Young men (Bible)

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The term "young men" in the New Testament of the Bible occasionally seems to be referring to dedicated young men in service to the pastors and congregations of the Christian churches with particular duties assigned to them. This is not altogether certain, but it cannot be entirely dismissed.

Generally, the term "young men" refers to an age classification, roughly beginning at the age of 12, when in Israel a boy becomes a man with the right to discuss and comment with opinion on the meaning of the scriptures of the Torah and the Prophets, and normally applies to young men between the ages of 13 and 20.

In the U.S. a young man is usually of high school and college age.

In the Old Testament "the young men" were those dedicated youth who were soldiers prepared to defend Israel under the leadership of generals such as Abner and Joab (2 Samuel 2:12-17). Servants and slaves were termed "young men" and "boys" because of their position, even when they were of mature years. Joshua himself was called a "young man" as an aide and servant of Moses even at the age of 40 and 50 years (Exodus 33:11; compare Exodus 17:9-14; 24:13; 32:17; Numbers 11:28). Sometimes even today large household and hotel male service staff are called "boys" by the senior management, as in "send a boy to take care of it", and owners of ranches often refer to their own hired hands of livestock handlers and range managers as "the boys".

Some Bible exegetes suggest that among early Christians the class of "young men" was an office, that of "the brothers", which may have included the taking of temporary vows of service to the community, including possibly particular terms of service as servants of the pastor of the church, in ministry to the needy and as mentors to younger converts to the faith. Others suggest that there is no conclusive evidence in the Bible or in the writings of the early Church Fathers to support identifying "the young men" as a term denoting an office of service in the church, or the development of communities of young consecrated celibate men giving themselves to temporary or permanent service in prayer and charitable works as early as the first and second centuries of Christianity.

Generally, "the young men" in the New Testament appear as youths who have not yet become husbands and fathers of children.

New Testament "Young Men" and "Brothers"

Acts 5:6, 10; 1 Timothy 5:1; Titus 2:6-8; 1 Peter 5:5; 1 John 2:13-14.

2 Corinthians 8:18, 22; 12:18; Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:9; 1 Peter 2:17; 5:12.

See also

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