Skip to content

New Testament Reading For A Funeral

Reading the New Testament is an excellent way to prepare for your service. It’s important to give people free will and freedom of choice, so they’re able to come closer to Jesus even at a funeral if they so choose. Preparation is key. This article discusses uplifting funeral readings.

Funerals are filled with personal stories and memories of who the person was. In addition to a eulogy, funerals often have a time when someone reads from the bible. Each place in the bible has special significance, and can be chosen carefully by people in the community who knew the deceased. You’ll also see comforting scriptures for funerals in this treatise.

New Testament Reading For A Funeral

A funeral can be a very difficult and emotional time. Because of the strain of the situation, people are often forced to find ways beyond normal assemblies to show their display of love, respect, and admiration for their family member or close friend.

1 Corinthians 15:55-57

55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Luke 23:39-43

“And one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed him, saying, “If you are Christ, save yourself and us.” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

The Gospel according to John 20:19-23

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.

Romans 5:5-11

Since we are nowjustified by his Blood, we will be saved through him from the wrath.

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans

Brothers and sisters:
Hope does not disappoint,
     because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts
     through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
For Christ, while we were still helpless,
     died at the appointed time for the ungodly.
Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person,
     though perhaps for a good person
     one might even find courage to die.
But God proves his love for us
     in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.
How much more then, since we are now justified by his Blood,
     will we be saved through him from the wrath.
Indeed, if, while we were enemies,
     we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son,
     how much more, once reconciled,
     will we be saved by his life.
Not only that,
     but we also boast of God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
     through whom we have now received reconciliation.

The word of the Lord.

Romans 5:17-21

Where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more.

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans

Brothers and sisters:
If, by the transgression of the one,
     death came to reign through that one,
     how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace
     and of the gift of justification
     come to reign in life through the one Jesus Christ.
In conclusion, just as through one transgression
     condemnation came upon all,
     so, through one righteous act,
     acquittal and life came to all.
For just as through the disobedience of the one man
     the many were made sinners,
     so through the obedience of the one
     the many will be made righteous.
The law entered in so that transgression might increase
     but, where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more, so that,
     as sin reigned in death,
     grace also might reign through justification for eternal life
     through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The word of the Lord.

Romans 6:3-9 (short form, 6:3-4, 8-9)

We too might live in newness of life.

  • Omit the words in bolded brackets [ ] for the short form of this reading.

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans

Brothers and sisters:
Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus
     were baptized into his death?
We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death,
     so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead
     by the glory of the Father,
     we too might live in newness of life.

[For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his,
     we shall also be united with him in the resurrection.
We know that our old self was crucified with him,
     so that our sinful body might be done away with,
     that we might no longer be in slavery to sin.
For a dead person has been absolved from sin.]
If, then, we have died with Christ,
     we believe that we shall also live with him.
We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more;
     death no longer has power over him.

The word of the Lord.

Romans 8:14-23

We also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans

Brothers and sisters:
Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear,
     but you received a spirit of adoption,
     through which we cry, Abba, “Father!”
The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit
     that we are children of God,
     and if children, then heirs,
     heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ,
     if only we suffer with him
     so that we may also be glorified with him.

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing
     compared with the glory to be revealed for us.
For creation awaits with eager expectation
     the revelation of the children of God;
     for creation was made subject to futility,
     not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it,
     in hope that creation itself
     would be set free from slavery to corruption
     and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.
We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now;
     and not only that, but we ourselves,
     who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
     we also groan within ourselves
     as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

The word of the Lord.

Romans 8:31b-35, 37-39

What will separate us from the love of Christ?

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans

Brothers and sisters:
If God is for us, who can be against us?
He did not spare his own Son
     but handed him over for us all,
     will he not also give us everything else along with him?
Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones?
It is God who acquits us.
Who will condemn?
It is Christ Jesus who died, rather, was raised,
     who also is at the right hand of God,
     who indeed intercedes for us.
What will separate us from the love of Christ?
Will anguish, or distress or persecution, or famine,
     or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?

No, in all these things, we conquer overwhelmingly
     through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life,
     nor angels, nor principalities,
     nor present things, nor future things,
     nor powers, nor height, nor depth,
     nor any other creature will be able to separate us
     from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The word of the Lord.

Romans 14:7-9, 10c-12

Whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans

Brothers and sisters:
No one lives for oneself,
     and no one dies for oneself.
For if we live, we live for the Lord,
     and if we die, we die for the Lord;
     so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
For this is why Christ died and came to life,
     that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
Why then do you judge your brother?
Or you, why do you look down on your brother?
For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God;
     for it is written:

     As I live, says the Lord, every knee
          shall bend before me,
          and every tongue shall give praise to God.

So then each of us shall give an accounting of himself to God.

The word of the Lord.

Uplifting Funeral Readings

Henry Scott-Death Holland’s Is Nothing at All is a timeless classic.
No one should fear death since it is meaningless.

It’s just that I quietly moved to another room.
That which makes me me also makes you you.
We still are who and what we were when we were together.

Use my previous, well-known name when addressing me.
So just use your normal, uncomplicated tone with me.
Don’t change the tone of your voice.
Do not put on an act of pretended solemnity or sadness.

Laugh as you remember as we always did at our shared inside jokes.
Have fun and keep me in mind. Please say a prayer for me.
Please keep my name as well-known as it has always been.
Ignore what has been said; it will have no effect.
It was completely devoid of any shadows.

