1. Solomon’s Porch

Lesson Reference: Acts 3:17-26

BY L. THOMAS STRONG III

Solomon's Porch was a most ironic gathering place for first-century Christians. The outer walls of the Jerusalem temple completely encompassed the court of the Gentiles. This court extended to the farthest expanse of the temple, and the walls signaled the boundaries of the temple. The builders constructed these walls in such a manner that they had covered walkways passing beside them or meeting rooms adjacent to them or perhaps built into them.

Solomon’s Porch, also referred to as Solomon’s Portico, was on the eastern side of the temple in the walls surrounding the court. This portico was perhaps better referred to as a colonnade because pillars supported its roof. Each pillar was made of a single block of stone.

Beneath these covered places, groups would gather to discuss the matters of the day. Some believe the rabbinical schools also met in these porches. Though tradition often tried to trace these gathering places back to the time of Solomon, the temple that existed during the days of Jesus and the New Testament church was the temple Herod constructed during his reign.

Jesus spent time in this very place as recorded in John 10:22-23.

Artist's rendition of Herod's temple. Solomon's porch was directly in front of worshipers as they left the temple (wall on right side of image).

Model of Solomon's porch. The porch, likely over 1,200 feet long, consisted of double rows of monolithic marble columns, over 37 feet high. Three of the four porches surrounding the temple mount were double-rowed columns. The Royal Portico was triple-rowed.

As He was walking through the portico, the Jews confronted Him regarding His deity. In the same place, Peter healed the lame man and explained the power of God to those listening (Acts 3:11-26). Likewise, the writer of Acts recorded that the Christians under the leadership of the apostles were gathering in “Solomon’s portico” apparently for teaching and worship. These early believers met “with one accord,” which was a characteristic of the church (5:12, NASB).

Solomon’s Porch, which was a part of the temple, became an important gathering place for the New Testament Christians. The irony of this is that those who despised Jesus and persecuted Him and His followers in this gathering place worshiped only a short distance away.

L. Thomas Strong III is dean of the College of Undergraduate Studies and professor of New Testament and Greek at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, New Orleans, Louisiana.