For people of faith, scripture can be deeply inspiring and comforting during times of sorrow and loss. Thankfully, the New Testament provides plenty of verses that you can use for a funeral or Mass.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Protestant New Testament Readings for a Funeral
- Catholic New Testament Readings for a Funeral
- New Testament Readings for a Parent's Funeral
While there are numerous popular texts commonly used at funerals, it’s okay to branch out and choose different portions of scripture, as well. Simply make sure the New Testament reading for a funeral applies to your loved one’s life and contributes to a sense of meaning and encouragement during the service.
You can use these New Testament readings at an in-person funeral or a virtual funeral. If you're hosting a virtual funeral for more than just a few guests, we recommend using a service like GatheringUs to plan, set up, and host the event.
Protestant New Testament Readings for a Funeral
Many verses from the Bible are appropriate to serve as readings during a funeral. If you want to use a verse that isn’t listed here for a funeral or for planning a memorial service, make sure it ties into a person’s life and adds meaning to the funeral service.
1. John 14:1-3
This verse says, “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.” The verse is an encouraging reminder that the deceased is now with God in a place prepared in heaven.
2. Matthew 11:28-30
This verse can be meaningful in reference to the deceased being given rest after a lengthy battle with illness. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
3. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Encourage attendants by reminding them that God is available to comfort them during their time of loss and mourning. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
4. Philippians 1:21
Read this as a reminder to those attending that the deceased lived a full life: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain,” as a reminder to those attending that the deceased lived a full life and that even their death is meaningful because they are in heaven with God.
5. Romans 8:37-39
This is a fitting reminder that nothing, even death, can separate Christians from the love of Christ. It says, “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.”
Catholic New Testament Readings for a Funeral
6. Romans 5:8-9
Catholics have hope through faith in Jesus Christ, even in their death. This verse is a good reminder of that hope: “But God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”
7. Romans 14:7-9
"For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living."
Use this verse as a reminder that even in death, the deceased still belongs to God.
8. 2 Corinthians 4:16-17
Death is hard to take and can be a time of difficulty and mourning. The encouragement that this verse brings is in knowing that the hope of heaven has been achieved for the deceased and is still to come for the funeral attendants. It reads, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”
9. 2 Corinthians 5:1
"For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."
This verse is an excellent reminder of the promise of heaven for those who believe in God.
10. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
An excellent reminder of the hope of heaven that everyone has who believes in Jesus. “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with him those who sleep in Jesus.”
New Testament Readings for a Parent’s Funeral
A parent’s funeral is both a solemn and joyous occasion — solemn due to your parent’s loss and joyous because of a life well-lived. Here are several verses that work for funerals or for memorial service ideas.
11. 1 Corinthians 15:54-56
This is a perfect reminder that the life of a Christian does not end in death: “When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory. Oh death, where is your victory? Oh death, where is your sting?”
12. Romans 8:37
This verse, a positive reminder that even death is conquered by faith in Jesus, reads, “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
13. John 3:16
This is a perfect verse to remind those attending that the deceased believed and where their faith was placed: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
14. I Corinthians 15:20-21
For those who believe in Jesus, death is temporary and heaven is permanent in this verse: “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by man also came the resurrection of the dead.”
15. 2 Timothy 2:11
For a Christian, death on earth simply means the deceased will enjoy life with God in heaven. This is a faithful saying: For if we died with him, we shall also live with him.
New Testament Readings for a Child’s Funeral
A child’s funeral can be incredibly difficult for all attending. These verses provide encouragement and a reminder that the child is in a better place waiting for their loved ones and family members to join them.
16. Matthew 5:4
Encourage those attending with this verse, which says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted,” and remind them that God provides comfort in times of distress.
17. I John 3:1
Every child is a child of God. This verse can be very encouraging for someone who lost a son or daughter: “Behold what manner of love the father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!”
18. John 11:25-26
For Christian parents, there is hope that they will again see their child in this verse, which reads, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” Remind them of that hope with this verse.
19. John 10:27-29
Eternal life is the ultimate hope of Christians and it says in this passage, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the father’s hand.” Even though death is felt on earth, life continues beyond the grave.
20. Matthew 5:8
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Children are pure in heart and this verse is an encouragement that they will be present with God.
21. John 5:24
This is another verse that brings comfort and reminds attendees of the hope of eternal life in heaven. “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes in him who sent me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”
Scriptures Inspire and Encourage
When reading texts at a funeral service or Mass, choose scripture that inspires those attending, encourages their hearts, and reminds them of their faith. In times of sorrow, there is no better place to turn than scriptures that point heavenward.