Acts 1:13 (in the KJV) mentions an "upper room":

And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.

Is there any special significance to the Greek word ὑπερῷον (huperōion), which is translated as "upper room"?

  • 5
    What kind of special significance are you looking for? Some spiritual or otherwise abstract meaning perhaps? In that case, the answer is a clear no. The word ὑπερῷον only ever refers to a physical space inside a dwelling, namely "upper room", "upper story", "attic", etc. In Homeric times, the word specifically referred to the living quarters of the women (who lived upstairs); later on the meaning became slightly more general.
    – RP_
    Oct 9, 2015 at 14:01

2 Answers 2


The word means an upper room or the upper part of the house. [5253 - huperoon].

If there is any significance beyond being the highest part of the house, it would be found in who typically resided there. According to Thayer's Lexicon the upper room was where the women resided. [Thayer's]

Should that be the case, the early church met in the part of the house usually occupied by the women:

And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. (Acts 1:13-14 NKJV)

The believers stayed together in the upper room where they collectively prayed and made supplication; essentially this would be the first "church service."

The disciples were from Galilee and would need a place in Jerusalem to stay while they waited as Jesus had instructed them:

And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:4-5 NKJV)

This would lead to an interesting parallel found in Acts 16, when Paul brought the Gospel to Macedonia:

And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us. (Acts 16:15 NKJV)

In both cases the apostles made their temporary residence in the place where a woman stayed. In Jerusalem it was the upper part of the house; in Philippi it was the entire house.

  • Could you please cite a source for your claim that "it would be that is typically the story where the women resided"? We require answers to 'show their work', and claims such as this need to be supported.
    – Dan
    Oct 11, 2015 at 2:12
  • 1
    Added Thayer's Lexicon Oct 11, 2015 at 4:44
  1. The upper room is a place of high network connectivity between divinity and humanity; a place of prayer act 1:24 ( the holy ghost in form of flames of fire act 2:1-4 )
  2. It is also a place of refreshment, renewal, and rejuvenation ( The last supper luk 22:19-20 )
  3. it is a place of fellowship and reunion ( act 1:12-14, act 2:1 )
  4. It is a place of spiritual impaction and gifts ( act 2:4 )
  5. It's also a meeting place for Christlike people ( act 2:1 )
  6. it is a place to seek God face in a time of decision making ( act 1: 24 ) when Matthias was chosen to replace Judas Iscariot.
  • Point 1 sounds OK, high places are also important in the HB, but e.g. Jesus' baptism was not in a high place. Point 2 we also find at not high places, e.g. wells. Same for point 3. For point 4, again, see the baptism. Point 5 is circular reasoning (why were Christlike people there?). For point 6, we again have not-high places for this as well, e.g. Gethsemane. We should be reluctant to attribute significance to "upper room", because there is at least one instance where it is not significant: in Acts 20:8-9 it's just needed in the storyline.
    – user2672
    Jan 15, 2018 at 13:51
  • 2
    This is a series of unsupported statements.
    – Nigel J
    Jan 16, 2018 at 12:40

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