T 1.11.1 Generally the Old (Elders) are the Wisest, Cherish and Honor Them, Although Old Fools can be the Most Foolish of All

The scriptures teach us to respect our elders. In fact, the scriptures don’t paint a pretty picture of those that don’t respect their elders.  Here’s one from the Torah. There is an evil nation that’s going to do something to the Israelites, look at how they’re described.

a nation of fierce facial expressions, that doesn’t respect the elderly, nor show favor to the young, (Deu 28:50 WEB)

A nation that doesn’t respect the elderly is one of the evils of an evil nation.

But in our society today here in the Western world, a growing bias against the elderly is something that is seen both by people in the secular and spiritual realms. The Christian Science Monitor says this.

“In America these days, the perception is that old people are washed up and old fashioned… In America, youth is now valued and esteemed over senior citizen status.”[1]

This is a widely seen phenomenon. A recent article in the Huffington Post describes Western culture as fetishizing youth while removing seniors “from the community and relegated to hospitals and nursing homes”.[2]  And here is a social science view of the problem.

Even though the United States has an aging population there is still a clear bias against aging and a general fear of getting old. Even though the emphasis on youth and beauty has traditionally been directed more toward females than males, we are now seeing an increasing concern with males about aging and getting old. The elderly used to be a highly respected group and were admired for their experience and wisdom. Changes in the political, social, and economic landscape altered perceptions about aging and ultimately decreased the status and position of the elderly in society. With a growing sense of individualism and an increasing concern with staying young, older people have had to face an escalating level of disregard, disrespect, and marginalization…[3]

This is a growing trend in our culture. It may be in other parts of the world but it is obvious here.  Increasingly America is worshipping youth.   In the process, America is devaluing elders with all their experience over decades of being an adult in many scenarios.  These are adults that may have raised families themselves, worked for a living for many years, run companies, and in the process have personally seen many changes in society and felt the effect of those changes.   They are the most equipped to make decisions about those kinds of changes should they happen again. Yet they are being marginalized.

At the center of this marginalization and devaluing of the elderly is the mass media. The mass media has largely become the central nervous system of American society and has a massive impact on people’s values, beliefs, and perceptions[2]. This has been demonstrated endlessly across research in the social and behavioral sciences and the overall belief is that portrayals of the elderly are largely negative and stereotypical. Common feelings toward the elderly are that they are of low status and incompetent [3] and this is a common theme running across media representations. The elderly are often depicted as weak, unattractive, and senile. Other cultural stereotypes often seen in the media portray the elderly as frail, feeble, financially distressed, and not contributing to society

There are numerous examples.  One example is the progressive insurance ad campaign featuring Dr. Rick who is trying to help young and middle-aged adults avoid becoming like their parents. This is a very clever ad campaign. A lot of people seem to be chuckling over these ads. Granted, it is somewhat of a common and possibly unpleasant experience for some to realize that they are doing things like one of their parents. A lot of us have pet peeves against some of the mannerisms of our parents.

On the other hand, as a grandparent, I have watched firsthand seeing grandchildren act out in ways that had the parents frustrated, lamenting, and wondering how their kids could be that way when I saw those same parents acting that way when they were kids. I have heard many a story of this person or that person as a child being someone who was so irresponsible that their parents and/or babysitters would be talking about how they would never be responsible adults only to find 20 years later those same irresponsible juveniles working jobs, paying bills, raising families, and even being in positions of leadership. And, amazingly, at that time it was grandparents and other seniors gently saying, “don’t worry, they’ll be all right, a lot of kids act crazy as kids only to grow up and be perfectly fine.”

Dr. Rick and the progressive insurance ad campaign aren’t doing our society any favors. Sure there are a lot of people that understand the parody in the ads.  But those ads are not just shown to adults. Those ads are shown where kids see a message of “don’t be like your parents”. They see a message of parents doing actually wise things like taking snacks on a plane, planning how long they’re going to stay at a game, and being treated like kids for it. Combined with so many kids’ shows that promote disrespect, the supremacy of youthful intelligence, and outright disobedience it just adds fuel to a Media Fire that devalues elders as well as good parenting itself.

