Daily Archives: April 14, 2010

Temples made by man

Any Greek or Roman city we visit is surely to have ruins of a theater and a temple. Both Greek and Roman theaters remain at Syracuse (Acts 28:12).The Paoli Orsi Regional Archaeological Museum displays a model of the Temple of Athena (left; 480 B.C.) and the Temple of Artemis (right; 520 B.C.).

Temple models at Syracuse, Sicily, archaeological museum.

Model of Temple Athena and Temple of Artemis. Syracuse. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Apostle Paul had to contend with this in every Roman city he visited. At Athens he said,

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. (Acts 17:24-25 ESV)

He reminded the Corinthians, who lived in a city filled with temples,

For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth–as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”– yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. (1 Corinthians 8:5-6 ESV)

Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem, as well as the later temples built by Zerubbabel and Herod, were made with hands. Paul certainly knows this. But he also knows what Solomon said about the same subject:

“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built! (1 Kings 8:27 ESV)

Read the full account of the building and dedication of the temple in 1 Kings 6-8. The temple was a place of worship, but it was not to be the object of worship.

Jesus taught His disciples to pray like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name” (Matthew 6:9).