A selection of Bible verses for headstone epitaphs which are both uplifting and comforting.
The back of a beautiful Portland headstone with an epitaph from the Bible
I hope the photographs in this post will inspire you to choose a verse from, or inspired by the Bible for your headstone- Biblical and other Christian epitaphs can be uplifting and speak to everyone- you don't have to be a church-goer to take away their meaning. They are timeless, and if well-designed, can be a work of art in themselves, as the headstone above shows that the epitaph can form a pleasing shape as a block of text, with lettering which doesn't need to be restricted to any particular style. I have included a list of epitaphs from the Bible, but they are not in any way exhaustive.
Bible verses for epitaphs or headstone inscriptions have been an important part of the ritual of honouring the dead for centuries. Short epigraphic fragments can be traced back to the Roman graves of the early centuries AD. Epitaphs were fairly common by the fifteenth century although surprisingly Bible verses did not really become popular until the turn of the 19th Century when epitaphs became more romantic and sentimental. These early biblical quotes often focus on salvation through faith, and by the Victorian period, short, often repeated quotes from the Bible became commonplace, largely replacing the poetic verses.
Although today the use of Bible verses for headstone is less common, partly because we live in a broadly secular society, there is still a great place for their use. Choosing an epitaph from the Bible is timeless, traditional, and reverent. People can go home and look up the verse in a Bible to find out its context, and churchgoers who see the verse in a churchyard will often be familiar with it.
The list of Biblical Epitaphs below has been chosen because they are universal in their sentiment and are both comforting and uplifting. Like epitaphs used in late 18th and 19th-century headstones, epitaphs often remind us of life beyond this earthly realm and the prospect of meeting our loved one again. Biblical epitaphs can also describe and reflect on the good Christian character of a person.
For my mother’s grave, I am using a Latin phrase “Anima Naturaliter Christiana” which translates “A naturally Christian soul”- I think it captures mum’s spirit perfectly.
The Bible verses listed below come from different versions of the Bible. If you want to use one on a headstone, I suggest you then look it up on a website such as Bible Gateway to double check the verse and also look for other versions, which you might prefer.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:13
Many waters cannot quench love. Song of Solomon 8:7
God is love, and those who live in love live in God and God lives in them. 1 John 4.16
You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32
Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. Ephesians 2:10
Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. Proverbs 3: 17
Let my beloved come into his garden and eat his pleasant fruits. Song of Solomon 4:16
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you. Philippians 1:3
To live is Christ, and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21
Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
The Lord watch between me and thee when we are absent one from another. Genesis 31:49
Under the shadow of thy wings. Psalm 36: 7
With Christ, which is far better. Philippians 1: 23.
The Lord bless you and keep you. Numbers 6:24
And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. Revelation 22:5
Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13
In the hand of God. Ecclesiastes 9:1.
No one lights a lamp and hides it, instead he puts it on a stand so that those who come may see the light. Luke 11:33
For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1
Those who love me, I will deliver. Psalm 91
Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death. Song of Solomon 8:6
Lord, I have loved the habitation of Thy house. Psalm 26:8
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. John 14:27
Toward the sunrising Joshua1:15
Do not let your heart be troubled, but trust in me, you know the place I am going. John 14:1,4
In Thy light shall we see light. Psalm 36: 9
And so we shall be forever with the Lord. Thessalonians 4:17
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10
In my Father’s house John 14:2
I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Exodus 19:4
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. Ecclesiastes 12:7
I am my beloved's and his desire is for me. Song of Solomon 7:10
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Revelation 21:4
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8
That whoever believes in him may have eternal life. John 3:15
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 17:8
Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. Revelation 2:10
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8
They can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. Luke 20:36
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7
I sought the Lord and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help. Psalm 121:1
Sleep on now and take your rest. Matthew 26:45
In all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility. Titus 2:7
Until the day break, and the shadows flee away. Song of Solomon 2:17
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
Whither thou goest, I will go. Ruth 1:16
He shall receive in the world to come eternal life. Mark 10:30
Blessed is the man who maketh the Lord his trust. Psalm 40:4
Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Matthew 25:21
I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm. Psalm 55:8
Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being. 1 Corinthians 10:24
I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:6
Gravestones tombs and memorials by Trevor Yorke
Remembrances and Celebrations by Jill Werman Harris
Fergus created Stoneletters Studio in 2003, after training at the Kindersley Workshop. He is a member of the prestigious Master Carver's Association.