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Old age is generally held in honor and the aged in society are to be respected. Because of the wisdom associated with their advancing years, elders had a significant role of authority and guidance in Israelite society and the new covenant books speak of the leadership of elders within the church. I must understand this and promote it.

The Bible teaches that elders are to be held in high esteem. Their age is not seen as a negative but as something that distinguishes them due to the wisdom they have gleaned over the years. The elders teach the younger generation; the whole book of Proverbs is presented as a father’s instruction to his son.

Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness.

(Proverbs 16:31)

To learn from a righteous elderly person is an honor and a privilege. It is to our credit to respect those who have such great experience.

When God gave the Law to His people, He instructed Moses to tell them, “Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God” (Leviticus 19:32).

  • It seems that respecting one’s elders went hand-in-hand with respect for the Lord Himself.
  • Children of any age will find this command in Proverbs: “Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old” (Proverbs 23:22).
  • First Timothy 5:1–2 encourages believers to treat older men and women as fathers and mothers, which we can tie to God’s command in Exodus 20:12 to honor our fathers and mothers.
  • The Bible provides no leeway for disrespect of the elderly, regardless of their age or what faculties they still possess.

We are also not to neglect the care of the elderly: “But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God. . . . Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:4, 8). Even in His agony on the cross, Jesus made arrangements for His mother’s care, asking His disciple John to take her in as his own mother (John 19:26–27).

Old Age — Should we respect the old?

Yes, the old and elderly are to be respected. This is a basic understanding from God.

The Bible presents growing old as a normal, natural part of life in this world. There is honor involved in the aging process, because growing old is normally accompanied by increased wisdom and experience. “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life” (Proverbs 16:31).

God wants us to remember that life is short and that the beauty of youth is soon gone.

  • Leviticus 19:32 — ‘You shall rise up before the gray headed and honor the aged, and you shall revere your God; I am the Master.”
  • 1 Peter 5:5 — You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
  • Job 29:8 — The young men saw me and hid themselves, and the old men arose and stood.
  • Proverbs 16:31 — A gray head is a crown of glory; It is found in the way of righteousness.
  • Proverbs 20:29 — The glory of young men is their strength, and the honor of old men is their gray hair.
  • 1 Timothy 5:1 — Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers.

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