What does the Bible say about suicide?
Has someone you loved committed suicide? If so, perhaps you experienced emotions ranging from searing grief to anger or despair. Is your loved one in hell? Do you feel guilty, wondering why you didn’t realize how bad things were getting? Can a Christian commit suicide? Let’s discuss those questions!
Perhaps you’re considering suicide or have had thoughts about it. This article will help you process those thoughts with God’s Word.
Maybe you have a close friend or relative who has suicidal thoughts. How can you help them? We’ll discuss some ways here.
Christian quotes about suicide
“The peculiar feature of Death by Suicide is that it is not only self-inflicted but sudden. And there are many sins which must either be dealt with suddenly or not at all.” Henry Drummond
“Suicide is man’s way of telling God, ‘You can’t fire me – I quit.'” – Bill Maher
“Suicide doesn’t take away the pain, it gives it to someone else.”
“If you are looking for a sign not to kill yourself this is it.”
“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
“Never let a stumble in the road be the end of the journey.”
Examples of suicide in the Bible
The Bible records seven people who died of suicide or assisted suicide. They were all ungodly men or men who had strayed away from God.
Abimelech: This Abimelech was Gideon’s son. He had seventy brothers! (Gideon had a lot of wives). After Gideon died, Abimelech killed his brothers and made himself king. When the people of Shechem rebelled, Abimelech killed all the people and leveled the city. He then attacked the town of Thebez, but the citizens hid in a tower. Abimelech was about to burn the tower with the people inside when a woman dropped a millstone from the tower and crushed Abimelech’s skull. Abimelech was dying but didn’t want it to be said that a woman killed him. He told his armor-bearer to kill him, and the young man ran him through with his sword. (Judges 9)
Samson: God gave Samson supernatural strength to conquer the Philistines who were oppressing the Israelites. Samson did fight the Philistines, but he had an eye for pretty women. The Philistines bribed his lover Delilah to betray Samson. She discovered that he would lose his strength if his hair were shaved. So, she shaved his head, and the Philistines took him prisoner and gouged out his eyes. When the Philistines were feasting in the temple of their god Dagon, they brought Samson out to torment him. About 3000 people were on the roof of the temple. Samson asked God to strengthen him just one more time so he could kill the Philistines. He pushed down the two center pillars of the temple, and it collapsed, killing the Philistines and Sampson. (Judges 13-16)
Saul: King Saul was fighting a battle and was “gravely wounded” by the Philistine archers. He asked his armor-bearer to kill him with his sword before the Philistines found him, knowing they would torture and then kill him. His armor bearer was too afraid to kill him, so Saul fell on his own sword and died. (1 Samuel 31)
Saul’s armor bearer: When Saul’s armor-bearer saw Saul kill himself, he fell on his own sword and died. (1 Samuel 31)
Ahithophel was King David’s advisor, but after David’s son Absalom rebelled, Ahithophel switched sides to become Absalom’s advisor. Absalom did everything Ahithophel told him as if it came from God’s mouth. But then Hushai, David’s friend, pretended to abandon David to become Absalom’s advisor, and Absalom followed his advice (which was actually to David’s advantage) rather than Ahithophel’s. So, Ahithophel went home, set his affairs in order, and hanged himself. (2 Samuel 15-17)
Zimri ruled over Israel only seven days after killing the king and most of the royal family, even the children. When Israel’s army heard that Zimri had assassinated the king, they made the army’s commander – Omri – their king and attacked the capital city. When Zimri saw the city was taken, he burned down the palace with himself inside. (1 Kings 16)
Judas betrayed Jesus, but when Jesus was condemned to die, Judas felt great remorse and hanged himself. (Matthew 27)
And a failed suicide: one man in the Bible tried to kill himself but Paul stopped him. The jailer in Philippi thought his prisoners had escaped. But God didn’t want the jailer to kill himself. God desired that man and his family to be saved and baptized. And they were! (Acts 16:16-34)
1. Judges 9:54 “Hurriedly he called to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and kill me, so that they can’t say, ‘A woman killed him.'” So his servant ran him through, and he died.”
