The temple held a central place in the early days of the church. The gospel was preached to the large number of Jews from “every nation under heaven” in the temple precinct. After their acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Christ, the disciples continued “in the temple” (Acts 2:5; 2:46).
Twice in Acts it is recorded that the followers of Jesus met in Solomon’s Portico.
Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. (Acts 5:12) ESV)
The Greek word for portico or porch is stoa. The term is used in Acts 3:11; 5:12; John 5:2; 10:23. BDAG says it is used of,
a roofed colonnade open normally on one side, portico.
During a winter visit to Jerusalem at the time of the Feast of Dedication, Jesus “was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon” (John 10:23).
This photo provides a better view of some of the Royal Portico on the south side of the temple platform (left). The other portico is on the west side. Solomon’s Portico is hidden by the wall on the east side.
Each portico was formed by two rows of columns and was 49 feet wide. These “lent great splendor and majesty to the lofty Mount and served also – the royal Portico in particular – as the gathering place for great assemblies” (Mazar, The Mountain of the Lord, 124). Fragments of these gigantic monolithic columns (27 ft. high; 4.6 ft. in diameter) have been uncovered during the Temple Mount excavations directed by Professor Mazar.
The Royal Portico was built by Herod along the southern end of the Temple courts and is described by Josephus as deserving to be mentioned above any under the sun (Antiquities 15.11.5).
Solomon’s Colonnade or Portico ran along the eastern portion of the outer court of the temple precincts.
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