Bible Book List
Dictionary of Bible Themes – 5727 old age, attitudes to
5727 old age, attitudes to

5727 old age, attitudes to

Old age is generally held in honour and the aged in society are to be respected. Because of the wisdom associated with their advancing years elders had an important role of authority and guidance in Israelite society and the NT speaks of the leadership of elders within the church.

Old age is to be held in honour

Respect for the aged Lev 19:32; 1Pe 5:5 See also Job 29:8; Pr 16:31; Pr 20:29; 1Ti 5:1

Respect for parents Lev 19:3; Pr 23:22 See also Ex 20:12; Ex 21:17; Lev 20:9; Dt 27:16; Pr 30:17; Mt 15:4 pp Mk 7:10; Eph 6:1-3; Col 3:20

Old age is associated with wisdom

Deferring to the wisdom of the aged Job 32:6-7 See also 1Ki 12:6-8 pp 2Ch 10:6-8 Rehoboam rejected the advice of elders and rebellion ensued; Job 12:12; Job 15:10; Phm 9 Paul refers to his age to add authority to his words.

Learning from the previous generation Ps 71:18 See also Job 8:8; Ps 37:25-26

Old age does not necessarily bring superior wisdom Ecc 4:13 See also Job 32:9; Ps 105:22

Showing disrespect for the elderly is a sign of evil days

Isa 3:5 See also Dt 28:50; Job 30:1; Isa 47:6; La 5:12

The role and status of elders

Elders of non-Israelite nations Ge 50:7; Nu 22:7

Elders in Israel Israel’s elders were probably the heads of families, qualified to lead by virtue of age and experience: Ex 3:16-18; Ex 4:29-31; Ex 19:7
Nu 11:25 The number of elders is reduced to 70 who are anointed by the Spirit for leadership alongside Moses. Town elders were responsible for apprehending murderers and settling matrimonial disputes: Dt 19:11-12; Dt 22:15-18; Dt 25:7
2Sa 5:3 Israel’s elders accept David as king; Mt 26:57 pp Mk 14:53 Jewish elders were among those who tried Jesus Christ. By NT times they had become involved with religious as well as civil affairs and their title related more to their role than to age.

Elders in the church 1Ti 5:17 See also 1Ti 3:1-7; Tit 1:5-9; Jas 5:14; 1Pe 5:1-2

God as the “Ancient of Days”

God as one “advanced in years” Da 7:9 This description of God as the “Ancient of Days” implies that he possesses the respectability, authority and wisdom to judge that accompanies age. It also points to his eternity. See also Da 7:13,22; Rev 1:14

The eternity of God Ps 9:7 See also Ps 29:10; Ps 90:2; Isa 41:4; Isa 44:6

See also

1140God, the eternal
1205God, titles of
5853experience of life