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Funeral Scriptures: Best Bible Verses for Funerals

Best Funeral Scriptures

There are so many options for funeral Scriptures that it’s hard to choose the right one for your loved one’s funeral.

So we’ve done the winnowing for you. Below, we first feature the 5 best Bible verses for funerals and memorial services. These Scriptures are ideal for simply reading, for a funeral sermon, or as a quote in your eulogy.

After the top five, we have additional Bible verses that focus on proclaiming the Gospel. Next, we have comforting Scriptures to share with the grieving family, plus funeral readings specifically for mom, dad, grandparents, and more.

Lastly, we’ll close out with a big list of the many classic and truly meaningful funeral Scripture selections that have been traditionally read at funerals throughout history.

Let’s jump in.

Scripture verses below are quoted from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

5 Best Funeral Scripture Readings

Timeless Scriptures that are always appropriate for funerals and memorial services.

Psalm 23

he 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.

Matthew 11:28-30

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

John 14:1-3

Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

I Corinthians 15:42-44, 51-57

So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
    O death, where is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

I Thessalonians 4:14-18

For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Gospel Scriptures for Funerals

Christ-centered, Gospel-focused selections to read at funerals to ensure that the Good News is proclaimed.

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. 

Romans 5:6-11

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:32

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

II Corinthians 5:17-21

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Ephesians 2:1-10

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

I Timothy 1:15

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

I John 4:10

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Comforting Scriptures for Funerals

Some of the most beloved passages in all of Scripture. These are promises and words of comfort for the grieving family and loved ones to hold on to.

Psalm 18:28, 30

For it is you who light my lamp;
    the Lord my God lightens my darkness.
30 This God—his way is perfect;
    the word of the Lord proves true;
    he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.

Psalm 34:18

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
    and saves the crushed in spirit.

Psalm 61:1-3

Hear my cry, O God,
    listen to my prayer;
from the end of the earth I call to you
    when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
    that is higher than I,
for you have been my refuge,
    a strong tower against the enemy.

Psalm 73:26

My flesh and my heart fails,
    but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Psalm 77:19

Your way was through the sea,
    your path through the great waters;
    yet your footprints were unseen.

Psalm 119:49-50

Remember your word to your servant,
    in which you have made me hope.
50 This is my comfort in my affliction,
    that your promise gives me life.

Isaiah 26:3-4

You keep him in perfect peace
    whose mind is stayed on you,
    because he trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
    for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

Matthew 28:20

“Behold, I am with you always.”

Luke 19:10

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

John 16:33

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

Romans 8:26

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.


Next, we have funeral Scripture readings specifically for parents, grandparents, and children.

The funeral Scripture quotes below are from the World English Bible or the World English Bible (British Edition). This is a Public Domain (no copyright) modern English translation of the Scriptures freely available to use, share, copy, and distribute.

Funeral Bible Verses for Mother

Proverbs 31:10, 25-31

Who can find a worthy woman?
    For her price is far above rubies.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing.
    She laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom.
    Kind instruction is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household,
    and doesn’t eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed.
    Her husband also praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain;
    but a woman who fears Yahweh, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands!
    Let her works praise her in the gates!

Isaiah 66:13

As one whom his mother comforts,
    so I will comfort you.
    You will be comforted in Jerusalem.

Funeral Bible Verses for Dad

III John 1:4

I have no greater joy than this: to hear about my children walking in truth.

2 Timothy 2:8-13

Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, of the offspring of David, according to my Good News, in which I suffer hardship to the point of chains as a criminal. But God’s word isn’t chained. 10 Therefore I endure all things for the chosen ones’ sake, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11 This saying is trustworthy:

“For if we died with him,
    we will also live with him.
12 If we endure,
    we will also reign with him.
If we deny him,
    he also will deny us.
13 If we are faithless,
    he remains faithful;
    for he can’t deny himself.”

Funeral Bible Verses for Grandmother

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, I give to you. Don’t let your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful.

1 Corinthians 13:4-13

Love is patient and is kind. Love doesn’t envy. Love doesn’t brag, is not proud, doesn’t behave itself inappropriately, doesn’t seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will be done away with. Where there are various languages, they will cease. Where there is knowledge, it will be done away with. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when that which is complete has come, then that which is partial will be done away with. 11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child. Now that I have become a man, I have put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, even as I was also fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, and love remain—these three. The greatest of these is love.

Funeral Bible Verses for Grandfather

Philippians 3:20-21

For our citizenship is in heaven, from where we also wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will change the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of his glory, according to the working by which he is able even to subject all things to himself.

Zechariah 8:4-5

The Lord of Armies says: “Old men and old women will again dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, every man with his staff in his hand for very age. The streets of the city will be full of boys and girls playing in its streets.”