Everything that life has meant is still in it.
Nothing has changed from how it always been.
There is complete continuity from beginning to end.
So what if I am out of sight if that means I have to be out of mind as well?

I’ll just have to wait for you.
While this interval is in effect.
Somewhere. Close by.
Soon enough, really.

Okay, everything is fine.
Nothing ever happened; nothing is gone forever.
In a moment, everything will be back to normal.
When we finally do reunite, we’ll be able to look back on this separation and chuckle.

Amazingly Good
Walt Whitman’s “A Clear Midnight”
Right now is the time for you, Soul, to take off into the void.
Thee fully out emerging, silent, staring, considering the subjects thou lovest best, far from books, far from art, the day vanished, the lesson finished.
There is something about the night that makes me think of sleep, mortality, and the stars.

W.H. Auden’s Funeral Blues is a modern, mournful ballad.
Put a halt to the clocks, disconnect the phones,
To quiet your dog’s barking, try offering him a tasty bone.
Put a damper on the drums and turn down the keyboards.
Discharge the corpse and invite the mourners.

Aircraft can fly about droning noisily in the sky.
The words “He is Dead” are written in the sky.
Dress up the white-necked public pigeons with crepe bows, and have the traffic cops wear black cotton gloves.

I thought our love would last forever since he was always there for me no matter where I was in the world: in the north, the south, the east, or the west.

Nothing positive can emerge from the current state of affairs, so turn out all the lights, remove the moon and sun, drain the sea, and burn the forest.

Invoking Force
To paraphrase Emily Dickinson: “If I Can Keep One Heart From Breaking”
If I can prevent the loss of even one person’s love, my life will not have been wasted; if I can lessen the suffering of even one person; if I can bring relief to even one person; if I can bring comfort to even one person; if I can help even one frightened robin return safely to his nest, my existence will not have been in vain.

Time for contemplation
Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken”
There were two paths I could take through the yellow forest, but I was sad that I couldn’t take them both. I stood for a while and looked down one to where it curved in the underbrush, but ultimately decided to take the other one because it was grassier and had less foot traffic.
The first one, I saved for later.
Even so, knowing how one path can lead to another, I was skeptical that I’d ever be able to return.
Sometime in the far future, I’ll look back and sigh as I recount how my life changed when I decided to take the path less traveled by in a mystical forest.

Graceful lyricism
John Keats’s “To Sleep”
O gentle embalmer of the silent dark, who shuts our gloom-pleas’d eyes, embower’d from the light, cloaked in divine forgetfulness:
Oh, peaceful slumber! If it’s all right with you, I’d like to close my eyes for this song or at least wait for the “Amen” before thy poppy throws its calming charity over my bed.
Turn the key skillfully in the oiled wards, and shut the silent Casket of my Soul, lest the past day’s light shine upon my pillow and produce many troubles. Save me from curious Conscience, that still masters Its might for gloom, burrowing like a mole.

Goodbye, buddies.
Anonymous Author, “The Parting Glass” (Traditional Irish)
Everything I’ve ever spent money on has been spent with people I enjoy being with, and the only person I’ve ever caused harm to was myself.
My current state of mind prevents me from recalling
So raise your farewell glass to me.
Wishing you everyone a peaceful night and a happy day.

There’s a pretty girl in town who has my heart completely captivated if only I had the means to buy her a drink and sit with her for a bit.
With her ruddy cheeks and red lips, she has captured my undivided attention.
So raise your farewell glass to me.
Wishing you everyone a peaceful night and a happy day.

All my friends from the past, they’re sad that I’m leaving.
All my past loves would give anything for just one more day with me, but because it is my fate to wake up while you sleep, I will do it with a quiet voice and a kind call.
Wishing you everyone a peaceful night and a happy day.

Comforting Scriptures For Funerals

When someone you love dies, you may experience a wide variety of emotions: sadness, anger, shock, denial, relief, and guilt, to name a few. In the midst of the emotional turmoil, words of comfort from the Bible can be exactly what you and other mourners need.

Matthew 11: 28-30

Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

Matthew 5:4

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Psalm 34:18

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

Lamentations 3:22-26, 31-33

The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him! The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord. For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love. For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow.

Verses to Remember God’s Promises

Remembering the promises God has made to his people can not only comfort mourners, but in many ways, it will also bring a renewed perspective of who God will be through this trial.

John 14:1-3

Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.

Romans 8:35, 37-39

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Isaiah 41:10

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

John 14:27

 I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

Psalm 56:10-13

I praise God for what he has promised; yes, I praise the Lord for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me? I will fulfill my vows to you, O God, and will offer a sacrifice of thanks for your help. For you have rescued me from death; you have kept my feet from slipping. So now I can walk in your presence, O God, in your life-giving light.

Verses of Hope for the Future

In addition to feeling God’s comfort and remembering His promises, the Bible gives hope for the future – an eternal life in God’s presence. Moreover, verses that talk about Christ’s sacrifice and his victory over death give comfort that earthly death is not the end. Jesus has conquered death, as have His children. Because of his sacrifice, there is hope. Hope for a future filled with God’s goodness. Hope for life with Him in heaven.

1 Corinthians 15:50-57

What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever. But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

John 11:25-26

Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die.

Job 19:25-27

But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last.  And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God! I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!

Philippians 1:21-23

For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me.

*All Scripture references are from the New Living Translation of the Holy Bible.

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *