What does the Bible say about death?
I know even the word death can trigger a whole lot of emotions, painful memories, grief and fear. Many choose to simply not talk about it. But it’s hard to ignore, death is all around us.
For anyone who’s faced death or the loss of a loved one you know it’s one of the most unnatural things you can experience. It permanently alters your life and has left many with their faith in shambles.
And I know most of us just prefer to live in denial. Thanks to modern medicine we can in essence live like we will never die. So we stick our heads in sand and pretend death won’t knock on our door. But it will. I think it’s important we acknowledge that and seek wisdom from God’s Word.
I know it might be challenging, but I think you will be encouraged and filled with hope by what you see about death in the Bible.
So, let’s look at this question: What does the Bible say about death?
Table of Contents
What Does The Bible Say About Death?
So, what does the Bible say about death? The Bible is full of stories of people dying, teachings about death, warnings about death, and comfort when facing death. In short, death is found throughout the entire Bible.
We don’t have space in this blog post to break down each individual verse. So what we are going to do is highlight a few of the verses and then look at 7 truths we can learn about death in the Bible.
Here’s a few of the most popular Bible verses about death:
- “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.’ “ John 11:25
- “ ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4
- “For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” Romans 8:13
- “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
- “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.” Psalm 23:4
- “For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.” 1 Thessalonians 4:14
- “For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even their name is forgotten.” Ecclesiastes 9:5
- “For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!” Ezekiel 18:32
- “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:1-3
- “I don’t want you to grieve like the rest of humanity who has no hope.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13
The above verses give us a good overview of what the Bible says about death. But it’s far from exhaustive. If you want to read all the actual verses about the what the Bible says about death check out: Bible Verses About Death
Now we are going to take the above verses and break them down into what the Bible actually teaches us about death.
7 Truths About Death In The Bible
Here’s 7 powerful truths about death in the Bible.
1. Death Was Never God’s Plan
If you’ve ever lost someone you loved or faced death yourself, you know it’s one of the most unnatural and disorienting things you can experience. It’s almost as if we weren’t designed to go through it, and we don’t have the capacity fully process it.
That’s exactly what we see in the Bible; death was never part of God’s plan. Which explains why it can feel so unnatural to deal with.
Look at the first three chapters of Genesis. We were never meant to die. We were meant to live with God and with each other forever. But when we turned from God and towards our own desires everything fell apart and death entered the picture (Romans 8:18-23). Our sin has made death a part of our lives.
Death feels unnatural because it is; God did not create us for death but for life. Death was never part of God’s plan; it exists because sin entered the picture.
2. In Death There Is Hope
Death has brought disruption to the life that God intended for his people to live. But all hope is not lost.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:13 Paul says, “I don’t want you to grieve like the rest of humanity who has no hope.” In other words Paul is saying, I want you to grieve, but do so WITH hope.
Notice he doesn’t say, don’t grieve. As Christians we should grieve the loss of a loved one. Grieving is natural and healthy. Paul is striking a balance. Tim Keller in On Death says, Christians can and must both grieve profoundly and fully and yet do so with hope.
We can have hope when facing death because death is not the end. For followers of Jesus death is just the beginning. Jesus has defeated death and made a way for us to get to the way God intended us to live. We have hope that on the other side of death is something beyond our imagination.
Therefore we should grieve when facing death, but we should do so with the hope of the resurrection.
3. Death Stings
The Bible never downplays the sting of death. Remember in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 that Paul says we are to grieve. We grieve because death is a significant loss. The Bible never hides that. Instead it highlights the pain death brings. Story after story details the sting of death.
Maybe the most shocking story of the sting of death takes place in John 11. John 11:35 masterfully records the sting of death on Jesus when his friend Lazarus died in two short words: Jesus wept.
Tim Keller in On Death says, “Here is Jesus, the Son of God, who knew quite well that he was going to do a great miracle and raise his friend from the dead. We would think, would we not, that he would be walking to the tomb quietly smiling and thinking to himself, ‘wait til you see what I’m going to do! Everything is going to be fine!’ Instead he is weeping, grieving, angry.”
