Euphemisms for death abound. This is because there are many ways we talk about death.
Sometimes we talk evasively, in a way that avoids really talking about death. Other times we are trying to be polite and sensitive, especially around the family of the one who has died. Still other times we turn it into a big joke, blunting the razor edge of death’s horror with humor.
We can talk about death clinically, with a focus on the physical symptoms that avoids the emotional aspect. And of the flip side we can use purely emotional, whimsical terms like “living on in our hearts” as a way to deflect the crushing reality.
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.