ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Old Age and the Bible

Updated on May 5, 2018
GodTalk profile image

I am a Christian pastor who wishes to bring glory to God in all that I do, and to help people through my writing to know Him better.

The Blessings and Responsibilities of Old Age

According to the World Health Organization, the number of people age 60 and over has doubled since 1980. By the time we reach 2050 the number of people age 80 is expected to quadruple to 395 million. Within the next 5 years, the number of adults aged 65 and over will outnumber children age 5 and under. And by 2050 these older adults will outnumber all children under the age of 14.

And yet our culture tends to favor youth. Indeed, we almost worship it. People will do almost anything to try to look younger. They nip here and tuck there. They color their hair and add hair plugs to get back hair. Many will do anything to have the appearance of youth.

Part of this might be vanity. But much of it is that our culture sees older people more as a burden. It doesn't really respect them. Many Eastern cultures revere those who are older. They respect them for the contributions that they've made, and for the wisdom that they've accumulated. But that isn't the case in the West.

The Bible has a lot to say about how we are to treat those who have lived many years. And our culture would do well to heed what it has to say.

I. Old Age is a Blessing from God

Far from seeing old age as a bad thing, the Bible sees it as a blessing from God. We see that growing older can be a reward for living a righteous life. In Proverbs 16:31 it says:

"A gray head is a crown of glory; It is found in the way of the righteous.."

While living a righteous life is no guarantee by God, we can see how following God's principles can be good for body, mind, and spirit. For example, those who see their bodies as a temple of the Holy Spirit will treat it well, thus having a better chance of a longer life.

It is interesting that long life is also seen as a reward for honoring your parents in both the Old Testament and in the New. God told the people of Israel in Exodus 20:12 to:

"Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you."

Deuteronomy 6:2 also repeats this command but rather than their days being prolonged in the land, it simply says to honor them: "that your days may be prolonged."

And Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:2 that we are to honor our father and mother, "which is the first commandment with a promise."

In the Old Testament, we also see many people that, in their death, were said to have died at a ripe old age. It was said of David, for instance:

"David, son of Jesse...died at a good old age, full of days, riches and honor" (I Chronicles 29:26,28).

II. Long Life and Wisdom Are Connected

It is interesting how wisdom and old age are connected in Scripture. While there are examples in life of older people who remain foolish, those who fear the Lord and follow His precepts develop wisdom, which can lead to a longer life. The book of Proverbs says:

“Happy is a man who finds wisdom and who acquires understanding… She is more precious than jewels; nothing you desire compares with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left, riches and honor” (Proverbs 3:13, 15-16).

It also tells us a little later:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For by wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life” (Proverbs 9:10-11).

III. Wisdom Should Be Passed On to the Youth

One of our major duties, as we get older, is to pass the wisdom that we've learned on to the next generation. In the book of Deuteronomy, the youth are told to ask their father's and elders about the old days and what the Lord did for Israel (Deuteronomy 32:7-9).

Paul also talks about how older men and women are to behave, and to teach the youth to behave this way as well:

"Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance. Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips, nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. Likewise, urge the young men to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us." (Titus 2:2-8).

The truth is that we are just one generation away from our society forgetting the God of the Bible and ceasing to serve him. It happened in the Old Testament with the people of Israel and it can happen today as well. If older adults don't teach younger people about the importance of a god-centered life, by words and by actions, then we will bring up a generation who largely abandons the Lord.

The most important thing an older person can pass on to the youth of this world is a strong faith in Christ. That obligation is to be fulfilled by parents, grandparents and greatgrandparents if they are still alive. An example of this is found in the writings of the Apostle Paul in a letter he wrote to Timothy. Paul talked about the role that a parent and grandparent played in Timothy's education. He tells Timothy:

"Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am convinced is in you as well. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands." (II Timothy 1:4,5).

It would be a wonderful thing if the children in our lives would come to know and love the Lord as Timothy did from observing the faith of his mother and grandmother.

IV. We Must Respect and Care for the Aged

The Scripture clearly tells us that we are to respect and care for those who are growing older. In the book of Leviticus, the people of God are told to rise in the presence of the elderly and honor them (19:32). And in Proverbs, we are admonished to listen to our fathers who gave us life, and not to despise our mother when she is old (23:22).

Paul tells Timothy that we aren't to sharply rebuke an older man, but we are to treat him as a father. And we are to treat older women as mothers (I Timothy 5:1,2). He goes on to say that the church has a responsibility to care for the widows among them unless they have children or grandchildren. Then the responsibility lies with their offspring (3,4).

It is just a few verses later that Paul tells Timothy:

"But if anyone does not care for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever" (8).

It is quite obvious that God holds the aged in high regard, so we should as well by caring for their needs when they can no longer do it for themselves.

The Elderly Loving Life!


We all need to come back to a biblical understanding of aging. In summary, a long life indeed a blessing from God, and with it wisdom. With it also comes a responsibility to the next generation to pass on that wisdom and experience gained. Each new generation, in turn, is to respect their elders. And finally, we have an obligation to care for those older persons who are no longer able to care for themselves.

God has blessed us in our society by allowing us to have those who have been around long enough to gain the wisdom that only comes with old age. It is my hope that we, as members of the Body of Christ, will set the example in this world by treating the older people in our lives with the respect and dignity that they truly deserve.

© 2012 Jeff Shirley


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • GodTalk profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff Shirley 

      5 years ago from Kentwood, Michigan

      Thank you for the encouragement. God bless!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      You can delete this just wanted to notify you, you have been chosen "Hug" of the day! Hope you are seeing some results.

    • GodTalk profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff Shirley 

      7 years ago from Kentwood, Michigan

      I would say that those who are extremely worried about getting old haven't taken a lot of time to think about God's perspective of aging. They rather have bought into the world's view. Thanks for stopping by lifegate.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      7 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      I guess as I enter the older age bracket I see things differently than I did years ago - not just because it applies to me now, but because the years can change our outlook as we gain wisdom and insight. I wonder how many today that chase after youth take the time to see the different seasons of life that God has given us.

    • GodTalk profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff Shirley 

      7 years ago from Kentwood, Michigan

      Thank you!

    • spease profile image


      7 years ago from Minneapolis Mn

      Excellent reflection on the truth, as you always do.

    • GodTalk profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff Shirley 

      7 years ago from Kentwood, Michigan

      Thank you for reading this article, and for your comments.

    • ARSHAD MAJID profile image


      7 years ago

      Lovely article highlighting the importance and respect of elderly people in Christianity. Being a Muslim, I found it very interesting as I find the same teachings in Quran as well.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)