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Funeral: Bible Readings

For thousands of years people have sought comfort and inspiration from Holy Scripture at significant moments of sorrow or joy.

Here is a selection of Bible readings that may be suitable for a funeral, memorial service, or for private reflection:


John 6.35-40   

Jesus said to them, '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. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.'


John 11.17-27   

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, 'Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.' Jesus said to her, 'Your brother will rise again.' Martha said to him, 'I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.' Jesus said to her, '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. Do you believe this?' She said to him, 'Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.'


John 14.1-6   

Jesus said to his disciples: 'Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. 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, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.' Thomas said to him, 'Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?' Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'


Romans 8.31-end   

What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, 'For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.'     

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.


1 Corinthians 15.20ff  

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For 'God has put all things in subjection under his feet.' But when it says, 'All things are put in subjection,' it is plain that this does not include the one who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who put all things in subjection under him, so that God may be all in all.


1 Thessalonians 4.13-end         

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel's call and with the sound of God's trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord for ever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.


Revelation 21.1-7   

I, John, saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,    

'See, the home of God is among mortals.

He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples,

and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes.

Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more,

for the first things have passed away.'     

And the one who was seated on the throne said, 'See, I am making all things new.' Also he said, 'Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.' Then he said to me, 'It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children.'


More readings:

Online Bibles can be found at: http://bible.oremus.org/ or www.biblegateway.com

Click on the Bible website and type in the reference below:

Old Testament  
2 Samuel 1.17,23-end Lament for Saul and Jonathan
Job 19.23-27 I know that my Redeemer lives
Isaiah 53.1-10 The suffering servant
Isaiah 61.1-3 To comfort all who mourn
Lamentations 3 The Lord’s love never ceases
Daniel 12.1-3[5-9]  Everyone whose name…
Psalm 23 The Lord is my shepherd; therefore can I lack nothing.
Psalm 25 To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust;
Psalm 27  I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Psalm 34 The Lord is near to the broken-hearted 
Psalm 38.9-end   Do not forsake me, O Lord; O my God, do not be far from me
Psalm 42    As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.
Psalm 90  Lord, you have been our refuge from one generation to another.
Psalm 116    Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones
Psalm 118.4-end  I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.
Psalm 121   I lift up my eyes to the hills- from where will my help come?
Psalm 139    Where can I go from your spirit: where can I flee from your presence?
New Testament  
Matthew 25.31- end   The final judgement
Mark 10.13-16     Let the little children come
Mark 15.33-39; 16.1-6   He has risen, he is not here
Luke 12.35-40

The coming of the Son of Man

Luke 24.1-11   The Resurrection
John 5.19-29  Whoever hears my word..
John 6.35-58  All the Father gives me…
John 11.17-27    I am the resurrection and life
John 14.1-6   In my Father’s house…
John 19.38-end   Jesus' burial
John 20.1-11   Jesus' Resurrection
Romans 6.3-11    Baptized into Christ…
Romans 8.18-30   The future glory
Romans 8.31-end   Nothing can separate us
Romans 14.7-12    Lord of the living and the dead
1 Corinthians 13.1-end     Faith, hope and love remain
1 Corinthians 15    The resurrection of the dead
2 Corinthians 4 and 5  Mortal and heavenly bodies
Ephesians 3.14-19      The depth of Christ’s love
Philippians 3.10-end   God’s purposes for us
1 Thessalonians 4  We will always be with the Lord
2 Timothy 2.8-13   So shall we live with Christ …
1 Peter 1.3-9 Born anew to a living hope
1 John 3.1-3  We shall be like Christ …
Revelation 7.9 - end Worship in heaven
Revelation 21.1-7   Behold I make all things new
Revelation 21 and 22      The Lord God will be their light









































For more help with planning a Church of England Funeral visit:www.christianfunerals.org or www.cofe.anglican.org/lifeevents/funerals