2. 1 Samuel 31:4 “Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me.” But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it.“
3. 2 Samuel 17:23 “When Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey and set out for his house in his hometown. He put his house in order and then hanged himself. So he died and was buried in his father’s tomb.“
4. 1 Kings 16:18 “When Zimri saw that the city was taken, he went into the citadel of the royal palace and set the palace on fire around him. So he died.“
5. Matthew 27:5 “So he threw the silver into the sanctuary and departed. Then he went and hanged himself.“
6. 1 Samuel 31:51 “When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died with him.”
7. Acts 16:27–28 (ESV) “When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.”
Is suicide a sin in the Bible?
Is suicide murder?
Yes, suicide is a sin, and yes, it is murder. Murder is the deliberate killing of a person (except in war or execution). Killing oneself is murder. Murder is a sin, so suicide is a sin (Exodus 20:13). Suicide is probably the strongest expression of selfishness and self-hate. Many people take their own lives because they want something that they don’t have. James 4:2 says, “you desire and do no have, so you murder.” In an act of selfishness, unfortunately many take matters into their own hands and commit suicide. Let me give you an example. There was a young man in my area who just graduated high school and he took his own life because his relationship ended. He desired and he didn’t have, so he committed suicide.
Okay, but what about Samson? Didn’t he ask God to help him kill the Philistines, resulting in his own death? Samson had a divine directive from God – to rescue Israel from the Philistines. But his sexual sin resulted in his being taken prisoner and blinded. He could no longer fight the Philistines. But he could fulfill his mission by pulling down the temple and killing thousands – more than he had killed while alive. His death was a self-sacrifice to weaken a godless nation oppressing Israel. Hebrews 11:32-35 lists Samson as a hero of the faith.
8. James 4:2 “You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.“
9. 2. Matthew 5:21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.“
10. Exodus 20:13 (NIV) “You shall not murder.”
11. Matthew 5:21 “You have heard that it was said to the ancients, ‘Do not murder’ and ‘Anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.”
12. Matthew 19:18 “Which ones?” the man asked. Jesus answered, “‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness.”
13. James 2:11 (KJV) “For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.”
What does the Bible say about suicidal death?
Many believe a true Christian could never kill themselves, but the Bible never says that. A common belief is that suicide is an unforgivable sin because a person can’t repent of that sin before they die. But that isn’t Biblical either. Many Christians die suddenly, for instance, in a car accident or a heart attack, without the opportunity to confess their sins before they die.
We are saved when we place our faith and trust in Jesus’s death and resurrection for our sins. After we become Christians, yes, we should regularly confess our sins (James 5:16), but this is to remain in fellowship with Christ and enjoy the abundant life He came to give. If we die with unconfessed sin, we don’t lose our salvation. Our sins are already covered.
The Bible doesn’t specifically address suicidal death, other than recording the men above who killed themselves. But it gives us some basic principles to apply. Yes, suicide is a sin. Yes, it is murder. But what the Bible does say about sin is that when God made believers alive with Christ, He forgave us all our sins. He has taken our condemnation away, nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:13-14).
14. Romans 8:30 “These whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”
15. Colossians 2:13-14 “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.”
16. 2 Corinthians 1:9 (NLT) “In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.”
God’s view of suicide
Paul intervened to save the jailor’s life before he killed himself. He shouted out, “Stop!!! Don’t harm yourself!” (Acts 16:28) This sums up God’s view of suicide. He doesn’t want anyone to kill themselves.
For believers, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. We are told to honor God with our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Killing oneself is destroying and dishonoring God’s temple.
The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy (John 10:10). Suicide is Satan’s work of murder and destruction. It is the direct opposite of what God wants. Jesus said, “I came so that they would have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
God not only wants you to live, He wants you to live abundantly! He doesn’t want you mired in depression and defeat. He wants you to experience all the joys of walking in step with the Holy Spirit. Joy! Even through rough times!
In Acts 16, right before the jailor tried to kill himself – just before the earthquake – Paul and Silas had been beaten and put into stocks. They were bruised and bleeding, they were in prison, but what were they doing? Singing psalms and praising God! They rejoiced even in the worst of times.
Does God forgive suicide?
Yes. All sin can be forgiven except blaspheming the Holy Spirit, which is unforgivable with eternal consequences (Mark 3:28-30; Matthew 12:31-32).
Does a Christian who commits suicide go to heaven?
