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Joined: 2005/1/14
Posts: 2164

 Define Youth.

1Ti 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

Does anyone know how old Timothy was during the time of this verse? I was just thinking about it today... I'm sure someone out there was an idea. Thanks everyone.

Josh Parsley

 2005/5/28 0:26Profile

Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re: Define Youth.

Some words and phrases come from such a different culture that it it sometimes difficult to get a grip on them. 'Teenagers' for example never existed before the 20th century. At that time a culture created a new concept. Before this people were either 'children at home' or 'married and left home'. The concept of an independent person who had not left home just did not exist. There have been major sociological changes in the 20th century which would be quite unintelligible to our ancestors in flesh and in faith.

Words for 'youth' tended to be pictures of relationship rather than age. eg “For of a truth against thy holy [u]child[/u] Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,
By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy [u]child[/u] Jesus.” (Acts 4:27,30, KJVS) The ASV 'corrects' this my using the word 'servant'; however the word is 'child' but the concept is 'servant'. In the horse-racing fraternity in the UK there is a function called 'a stable lad'. A stable 'lad' might well be ready for his retirement pension! The word started as an indicator of age but has become an indicator of relationship. The Greek word 'pais' used above is one of these.

When reading the scriptures we need be on the lookout for these words which now mean relationships. 'first born' is another which began as a biological concept but becomes a word meaning 'the heir' based on relationship rather than biological origin.

So we need to keep this kind of idea in mind when considering 'Timothy's youth'. It might indicate both/or age and relationship. The word used for Timothy is 'neotes' which derives from 'new'. This would open up a different perspective that Paul was referring not to Timothy's age but to his 'newness' perhaps referring to his role to the church at Ephesus, and the verses which follow indicate that this might be the case.

The word is used in the NT in these portionsMark 10:20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
Luke 18:21 And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.
Acts 26:4 My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews;
1Tim. 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. where the sense is probably from the time of their adulthood.

A similar word is one used of Paul in Acts 7:58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. This is neanias "a young man," and occurs in Acts_7:58; Acts_20:9; Acts_23:17,18. My old bible college principal used to say that 'neanias' was between 26 and 40. If Paul was a member of the Sanhedrin, as seems very likely, he would have had to have been at least 30. He was probably in his mid 30s.

So the cultural pattern of the Bible was
26-40 a young man (this will be an encouragement to some!)
40-60 a man
60 onwards - an old man. Philem. 9 Yet for love’s sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.
Folks like Greg would not be at the starting line yet! :-D
Hope this gives you some ideas...

Ron - the aged! :-D

Ron Bailey

 2005/5/28 4:54Profile

Joined: 2005/1/14
Posts: 2164


Thank you very much. That confirms some of the other things I have read about Timothy. Many make it clear when Paul calls Timothy "son" he is clearly not saying that Paul is the biological father of Timothy, but in a realationship sense. I think it's obvious, it says "my own son in the faith." But some have also said that Timothy was between 12-15 when he was converted by Pauls preaching, and was 20 something when the letters were wrote.

I figure there are several thoughts about his age. Here is a question: What is too young of an age (years in the Lord) to preach in a church?

Paul doesn't seem to have been converted very long.
Act 9:18 And immediately there fell from his (Paul) eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

Act 9:20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

But.. I was also thinking that in the synagogues were not Christians? Would that be correct to assume? And I'm positive that its Biblical to be a witness ASAP after your born again... but.. what about in the church.

PS. I'm not talking about taking the full time role as a pastor, nor any other "full time preaching ministry". Yes I know we are all (should be) that are born again full time preachers, but I mean in the church.

Josh Parsley

 2005/5/28 10:59Profile

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