If you have ever attended a religious funeral, Bible readings have usually played a large role in the ceremony. Besides offering a sense of comfort, these scriptures often give those mourning a glimmer of hope that the deceased person is in a better place with God in Heaven.
Popular Funeral Bible Readings
Most Christian funeral services include at least one Bible scripture or reading. If the deceased person was Catholic, then a full funeral Mass is held with several gospels and readings being recited. Those familiar with the Bible may already know what readings are appropriate and where they are found. However, for those who need a little guidance, here is a selection of popular Bible readings.
One of the more popular Bible verses read is Psalm 23, a psalm of David, which includes the following: "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness, For His name's sake. Ye a, though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."
You can find the complete Psalm 23 in the Bible or online at BibleGateway.com. However, the wording may be a little different depending on which version of the Bible you use. This is true for any funeral reading you choose.
The Book of John
In the New Testament's Book of John, there are several biblical verses appropriate for any funeral Bible reading. Excerpts include:
- John 6: 35-40: "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe."
- John 11: 17-27: "I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die."
- John 14: 1-6: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
The Book of Revelation
The Bible's Book of Revelation is also used as reference for funeral scripture readings. One of the more relevant readings is from Revelation 14:13, which states: "I, John, heard a voice from heaven say, 'Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.' 'Yes,' said the Spirit, 'let them find rest from their labors, for their works accompany them'."
Funeral Readings for Special Circumstances
In certain situations, some funeral Bible readings are more appropriate than others.
Suggested Verses for a Child's Funeral
For instance, when a child dies, there are more relevant scripture readings that may bring more comfort than others:
- Matthew 18, which includes Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven.
- Song of Solomon 2: 10-13, which includes Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
- Mark 10:14: Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.
The following websites have many of the previously mentioned verses in their full texts, as well as additional Bible readings suitable for any Christian funeral:
A Final Note
If you are having a funeral director or religious figure handle the funeral arrangements, then you won't have much to worry about when it comes to picking out the Bible readings. You may be asked for your input or you can even suggest a verse if it appeals to you. Additional information on scriptures or readings can be found in these LoveToKnow articles: