The Temple
John 8:2
And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came to him; and he sat down, and taught them.

We have in our version only one word, "Temple," with which we render both ἱερόν and ναός, but there is a very real distinction between the two, and one the marking of which would often add much to the clearness and precision of the sacred narrative. Ἱερόν ( = templum) is the whole compass of the sacred enclosure, the τέμενος, including the outer courts, the porches, porticoes, and other buildings subordinated to the Temple itself. But ναος ( = aedes), from ναίω, habito, as the proper habitation of God (Acts 7:48; Acts 17:24; 1 Corinthians 6:19): the οἶκος το θεοῦ (Matthew 12:4; cf. Exodus 23:19) 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, called often ἀγίασμα. (1 Macc. 1:37 1 Macc. 3:45). This distinction, one that existed and was acknowledged in profane Greek, and with reference to heathen temples, quite as much as in sacred Greek, and with relation to the Temple of the true God (see Herodotus 1:181-3; Thucydides 5:18; Acts 19:24-27) is, I believe, always assumed in all passages relating to the Temple at Jerusalem, alike by Josephus, by Philo, by the translators, and in the New Testament...The distinction may be brought to bear with advantage on several passages in the New Testament. When Zacharias entered "into the Temple of the Lord" to burn incense, the people who waited His return, and who are described as standing "without" (Luke 1:10) were in one sense in the Temple too — that is, in the ἱερόν, while he alone entered into the ναός, the "Temple" in its more limited and auguster sense. We read continually of Christ teaching "in the Temple" (Matthew 26:55; Luke 21:37; John 8:21), and perhaps are at a loss to understand how this could have been so, or how long conversations could there have been maintained, without interrupting the service of God. But this is ever the ἱερόν, the porches and porticoes of which were eminently adapted to such purposes, as they were intended far them. Into the ναός the Lord never entered during His earthly course: nor, indeed, being made under the law, could He do so, that being reserved for the priests alone. It need hardly be said that the money changers, the buyers and sellers, with the sheep and oxen, whom the Lord drives out, He repels from the ἱερόν, and not from the ναός. Irreverent as was their intrusion, they yet had not dared to establish themselves in the Temple properly so called. (Matthew 21:12; John 2:14). On the other hand, when we read of another Zacharias slain "between the Temple and the altar" (Matthew 23:35) we have only to remember that "Temple" is ναός here, at once to get rid of a difficulty, which may perhaps have presented itself to many — this, namely, Was not the altar in the Temple? How, then, could any locality be described as between these two? In the ἱερόν, doubtless was the brazen altar to which allusion is here made, but not in the ναός, "in the court" of the House of the Lord (cf. Josephus, "Antiq." 8:04, 1), where the sacred historian (2 Chronicles 24:21) lays the scene of this murder, but not in the House of the Lord, or ναός, itself. Again, how vividly does it set forth to us the despair and defiance of Judas, that he presses even into the ναός itself (Matthew 27:5), into the "adytum" which was set apart for the priests alone, and there casts down before them the accursed price of blood. Those expositors who affirm that here ναός stands for ἱερόν should adduce some other passage in which the one is put for the other.

(Abp. Trench.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.

WEB: Now very early in the morning, he came again into the temple, and all the people came to him. He sat down, and taught them.

Christ as a Religious Teacher
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