Choosing a select few word to represent and memorialize the life of a loved one is a daunting task. When putting an inscription on an urn, or an epitaph on a headstone, the important features to look for in a quote are significance, brevity, and relevance.
If you would like to honor the faith of a loved one by inscribing a Scripture verse on the urn or headstone, the significance of the quotation is already inherent. After all, the Bible is the Word of God, and what could be more significant than the very breath of God?
As for brevity, below we have gathered a selection of brief and fitting Scripture verses for an epitaph. These verses are listed in the English Standard Version of the Bible, with links to the traditional King James Version (KJV, which uses words like “thee” and “thou” and verbs that endeth in “-eth”) as well as the popular and contemporary New Living Translation (NLT). These Bible verses will fit on most cremation urns and memorial headstones in a readable font size. If the verse sounds familiar but not quite the way you remember it, it may be that you have heard the verse before in the King James Version or some other translation.
The last feature that should be considered for a epitaph inscription is relevance to the individual’s life and faith. Only you and those closest to the deceased can determine this, so peruse these Scriptures with an eye toward the verse’s relevance to your loved one.
Epitaph Scriptures are listed below in the order that they appear in the Bible.
Choosing an appropriate Scripture verse for a memorial service is a poignant way to honor the faith of a loved one and provide comfort for those who remain. Here is a selection of Bible verses for funeral services in the English Standard Version (ESV), with links for each verse in the traditional King James Version (KJV) and also the more modernized New Living Translation (NLT).
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
– Psalm 91:1-2
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
he also hears their cry and saves them.
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.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
– Psalm 23
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
– II Corinthians 4:16-18
It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.
– Philippians 1:20-23
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