Yes. Our salvation isn’t based on whether we are in God’s will or have unforgiven sin at the time of our death. It is based on our position in Christ. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, this person is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Suicide is not the unforgivable sin and it’s not what leads people to go to hell. You can’t lose your salvation. Men and women go to hell for not trusting in Christ alone for salvation. With that said, the Bible tells us that there are some people who profess to be Christian, who have never truly been converted by the Holy Spirit. This leads me to believe that there are many professing Christians who commit suicide, and don’t make it to heaven.
17. Romans 8:37-39 No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us! For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
18. 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
19. Colossians 2:13-14 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.
20. Ephesians 4:21-24 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
21. 2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test?
22. John 5:22 (NASB) “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son.”
23. Acts 16:28 (NKJV) “But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.”
24. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
25. John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came so that they would have life, and have it abundantly.”
26. John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”
Why should I not commit suicide?
If you are considering suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Right now, you may so tortured, in mental pain, or your circumstances may be so hopeless that you feel ending it all is the only solution. Many have felt that way and considered suicide. But they didn’t follow through. And gradually, their situation changed. They still had problems and they still had pain. But they also found joy and fulfillment. They look back on those dark moments of despair and are glad they didn’t kill themselves.
If you’re considering suicide, your emotions are overwhelming you. But remember, your situation isn’t permanent. By choosing life, you are choosing power – the power to take control of your life and improve your circumstances.
If nothing else, consider those you will leave behind. It’s hard to think rationally when you are depressed, so maybe you think they’ll be better off without you. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most people who lose a loved one from suicide experience dreadful suffering. There’s not only the grief of losing a loved one. But there’s guilt and despair. They’re wondering what they could have done to stop it.
Most importantly, God loves you! He cares about you! He wants you to know Him as your savior and your healer. He wants a relationship with you if you don’t have one with Him already. By receiving Jesus as your savior, your life will be revolutionized. That’s not saying that all your problems will disappear. But, when you walk with God, you have access to all the power of God. You have His strength, His comfort, His guidance, and His joy! You have everything to live for!
If you’re already believer, then your body is the Holy Spirit’s temple. Honor it! Ask God to show you His plans for you. Ask Him to heal you from your depression and pain. Ask Him for the joy of the Spirit. The joy of the Lord is the strength of His people!
27. Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
28. 1 Corinthians 1:9 “God, who has called you into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.”
29. Isaiah 43:4 “Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.”
30. 2 Chronicles 15:7 “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”
31. Philippians 4:6-7 “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
32. Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
33. Psalms 37:24 “though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.”
34. Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
35. 1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
36. Ephesians 3:18-19 “may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to all the fullness of God.”
What does the Bible say about suicidal thoughts?
First, suicidal thoughts aren’t the same thing as actually planning to commit suicide. Remember that Satan, who is the father of lies, can tempt you with evil thoughts: “Your situation is hopeless!” “The only way to fix your mess is to end it all.” “If you end your life, you’ll escape your pain.”
“Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
We fight Satan’s lies by comparing them to God’s truth in His Word the Bible.
37. Ephesians 6:11-12 “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
38. Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
39. Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
40. Corinthians 10:4-5 “The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
41. 1 Peter 5:8 “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
Biblical encouragement and help for those struggling with suicidal thoughts and depression
42. Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
43. Psalm 34:18-19 “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”
44. Psalm 55:22 “Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.”
45. 1 John 4:4 “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
46. Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Praying against self-harm and suicidal thoughts
When Satan tempts you with thoughts of self-harm or suicide, you need to go to war with prayer! Jesus responded to Satan’s temptations with God’s Word (Luke 4:1-13). When suicidal thoughts enter your mind, fight them by praying God’s Word back to Him. Let’s take, for example, two of the verses above and how you can pray:
“Heavenly Father, I will not fear, for You are with me. I won’t be distressed or depressed, for You are my God. I thank You for Your promises to strengthen and help me. I thank You for holding me up with Your righteousness right hand.” (from Isaiah 41:10)
“Lord, I thank You and praise You that You are near to the brokenhearted. You save me when I am crushed in spirit. Even in my deep suffering, I thank You for delivering me!” (from Psalm 34:18-19)
47. James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.“
48. Ecclesiastes 7:17 “Do not be overwicked, and do not be a fool– why die before your time?“
49. Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
50. Psalm 43:5 “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.“
51. Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.“
52. Psalm 34:18 “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted, and he delivers those whose spirit has been crushed.“
Wanting to commit suicide is not normal
53. Ephesians 5:29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church.
Jesus wants to give us life
Seek happiness from the Lord and not your situation. Remember John 10:10, that Jesus came to give us life – abundant life! That word “abundant” has the idea of surpassing the expected limit. You might think your life is limited, but with Jesus, wow! He can take you places you never expected to be. He will give you more than enough!
