What Does the Bible Say About Grief?

What Does the Bible Say About Grief

As long as we are on the surface of the earth, we will come face to face with grief. It is a part of healing and growth process, and we all deal with it in our own unique ways.

Nevertheless, what is Grief?

Grief is a deep distress caused by loss or bereavement. It is also an unfortunate turn of event or outcome.

Should people grief?

Does God have anything against those who grieve?

Let’s find out together.

What Does the Bible Say About Grief?

The Bible is quite clear regarding grief and grieving. It is used in diverse situations, all in relation to either bereavement or an unfortunate event like a loss (not necessarily of life), disappointment, failure, heartbreak, and so on.

For example, the Bible mentions in Ecclesiastes chapter 3 that there will come a season in the lives of individuals when we would face grief.

*Bibles verses are from the NIV unless otherwise indicated

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance”Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 4

So, from the above, it is clear that this is experience is recognized in the word of God.

What Does the Bible Say About Grief (KJV)?

Grief or grieving is something that is identified in scripture regardless of the translation, whether it is the KJV (King James Version) or any other. Different words may be used, but the idea remains the same.

For instance, when Solomon prayed for the Temple during its maiden dedication, he mentioned situations in which the people will seek God’s assistance when they accept their grief.

“Then what prayer or what supplication soever shall be made of any man, or of all thy people Israel, when every one shall know his own sore and his own grief, and shall spread forth his hands in this house:”2Chronicles 6:29 (KJV)

Other translations or versions may substitute the word ‘grief’ for words like pain, sickness, suffering, troubles or sorrow, etc. However, no matter how the word is used, the idea is still conveyed that among many things:

  • The Bible recognizes grief or grieving
  • The Bible agrees that seasons of grief or grieving will come at one time or another

What Does the Bible Say About Mourning the Death of a Loved One?

God our loving Father is sensitive to the frailty of our humanity, and so He made sure that we have records of people who went through similar experiences as us in the Bible. This way, you do not feel like you are alone, weak, or like we are doing something wrong.

In the old Testament, for instance, mourning was allowed among the Jews for between seven days to thirty days depending on the individual.

The Israelites mourned for Moses for thirty days while Jacob’s sons mourned him for seven.

“The Israelites grieved for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days, until the time of weeping and mourning was over.”Deuteronomy 34:8
“When they reached the threshing floor of Atad, near the Jordan, they lamented loudly and bitterly; and there Joseph observed a seven-day period of mourning for his father.”Genesis 50:10

The Bible does indicate that expression of our hearts and pain in the loss of those dear to us is necessary and should not be suppressed. However, we are guided by the word to mourn differently and not like those who are without Christ and are hopeless: 

“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.”1 Thessalonians 4:13

What Does the Bible Say About the Stages of Grief?

Psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross helped develop the concept of the five stages of grief in order to help us understand how we feel and where we are on the journey to healing from our losses and pains.

Her model consisted of five stages of grief after a loss:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression, and
  • Acceptance

God recognizes that we all process losses differently and so His word is accurate about us knowing His will for us regardless of the stage we are in. We could say that the Bible does focus on you and that no matter the stage, God has promised to be with you through it all.

Here is a verse that promises us God’s support whether you are in one stage of grief or another

“But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief”Job 16:5

What Does the Bible Say About Overcoming Grief?

Overcoming grief our way may lead us into destructive patterns, and God wants to keep us safe from this. Hence, the need to know what the Bible says about overcoming grief when they come.

If we look through God’s word, we would see different situations that grieved the hearts of God’s people and how they dealt with it. Each one overcame our griefs by bringing it before the Lord and letting God heal them completely.

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”Psalms 55:22

Examples of Grief in the Bible

Here are a few citations from the Bible where we can find examples of grief.

  • Isaac and Rebekah over Esau’s marriage
“When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite. They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah.”Genesis 26:34-35
  •  Jacob mourned for Joseph thinking he had been killed like his brothers said
“Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days. All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “No,” he said, “I will continue to mourn until I join my son in the grave.” So his father wept for him.”Genesis 37:34-35
  • Jesus was in deep distress in the Garden of Gethsemane
“He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”Mark 14:33-34

Is Grief a Sin in the Bible?

No! Nowhere in scripture is it stated that grief is sin. However, God does warn His people to be careful how they grieve, so that they don’t end up magnifying the devil and falling into sin instead.

“Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord.”Leviticus 19:28

How To Deal With Grief Biblically

If we are ever faced with grief, here are some biblical ways to deal with it:

  • Trust that God’s plans for you are good regardless of what has happened or is happening
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”Jeremiah 29:11
  • Ask God to heal and comfort you
“Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief. But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God.”My times are in your hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me. Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.”Psalms 31:9, 14-16
  • Surround yourself with people of faith who will help support your faith and encourage you through your grieving stages
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”Romans 12:15
  • Ponder more on the promises of God concerning you
“I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.”Psalms 63:5-6

Bible Verses About Mourning the Loss of a Loved One

Here are some Bible verses that can help us when mourning a loved one:

“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”Psalm 147:3
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”Matthew 5:4
“But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief”Job 16:5
“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.”Revelations 21:4
“So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”John 16:22

God is our comfort. May His comfort heal you through your season of grief, Amen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.