Funeral Bible Verses for Baby or Child

Matthew 18:1-5, 10-14

In that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” Jesus called a little child to himself, and set him in the middle of them and said, “Most certainly I tell you, unless you turn and become as little children, you will in no way enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever therefore humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever receives one such little child in my name receives me.

10 See that you don’t despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. 11 For the Son of Man came to save that which was lost.

12 “What do you think? If a man has one hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine, go to the mountains, and seek that which has gone astray? 13 If he finds it, most certainly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. 14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

Isaiah 65:17-21

“For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
    and the former things will not be remembered,
    nor come into mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create;
    for, behold, I create Jerusalem to be a delight,
    and her people a joy.
19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
    and delight in my people;
and the voice of weeping and the voice of crying
    will be heard in her no more.

20 “No more will there be an infant who only lives a few days,
    nor an old man who has not filled his days;
for the child will die one hundred years old,
    and the sinner being one hundred years old will be accursed.
21 They will build houses and inhabit them.
    They will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.”

Psalm 147:3

He heals the broken in heart,
    and binds up their wounds.

Lamentations 3:17-26

You have removed my soul far away from peace.
    I forgot prosperity.
18 I said, “My strength has perished,
    along with my expectation from the Lord.”

19 Remember my affliction and my misery,
    the wormwood and the bitterness.
20 My soul still remembers them,
    and is bowed down within me.
21 This I recall to my mind;
    therefore I have hope.

22 It is because of the Lord’s loving kindnesses that we are not consumed,
    because his compassion doesn’t fail.
23 They are new every morning.
    Great is your faithfulness.
24 “Yahweh is my portion,” says my soul.
    “Therefore I will hope in him.”

25 Yahweh is good to those who wait for him,
    to the soul who seeks him.
26 It is good that a man should hope
    and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.

Complete List of Funeral Scripture Readings

Here are all the most classic funeral Scripture readings, arranged by order of reference from Genesis to Revelation.

This includes some but not all of the passages listed in the first section. That section was intended to help you choose Bible readings for specific situations, people, or purposes relating to funerals. This second section is a good source for general or frequently used Bible verses for funerals.

Job 19:23-27 – I know that my Redeemer lives

“Oh that my words were now written!
    Oh that they were inscribed in a book!
24 That with an iron pen and lead
    they were engraved in the rock forever!
25 But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives.
    In the end, he will stand upon the earth.
26 After my skin is destroyed,
    then I will see God in my flesh,
27 whom I, even I, will see on my side.
    My eyes will see, and not as a stranger.

Psalm 18:4-6 – The cords of death surrounded me

The cords of death surrounded me.
    The floods of ungodliness made me afraid.
The cords of Sheol were around me.
    The snares of death came on me.
In my distress I called on the Lord,
    and cried to my God.
He heard my voice out of his temple.
    My cry before him came into his ears.

Psalm 17:15 – I shall see your face

As for me, I shall see your face in righteousness.
    I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with seeing your form.

Psalm 23 – The Lord is my shepherd

The Lord is my shepherd:
    I shall lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
    He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
    He guides me in the 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 runs over.
Surely goodness and loving kindness shall follow me all the days of my life,
    and I will dwell in the Lord’s house forever.

Psalm 46:1-3 – God is our refuge

God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we won’t be afraid, though the earth changes,
    though the mountains are shaken into the heart of the seas;
    though its waters roar and are troubled,
    though the mountains tremble with their swelling.

The whole thing is really, really good. These first three verses are a popular selection.

Psalm 63:3 – Better than life

Because your loving kindness is better than life,
    my lips shall praise you.

Psalm 116: 3-9 – You have delivered my soul from death

The cords of death surrounded me,
    the pains of Sheol got a hold of me.
    I found trouble and sorrow.
Then I called on the Lord’s name:
    “Lord, I beg you, deliver my soul.”
The Lord is gracious and righteous.
    Yes, our God is merciful.
Yahweh preserves the simple.
    I was brought low, and he saved me.
Return to your rest, my soul,
    for Yahweh has dealt bountifully with you.
For you have delivered my soul from death,
    my eyes from tears,
    and my feet from falling.
I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.

Psalm 116:15 – Precious is the death of his saints

Precious in the Lord’s sight is the death of his saints.

Proverbs 12:28 – The way of righteousness is life

In the way of righteousness is life;
    in its path there is no death.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 – A time to be born, and a time to die

For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven:

a time to be born,
    and a time to die;
a time to plant,
    and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
a time to kill,
    and a time to heal;
a time to break down,
    and a time to build up;
a time to weep,
    and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn,
    and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones,
    and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace,
    and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek,
    and a time to lose;
a time to keep,
    and a time to cast away;
a time to tear,
    and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence,
    and a time to speak;
a time to love,
    and a time to hate;
a time for war,
    and a time for peace.

