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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: How Should We Respond to the Death of Others?

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Don Stewart
Death is the final outcome for living in a sinful world. What is the proper attitude to take when other people die? Does the Bible provide any guidance?

Death Is An Enemy

The Bible says that death is a real enemy.

The last enemy to be destroyed is death (1 Corinthians 15:26).

When Believers Die

When believers die our attitude should be sadness mixed with joy. The sadness is for ourselves, not for the believer who died. That person is in a better place, the loss is ours.

David Mourned Jonathan

We find David mourning for his good friend Jonathan when he died (2 Samuel 1:11-27). He went through the normal grieving process.

Christians Not Immune To Grief

Christians, like everyone, else are not immune to pain when people die. It is not wrong for Christians to mourn. The Bible says that after Stephen died.

Devout men buried Stephen and made loud lamentation over him (Acts 8:2).

The Apostle Paul was distressed at the thought of losing his friend Epaphroditus to death. He wrote.

Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow (Philippians 2:27).


Jesus Himself mourned at the tomb of Lazarus.

Jesus wept (John 11:35).

Sting Gone

Fortunately, Christ has taken the sting out of death. Paul wrote.

Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? (1 Corinthians 15:55).

Ultimately, death is not victorious over the believer.


In Christ, there is hope.

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

It is proper to be sorrowful when a believer dies, but it is not the same sorrowful feeling as those who have no hope.

The Lord is our hope. The psalmist wrote.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18).


Those who have received comfort can provide comfort for the hurting.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

When Unbelievers Die

The death of unbelievers is a cause for sadness. Sadness that we will not see that person again, as well as sadness they do not know Christ. It should encourage Christians to bring the message of salvation for those who still have a chance - the living.

Paul And Israel

Paul's feeling toward Israel illustrates the proper attitude toward the lost.

I am speaking the truth in Christ - I am not lying; my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit - I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh (Romans 9:1-3).

Death Of An Evil Person

The Bible has the following to say about the death of an evil person.

When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices; when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy (Proverbs 11:10).


Death is a reality that we all face. When friends or loved ones die there is naturally a grieving process. This is true whether or not that person was a believer. When a believer dies, there is hope for a reunion, when an unbeliever dies, all hope is gone.
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