2

For instance, in the book of Acts, we can read about men and women converting to Christianity but never about children or teenagers:

Acts 5:14

14 And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number,

Acts 8:12

12 But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike.

Acts 17:4

4 And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women.

All the figures of the New Testament seem to be adults only: Apollos, Aquila, Cornelius, Gamaliel, Joseph of Arimathea, Lazarus, Luke, Lydia, Mark, Martha, Mary Magdalene, Nicodemus, Philemon, Priscilla, Silas, Stephen, Timothy, Titus...

Why aren't teen and child conversions never mentioned? Did they ever occur?

Maybe minors where not candidates for discipleship.

closed as primarily opinion-based by curiousdannii, KorvinStarmast, Nathaniel, Lee Woofenden, Dan Jan 26 '17 at 3:52

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • There may be a cultural context answer but I am away from sources at the moment. – KorvinStarmast Jan 25 '17 at 23:14
  • men and women can include children or teenagers – depperm Jan 25 '17 at 23:39
  • It is a possible implication but it is not a necessary inference. On my part, I see two possibilities: 1. Minors were excluded from discipleship because to young, immature and therefore irresponsible before God 2. Minors conversion were not important enough to be mentioned – TruthSeeker Jan 25 '17 at 23:52
  • Pretty sure Lazarus became a believer. – fredsbend Jan 26 '17 at 3:15
2

We do know of a youth ("νεανίας" in Greek, "adulescens" in Latin) called Eutichus who fell off the third floor window in Acts 20:9. He was a disciple of St. Paul, so presumably he or his parents had been converted previously.

9 And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.

This is, of course, just to illustrate the point that the sacred authors did not think it relevant to stress whether any of the converts were young or old. We also know of the man who was healed by St. Peter in Acts 3:6–7, that in Acts 4:22 it is said:

22 For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed.

Now, at that time, forty was quite old, and he was older than that when he became a disciple after being healed. However, it doesn't matter. His age is merely mentioned to reinforce the fact that the people of Jerusalem long knew him and knew that he was not faking either his disability or his cure.

So we can assume that, of the people who heard in Acts 4:4 of this miracle and became believers, there were indeed young and old men and women within that number — note, however, that the number of five thousand refers only to the number of men (ἀνδρῶν). The number of women and children was probably a like amount.

4 Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.

  • A young man is still a man, an adult. Not a child, nor a teenager. "young man" translates "neanískos" (νεανίσκος): - Strong's Definition: a youth (up to about forty years): - young man. - Thayer's Definition: a young man. Thirty is the first stage of a young man’s age, and extends to forty, as all will admit.[Stott] The word referred to "grown-up military age, extending to the 40th year".[Irenaeus] Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 B.C.) used "youth" which translates "neótēs", (νεότης) to describe himself when he was 27 years of age;[Simpson] – TruthSeeker Jan 26 '17 at 6:54
  • @TruthSeeker: The Greek NT uses νεανίας, not νεανίσκος or νεότης. The Vulgate calls him adulescens, which then would not mean “teenager”? What would be the Greek or Latin word we would need to see then? – Wtrmute Jan 26 '17 at 9:34
  • Wrong c/p, my bad. I meant "young man" (Acts 20:9) translates "neanías" (νεανίας). Strong's defines it "a youth (up to about forty years)". Saul was also a "young man" (neanías|νεανίας) when he supervised the stoning of Steven: "When they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul." (Acts 7:58) – TruthSeeker Jan 26 '17 at 18:14
  • Also, adulēscēns of ancient times should not be confused with teenagers of modern times: "from the 15th or 17th until past the 30th year, often even until near the 40th; often the adulescentia passes beyond the period of manhood, even to senectus; while in other cases adulescentia is limited to 25 years" (Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary) – TruthSeeker Jan 26 '17 at 18:21
  • Finally, if "young man" Saul and "young man" Eutichus were minors (non adults), their parents should have been around to exercise their authority and guidance over them and they would have been also held accountable for their children's actions (murder) and accidents (falling from the third floor late at night). Parental liability. – TruthSeeker Jan 26 '17 at 18:42
1

In ancient times, children were considered adults around puberty. For the Jews, this would correspond with their bar/bat mitzvah, which even today is still the ceremony recognizing them becoming an adult. So a teenager would be considered an adult, at least in terms of their social status, and wouldn't necessarily need to have special attention drawn to that fact.

Younger than that, children generally weren't considered accountable for their actions. So a child wouldn't really be considered having a conversion and more just that they were raised in the Christian faith.

The closest we get is that of Timothy. Paul's first letter to him comments on his youth:

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. –1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV)

Timothy's father was not a Jew and he was originally not circumcised until Paul convinced him to do it out of respect for some Jews they were going to preach to (Acts 16:1-6), so he definitely "converted" to the faith at a time when it was unclear whether circumcision was necessary to be a Christian.

However, Timothy is estimated to be about 48 years old at the time of the authorship of 1st Timothy. Granted, this is in relation to being a church elder, rather than a common believer, but it was unprecedented to have someone at that age having authority over so many in the early church.

  • Thank you. Bar/bat Mitzvah are extra-biblical rituals not found in the Bible. In order for Timothy to be an elder, he must have been married and have believing children. – TruthSeeker Jan 26 '17 at 7:03
  • @TruthSeeker I was referring to the cultural expectations of the time regarding coming of age when I mentioned the bar/bat mitzvah. Is there something I can do to clarify this? – Thunderforge Jan 26 '17 at 17:05
  • Our modern teenagers are not adults according to the law of our land. Are they adults before God? If my 13 is now an adult before the Lord, he his responsible for his own actions and has the right to marry, therefore to be employed. If adolescent disciples of Jesus times where considered adults, should we do the same? The modern law of the land on the age of majority (e.g. 18) then is wrong and should not overrule God's law for adulthood. – TruthSeeker Jan 26 '17 at 19:16
  • @TruthSeeker My point was that in NT times, teenagers were adults according to the law of the land, certainly according to Judaisim, which was the main source of early Christianity. – Thunderforge Jan 26 '17 at 19:28
  • Alright, I will go back to the question then. Unless I missed something, how does your answer provide the reason(s) why conversion of minors were not recorded in the NT? Thank you. – TruthSeeker Jan 26 '17 at 19:32

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