Often funeral readings of this passage will end at verse 4.

Ecclesiastes 7:1-3 – It is better to go to the house of mourning

A good name is better than fine perfume; and the day of death better than the day of one’s birth. It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting; for that is the end of all men, and the living should take this to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter; for by the sadness of the face the heart is made good.

Isaiah 25:8 – He has swallowed up death

He has swallowed up death forever! The Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces. He will take the reproach of his people away from off all the earth, for the Lord has spoken it.

Paul references this verse in the famous passage from I Corinthians 15:54.

Isaiah 33:17 – A distant land

Your eyes will see the king in his beauty.
    They will see a distant land.

Isaiah 40:26 – Lift up your eyes

Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens.

NIV translation.

Isaiah 41:9-10 – I will uphold you

You whom I have taken hold of from the ends of the earth,
    and called from its corners,
    and said to you, ‘You are my servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away.’
10 Don’t you be afraid, for I am with you.
    Don’t be dismayed, for I am your God.
    I will strengthen you.
    Yes, I will help you.
    Yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.

Isaiah 57:1-2 – The righteous perish

The righteous perish,
    and no one lays it to heart.
Merciful men are taken away,
    and no one considers that the righteous is taken away from the evil.
He enters into peace.
    They rest in their beds,
    each one who walks in his uprightness.

Isaiah 65:17-21 – Weeping will be heard no more

“For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
    and the former things will not be remembered,
    nor come into mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create;
    for, behold, I create Jerusalem to be a delight,
    and her people a joy.
19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
    and delight in my people;
and the voice of weeping and the voice of crying
    will be heard in her no more.

20 “No more will there be an infant who only lives a few days,
    nor an old man who has not filled his days;
for the child will die one hundred years old,
    and the sinner being one hundred years old will be accursed.
21 They will build houses and inhabit them.
    They will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

This passage is the background source for the famous verses in Revelation 21:1-7 that speak of “a new heaven and a new earth.”

Jeremiah 31:10-13 – I will turn their mourning into joy

“Hear the Lord’s word, you nations,
    and declare it in the distant islands. Say,
‘He who scattered Israel will gather him,
    and keep him, as a shepherd does his flock.’
11 For the Lord has ransomed Jacob,
    and redeemed him from the hand of him who was stronger than he.
12 They will come and sing in the height of Zion,
    and will flow to the goodness of the Lord,
to the grain, to the new wine, to the oil,
    and to the young of the flock and of the herd.
Their soul will be as a watered garden.
    They will not sorrow any more at all.
13 Then the virgin will rejoice in the dance;
    the young men and the old together;
for I will turn their mourning into joy,
    and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.

Lamentations 3:19-26 – Great is your faithfulness

Remember my affliction and my misery,
    the wormwood and the bitterness.
20 My soul still remembers them,
    and is bowed down within me.
21 This I recall to my mind;
    therefore I have hope.

22 It is because of the Lord’s loving kindnesses that we are not consumed,
    because his mercies don’t fail.
23 They are new every morning.
    Great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul.
    “Therefore I will hope in him.”

25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
    to the soul who seeks him.
26 It is good that a man should hope
    and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.

This reading can be expanded to include verses 17-33.

Zechariah 8:3-6 – The City of Truth

The Lord says: “I have returned to Zion, and will dwell in the middle of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called ‘The City of Truth;’ and the mountain of the Lord of Armies, ‘The Holy Mountain.’”

The Lord of Armies says: “Old men and old women will again dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, every man with his staff in his hand for very age. The streets of the city will be full of boys and girls playing in its streets.”

The Lord of Armies says: “If it is marvelous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in those days, should it also be marvelous in my eyes?” says the Lord of Armies.

Matthew 5:4 – Blessed are those who mourn

Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they shall be comforted.

Matthew 11:28-30 – Come to me

“Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 18:1-5 – The greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven

In that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” Jesus called a little child to himself, and set him in the middle of them and said, “Most certainly I tell you, unless you turn and become as little children, you will in no way enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever therefore humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever receives one such little child in my name receives me.”

This passage is often combined with verses 10-14, which we list next.

Matthew 18:10-14 – The Son of Man came to save

See that you don’t despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. 11 For the Son of Man came to save that which was lost. 12 What do you think? If a man has one hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine, go to the mountains, and seek that which has gone astray? 13 If he finds it, most certainly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. 14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

Luke 19:10 – To seek and to save the lost

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

ESV translation.

John 8:51 – He will never see death

Most certainly, I tell you, if a person keeps my word, he will never see death.

