Suicide touched my life very early. I wrestled with questions, but no one wanted to talk about it and no one had good answers. In this season, it has hit too close to home and I am again asking questions. This time I am looking into Bible verses about suicide for the answers. You are welcome to join me in the journey.Today we will learn How To Use these 46 Bible Verses About Suicide To Bring Hope and Healing Click To Tweet
Questions That Need Answers From Bible Verses About Suicide
Why am I asking questions about this topic instead of just being quiet like the Christian world would prefer? Well, I am a Christian who has had suicide touch my life too often with no answers.
In middle school, a boy in my class took his life. Then my best friend took his life. A neighbor killed her children, then took her own life. A long-time friend took his life, leaving a dear friend widowed too young.
Personally, I struggled with suicidal thoughts for many years. My husband cycles through depression that can easily spiral into suicidal ideations. Then recently, my youngest began this same spiral… too close to not ask questions.
Are there Bible verses about suicide? Yes!
Why Seek Out Bible Verses About Suicide?
God has used the Bible to heal a lifetime of trauma where counseling and medication fell short. With each painful situation, as the world’s answers felt hollow and trite, I have gone to Scripture.
The Lord meets us in His Word with hope, encouragement, and healing! Every single time! That’s what I need right now. Can you relate?
As close as the issue of suicide has been, it’s never been this close before. When I became aware that one of my own was honestly making a suicide plan my heart broke in ways I never dreamed were possible.
I needed the healing and hope that only God can bring.
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18 NASB)
What Kind Of Questions Do You Have About Suicide?
I wondered so many things, but I have some very specific questions.
- How best can I pray for mental health that leads to suicide?
- What causes the spiral toward suicidal thoughts?
- Where do suicidal thoughts come from?
- What to do if my loved one is suicidal?
- Are suicidal thoughts a sign of depression?
- What to do when someone is suicidal and refuses help?
These are some of my questions. Let’s look into Bible verses about suicide and see if we find the answers.
Related Post: Powerful War Room Prayers for Spiritual Battle
Bible Verses About Suicide
What I hoped to find as I searched for Scripture about suicide were clear directions about how to handle things. That is not in there although there are many Bible verses about suicide and even more Bible verses about depression. At times there are Bible verses about suicide and depression, but nothing about prevention exactly.
It will be easier to break these into 3 categories:
- People who committed suicide in the Bible.
- Biblical characters who mentioned suicidal thoughts.
- Scripture about longing for death.
Related Post: Spiritual Fasting for Breakthrough: The Key to Awakening
Suicide in The Bible
There are 7 specific Bible verses about suicide KJV that I’ve brought over in the NASB because they are easier to understand. With each one, we will see what led the Bible character up to the point of death and maybe glean some understanding.
Related Post: How To Study Bible Characters
1: The 1st Suicide in the Bible: Abimelech
“Then he called quickly to the young man, his armor bearer, and said to him, “Draw your sword and kill me, so that it will not be said of me, ‘A woman slew him.’” So the young man pierced him through, and he died.” (Judges 9:54 NASB)
The story of Abimelech, a son of Gideon (the man of valor) is the first where someone chooses how they will die. He was filled with violence and evil and a desire to rule and control his life. From the murder of his 70 siblings (minus 1 who hid) to the end of his 3 years as Judge of Isreal by conspiracy and war we see glimpses of mental illness.
In the end, he could not live with the shame of a woman killing him (Spoiler, God used women throughout the Old and New Testament to minister and accomplish HIS will which we will explore soon together*):
“But a certain woman threw an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head, crushing his skull. (Judges 9:53 NASB)
In his pride, he begged a man to stab him. Death by his own choosing is by very definition suicide.
2: The Suicide of Samson in Scripture
“And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” And he bent with all his might so that the house fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he killed in his life.” (Judges 16:30 NASB)
Next, we see Samson choosing his own death. What I find interesting about many of the Old Testament examples of suicide is that it was prompted when they thought they were going to die in some humiliating way. Their suicides were simply choosing a way that seemed to them to bring more honor. Samson is no different.
