What does the Bible say about Suicide?

The Bible says, “Thou shalt not kill,” (Ex 20:13 KJV), and that includes killing one’s self. 

A better translation for the word “kill” is “murder” and some version of the Bible like the ESV translate it as such. This makes sense because the Bible condones killing in special circumstances like war, self-defense, and for capital crimes. Not understanding the difference has led some churches to believe and teach that suicide victims will burn in hell forever, but that is not true, and is never stated in the Bible. Suicide should not be mistaken for some act of heroism. There have been situations where a soldier falls on a hand-grenade to save his fellow soldiers, or someone who steps into traffic to save a child and dies in the effort. This would be an act of self-sacrifice and is not the same as committing suicide.

The classic example of suicide in the Bible is Judas, who betrayed Jesus and later hung himself (Matt 27:5). This is never God’s will for anyone. We know from scripture that Judas was under the influence of Satan when he betrayed Jesus (Luke 22:3), and Satan is diametrically opposed to God’s will. God’s will is that “all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim 2:4). Part of that truth is that in the future, Jesus Christ will raise and judge all the dead. 

Suicide can certainly fall under “special circumstances” because people who commit suicide have become very self-focused and lost all hope for any resolution to their problems. In many cases, suicide victims have failed in their attempt, and once the victim receives help, they are very glad they failed. 

One day Jesus Christ will judge the whole world (Acts 17:31). Christ alone will weigh all the circumstances of someone who has committed suicide and render a just decision. During his ministry here on earth, Christ reached out to the downtrodden. He healed the sick and helped the oppressed by bringing a message of hope about the future. As Christians, we should follow his example of compassion and comfort by sharing the comfort we receive from God. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God” (2 Cor. 1:3-4 NIV).

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