21 Short Bible Verses for Headstones or Memorial Plaques


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When you consider your end-of-life plans, you may first consider whether you would prefer to be cremated or buried. Then you may ponder the type of memorial service you would like to have and whether or not you want pink or yellow flowers placed on your casket. 

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But there’s one part of end-of-life planning that many people overlook. If you choose to have a headstone placed in a cemetery or a plaque outside of your columbarium niche, you need to consider the text that will forever mark your remains. Some plaques may only be big enough for your name and birth and death dates, others may be large enough to include an epitaph

If you are a Christian, you may consider choosing a verse from the Bible for your epitaph. Here are some ideas for yours or your loved ones. 

Post-planning tip: If you are the executor for a deceased loved one, it's tough to handle both the emotional and technical aspects of their unfinished business without a way to organize your process. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.

Bible Verses for a Mom’s Headstone

Bible verse for mother's headstone Proverbs 31:25 image

As you consider the verse for a mom’s headstone, it is important to remember the whole woman. She was also a daughter and maybe a wife, sister, aunt, and friend.

Maybe she was a volunteer, a business leader, a first responder, and a lover of dogs. Here are some verses that are rest in peace synonyms for the complex Christian woman in your life.

1. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7

Paul wrote this letter to Timothy. The race analogy that he used in verse seven can also be found in 1 Corinthians, where it is written, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run in such a way that you may get the prize.”

This epitaph may be an apt choice for a woman who enjoyed running or one who had a lengthy illness.

2. “Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.” Psalm 90:10

The popular gospel song “I’ll Fly Away” may have been written in response to this Psalm. If the woman in your life lived for a long time and was ready to “fly away,” this may be the appropriate engraving for her headstone.

3. “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Romans 6:4

Some Christians use every opportunity possible to witness to non-believers. Perhaps the deceased would have wanted even the text on her headstone to declare the gospel message. If so, here is an example.

4. “Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.” 1 Corinthians 10:24

Did the mother in your life not only care for her children but also worked in a service profession? Here is a quote you could choose for her headstone that celebrates that she put others before herself.

5. “She is clothed with strength and dignity.” Proverbs 31:25 

You may want to celebrate the mother’s strengths and personal qualities when you write the epitaph for her headstone. If so, this would be a lovely verse to use. 

» MORE: Everyone's wishes are different. Here's how to honor your unique loved one.

Bible Verses for a Dad’s Headstone

Bible verse for a dad's headstone image

Although you may also want to research funeral scriptures when choosing an epitaph for a headstone, some of them are too long. Here are some short verses to consider.

6. “I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead yet shall he lives.” John 11:25

Again, this verse declares the gospel message. It also acts as a message of solace to those who are grieving the loss of the deceased.

7. “Bless the Lord O my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name.” Psalm 103:1

Don’t forget to read different versions of the verse that you choose. Even though the meaning is the same regardless of the translation, the specific words that are chosen may vary.

8. “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

Some people pick their epitaph based on a favorite verse instead of having a family member choose a verse that tries to describe their deceased loved one. If this is your favorite verse, why not share it with the world? Make your desires known by preplanning your funeral.

9. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

This is one of the most often-quoted verses in the Bible and would be a great choice to put on a headstone of a Christian.

10. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

Did the deceased lose his life in the line of duty? Honor that sacrifice by placing this verse on the headstone.

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Bible Verses for a Husband or Wife’s Headstone

Bible verse for husband of wife's headstone image

What should you put on your husband’s or wife’s headstone? Instead of making a quick decision and using the phrase “in loving memory,” sleep on it and consider other options. Here are some Bible verses that you may consider using for your Christian spouse. 

11. “God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” 1 John 4:16

Was it clear that the love of God abided in your spouse? You would know more than anyone else. Share this message with the world.

12. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end.” Lamentations 3:22

This verse in the Old Testament book of Lamentations speaks about God’s love, but it also may remind the reader of the never-ending devotion in marriage. 

13. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” John 14:6

Although the decision on what to place on a headstone should never be taken lightly, the brevity of this verse, as well as the truth that it imparts, may be appealing.

14. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8

This is another short verse. Besides fitting on a small headstone, it also is from one of the most quoted sections of the Bible — the Beatitudes. 

15. “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:21

All Christians desire to hear this spoken when entering into heaven. Because of that, it is a rather favorite verse to have placed on a headstone or plaque.

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Bible Verses for a Sibling or Friend’s Headstone

Bible verse for a sibling or friend image

Before choosing the epitaph for a sibling or friend, check with the cemetery to see if there are any specific requirements. Look at headstone ideas online and talk with your monument salesperson. 

Here are a few more Bible verses you may want to consider for your deceased Christian friend.

16. “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good.” Romans 8:28

Was your friend or sibling an eternal optimist? This is a great quality to have and should be celebrated.

17. “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Revelation 2:10

If you are a believer, you probably love thinking about your loved one praising God in heaven and being free from pain and life’s worries. 

18. “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” Proverbs 3:17

Did your friend or family member have a peaceful, calming spirit? This may have been her spiritual gift. Celebrate this temperament that seems to be missing at times in the world.

19. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Galatians 2:20

Paul states that Christians are saved by faith alone, not by works. If this was the belief of your sibling or friend, this would be an excellent verse to pick for his or her headstone.

20. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13

Your Christian friend might want to emphasize that salvation through Christ is open to everyone, no matter the person’s background or past experiences.

21. “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” Acts 16:31

Here is another message of salvation. Even though it is brief, it is packed with meaning and can change someone’s life. 

What Is Your Favorite Verse?

We know that it is sometimes difficult to choose Bible verses for headstones for someone who has died. You may consider looking for passages in his or her personal Bible that are highlighted or underlined, but even then, you may not know the reason the verse is marked.

Sometimes Christian survivors have the difficult task of having to bury a family member or friend who was not a believer. Even if a deceased non-believer left no specific instructions regarding the text of the headstone, avoid using Christian images or themes. Your faith is not the faith of your loved one, and adding Christian images or text to a non-Christian’s headstone may not be an appropriate choice. 

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