The Old Testament is one of the most important parts of Christianity, and its scripture brings a lot of peace and comfort to Christians. If you’re planning a Christian funeral, the Old Testament is a great source of readings and tributes.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Old Testament Funeral Readings for a Parent or Grandparent
- Old Testament Funeral Readings for a Partner or Spouse
- Old Testament Funeral readings for a Child or Grandchild
- Uplifting Old Testament Funeral Readings
Full of beautiful scripture that focuses on love, life, and legacy, the Old Testament is an important part of any ceremony. When read by a trusted officiant or loved one, there are few better ways to honor someone’s life.
To spark inspiration, here are 20+ Old Testament readings for a funeral or memorial. The right funeral readings add an element of importance, peace, and comfort to any service, whether it's an in-person event or a virtual funeral using a service like GatheringUs. The readings below are ideal for anyone who had a strong relationship with God.
Old Testament Funeral Readings for a Parent or Grandparent
Parents are our first teachers, and these are lessons that go beyond a single lifetime. The love of a parent never fades, and these Old Testament funeral readings are perfect for any parent or grandparent.
1. “Train up a child in the way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6)
Proverbs 22:6 of the Old Testament is a reminder that even as children age, they remember what their parents taught them. Parents and grandparents are a child’s greatest teachers, and these lessons last a lifetime.
2. “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction” (Proverbs 1:8-9)
In this scripture, the greatest teachings one can ever have are a “father’s instruction and a “mother’s teaching.” These are a beautiful “garland for your head and pendants for your neck.” They’re to be cherished and celebrated.
3. “Children’s children are a crown to the aged” (Proverbs 17:6)
Parents and children share some of the strongest bonds. These are ties that hold all of humanity together, and they should be valued.
(If you would like to know more about what the Bible says about the aging process, check out our list of Bible verses on aging.)
4. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5)
Children are with us long before we know them. They’re a part of our very selves. Before they were even born, they were a shining part of this world and a wonder to behold.
5. “My frame was not hidden from you” (Psalm 139:15-16)
When parents and children were made, they were “woven together in the depths of the earth.” Before either parent or child existed, they were together in the story of humanity and in the kingdom of God.
Old Testament Funeral Readings for a Partner or Spouse
A partner or spouse is a lifelong friend and companion. When that companion is no longer with us, an emptiness can take its place. These Old Testament readings remind us that these bonds never fade.
6. "Set me as a seal upon your heart” (Song of Solomon 8:6-7)
A partner or spouse is more than just someone bonded in holy matrimony. It’s a “seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm.” In this Old Testament scripture, love is as strong as death itself, and no grave can keep this love from shining.
7. “Two are better than one” (Ecclesiastes 4:9)
As the saying goes “two are better than one.” According to the Old Testament, this is because they have a better return for their labor. When one partner falls down, the other one helps them up.
8. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother” (Genesis 2:24)
When a man leaves his family, he is not alone. He has his wife, and together, they become “one flesh,” two halves of the same whole.
9. “Many waters cannot quench love” (Song of Solomon 8:7)
Though there might be storms and other challenges, love is stronger than any obstacle. As this scripture in Song of Solomon goes, “rivers can not wash it away.”
10. “Let love and faithfulness never leave you” (Proverbs 3:3-4)
Love and faithfulness are two emotions that will never die, no matter what life might bring. Though your partner might be gone, their love is written “on the tablet of your heart” for all of eternity.
Old Testament Funeral Readings for a Child or Grandchild
When planning a memorial service for a child or grandchild, it’s important to highlight their innocence and love. Though their life might have been short, it still had infinite meaning.
11. "All your children will be taught by the Lord” (Isaiah 54:13)
Every child who is taught by the Lord and in his name will find peace in this life and in the afterlife. This brings the family great comfort in a time of mourning.
12. “For you created my inmost being” (Psalm 139:13-14)
Every child was created in the image of the Lord, and this means each child is “fearfully and wonderfully made.” No matter how brief the child’s life, they were perfection.
13. “Behind, children are a heritage from the Lord” (Psalm 127:3-5)
Children are always a gift, a “heritage from the Lord.” Men and women who welcome children into their lives reap countless rewards, and they’re never alone.
14. “God, your love is precious” (Psalm 36:7-8)
God’s love is a precious thing, and it exists long after we’ve gone to Heaven. God will always protect people as “a bird protects her young under her wings.” The children in His care are in good, loving hands.
15. “For You have been my help” (Psalm 63:7-8)
God is always there to offer help to the young and the old. When we face challenges, like love and loss, God’s “right hand upholds me.”
Uplifting Old Testament Funeral Readings
Uplifting Old Testament funeral readings remind us that we aren’t alone even in our darkest moments. If we just trust in each other, our relationships, and our faith, we will see brighter days ahead.
16. "Be still, and know that I am God!” (Psalms 46:10)
To be still and calm in a moment of crisis is easier said than done. Yet, in these moments, we can find comfort knowing that God is there for protection and comfort in all times of need. Faith can get you through anything.
17. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Sometimes life doesn’t make a lot of sense. Things don’t always go the way we want them to, and tragedy can strike at any moment. It’s up to us to trust in our faith and God’s plan. This scripture reads, “Do not lean on your own understanding...acknowledge Him.” By focusing on God, you’ll find hope.
18. “As a father has compassion on his children” (Psalm 103:13)
Compassion makes the world a better place. While you have compassion for those in your life, “the Lord has compassion on his faithful followers.” If you simply believe, everything will work out alright.
19. “For the needy shall not always be forgotten” (Psalm 9:18)
When people are in need, God will keep them in His heart. Hope is truly the most remarkable thing we have, and it’s important to stay hopeful in one’s faith.
20. "Fear not, for I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10)
Last but not least, this reading is a reminder that you’re never really alone if you have faith. God is always with his followers. Through God, one can find strength and help. He will “uphold you with my righteous right hand” through all.
Finding Faith When It’s Needed the Most
Readings from the Old and New Testaments are like returning to the comfort of an old friend for those who practice Christianity. The Old Testament is full of wisdom, strength, and kindness to those with open hearts and minds. Whether you’re looking for a passage to include in a free funeral program template or a reading for a funeral, there’s something for everyone.
Anyone going through a loss is looking for hope. Many find that through God and through the Old Testament. At the very least, reading these scriptures is a reminder that faith can bring anyone through a difficult time.