Now, to be fair, every time I’ve read the account of the life of Samson I’ve thought, “That dude was crazy.” But this time, as I read through his life choices I see mental illness in a different light.
He was different from birth; chosen, set apart. Even his love life was different in that Samson chose to love crazy, two-faced women. He lived life in a way that seemed to crave death and danger. There is also the fact that he chose to live away from people. I see a lot of markers of mental illness in his life.
Mental Illness Does Not Disqualify God’s Servants
What inspires me about Samson’s life (and many others who clearly suffered from mental health in Scripture and throughout history) is that God still used him. God called him and blessed him and entrusted him with great responsibility in spite of his mental health challenges… knowing beforehand that mental illness would be there!
For those who say suicide is an unforgivable sin or somehow cancels out one’s salvation, I hold Samson up to you!
“And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets,” (Hebrews 11:32 NASB)
Oh, how I wish God would heal all mental illnesses, but He hasn’t yet. Why? I can’t say, but what I see clearly as a pattern in Scripture is that God uses the weak thing to confound the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27). I see that His grace is sufficient in the midst of our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Praise Him, mental illness does not disqualify us from serving Him in powerful ways!
3 & 4: The Suicide of Saul and His Armor Bearer in the Bible
Another example of suicide in the face of failure, defeat, hopelessness, and a humiliating death is Saul. Saul is a Bible character who was plagued by paranoia and drastic, manic, and unpredictable mood swings. Mental illness is clearly at play in the life of Saul.
At the end of his life, his paranoia toward David drives him to a crazed war strategy. He loses the war and rather than face death at the hands of the righteous man of God, David, Saul kills himself.
Then, his armor bearer follows suit. He probably acted from fear of what David would do to him for not somehow saving Saul.
“Then Saul said to his armor bearer, “Draw your sword and pierce me through with it, otherwise these uncircumcised will come and pierce me through and make sport of me.” But his armor bearer would not, for he was greatly afraid. So Saul took his sword and fell on it. When his armor bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his sword and died with him.” (1 Samuel 31:4-5 NASB)
5: Suicide in the Bible: Ahithophel
Ahihophel was an obscure prophet. The Bible says King David and his son Absolom regarded Ahihophel’s advice as if from the Lord (2 Samuel 16:23). The problem was, he switched loyalty mid-battle.
Absolom desired the throne of David and worked treacherously to persuade the people to make him king. In all of his conspiracy, he neglected to inquire of the Lord who had already chosen Solomon. However, Ahihophel, a man of the Lord, for some reason turned to help Absolom rather than David.
Ahihophel gave advice about how to overthrow David… but David had prayed that God would confuse his advice and HE did just that. (This is a beautiful story inside of a story that we can’t unpack today but will come back to another time!* 2 Samuel 15:31 &17:14)
“Now when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his donkey and arose and went to his home, to his city, and set his house in order, and strangled himself; thus he died and was buried in the grave of his father.” (2 Samuel 17:23 NASB)
His suicide can be attributed to turning away from the Lord, or not following the Lord’s anointed. He knew that when a prophet of the Lord gives a word that proved false He is called out according to Deuteronomy 18:21-22. He had nothing to fall back on in life going forward. Hopelessness led to suicide.
6: Bible Verses About Suicide: Zimri
There were few good kings of Israel after Solomon. The kingdom split and each king struggled with the division. The pull of worshipping the false gods of the nations around them was stronger than their devotion to Jehovah.
Zimri was an agent of the Lord to punish the previous king for sin. He overthrew Elah and all his household and appointed himself as king. When the people realized what happened, they chose another to be king instead.
“When Zimri saw that the city was taken, he went into the citadel of the king’s house and burned the king’s house over him with fire, and died” (1 Kings 16:18 NASB)
Zimri ruled for only 7 days because of his own sin. In a final act of rebellion, he burns the king’s house over his own head. This is another man who choose his own death because the new king surely would have had him killed.