Jesus knows the end of the story. He knows that he is about to raise Lazarus. He knows that he will deal with death once and for all on the cross. But still he weeps over the loss of a friend; he still experiences the sting of death.
The sting of death is real and the emotion that comes with it is natural.
For more about the story of Lazarus check out: Why did Jesus Weep? (and why we should too)
4. We Don’t Suffer Alone
Whether you are facing death or dealing with the loss of someone you love it can be an incredibly isolating experience. Even when you are surrounded by people it’s common to feel alone, that no one else really understands what you are facing.
But you are not alone. And no, I’m not talking about the people around you. Although I think the body of Christ is an incredible support. I’m talking about something much deeper.
The Bible teaches us that God is with you. I mean literally with you. It’s in his name, Emmanuel, God with us. He left heaven and earth in pursuit of you. He went to the cross and rose from the grave so that he could also stay by your side. God is with you.
Whatever you are facing God is right beside you, and he will walk with you through it.
For more about God with us check out: What Emmanuel Really Means
5. One Day Death Will Be No More
We know how it will one day be… but we also know we aren’t there yet. We live with the promise of what is to come but in the reality of what still is.
Revelation 21:4 promises us that “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Because of what Jesus has done we can have hope. Our momentary trials and struggles are just that. Momentary. One day they will be no more. That should give us hope. On the other side of death is life.
That doesn’t make death easy. But it makes it purposeful. Like the mother about to give birth. The process is excruciating and scary. But the life on the other side is so incredibly worth it.
The Bible teaches the same principle about death. Yes, it’s scary. Yes it could be painful. But on the other side is life beyond what we can even imagine. Death is temporary; one day we will experience life without the threat of it ending.
6. One Day Things Will Make Sense
Sometimes death just doesn’t seem fair does it? A good father dies a painful death way too young and an evil person lives a long life and dies a peaceful death. Some live long lives and others are brutally cut short. The amount of pain and suffering in the world is hard to even fathom.
It can seem at times like God isn’t really in control. But the Bible tells us the problem isn’t God’s lack of control, rather it’s our vantage point. God is far bigger than any of us can even imagine. And he is doing things we cannot comprehend.
Have you ever seen a tapestry? It’s a piece of thick textile that has intricate images woven into the front. But if you flip it around and look at the back it’s just a mess of threads. You can kind of make out a faint picture, you can kind of see the idea. But it’s tough, it just looks like a mess.
We live on the backside of the tapestry. We live on the side where it just looks like a mess. But one day God will turn it around, and we will see the beautiful and intricate story God has told through our mess.
Where we are right now things just look like a mess. But the Bible teaches us that it’s just a mess from where we are standing. One day we will see the other side, and it will all make sense.
7. Eternity Is Better Than We Can Imagine
I used to think of heaven as a place where we play harps and sing songs to God all day everyday. But as I studied the Bible I realized that’s a terribly inaccurate picture of what eternity will be like. And thank God, because that sounds boring…
Eternity is living life as God intended it to be lived. Without the consequences of sin or the fear of death. We will experience the richness of relationships. The excitement of discovery. The joy of creating. The serenity of seeing unadulterated beauty. All while living in unity with God and others. The best experiences we’ve had in this life pale in comparison to what we will experience in the next.
The Bible describes heaven as the streets being paved with gold (Revelation 21:21). Is that a literal truth? Could be, but I think this image is communicating something bigger. The Bible is telling us that what’s most valuable to us in this life will be what our feet trample on in eternity. This is a statement of the grander of eternity. It will be far better than we can possibly comprehend.
The life on the other side of death is far better than we can imagine.
Closing Thoughts On Death In The Bible
So, what does the Bible say about death? Death is painful and will bring grief. But because of God’s incredible love for us we also have hope in the midst of loss. One day things will be restored and we will spend eternity in paradise. Until then we cling to the hope we have in Christ.
Death is something we don’t like to think about. And I get that. But the Bible talks a lot about death and it’s message should give us hope. It doesn’t minimize the sting of death, instead it sympathizes with us. The Gospel doesn’t leave us in despair, instead it lifts our eyes.
For all who follow Jesus there is hope that one day death will be no more, and until then we have a God that’s walking right with us through it all.
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