Over the years, I’ve participated in many Bible studies. Some were specifically for women in my age and stage of life, such as college and career, young marrieds, or those in the trenches of motherhood. Other studies included a mixture of women from varying ages. Yet even in those studies, I found myself gravitating toward my peers—women who were pursuing their careers or busy at home with young children or running everywhere with their pre-teens. I wanted to connect with women who knew what I was going through, who shared in a mutual understanding of the challenges of juggling work and home life or who were also wrangling little ones or navigating the challenges of the teen years.
Recent years have found me in a Bible study where the majority of women are not in my age or stage of life; rather, they are older than I. These women are at or near retirement. Their daily concerns are not centered on the logistics of family life with children. Their conversations don’t focus on the daily challenges of work at the office. In fact, many have big concerns about real and frightening health issues. Or heart-breaking relational issues with their adult children and grandchildren.
But you know what? Despite the difference in age, experience, and concerns of daily life, we have one key thing in common: our love for Christ. We are sisters in the Lord and these older, wiser sisters have taught me much. As it turns out, in the Kingdom of God, age is not a barrier to understanding. Just because someone is in a different stage of life than I, it doesn’t mean they can’t relate to me; rather, age is a bridge that leads to valued treasure—for the wisdom gained after years of walking with the Lord is a wealth of untold measure, a wealth we can all benefit from.
Three Reasons to Study the Bible with Older Women
1. God designed it that way: It may seem elementary—a truth many of us know—but it’s an important one to revisit. The Bible doesn’t say much about women’s ministry. Except in one place: Titus 2. In Paul’s letter to Titus, he instructs Titus in what a gospel centered church looks like. In the second chapter, he gives Titus specific instructions for various groups in the church, including women. That’s where Paul exhorts older women to disciple younger women (vv.3-5).
These older women were to be spiritual mentors to the younger women in the church. They were to teach them what it means to love and submit to their husbands, how to glorify God in their mothering, and what it looks like to be a woman of God. These older women were to take what they learned from Titus’ preaching, apply it to their own lives, and then in turn help the younger women apply the gospel to their lives.
Whether it is in one-on-one discipleship, a Titus 2 small group, a Bible study, or in an informal relationship, we all need to learn from older women. And what better way to learn than in the context of studying God’s word? As we dig into the Scriptures together, our older sisters in Christ can point us to truth. They can model for us how to live out the gospel in our daily lives. They can show us what it looks like to live for God as a single woman, as an employee, as a wife, as a mom.
2. They Show Us a Life of Trust: As we study the word with older women, we invariably learn from their life. We witness the gospel at work in them as they share testimonies of God’s faithfulness throughout the seasons of their life. They can share stories of how time and time again God provided. Of how he sustained them. Of how he rescued and delivered them. Of how he met them where they were with his abundant grace. As we study the Bible together, we can hear them share what God’s word has done in their life throughout the years, how it has shaped them, and equipped them to live for him.
As I’ve participated in Bible study with my older sisters in Christ, I’ve marveled at the level of trust they have. I’ve watched them encounter frightening health circumstances. I’ve watched them worry for their grandchildren. I’ve watched them face things I’ve never faced and cling to the Lord and who he is for them in the midst of it. I hear them testify of God’s goodness to them throughout their life and trust him to be faithful in their current trial. These women have a level of confidence in God’s faithfulness that only comes through experience. Their lives serve as Ebenezer’s of what God has done. Oh, how I long to have the same confidence and trust!
3. They Have Great Wisdom to Share: Whenever you get a group of women together you are likely to hear stories about each other’s struggles. You will hear prayer requests for marriages, for jobs, for health, for children. But one thing I’ve noticed with my mature sisters in Christ is that they are not as quick to toss out advice. They are less likely to tell you what worked for them in a particular situation. Perhaps they’ve learned that because one piece of advice worked for one person it doesn’t always work for another. Instead, they are quick to pray. They are quick to lean on the gospel. They are quick to turn to the wisdom of the Word. Through time and years of journeying with Christ, our older sisters have gained wisdom to know when to speak and when to listen. They know that what people need most isn’t a short-term solution, but the only long-term hope and cure for the soul: the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The women in my Bible study have studied God’s word for years and it shows. After decades of study, they continue to hunger after it. They’ve not outgrown it or found it boring. It encourages me when I hear them talk about the Bible, for I see how much it shapes their life. Their knowledge of it tells me they’ve studied the same books over and over and continue to learn and grow from it. It’s what they turn to when life gets hard. They preach the gospel to themselves and each other. This is wisdom we all need to hear.
So, the next time you participate in a Bible study, don’t hesitate to join one with women who are in a different age and stage than you are. Those who are farther along in the journey have much to teach us. Let us learn from their wisdom gleaned from years of sitting at the feet of Christ.
About the Author:
Christina received her undergraduate degree from Covenant College and her Master’s Degree in Counseling from Palm Beach Atlantic University. She is the content editor for enCourage and the author of several books, including A Heart Set Free: A Journey to Hope Through the Psalms of Lament , Closer Than a Sister: How Union with Christ Helps Friendships to Flourish, Idols of a Mother’s Heart, Sufficient Hope: Gospel Meditations and Prayers for Moms and A Holy Fear: Trading Lesser Fears for the Fear of the Lord. Christina serves on the national women’s ministry team as Regional Adviser of the Southeast. She prefers her coffee black and from a French press, enjoys antiquing, hiking, traveling, and reading. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and two boys. You can find her at www.christinafox.com, @christinarfox and on Facebook.