7: Suicide in the Scripture: Judas
“Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse… And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself.” (Matthew 27:1-10 NASB for the full account.)
Judas followed Jesus, believing Him to be the Messiah who would come as a conquering King and free Israel from Roman oppression. There would have been a future in that: wealth, position, and comfort. When Jesus turned out to be the suffering servant it is possible Judas began to see no future for himself following the Messiah.
Of course, in the accounts given in Luke 22 and John 13, we see that Satan entered Judas, and the betrayal was really his. The problem with laying the blame here on Satan is that Judas had already met with the Pharisees, and already begun the process of betrayal. Satan would have had no vessel if Judas were not already courting sin.
After, when Judas realized the religious leaders were set on murder, realizing his role in it all, guilt drove his choices. He couldn’t see a future for himself living with the guilt of murder, even just a conspiracy to murder. Guilt, separation, and rejection from his friends drove him to suicide.
Rejection and Separation from Friends…
One thing I’ve seen in the lives of my loved ones facing this challenge relates to Judas. There is a thought that they are a burden to those around them. No one likes them.
People have to accommodate them. They feel rejected by friends and family. They believe they will be separate for life or that being separate or not here would be better for the world.
The belief that life for others would be better without us is a strong motivator for suicide. Whether it came because of failure, sin, or just being different it is a real, felt thought for those suffering this way.
Shame is how I think of it really.
Fighting shame and guilt and dealing with thoughts that are fact not feeling are needed to overcome this challenge!
Suicidal Thoughts in The Bible
As we take this journey, exploring suicide in the Bible, I noticed there were several times people expressed a desire to die though they did not act on that desire. What motivates a desire to die or suicidal thoughts? These Scriptures about suicide may give us some clues.
Elijah Had Suicidal Thoughts in the Bible
“Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” And he was afraid and arose and ran for his life…
But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.” (1 Kings 19:2-4 NASB)
Elijah was a man of God. He talked to God, heard from God directly, and worked miraculously through the power of God in Him. Scripture doesn’t highlight any sin in his life as significant. There isn’t a failure. In fact, he had just had an amazing victory; a mountaintop experience like no other!
What we see in the story of Elijah is exhaustion from the battle and weariness from constantly being in one battle after the next.
There is also loneliness and fear in the mix. This is a man who trusted the Lord and knew His faithfulness, provision, and protection. The suicidal thoughts we see here show a stark contrast to those we studied before.
Suicidal Thoughts Do NOT Show A Lack of Faith
One question I wrestle with when anxiety and depression slip into my life is this:
Are anxiety and depression signs that I do not have a strong faith?
It hurts my heart when people preach about faith being enough to vanquish mental health concerns. Others suggest that suicidal thoughts and plans show no faith in the life of a believer.
Elijah proves that wrong. He reached a place in his life where he saw no way forward. He had no strength left for the never-ending battles and thought it would just be better to die and be done fighting. I can relate in some seasons. His faith is not the issue here.
God doesn’t yell at him to keep going… instead, God gives him time to rest before nudging him out of that mental space.
Rest is a key to moving past the challenges mental illness presents. Rest is key for anyone who is tired and weary in the battle.
Job Had Suicidal Thoughts
“Would that God were willing to crush me,
That He would loose His hand and cut me off!
“What is my strength, that I should wait?
And what is my end, that I should endure?” (Job 6:8-11 NASB)
Here again, we see a godly man, wishing for death. Job was overwhelmed by suffering and weariness. He was exhausted from the grief of so many tragic losses in his life.
This again is a man who never acted on the thought that death would be better than continuing on in the suffering. Instead of following through on the suicidal thought, he pursues God for answers. It is painfully inspirational to read this story.
Pursuing God Helps Redirect Suicidal Thoughts
Something that strikes me in the story of Job is that his faith is unmoved. Regardless of the loss he suffered, the rejection by friends and wife, and the community, he leaned into his faith. Job knew God was good and faithful and trusted that God had a plan.
Job knew God’s plan was right and so instead of making his own plan to die, He talked to God about it. Prayer is a powerful tool in the midst of grief and suffering. Prayer is talking to the ONE who can actually do something about your situation.
God doesn’t get angry with Job for praying. His response only served to re-direct Job’s thoughts. We know God was still pleased with Job because of the way he blessed Job after the trials ended.
Those momentary thoughts of death did not disqualify Job from God’s love or from serving God.
Jeremiah Had Suicidal Thoughts
The prophet Jeremiah was called in a time of Israel’s punishment and even in the midst of great consequences they still didn’t listen to God’s prophet!
The messages and methods God required of Jeremiah were extreme. The people hated, rejected, and openly persecuted this prophet. All the while he was a man of great faith, integrity, and compassion.
“Cursed be the day when I was born;
Let the day not be blessed when my mother bore me!
Why did I ever come forth from the womb
To look on trouble and sorrow,
So that my days have been spent in shame?” (Jeremiah 20:14-18 NASB)
Suicidal Thoughts Do Not Define Who We Are
In the example of Jeremiah, we see a man who served God faithfully. He obediently accomplished each painful, weird, and unpopular task God gave him. It was hard. He was exhausted and filled with sorrow.
I am so thankful he openly shared his thoughts and feelings with us.
It is so easy to think serving God is easy, or that it brings fame and glory. The reality is that serving God is hard work. He requires us to go against the current of the culture and cause a stir.
When life is hard, when there is ridicule and persecution, there can naturally come thoughts of death. The truth is that Heaven will be perfect and wonderful while Earth is hard and painful. It makes sense that in seasons where there has been too much hard for too long, we would long for heaven.
But our thoughts do not define who we are. We are called to serve Him. We are called to this hard life. So what if a few thoughts come in dark seasons? Give the thoughts to God and keep pressing through to serve Him, trusting His will, His way, and His timing as Jeremiah did!
Jonah Had Suicidal Thoughts
Jonah’s story is a great contrast to Elijah’s and Jeremiah’s. This is a prophet of God who obeyed well enough when it was easy but ran and resisted when it was hard. However, there are similarities.
Jonah did finally obey and serve God, though with a sinful heart attitude. He experienced great trials en route to obedience. The message Jonah brought to Nineva was tough and he assumed it would be unpopular. He would have been afraid for his life while there.
“Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life…
When the sun came up God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head so that he became faint and begged with all his soul to die, saying, “Death is better to me than life.” (Jonah 4:3-8 NASB)
Forgiveness and Love Are Key Ways To Help Suicidal Thoughts
Jonah was filled with hatred toward the people of Nineva. There was a long history there and his response is human and natural for sure, but it wasn’t what God wanted. His anger stirred up bitterness that God cared for the people and resentment that God passed up an opportunity for vengeance.
If Jonah had just listened to God here and seen HIS heart of love and forgiveness things would have gone differently.
We don’t see Jonah mentioned again which indicates this was the last time God used him. His unforgiveness could have been what disqualified him from serving God further.
Unresolved anger from refusing to forgive can lead to so many mental health struggles. Bitterness and resentment fuel some harmful thoughts. We must fight against them. We must choose to be people who forgive easily and leave revenge in God’s faithful hands.
Related Post: What Is Forgiveness and Why Is It Important?
Bible Verses About Thinking About Death
Something unexpected in this journey was how often death is talked about in Scripture. It happens so often we can’t cover it all here, but some specific instances where death sounds like thoughts of suicide fit our topic well.
Jesus Talked About Death
There are many times when Jesus talked about death and going to be with His Father. He looked forward to that time but did not hurry it. During one conversation, the Jews were so confused (LOL. That was not the first time they were confused.)
“So the Jews were saying, “Surely He will not kill Himself, will He, since He says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” (John 8:22 NASB)
Does Suicide Separate Us From God?
The Jews believed suicide was an unforgivable sin. Their misunderstanding of Jesus’ words here shows they thought suicide prevented you from reaching Heaven. That was a strongly held belief for a long time as we saw in the Old Testament examples of suicide through another person.
Let’s think about that for a moment.