John 10:10 – I came that they may have life

I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.

John 11:25 – I am the resurrection and the life

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will still live, even if he dies.”

John 12:24-26 – Where I am, there my servant will also be

Most certainly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 He who loves his life will lose it. He who hates his life in this world will keep it to eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, let him follow me. Where I am, there my servant will also be. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

John 14:1-3 – I am going to prepare a place for you

Don’t let your heart be troubled. Believe in God. Believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many homes. If it weren’t so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will receive you to myself; that where I am, you may be there also.

John 14:6 – I am the Life

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.”

John 14:19-21 – Because I live, you will live also

Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more; but you will see me. Because I live, you will live also. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 One who has my commandments and keeps them, that person is one who loves me. One who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him, and will reveal myself to him.

John 14:27 – My peace I give to you

Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, I give to you. Don’t let your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful.

John 16:33 – I have overcome the world

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

ESV translation.

John 17:3 – This is eternal life

This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and him whom you sent, Jesus Christ.

Romans 6:4-5 – Buried with him through baptism

We were buried therefore with him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will also be part of his resurrection.

Romans 14:7-9 – If we die, we die to the Lord

For none of us lives to himself, and none dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord. Or if we die, we die to the Lord. If therefore we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died, rose, and lived again, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

Romans 8:35, 37-39 – Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Could oppression, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … 37 No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from God’s love which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This is a shorter reading. You can also opt for the entire section of Romans 8:31-39.

I Corinthians 7:29-31 – The time is short

But I say this, brothers: the time is short, that from now on, both those who have wives may be as though they had none; 30 and those who weep, as though they didn’t weep; and those who rejoice, as though they didn’t rejoice; and those who buy, as though they didn’t possess; 31 and those who use the world, as not using it to the fullest. For the mode of this world passes away.

I Corinthians 15:42-44 – Raised in glory

So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown perishable; it is raised imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.

I Corinthians 15:53-57 – Death is swallowed up in victory

For this perishable body must become imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this perishable body will have become imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then what is written will happen: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

55 “Death, where is your sting?
    Hades, where is your victory?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

II Corinthians 1:3-4 – The God of all comfort

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

II Corinthians 4:14 – He will raise us also

He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will present us with you.

II Corinthians 5:1 – A house not made with hands

For we know that if the earthly house of our tent is dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens.

II Corinthians 5:17 – A new creation

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new. 

Philippians 1:21-23 – To live is Christ

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will bring fruit from my work; yet I don’t know what I will choose. 23 But I am hard pressed between the two, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.

Often, for funerals, the Scripture selection will be just verse 21.

II Timothy 1:8-14 – I know Him whom I have believed

Therefore don’t be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner; but endure hardship for the Good News according to the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before times eternal, 10 but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the Good News. 11 For this I was appointed as a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 12 For this cause I also suffer these things.

Yet I am not ashamed, for I know him whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to guard that which I have committed to him against that day. 13 Hold the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 14 That good thing which was committed to you, guard through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.

This passage features several treasured funeral Scriptures, especially the ideas that grace was given to us “before times eternal” (v. 9), that Christ “abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the Good News” (v. 10), and the comforting reality that “he is able to guard that which I have committed to him” (v. 12).

II Timothy 2:11-13 – We will also live with him

This saying is trustworthy:
“For if we died with him,
    we will also live with him.
12 If we endure,
    we will also reign with him.
If we deny him,
    he also will deny us.
13 If we are faithless,
    he remains faithful;
    for he can’t deny himself.”

I Thessalonians 4:14-17 – The dead in Christ will rise

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we tell you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will in no way precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with God’s trumpet. The dead in Christ will rise first, 17 then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. So we will be with the Lord forever.

A slightly larger selection would include verses 13 through 18.

I Peter 1:3-9 – Inheritance reserved in Heaven for you

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an incorruptible and undefiled inheritance that doesn’t fade away, reserved in Heaven for you, who by the power of God are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved in various trials, that the proof of your faith, which is more precious than gold that perishes even though it is tested by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ— whom, not having known, you love. In him, though now you don’t see him, yet believing, you rejoice greatly with joy that is unspeakable and full of glory, receiving the result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Revelation 14:13 – Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord

I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors; for their works follow with them.”

Revelation 21:1-7 – He will wipe away every tear

I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth have passed away, and the sea is no more. I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. I heard a loud voice out of heaven saying, “Behold, God’s dwelling is with people, and he will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; neither will there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more. The first things have passed away.”

He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” He said, “Write, for these words of God are faithful and true.” He said to me, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give freely to him who is thirsty from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes, I will give him these things. I will be his God, and he will be my son.

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Scripture Readings for Funeral

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.

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