Death is a reality that we all must face, in our lives or the lives of our loved ones. The feelings of anger, confusion, anxiety, and grief that death engenders can be overwhelming, and so we need a place to stand as we work through them. Whether you’re reflecting on death, wanting encouragement as you deal with the loss of a loved one, or are looking for words of encouragement for someone who’s lost a loved one, turning to Bible verses about death can give us much-needed perspective.
Bible Verses about Death
Grief is an appropriate response to death
As much as death is a fixture of our lives, it is also an intruder in God’s creation. We rightly feel that death takes something precious from us. Grief is the right response to death, whatever shape that grief takes. Within the Christian community, we aren’t meant to grieve by ourselves; our community is meant to come alongside and grieve with us.
If you’re wondering whether it’s appropriate to grieve with someone even though you aren’t the one who’s lost someone, it is. We may not know the person who died, but we know the ache, fear, confusion, and jumble of emotions that death brings. Standing with others in solidarity is how it’s meant to be. The following verses speak to grief as an appropriate response to death and call us to walk with others who are grieving.
Jesus wept. – John 11:35
Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. – Romans 12:15
The last enemy to be destroyed is death. –1 Corinthians 15:26
God desires to rescue us from death
Death entered the world because of what our first parents Adam and Eve did. We, their children, are caught up in the vortex of the consequences of their actions. Though all of us now die, God intervened to give us life and rescue us from death and separation from him. Jesus’ mission was to bring light and life to us in abundance and to make a way for us to be rescued from death.
…it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment”. God’s desire is to rescue us from death and final judgment, and he calls us to believe, as some of the verses below indicate. – Hebrews 9:27
The people who lived in the dark have seen a great light, and a light has come upon those who lived in the region and in the shadow of death. – Matthew 4:16
I assure you that whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and won’t come under judgment but has passed from death into life. – John 5:24
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” – John 11:25-26
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life. God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him. – John 3:16-17
Because of our God’s deep compassion, the dawn from heaven will break upon us, to give light to those who are sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide us on the path of peace. – Luke 1:78-79
But now that you have been set free from sin and become slaves to God, you have the consequence of a holy life, and the outcome is eternal life. The wages that sin pays are death, but God’s gift is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:22-23
But if we died with Christ, we have faith that we will also live with him. We know that Christ has been raised from the dead and he will never die again. Death no longer has power over him. He died to sin once and for all with his death, but he lives for God with his life. – Romans 6:8-10
I assure you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. – John 6:47-48
As for you, what you heard from the beginning must remain in you. If what you heard from the beginning remains in you, you will also remain in relationship to the Son and in the Father. This is the promise that he himself gave us: eternal life. – 1 John 2:24-25
Death won’t have the last say
Is there more to life and death than what we see? Human beings have long speculated whether there is life after death, and what that existence looks like.
Jesus’ resurrection, and the hope of eternal life that is held out for us, demonstrated that there is a new kind of life that awaits God’s people in the new world God is bringing to pass. Our physical bodies will be renewed and raised to new life.
When that will happen, and what that looks like are questions others have also asked, and we have some answers from the Bible. The Bible makes it clear that even though death is an enemy and a reality we all must face, in Jesus, people can have confidence that death won’t have the final say in God’s creation. The following verses draw us to look forward in hope that death isn’t the last word.
If we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we belong to God. – Romans 14:8
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. – Romans 6:5
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. – Psalm 23:4
In Jerusalem, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will spread a wonderful feast for all the people of the world. It will be a delicious banquet with clear, well-aged wine and choice meat. There he will remove the cloud of gloom, the shadow of death that hangs over the earth. He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign Lord will wipe away all tears. He will remove forever all insults and mockery against his land and people. The Lord has spoken! – Isaiah 25:6-8
For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. – 1 Corinthians 15:53-58
My sheep listen to my voice. I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life. They will never die, and no one will snatch them from my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them from my Father’s hand. – John 10:27-29
I’m convinced that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord: not death or life, not angels or rulers, not present things or future things, not powers or height or depth, or any other thing that is created. – Romans 8:38-39
Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words. – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. – Revelation 21:4
I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes – I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! – Job 19:25-27
If you’re dealing with the loss of a loved one, you don’t have to do so alone. Others have experienced loss, and though everyone’s journey with grief takes a unique shape, there is value in leaning on and learning from them.
There are groups that meet weekly and are led by trained therapists; these focus on a variety of concerns, including grief and loss. Consider group therapy, or if you want to work through your grief on an individual basis, one-on-one therapy with your therapist is also an option you should pursue.
“Hand Beneath the Veil”, Courtesy of Ellery Sterling, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Holding the Bible”, Courtesy of Priscilla Du Preez, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Open Bible”, Courtesy of Aaron Burden, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “The Pages of Holy Writ”, Courtesy of Timothy Eberly, Unsplash.com, CC0 License