What is suicide? Killing yourself or planning for someone else to kill you which we call murder. Were murderers ever saved and promised Heaven? Yes. Jesus’ death on the cross was for all who called upon His name.
We saw that some who committed suicide and others who thought about it are listed among the Saints in Hebrews 11 who were hailed for great faith. With that evidence, I can’t believe suicide is an unforgivable sin. It is a sin, but not the one sin that removes God’s seal of salvation from your soul (Ephesians 1:13).
Is It Wrong To Talk About or Think About Death?
There is a fear when you struggle with mental health to ever talk about or think about death. However, we see Jesus talking about Heaven and life after death so often that it must be okay.
The challenge in thinking about death is to always remember that God is in control of the timing and we can trust Him.
Also, there must be a balance. Jesus didn’t talk about death all the time. When we hyperfocus on death or the afterlife or our loved ones who have gone ahead of us we lose the ability to live life. Remember, we have a calling on our lives and we have to keep living them as we will see in this next passage.
To Live is Christ and to Die is Gain
“…Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith” (Philippians 1:19-25 NASB)
Paul suffered greatly as he served the Lord. He wrestled with the idea of just giving in to death or fighting to live. Was that a suicidal thought? Maybe… in that, his suffering was to the point of death and it took great effort to recover from beatings, survive in prison, and so on. He could have stopped fighting and just allowed death to come.
Sometimes Living Requires a Fight
We have a calling from God in this life. He calls us to serve Him, evangelize the lost, disciples the saved, and shine His light on the lost world. Are you?
Is it harder than you expected?
Is there persecution and resistance all around? There is supposed to be.
The Christian life is not easy. Whoever started spreading that lie has done more to damage the effectiveness of the Body than Progressive Christianity in my opinion.
There is a cost to this faith. It won’t bring comfort or wealth or promise health to your body. If Jesus suffered and His disciples suffered we will suffer. If we are not suffering something is off in how we are living.
Suffering will at times bring thoughts that death would be better… easier. But ultimately, we have to remember we have a calling. God is faithful and when our work here is done He will bring us home to the peace and rest of Heaven. Trust His timing!
Dispaired Even Of Life
“For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us,” (2 Corinthians 1:8-10 NASB)
2 Corinthians 1 is the first passage I found suicidal thoughts mentioned in this season of our family’s life. At first, I just cried reading it. I mean, some of the other accounts could be reasoned away, but Paul… Paul is a man of great faith who proved his love for God over and over.
Paul despaired of life.
He suffered so much in his service to God and there is a part of me that just rejoices to hear that in all his trials he faced suicidal thoughts and overcame them. That’s what I needed… stories of people overcoming suicidal thoughts. Ya’ know?
Paul is one who overcame in a big way!
You Can Overcome Suicidal Thoughts
How did Paul overcome his despair for life? He remembered God always delivers. God delivered him from trials in the past and He believed God would be faithful again.
How has God proved faithful to you in the past?
- Maybe journaling about past answers to prayer would help.
- Maybe talking about how God has moved in your life would help.
Find some way to remind yourself of how faithful God has been. It will help when the storms come and the waves are too high and you begin to despair of life.
How To Use Bible Verses About Suicide To Bring Hope and Healing
Okay, so I started out searching, “What does the Bible say about suicidal death KJV,” or otherwise but I was not satisfied. It doesn’t do me any good to find the Bible verses about suicide without also finding ways to use them. So… this will have to be a series and I will link the next part below when it is finished.
How to use Bible verses about Suicide… What I really want are weapons to fight this thing… this unwelcomed guest that has invaded my life and family. What I want are:
- Ways to pray against mental illness before it leads to suicide.
- Tools to help equip us to fight against suicidal thoughts.
- Encouragement for the weary Christian struggling with longing for death.
- Resources to help children struggling with suicidal thoughts.
- Specific ways to help Special Needs Children struggling with suicidal thoughts.
If you are in the trenches of this battle, you are not alone. I am praying with you and over you even now.
in HIS love,
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