proselyte (Pros´uh-lit)

A convert from one religious faith or group to another. In biblical studies this term refers especially to Gentiles who became Jews. From the second century BCE through the fourth century CE, some evidence suggests, many Gentiles were attracted to Judaism because of its monotheism, sexual ethics, and Sabbath observance. In addition, Jews may have actively sought converts during this period (Matt 23:15). In NT times proselytes to Judaism were required to accept one God and Jewish ethical and religious observances; males had to be circumcised. Acts mentions proselytes among those listening to Peter (Acts 2:10) and Paul (Acts 13:43) and a proselyte, Nicolaus, as one of the seven deacons (Acts 6:5). Acts also mentions Gentiles who “fear God” or “reverence God,” expressions that may refer to halfway converts who had not fully embraced Judaism (or been circumcised), but who kept some of the fundamentals of the law.

Matt 23:15

15Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cross sea and land to make a single convert, and you make the new convert twice as much a child of hell ... View more

Acts 2:10

10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,

Acts 13:43

43When the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them and urged them to continue ... View more

Acts 6:5

5What they said pleased the whole community, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, P ... View more

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