I just another example on the TV show Good Sam.  Good Sam is the story of Dr. Sam Griffin who takes over the job of leadership in her hospital department as chief after the previous leader, her father, Dr. Rob Griffin, winds up in a coma and becomes disabled.
Good Sam could also be called Saint Sam as that character is ideal. She’s young, kind, thoughtful, extremely skilled, top of her class, open to new ideas, tries to work with all the other doctors, and so forth. There’s not a fault shown in the drama for this character so far that I have seen although I’ve just watched two episodes. On the other hand, the father is overbearing, pretentious, and sleeps with a subordinate. He’s dismissive, condescending, and obviously was an absent father to this wonder of a young woman. But, he is brilliant, and extremely skilled which are his only virtues and the reason why he was the leader beforehand.  While Rob is not portrayed as a senior citizen per se, this is an example of respect or lack of respect for elders as Rob is Sam’s elder.
Spoiler Alert – this review will give some details about one of the episodes.

Rob wants his job back. He had been shot and because of a long disabling recovery, he is required to be proctored before he can even operate again. He uses his connections to ensure that the board will reinstate him as chief after he passes his proctorship, which, amazingly only in a story like this, is overseen by his daughter.  He runs roughshod in her meetings and doesn’t follow her rules.  It distresses young doctors in residence because both Dr. Griffins are telling them what to do, often in different directions.
While there is some bond displayed between them, her attitude is that he is an old overbearing dinosaur, in this case, the T Rex, but she is the meteor that will wipe out dinosaurs like him. That attitude is directly portrayed vividly at the end of season 1 episode 2, Natural Order.
What a perfect metaphor for the attitude of some of the younger members of our society. Seniors are overbearing dinosaurs and the youth are the meteor to wipe them out. At the very least they need to get out of the way as the youth have the right ideas.  Not everybody, of course, and while some people care for and respect their parents and grandparents, there is such a strong push in this country and some others to disregard elders.
What other class of people in our society could be treated with this much disrespect here in 2022 America? Women? No! Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans, Asians, Disabled? No, no, no, no, no. The LGBTQ won’t stand for it. But somehow it’s OK to disrespect the elderly as a class.
I don’t think it’s coincidental that this dinosaur ex-chief is a white male, and the meteor is a young woman. I also don’t think it’s coincidental that the mother of this young woman sides with this young doctor.
Of course, as described, this man deserves to be put in his place because other than his skill as a surgeon he doesn’t have that much redeeming virtue.  But I don’t think that it is truly descriptive of the nature of the relationship between most seniors and their younger counterparts. Rarely are things ever that black and white. It’s just another example of why it is OK not to respect an elder according to world views.

Meanwhile, we have been discussing wisdom, and philosophy in the tradition of the apostles. That makes it part of original Christianity. A component of wisdom right from Scripture is age.  That’s right, wisdom is something that is accumulated with age.

Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days. (Job 12:12 ESV)

This is a general rule, that people get wiser as they age.  However, the scriptures allow for exceptions to this rule.  Look at this:

Better is a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who doesn’t know how to receive admonition any more. (Ecc 4:13 WEB)

So age is not a guarantee of wisdom, just a guideline.  So, while I am saying scripture teaches us to honor and cherish the aged, the sad truth is that it also teaches that old fools are around and a potential pitfall according to scripture.

Still, the standard is that scriptures teach us to respect our elders.

“‘You shall rise up before the gray head, and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God. I am Yahweh.  (Lev 19:32 WEB)

This verse says that standing up and respecting elders is part of respecting God.

This is a clear picture of who an elder is.  In the Greek Old Testament “old man” here is presbeturos which is the word translated as elder in so many places.  Notice the reference to the gray head; this is not a young adult. The above verse depicts the standard for places where there were elders at the gate and so forth.

I have been in more than one church where the “elders” were young adults and regularly saw one or more of them captured by the doctrine of the moment instead of the apostle’s tradition.

Likewise, you younger ones, be subject to the elder. Yes, all of you clothe yourselves with humility, to subject yourselves to one another; for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  (1Pe 5:5 WEB)

Here is a New Testament verse that tells us to respect elders.  This verse is a classic verse that teaches being subject to elders. It does absolutely say subject yourselves to one another, meaning that there are times when the younger person may have the best wisdom, but that will never set a standard that the young have the greatest wisdom, just that the elders if they are truly wise with the wisdom of God, will recognize with humility that they need to learn and change at times.

It’s common in our society to tell grandparents to butt out. I’ve heard more than one young parent vigorously proclaim that they are not a parent like their parents, with some explanation of some evil in their parents’ leadership. I would be very wary of making this proclamation. If your kids see that it’s okay for you to belittle the leadership of your parents it is teaching your kids that it’s okay for them to belittle your leadership.

