A Jewish meetinghouse for religious purposes. The furniture was generally simple, consisting of an ark containing the rolls of the law and other sacred writings, a reading desk, and seats for the worshippers. Its affairs were managed by the local council of elders, who decided who should be admitted and who should be excluded (cf. Luke 6: 22; John 9: 22; John 12: 42; John 16: 2). The most important official was the Ruler of the Synagogue (Luke 13: 14; Mark 5: 22), who was generally a scribe, had care of the building, and superintended the various services. There was also an attendant who performed clerical duties (Luke 4: 20). The Sabbath morning service was the most important in the week, and included a fixed lesson (Deut. 6: 4-9; Deut. 11: 13-21; Num. 15: 37-41) and two lessons for the day, one from the law and the other from the prophets. A sermon was generally preached in explanation of one of the lessons (Luke 4: 17; Acts 13: 15). The existence of synagogues in every town in which Jews were living, both in Palestine and elsewhere, was a great help to the spread of the gospel, early Christian missionaries being generally able to get a hearing there (e.g., see Acts 13: 5, 14; Acts 14: 1; Acts 17: 1, 10; Acts 18: 4), and the synagogue worship provided in many respects a model for early Christian worship.