What Does the Bible Say About Age? The Bible teaches us that aging is a normal and natural part of life in this world. Brethren, 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; Cf. Proverbs 20:29). The Lord God Almighty wants us to remember that life is short (James 4:14) and that the beauty of youth is soon gone (Proverbs 31:30; 1 Peter 1:24). And as such, the question of growing old cannot be separated from the question of the meaning of life and the concept of the legacy we leave. In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon provides a Sagacious look at aging as well as the issues related to it.
We are born with a natural tendency to “live for the moment,” but the ultimate futility of that approach is the subject of Ecclesiastes 1:2-3: “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?” As people grow older and begin to feel the increasing impact of their mortality, they typically try to invest their waning resources in projects that to them seem to hold more promise of lasting meaning in life, especially the hope of perpetuating their “name” in a lasting legacy (Ecclesiastes 2). Unfortunately, no one can predict what projects will have lasting value and significance (Ecclesiastes 3:1-15), and this usually leads to varying levels of disillusionment and even despair over life’s brevity and evident injustice “under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 3:16–7:29).
What Does the Bible Say About Age?
Following the growing realization that satisfaction in most of life’s activities is invariably fleeting, Solomon’s hope is that people will grow wiser in the use of their God-given “portion” or allotment before they die (Ecclesiastes 8–12; Cf. Psalm 90:12). This wisdom increases in relation to our awareness of “time and judgment.” As such, we need a divine perspective in the face of life’s brevity and apparent injustice (Ecclesiastes 3:15c–17; 8:5b–8, 12b–15; 9:11–12; 11:9; 12:14). Notice that in these passages, the Hebrew notion of time combines the concepts of opportunity (the right time to act expediently when the occasion arises) and limited lifespan (only so much time before all opportunity is gone).
Furthermore, the Hebrew notion of Judgment in these same texts presupposes complete freedom in the use of our God-given “portion” in life as our desires lead us, yet with concomitant accountability to the One who distributed our allotted “portions.” Notice that the New Testament counterpart to these concepts can be found portrayed vividly by Jesus’ parables of the ten virgins and the talents (Matthew 25), the two sons (Matthew 21:28–32), and the unjust steward (Luke 16:1–13). Among the most disturbing aspects of growing old – especially in cultures that set a high value on rugged individualism – is the increasing frequency of senile dementia as the human lifespan increases.
It seems highly unfair that people so afflicted should be robbed of their intellectual, social, and emotional vitality while their physical bodies continue to survive. Sadly, the cause of Alzheimer’s disease is unknown and it doesn’t seem to be related to any particular bad health habits. While its progression can be stalled, in part, by continued active involvement in physical and mind-stimulating activities, the progression of the disease is nevertheless inexorable.
More Scriptural Facts About Aging
The author of Ecclesiastes acknowledges the vexing unfairness of life from a human perspective (Ecclesiastes 7:15-18; 8:14–9:3), yet he offers us wisdom to help us deal with it from God’s perspective, entailing the notions of “time and judgment.” With our inevitable disillusionment over the human condition – our universal depravity, mortality, and uncertainty – it is wise to remember that “for all the living there is hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; nevermore will they have a share in anything done under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 9:4-6).
With the understanding that they are accountable for their God-given “portion,” people should take joyful advantage of all their gifts, wisdom, talents, and opportunities in life sooner rather than later – before all opportunity to do so has ceased, before inevitable debilitation foreclose all opportunity (Ecclesiastes 9:7-10; Ecclesiastes 11:9-10; Ecclesiastes 12:1-7).
This reflection on growing old teaches us that meaning in life is fulfilled in our God-given purpose, and our purpose is only fulfilled when we take advantage of our God-given portion in Christ, God’s beloved Son and Promised Savior of the world (John 3:16). While this portion may seem less fair for some than for others, life’s meaning will be consummated only at the final judgment when we receive our inheritance (Ecclesiastes 7:11) for the way we invest our portion, be it good or bad (Ecclesiastes 12:14; cp. 2 Corinthians 5:10). Brethren, on that day, we will see the Lord God as eminently fair in His rewards, regardless of how unfair or unevenly distributed our portion may seem in this present life.