Do the Scriptures have anything to say about grandparents teaching their grandkids? In fact, it does. Look at who it says we are to teach as believers.

“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children— (Deu 4:9 ESV)

This verse says that we’re supposed to take the things that we know about God and teach them to our kids, and to their kids, i.e., our grandchildren.

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. (Psa 71:17-18 ESV)

There it is again. Believers are charged to teach their kids and their grandkids.

One wrinkle here, however, is that in this day of thousands of denominations teaching differing doctrines, the parents may have attached to one denomination teaching a different doctrine set.  Of course, that is why “doctrine isn’t important” doctrine has come into play and people have developed the doctrine of sticking with the essentials or sticking with just the concepts of orthodoxy. Some of this is discussed in T 19.1 Modern Christian Traditions – The In Essentials Unity Doctrine. An article on the Orthodoxy movement is coming.

Anyway, the apostle’s tradition is that grandparent believers are charged to teach their grandchildren, especially about God.  But, what does the world say about this?  I found numerous articles on how to tell grandparents to butt out although I did find of couple articles that talked about how to interject your wisdom as grandparents.[4]

Now, before you start saying you think I’m saying that grandparents should run the whole show, let me say this. There is a family component to how church leadership is described in Scripture. The apostles taught that the church is set up and run like the human family. Paul talks about how he fathered people in the word, and more.

For though you have ten thousand tutors in Christ, you don’t have many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, I became your father through the Good News. (1Co 4:15 WEB)

Paul took this commitment seriously.

Behold, this is the third time I am ready to come to you, and I will not be a burden to you; for I seek not your possessions, but you. For the children ought not to save up for the parents, but the parents for the children. (2Co 12:14 WEB)

The body of Christ is called a family.

from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, (Eph 3:15 WEB)

So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, (Eph 2:19 WEB)

More than this even, God is our father and Jesus is called our eldest brother in this family.

For whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Rom 8:29 WEB)

As far as how leadership is implemented in the Scriptures it is important to acknowledge that in the general teaching and examples of leadership that there is the theme that the local leader handles most of the issues.  Just using that model alone suggests that the vast majority of things are always done at the immediate level. In other words, yes, parents raised their kids in scriptural times just as fellowship leaders handle the vast majority of things in their fellowship.

In the next verse, the apostle sees a problem in a fellowship but he doesn’t take over and try to fix everything.  The fellowship leader is exhorted to help resolve the issue just as the parents in the family are there to resolve the vast majority of issues.

I exhort Euodia, and I exhort Syntyche, to think the same way in the Lord. Yes, I beg you also, true partner, help these women, for they labored with me in the Good News, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.  (Php 4:2-3 WEB)

Under our scriptural model parents are the local leaders so they should be in charge of their kids even when the grandparents are present.

But telling the grandparents to just butt out altogether is unbiblical. One way to show respect to elders is to let them speak first.  Look at this example from the book of Job:

Now Elihu had waited to speak to Job, because they were elder than he. When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, his wrath was kindled. Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered, “I am young, and you are very old; Therefore I held back, and didn’t dare show you my opinion. (Job 32:4-6 WEB)

Elihu showed his respect for Job by waiting for Job to speak before he spoke. He didn’t just go spouting off all his opinions because he was old enough to be considered an adult. He recognized the principle of eldership and honored the elders in his life by showing respect in these ways.

I am a senior citizen and I remember not too long ago a young person said something like this to me, “I don’t have to listen to you, I’m eighteen years old now. I am an adult.  We’re equal.”  The conversation went something like this.  He was telling me what I considered some very entitled ideas about what society should provide for him like a job with an adequate income, free medical insurance, free higher education, and so forth.  It was very utopian and immature thinking about living in the society that he was born into.  It was certainly something he could work to build in society, but it wasn’t going to happen in the short term and he wasn’t interested in hearing my opinion and experience regarding these issues like being proactive, finding what is available, and doing the best he can.

