or ‘He hath furnished a guarantee.” The resurrection of our Lord is the guarantee alike that the risen One possesses the authority and power for His office as Judge (Romans 2:4; John 5:26-27), and that there will be a general resurrection of the dead followed by a righteous judgment (Revelation 20:11-13). — Walker, page 384.
Dionysius the Areopagite (v.34) — A member of the august court of the Areopagus (v.19). As such, he was a man of weight and seniority, and had probably filled the office of “archon” or chief magistrate. We know nothing further of him for certain.
Damaris (v.34) — Supposed by some to be a variant of “Damalis” (heifer), a name common among Greeks. as it stands, however, it has a foreign sound, and it has been suggested that she was a foreigner of not very reputable character, since it was not the custom of Greek women of respectability to appear in a public meeting of this kind. — Walker, page 386.