1 Timothy 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.”
Teenagers were invented in the 1950s, so they say. Strangely enough, there is a lot of truth in that. The concept of a separate, defined age-range between childhood and adulthood is certainly a 20th Century phenomenon.
Recent research by the University of Buffalo has suggested that the traditional excuses for teenage behaviors, such as hormones, are not really applicable. Of course, it is true that young people are in a development stage, but so they are at other stages of life, such as elementary school age, or young people in their twenties. The university’s research suggests a large number of factors influencing changes in behavior, which occur during this age range.
This agrees with the Bible, which does not address teenagers as a separate group. Granted, the Bible refers to youth, and the idea of developing experience, but this is seen as a continuum. There are articles, which purport to refer to Bible characters in their teens, but it is not always clear whether they are teenagers, or in their twenties. Paul tells Timothy not to let anyone despise him because of his youth, implying that he is an adult, even if he still has more to learn, but it is not clear what age Timothy is, and some have even suggested he be in his thirties.
While we need to look after our young people, of all ages, it is possible that, as modern Christians, we permit more immaturity among young people than those in the Bible did. We should be nurturing our young people to take their place as strong, mature Christians in the body of Christ.
Prayer: Protect your people, Lord, we pray, and give us wisdom to encourage and strengthen them, that they may be able to withstand the temptations that come, to try to separate them from Your love. Amen.
Ref: University at Buffalo. “Don’t blame adolescent social behavior on hormones.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 March 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180319155723.htm>. Image: Adobe Stock Images, licensed to author. 193 04