In modern society, honestly, in western societies in at least modern times, the attitude of the young is that people should listen to the young, up-and-coming crowd. They’ve got the beat on what’s really important. In “Kids These Days Know Better Than Older Generations. Let Them Lead” we read

“Younger people consistently see human rights—racial, immigrant, gender, LGBT—as important and uncontroversial… Young people also endorse progressive ideals, such as strong climate change policies, a proactive government, and economic justice, as well as liberal candidates. The millennial revolution isn’t just talk. As I’ve detailed previously, young people are showing stunning declines in crime, gun violence, rape, incarceration, births before age 25, and school dropout.”[5]

This is quite a statement. “Kids these days know better than older generations. Let them lead.”  The philosophy includes the statements that to young people LGBT and other issues are uncontroversial, that young people embrace progressive ideals like liberal candidates taking the liberal stance on issues like climate change and economic justice.  This propaganda statement purports supportive statements about “stunning declines in crime, gun violence, rape, incarceration, births before age 25, and school dropout.”  Of course, the cause of all these favorable outcomes, according to this author, is the inborn wisdom of these liberal youth who are much better inclined to vote with this liberal agenda. The article is full of philosophical arguments describing how authoritarian models (old white people in power) are destroying America. It further states “Tens of millions of far-right Americans actively seek authoritarian dictates and to harm entire populations because of their color, nationality, and lifestyle.”

We also have the philosophical statement, “Younger people consistently see human rights—racial, immigrant, gender, LGBT—as important and uncontroversial”.  This is embracing the philosophy of the times, and it also shows the political pressure by the LGBT community to accept that lifestyle as normal.

See H2 Born Gay: Scientific Fact or False Idol of Bad Science? for insight on how the false claims of statements like “Born Gay” are used to motivate people and even force them, especially young people, to accept LBGT lifestyles as part of a person’s DNA rather than a choice, albeit, a rather complicated one. Rather than being determined by DNA, a significant element of the LGBT movement wants us to accept that LGBT desires and choices are normal.   They reject any dialogue that LGBT lifestyles are sinful, unholy, or abnormal. Still, the Christian churches that promote LGBT inclusion use the “born gay” mantra to argue that LGBT lifestyles are biologically determined and thus require re-interpreting scripture because this is an issue like the earth being round, a previous misinterpretation of scripture that is truly proven scientifically false.  That LGBT status is biologically determined has not been proven like the fact that the earth is round.

(Before you think the above is a diatribe solely against the liberal political agenda, conservative politics also make fallacious claims.  For example, conservatives since Ronald Reagan have pushed trickle-down economics which purports that making tax breaks and regulations favorable to the rich will result in a “trickle-down” effect thus making all people richer. It is a great theory but has a fatal flaw in that it is dependent on the rich doing certain things like investing the financial benefits gained to produce good-paying jobs so that it results in passing a proportionate share of those financial gains down to the people below them in the economic strata. This hasn’t always happened.  The result is that trickle-down economics has only caused the separation between the rich and poor to get wider.[10] The point is politics are based in large part on worldly philosophies that are not always based in truth.)

There is a push in the UN to eliminate age requirements for public office.[6]  Their stand is that if you can send someone to war they should be able to run for the senate, congress, or even the presidency.

There is a term you may have heard “youthful idealism”.  Some youth have ideas of how to improve things but the folly of youth is foolishness. Here I want to talk about a much very controversial verse of Scripture although it can and has been misapplied.

Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. (Pro 22:15 Webster)

First, this verse is not advising parents to beat the foolishness out of their kids, although physical deterrence and punishment are advised in the scheme of scripture in certain cases. I want to focus on the word “correction”. Correction is one of the things that the word of God is designed to do. There is a cycle of learning in the scriptural model. We are told things, what to do, why to do them, and so forth. Sometimes we don’t do them, either forgetfully, or by deliberate choice. Then we are to be reproved, told we didn’t get it right. Then we are to be corrected, re-instructed on the right thing to do, the right reasons.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (2Ti 3:16 Webster)

These verses, both in Proverbs and in second Timothy relate to our discussion. First is the teaching that foolishness is bound in the heart of the youth. Anybody who’s been a parent, or grandparent, or had anything to do with kids have seen too many examples of this to not know that it’s true. Kids do things just because they want to do them. Very young kids don’t know that fire burns, that electrical sockets shock, or that cars run over people. They also don’t know much else. From the time they’re born we try to teach them one thing after another, stay away from fire, don’t touch the electrical shock it’s, don’t play in the street, and on and on. The process of growing up is slowly growing in wisdom to the point of becoming an adult.

The limits of foolishness are not limited to infantile desires to touch an electrical outlet.  As we grow and see problems in society we also can start thinking we understand the cure and embrace various doctrines of the world but we do it without the experience and yes, wisdom and oversight, that age can bring.

That doesn’t mean that the elderly can’t be wrong, yes, there have been elders that embraced slavery, prohibition, and more ills.  In scriptural history, it was Jewish elders that developed the traditions that our Lord and Savior said made the word of God of no effect.