What Does the Bible Say About Age?
2 Corinthians 4:16 – “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.“
Job 12:12 – “Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.“
1 Timothy 4:12 – “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.“
Proverbs 20:29 – “The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.“
Proverbs 16:31 – “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.“
Job 32:7 – “I said, ‘Let days speak, and many years teach wisdom.’“
Proverbs 1:7 – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.“
Proverbs 19:20 – “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.“
James 3:17 – “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”
Psalm 71:18 – “So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.“
Psalm 71:9 – “Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent.”
Group 1 – What Does the Bible Say About Age
1 Timothy 5:8 – “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
Psalm 37:25 – “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.”
Psalm 92:12-14 – “The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green,“
Leviticus 19:32 – “You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.”
Isaiah 46:4 – “Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.“
Titus 2:3 – “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good,“
Psalm 92:12-15 – “The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.”
Group 2 – What Does the Bible Say About Age
Proverbs 17:6 – “Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.”
Psalm 92:14 – “They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green,“
Psalm 103:5 – “Who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
Isaiah 46:3-4 – “Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.“
Job 32:7 – “I said, ‘Let days speak, and many years teach wisdom.’“
Ecclesiastes 12:1-7 – “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”; before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain, in the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those who look through the windows are dimmed, and the doors on the street are shut—when the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low— they are afraid also of what is high, and terrors are in the way; the almond tree blossoms, …“
Group 3 – What Does the Bible Say About Age
Psalm 90:10 – “The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.“
Philippians 3:20-21 – “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.“
Philippians 1:6 – “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.“
Joel 2:28 – “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.“
Proverbs 23:22 – “Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.”
Psalm 73:26 – “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.“
Genesis 6:3 – Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.”
Deuteronomy 34:7 – “Moses was 120 years old when he died. His eye was undimmed, and his vigor unabated.”
Isaiah 40:31 – “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.“
Group 4 – What Does the Bible Say About Age
Job 5:26 – “You shall come to your grave in ripe old age, like a sheaf gathered up in its season.“
1 Timothy 5:1-2 – “Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.“
Genesis 25:8 – “Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people.“
Psalm 71:8-9 – “My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day. Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent.“
Psalm 90:12 – “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”
Psalm 91:16 – “With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
Ecclesiastes 7:10 – Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.
Deuteronomy 32:7 – “Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations; ask your father, and he will show you, your elders, and they will tell you.“
Group 5 – What Does the Bible Say About Age
Philemon 1:9 – “Yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus—“
1 Timothy 5:1 – “Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers,“
1 Chronicles 29:28 – “Then he died at a good age, full of days, riches, and honor. And Solomon his son reigned in his place.“
Psalm 71:18-19 – “So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come. Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you?“
Exodus 20:12 – “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”
Titus 2:2-3 – “Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good,“
Isaiah 40:29 – “He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.”
Job 12:20 – “He deprives of speech those who are trusted and takes away the discernment of the elders.“
Group 6 – What Does the Bible Say About Age
Genesis 24:1 – “Now Abraham was old, well advanced in years. And the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things.“
Genesis 15:15 – “As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age.”
Psalm 143:5 – “I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands.“
1 Timothy 5:17 – “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.”
1 Kings 3:14 – “And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”
Ruth 4:15 – “He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.”
Ephesians 6:1-3 – Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”
1 Kings 12:6 – Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the old men, who had stood before Solomon his father while he was yet alive, saying, “How do you advise me to answer this people?”
Group 7 – What Does the Bible Say About Age
Luke 1:36 – “And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.“
Luke 2:36-38 – “And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.”
