What are some of the most comforting Bible verses to be found for a funeral? What Scriptures can bring comfort to those who are grieving the loss of a loved one? Here are a few of the most powerful and comforting Bible verses for a funeral service.
Second Corinthians 5:8-9 “Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.”
If we fully understood what heaven was like we might want to go there before our time but God has appointed a time for each of us to live and to die. There is “an appointment for men to die” (Heb 9:27). There is not only a time to die but there is also a time to be born (Eccl 3:2). We cannot add one more second to our life than God has sovereignly allowed but we can make the most of our life while living it. For those who have endured so much we know that they would rather be with the Lord. When we don’t want someone to die after fighting a long battle with disease we are selfish in the sense that we want them to remain with us. Why? Because it’s hard to lose a loved one but think about this; it’s hard for those who are dying to endure such agony over an extended period of time. Many who have fought the good fight are ready to “go home” to be “with the Lord.” Who can blame them? They are not really dead. We see only an empty shell because they are more alive now than ever and in the presence of the Lord.
Psalm 116:15 “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”
I did a funeral once and I told those in attendance that “This is not really a burial ground but resurrection ground for one day their body will be joined with their spirit or soul. This body in the ground will be resurrected from the grave, just as Christ was resurrected from the dead, so too will the believer’s body be joined with their soul or spirit. When a beloved saint dies, it’s precious thing in God’s sight but then they are in His presence. They remain with us in our thoughts. They may be gone but they are not forgotten. They may be missing on the earth but they are still alive, in fact, they are more alive than ever.
Job 14:14-15 “If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my service I would wait, till my renewal should come. You would call, and I would answer you; you would long for the work of your hands.”
Job seemed to understand that if he died, he would be renewed or resurrected and see the Lord. God “would call, and [Job] would answer…” Job knew that the Lord longed “for the work of [His] hands” which means that God longs for us to be fully present with Him. Yes, we long to be present with the Lord but the Lord also longs to be present with us (John 14:15). What a wonderful fact to ponder.
Second Corinthians 5:1 “For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
This body is only a shell after death. This body is decaying daily and passing away but God is building us “a house not made with hands” but an “eternal [one] in the heavens.” Our bodies might be destroyed but our heavenly body will never be.
Romans 14:7-9 “For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.”
I believe Paul wrote “if we die, we die to the Lord” because the Roman Christians were be persecuted and many were being killed. Some had animal skins sewn over them and tossed into an arena and killed by wild beast. Others were covered with pitch and set on fire to light up Nero’s parties. Paul wanted to give the Roman Christians hope because many were being murder in especially cruel ways. Some “suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated” (Heb 11:36-27). God is not the God of the dead but of the living (Mark 12:27). This is what Jesus said when He spoke about the resurrection (Mark 12:27).
First Thessalonians 4:14-17 “For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 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. 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. 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.”
Many in the Corinthian church were confused like many believers are today about their beloved ones who have died in the faith. What is to become of their body? When Christ returns to judge the world of sin and to have believers rule with Him, He will play two roles; one is that of judge for those who refused to repent in this life and the other is the King and Savior of those who are His followers. When a believer dies, their spirit goes to be with the Lord but their physical body remains in the grave. At Christ’s second appearance, both body and spirit will be joined together again like Jesus’ was after His resurrection. For the unbeliever, they go into a place of temporary torment to be judged later (Rev 20:11-15). Before Christ’s return, the unsaved will be like the rich man who was in torment right after death (Luke 16:19-31). When Jesus returns both body and soul will be cast into the lake of fire. It’s a different thing for Christians because when Jesus comes again their body and spirit will be joined together again but for not eternal damnation. Would you not rather “always be with the Lord?” Then I strongly urge you to repent today and put your trust in Christ and be spared from this second death (Rev 20:14; Rev 20:6; Rev 2:11).
Second Corinthians 5:8 “Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”
I ended with a Bible verse that is full of hope for those who died in the faith but it’s with the intent of bringing comfort to those who are left behind. Paul “would rather be away from the body (which will be left in the grave at death) and be home with the Lord.” Wouldn’t you? I certainly would but God is not done with us yet. As long as we are still breathing, there is something for us to do for God. Let us use what life we have left to glorify Him and to proclaim to the lost that there is hope only in Christ. This hope is not only for this life but for the life to come (1 Cor 15:19).
Funerals for believers should be more like a celebration than one of heartbreak because the believer is now with the Lord. Do you think that the loved one who is with the Lord would want to come back where there is heartache, pain, suffering, and sadness? No, we know that they would rather be with the Lord and they are more joyful than they have ever been. One wise lady once said about believers, “When we are born, we come into the world crying and surrounded by people full of joy…when we leave the world, we are full of joy surrounded by people who are crying.” How true. If we would only about where they are now and that they are waiting for us, maybe it could make it more bearable for us. What is our loss is their gain.
For those who are not saved, they should rightly fear death for there is only a fearful expectation of God’s wrath to be poured out on them (Rev 20:11-15). The Bible says that “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living” and angry God (Heb 10:31). There is no need for that because God doesn’t wish anyone to perish. For those who’ve put their trust in Christ they need not fear death. They can look forward to meeting the Lord and falling at His feet and being in eternal joy forever and ever. For those who reject Christ, it will be suffering without end. It’s your choice. Choose life…chose to trust in Christ today…while it is still possible for no one knows what tomorrow may bring (2 Cor 6:2).
Read here for more Bible verses to be used at a Funeral Service: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/15-comforting-bible-verses-for-funerals/
Jack Wellman is Senior Writer at What Christians Want to Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design