It appears the elders of the majority of Christian denominations think that the manifestations of the spirit ended with the apostles or while they believe they are possible think that they should not be taught and promoted.

Yes, some elders can be very wrong.

None of this changes the truth of the biblical standard. The battle over which wisdom is the best started with Adam and Eve and will continue as long as there is a devil in power in this world. Scripture teaches that wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.

Proverbs 22:15 says that correction is one of the tools that help us guide youth from their foolishness. That’s what the verse in Proverbs is saying, whether or not you agree with the concept of physical restraint or punishment. I personally have never seen a parent whose child was reaching for a flame or an electrical socket that didn’t physically grab their child and restrain them from doing that.

The scriptural model is about disciplined training, as the means to drive the foolishness out of not just youth, but all people. Christians are called to be disciples, disciplined ones.  We are all children of God the Father.

How all this relates to this article is just this. When we were born we were dumber than dirt. And even though we may be quick on the uptake we have got a heck of a lot of learning to do before we can take care of ourselves in this world, and even more before we can lead others. That process is called growing up, but it’s also called growing in wisdom. The Scriptures simply say that that process produces people that are valuable resources as they near the end of their lives and those people should be respected, honored, and listened to, as well as put in positions of authority and leadership.  The biblical model includes families where there are patriarchs who are the overseers of their families’ families underneath them.

That is the scriptural model. That isn’t to say that a young person can’t have a good idea. That’s exactly what is being set up in first Peter chapter 5 verse five. It does say that we are all to clothe ourselves with humility and be subject to one another. But the verse starts with the younger ones being subject to the elders. That is the general guideline. And that’s not the only place.

Don’t rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father; the younger men as brothers; the elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, in all purity. (1Ti 5:1-2 WEB)

Now, this verse isn’t saying that every person that is five years old has to listen to every person that is six years old who has to listen to every person who is seven years old, and so on and so on until you reach 120 years old. People in their early 20s maybe about the same maturity, people in their mid-30s are about the same maturity, and so on. But it is saying that if someone is significantly older than you then you need to defer and show them some respect. Specifically, the verse above says not to rebuke a senior man or woman. In fact, the verse depicts a generational scheme. The elder women are treated as mothers while women of the same age are treated as sisters according to Titus chapter five verse two.

Age is a consideration in the Bible just like it is in the world. Where I live you have to be 16 to drive a car, and 18 to vote in an election.  While in our culture people may be considered adults at age 18, we see a pattern in the Bible that certain positions had an age requirement of at least 30. For example, Old Testament priests officially entered service at age 30.

from thirty years old and upward even until fifty years old, all who enter into the service, to do the work in the Tent of Meeting. (Num 4:3 WEB)

Even more than that detail, we see that the Levites entered an apprenticeship starting at age 25, and then became officially priests at age 30. They served a 20-year term, after which they entered the tent of meeting.  We get back to the priests in a minute but first, while it may be coincidental, both Saul and David became king at age 30.

Saul was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned over Israel forty-two years. (1Sa 13:1 WEB)

David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. (2Sa 5:4 WEB)

Our King, the Lord Jesus Christ started his ministry at age 30.

Jesus himself, when he began to teach, was about thirty years old, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, (Luk 3:23 WEB)

But then, Jesus is called our high priest and is the man who fulfilled the Law, so he had to begin his service at 30.

Having then a great high priest, who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let’s hold tightly to our confession. (Heb 4:14 WEB)

Now, let’s go back and look at the ages when the Levites did certain things.

After that, the Levites went in to do their service in the Tent of Meeting before Aaron, and before his sons: as Yahweh had commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so they did to them. Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, “This is that which belongs to the Levites: from twenty-five years old and upward they shall go in to wait on the service in the work of the Tent of Meeting; and from the age of fifty years they shall cease waiting on the work, and shall serve no more, but shall minister with their brothers in the Tent of Meeting, to perform the duty, and shall perform no service. You shall do thus to the Levites concerning their duties.”  (Num 8:22-26 WEB)

Woah, look at that, we saw that the Levites began their apprenticeship at 25, and started their priestly service at 30 which ended at 50. But then, it says, they “shall minister with their brothers in the tent of meeting to perform the duty”. So, they were retired from the priestly service, but they still ministered. They were elders. Here we have a concrete example of when someone became an elder. For the priests, it was 50 years old.

