Thursday, July 27, 2017

Two Greek Words for "Temple" in the New Testament

While the Greek words ieron and naos are both translated "temple" in the New Testament, what's the difference, if any, between these two terms? Here's what I found when I researched the answer to this question:

Richard Trench in his classic book Synonyms of the New Testament writes that ieron refers to "the whole compass of the sacred enclosure, the temenos [i.e. a piece of land marked off from common use and assigned as an official domain, especially to a king, chief, or god], including the outer courts, the porches, porticoes, and other buildings subordinated to the temple itself". In distinction to this, Trench says that naos signifies "the proper habitation of God...the oikos tou theou...[it] is the temple itself, that by especial right so called, being the heart and centre of the whole; the Holy, and the Holy of Holies...'temple' in its more limited and auguster sense."1

J. H. Thayer in his Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament says that ieron has reference to "the whole temple, the entire consecrated enclosure", while the word naos is "used of the temple at Jerusalem, but only of the sacred edifice (or sanctuary itself), consisting of the Holy place and the Holy of holies".2

And Moulton and Milligan, in The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament, write that "the word [naos] is apparently to be distinguished from the wider and more general ieron, 'the temple precincts'...naos, which in both LXX and NT is applied to the temple at Jerusalem".3

So to put it simply, I would say that while ieron refers to "the temple precincts" (as noted above), naos refers to the temple proper.


1 Richard Chenevix Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1958), pp. 10-12.

2 Joseph Henry Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Co., 1977), p. 422.

3 J. H. Moulton and George Milligan, The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1972), p. 422.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

A Tribute to Pioneer Missionary Cyrus Nichols (1799-1883)

   On this 4th of July, I thought it might be appropriate to post a tribute to my great, great, great grandfather Reverend Cyrus Nichols. He was a pioneer preacher of the Gospel who fought for freedom against slavery in the years leading up to the Civil War. He and his family were forced to flee Missouri and so he traveled north to the Wisconsin Territory. He preached the Gospel in Wisconsin for 40 years and established two churches that are still there today. Please enjoy reading this tribute to Rev. Cyrus Nichols, a soldier of Christ:

     "Rev. Cyrus Nichols was born Oct. 31, 1799 in Reading, Massachusetts [about 10 miles north of Boston], and was one of a family of ten children. His parents were in humble circumstances, but all their children were given a good education, and four out of six boys went through college. In early manhood there came upon him that change of heart which is spoken of as being born of the Spirit. He united with the Congregational Church at Newburyport, Massachusetts. There he heard in his soul a call to preach the Gospel. In order to prepare himself for this work, he entered Williams College in 1823, and in that training school of great and good men grew in intellectual stature. He supported himself to a considerable extent during his college years by teaching, and after four years of hard work graduated with honor in 1827. He then took a three years' course in the Theological Seminary at Auburn, New York, graduating in the spring of 1830. He was ordained to the Gospel ministry by the First Genesee Consociation and licensed to preach June 1, 1830.
     Exercising that wisdom for which most young clergymen are distinguished, soon after completing his studies he sought and found a companion for his life work, and was united in the sacrament of marriage, to Miss Dolly D. Hurlbut, on the 25th of July, 1830, at Hoosich Falls, New York, in a Presbyterian Church. Miss Hurlbut was a sister of Sidney S. Hurlbut, who afterward removed to Racine and became a prominent and successful manufacturer of wagon brakes.
     Having been appointed a home missionary by the Connecticut Missionary Society, he started West on the 1st day of September, 1830, his destination being the new State of Missouri. It took two months by stage and boat to make the journey. Finally, after many trials, tribulations and accidents, he reached his journey's end and settled in Palmyra, Missiouri, a frontier town, where he remained, sowing the good seed of the Kingdom, and carrying forward the home missionary work in establishing churches and Sunday schools. Twice during his labors in Missouri he visited the East to raise funds for the establishment of a College at Philadelphia Mission, to be known as Marion College. During his second visit East, the feeling against Northern men with Abolition sentiments became so violent that all Northerners were driven from the State, and Mr. Nichols did not dare to return even to remove his household goods. These goods, however, were afterward sent to him, but were not all received.
     The Territory of Wisconsin in the far Northwest was then attracting attention, and hither this young missionary came, and on the first Sabbath in September, 1836, he preached the first sermon delivered in Racine, taking as his text the 17th verse of the 51st Psalm. Here he continued to labor as a home missionary, preaching at first once a month and afterward on alternate Sabbaths, until January, 1839, when the First Presbyterian Church of Racine was organized, chiefly through his efforts. He therefore stands forth like John the Baptist of old. "The voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight." [Isa. 40:3; Jn. 1:23]
     Shortly after organizing this church Mr. Nichols removed to Prairie Village, now known as Waukesha. While serving the church in Racine and afterward he preached at Spring Prairie, Port Washington, Pike's Grove (now Somers), Caledonia Center, and other places. He was well known in those early years throughout all southern Wisconsin as the "Missionary Herald." Later in life he bought a farm of forty acres in Caledonia, on the Milwaukee Road, to secure a permanent home for his family. There he spent his declining years in the enjoyment of a country home. In 1880 he sold his farm and bought a residence on Prospect Street, in Racine, and with the benediction of an honorable and useful life he fell asleep Saturday, Feb. 10, 1883, aged eighty-three years, three months, ten days. The funeral was held in the Presbyterian Church on Tuesday, Feb. 13, and the funeral sermon was preached by Rev. Clarendon A. Stone, of the Congregational Church, and his remains rest in Mound Cemetery. His wife died Jan. 30, 1895, and was buried also from this church, of which she was member, Feb. 2nd, Rev. Charles S. Nickerson officiating. There are eight children surviving him, ten grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, all useful, highly respected and greatly esteemed in their respective walks of life. His third son, George Calvin Nichols, and his family are members of this church, and his grandson, George Sidney Nichols, often serves as usher.
     Mr. Nichols was an active man. He led a strenuous life. It required courage, zeal and unfaltering devotion of heart to be a missionary in those early days in this frontier settlement. The martyr spirit burned in his breast and wrought itself into the lineaments of his face. He was tall, spare, and sturdy, a fine specimen of a New England man in build and manner. His portrait, kindly presented to this church by his children, and adorned the Sunday-school room, has been thought to resemble the great poet, Whittier. Love for truth, love for humanity and love for the Lord Christ were the controlling forces that wrought in his life and work. Thus his spirit of faith, of sacrifice, of patience and of hope entered into the organization of this church in 1839, and by it he, being dead, yet speaketh [Heb. 11:4, KJV]."1


1 As published in "Commemorative Biographical Record of Prominent and Representative Men of Racine and Kenosha Counties Wisconsin" (Chicago: J. H. Beers and Co., 1906), pp. 620-625.
     For more information see: "Williams Biographical Annals, Part 4" (Boston: Lee and Shephard Publishers, 1871),  pp. 437-438.