Place where Jews gather locally for prayer and Scripture reading.

The Temple in Jerusalem was the one place where Jews were permitted to offer sacrifices.  The Greek word "synagogue" refers to a gathering of people, and it was applied to the local assemblies of Jews who gathered to pray and read from the Scriptures.  Synagogues existed in Jerusalem (Acts 6:9), various communities in Palestine (Matt 4:23), and other communities throughout the ancient world (Acts 9:20; 13:14; 14:1; 17:1; 18:4).  When the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70, Jewish worship was increasingly centered in the home and in local synagogues.

Synagogue at Capernaum
3rd cent. A.D.



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