The priestly job was hard work. There was heavy furniture to be carried. It was too hard for people over 50. But Levites over 50 still ministered. What did they do? “By giving advice, instructing younger Levites, and doing lighter service”[7]

Not that it is authoritative in spiritual matters, but neuroscience actually gives some insight into how wisdom is accumulated in humans. What does neuroscience say?

“From a neurocognitive standpoint, wisdom is the ability to see patterns where others don’t see them, to extract generalized common points from prior experience and use those to make predictions about what is likely to happen next. Oldsters aren’t as fast, perhaps, at mental calculations and retrieving names, but they are much better at and faster at seeing the big picture. And that comes down to decades of generalization and abstraction.”[8]

Do you see that oldsters “are much better at and faster at seeing the big picture?”  A big part of wisdom is seeing the big picture.  The current discussion in society may have some trendy concepts, but how do they work in the big picture?  God’s big picture is over eternity, and as regarding us, his picture includes how all of us have been doing since Adam.

Here’s an example of letting seniors mentor.

“In Greensboro, N.C., for example, sociologist Peggye Dilworth-Anderson brought together at-risk African-American grade-school children with older members of the community in an after-school program designed to bolster self-esteem. Some volunteers were retired teachers, but others were illiterate, including one woman who sang Negro spirituals to the children. As part of their bonding with the children, the adults shared their life experiences – describing things like life before television and without indoor plumbing.

Ms. Dilworth-Anderson says she got an unexpected result from the program: an increase among the children of what she calls self-efficacy. “It’s the ability to strategize, to plan into the future, to think about tomorrow,” she says. “Those older people, without pencil or paper, increased our children’s understanding of self-efficacy.”[9]

In summary, I started this article with a scriptural reference that described evil nations as ones that didn’t respect their elders.  From there, we looked at Christian and secular sources that described the lack of respect for elders as part of our current culture.  We looked at examples in media such as the Progressive commercial and the Good Sam TV show as well as sources promoting the elevation of youth over seniors as leaders. Then we looked at scriptural directives to promote the respect of elders as a source of leadership, teaching, and wisdom.

I would like to end by reiterating some key scriptures and their concepts:

Wisdom is something that is accumulated with age.

Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days. (Job 12:12 ESV)

This is a general rule, that people get wiser as they age.  However, the scriptures allow for exceptions to this rule.  Look at this:

Better is a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who doesn’t know how to receive admonition any more. (Ecc 4:13 WEB)

So age is not a guarantee of wisdom, just a guideline.

We are charged to respect our elders.

“‘You shall rise up before the gray head, and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God. I am Yahweh.  (Lev 19:32 WEB)

This verse says that standing up and respecting elders is part of respecting God.

1 Timothy talks about how we are to generally treat our elders differently.

Don’t rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father; the younger men as brothers; the elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, in all purity. (1Ti 5:1-2 WEB)

And one task that grandparents are charged to do is teach their grandkids the word of God.

“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children— (Deu 4:9 ESV)


[1] Does American Culture Prompt Us to Disregard or Respect the Elderly, https://licensetoparent.org/articles/respect-the-elderly/

[2] 7 Cultures That Celebrate Aging And Respect Their Elders Updated December 6, 2017, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/what-other-cultures-can-teach_n_4834228

[3] Aging in America: Ageism and General Attitudes toward Growing Old and the Elderly, Open Journal of Social Sciences > Vol.5 No.8, August 2017

[4] ‘Butt out, Grandma!’ Keeping the peace when your mother knows best, https://www.parentmap.com/article/butt-out-grandma-keeping-the-peace-when-your-mother-knows-best; Grandparents and Parents Disagreeing? 11 Tips for Both of You, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/grandparents-and-parents-disagreeing-11-tips-for-both-of-you/;

[5] Kids These Days Know Better Than Older Generations. Let Them Lead, https://www.yesmagazine.org/democracy/2017/12/22/kids-these-days-know-better-than-older-generations-let-them-lead

[6] Launching Global Campaign Promoting Right of Young People To Run for Public Office, https://www.un.org/youthenvoy/2016/11/launching-global-campaign-promoting-rights-young-people-run-public-office/

[7] https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/numbers-8-26.html

[8] Successful Aging, Daniel J Leviton, Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, 2020, P. 37 him

[9] US Culture Shift: Respect for Elders, https://www.csmonitor.com/1998/0708/070898.us.us.5.html

[10]Why Trickle-Down Economics Works in Theory But Not in Fact, https://www.thebalance.com/trickle-down-economics-theory-effect-does-it-work-3305572

last revised 4/7/22

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