You don’t have to settle with just making it through another day. Life in Jesus, walking in the power of the Holy Spirit, is a life a life of victory over depression, devastating situations, and demonic attacks.
“… for the Lord your God is He who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.” – Deuteronomy 20:4
54. Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
55. John 5:40 “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.”
56. John 6:35 “Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
57. John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Christian suicide prevention:
Mental illnesses should be taken seriously! Did you know that more people in America die from suicide than from murder? It’s the second leading cause of death for children and young people ages 10 to 34. As believers, we have a mandate to reach out to the hopeless and despairing and show them hope in Christ.
“And those who are staggering to the slaughter, Oh hold them back!” (Proverbs 24:11)
“Rescue the weak and needy; save them from the hand of the wicked.” (Psalm 82:4)
“Break the chains of wickedness, untie the cords of the yoke, set the oppressed free and tear off every yoke” (Isaiah 58:6)
We need to take responsibility by recognizing the causes of suicide and the warning signs of suicide. We need to know what to do if someone we know is considering suicide.
Causes of suicide
The overwhelming majority of people (90%) who commit suicide suffer from mental health issues, especially depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and bipolar disorder. People fighting mental illness often try to self-medicate by substance abuse, drinking too much or taking drugs. Sometimes the drug or alcohol abuse happens first, triggering mental illness.
If someone has attempted suicide before, they are at risk of doing it again.
People who are “loners” are more at risk.
People who were sexually, physically, or verbally abused as children are more at risk. If they come from a family where violence, substance abuse, or suicide happened, they are at heightened risk.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals are especially prone (50%) to suicidal thoughts and suicide.
People who live with chronic pain or have a terminal illness are at risk.
Warning signs of suicide
Pay attention to what your friends or family members are saying. Do they talk about being a burden to others? Do they speak about feeling shame or guilt? Do they say they want to die? These are clear warning signs of suicidal ideation.
Pay attention to your loved ones’ emotions. Do they appear overwhelmingly sad and depressed. Are they anxious and agitated? Do they seem to be experiencing unbearable emotional pain? These emotion suggest mental illness, depression, and suicide risk.
What are they doing? Have they increased drinking or drug use? Are they taking dangerous risks, like driving recklessly? Are they sleeping a lot less or more than usual? Are they forgetting to bathe or wearing the same clothes all the time? Have their eating habits changed? Are you seeing extreme mood swings? These are all signs of escalating mental illness that can lead to severe suicide risk
If your loved one starts withdrawing from friends and family, starts giving away treasured items, or you discover they’re researching ways to die, be on red alert! Get help immediately.
How can Christians help those considering suicide?
- Stay connected to your loved ones. Relationship are an important key to preventing suicide. Call, text, and most importantly, spend time with those struggling with depression. Get them active and outside in the sunshine. Pray with them, read scriptures with them, and get them to come to church with you.
- Don’t be afraid to ask your friend or family member if they are considering suicide. You won’t be putting ideas in their head, but you might be able to get them out of their head. If they say they have had suicidal thoughts, ask them if they’ve thought of a plan and if this is something they intend to do.
- If they say they have had suicidal thoughts but haven’t made any plans, then get them into therapy. Ask your pastor for referrals. Stay connected to be sure they are healing.
- If they say they are planning suicide, don’t leave them alone! Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255, or text TALK to 741741 to connect to a crisis counselor from the Crisis Text Line. Take them to the Emergency Room.
58. Psalm 82:4 “Rescue the poor and needy; save them from the power of the wicked.”
59. Proverbs 24:11 “Rescue those being led away to death, and restrain those stumbling toward the slaughter.”
60. Isaiah 58:6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?”
Suicide is a devastating tragedy. It doesn’t need to happen. There is always hope in Jesus. There is light. No matter what we’re going through, we can be overcomers through Him who loves us. God’s promises will never fail. Keep fighting! Please never keep suicidal thoughts a secret. Seek help from others and wage war against those thoughts. Whenever you feel worthless, please read this. God has not abandoned you. Please get alone with Him in prayer.