James 4:14 – “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.“
Psalm 23:1-6 – “A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. …“
Group 8 – What Does the Bible Say About Age
Job 42:17 – “And Job died, an old man, and full of days.”
Joshua 14:10 – “And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, just as he said, these forty-five years since the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, while Israel walked in the wilderness. And now, behold, I am this day eighty-five years old.“
Deuteronomy 5:16 – “‘Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”
Job 32:4 – “Now Elihu had waited to speak to Job because they were older than he.“
Ecclesiastes 12:1-14 – “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”; before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain, in the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those who look through the windows are dimmed, and the doors on the street are shut—when the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low— they are afraid also of what is high, and terrors are in the way; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along, and desire fails, …“
Group 9 – What Does the Bible Say About Age
Genesis 25:7-8 – “These are the days of the years of Abraham’s life, 175 years. Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people.“
Ecclesiastes 12:1-3 – “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”; before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain, in the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those who look through the windows are dimmed,“
1 Peter 1:24 – For “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls,
Revelation 1:1-20 – “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near. John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. …“
Group 10 – What Does the Bible Say About Age
Titus 2:2 – “Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.“
Proverbs 10:27 – “The fear of the Lord prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be short.“
Proverbs 10:27 – “The fear of the Lord prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be short.”
Psalm 71:17-18 – “O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.”
Proverbs 3:13 – “Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding,“
Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.“
Luke 2:37 – “And then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.“
Isaiah 38:12 – “My dwelling is plucked up and removed from me like a shepherd’s tent; like a weaver I have rolled up my life; he cuts me off from the loom; from day to night you bring me to an end;“
Group 11 – What Does the Bible Say About Age
Job 32:9 – “It is not the old who are wise, nor the aged who understand what is right.”
Ecclesiastes 5:20 – “For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.“
Ecclesiastes 9:10 – “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.”
Deuteronomy 5:33 – “You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.”
Psalm 71:17 – “O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.”
Psalm 90:5 – “You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning:“
Psalm 71:1-24 – “In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame! In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me, and save me! Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel man. For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth. …“
Group 12 – What Does the Bible Say About Age
Job 11:17 – “And your life will be brighter than the noonday; its darkness will be like the morning.”
Psalm 39:5 – “Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah“
Exodus 7:7 – “Now Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron eighty-three years old, when they spoke to Pharaoh.”
John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.“
Deuteronomy 33:25 – “Your bars shall be iron and bronze, and as your days, so shall your strength be.“
Psalm 103:1-5 – “Of David. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.“
Psalm 139:1-24 – “To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. …“
Group 13 – What Does the Bible Say About Age
Psalm 119:100 – “I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts.“
Proverbs 12:28 – “In the path of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death.“
Leviticus 19:1-37 – “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father, and you shall keep my Sabbaths: I am the Lord your God. Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves any gods of cast metal: I am the Lord your God. “When you offer a sacrifice of peace offerings to the Lord, you shall offer it so that you may be accepted. …“
1 Kings 12:8 – “But he abandoned the counsel that the old men gave him and took counsel with the young men who had grown up with him and stood before him.”
Genesis 47:9 – And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The days of the years of my sojourning are 130 years. Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their sojourning.”
Genesis 37:3 – “Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors.”
Group 14 – What Does the Bible Say About Age
Luke 1:37 – “For nothing will be impossible with God.”
Isaiah 47:6 – “I was angry with my people; I profaned my heritage; I gave them into your hand; you showed them no mercy; on the aged you made your yoke exceedingly heavy.”
Ecclesiastes 2:24 – “There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God,”
Leviticus 19:3 – “Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father, and you shall keep my Sabbaths: I am the Lord your God.”
Proverbs 30:17 – “The eye that mocks a father and scorns to obey a mother will be picked out by the ravens of the valley and eaten by the vultures.“
Lamentations 5:12 – “Princes are hung up by their hands; no respect is shown to the elders.“
James 4:4 – “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
John 3:16-17 – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.“
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