A dimly lit room, a Bible lying open on a table, a single chair overturned, casting a long shadow—a poignant visual capturing the struggle and despair associated with the topic of suicide.

What Does The Bible Say About Committing Suicide?

Thinking about ending your life? You’re not alone. Many people struggle with suicidal thoughts at some point. Here’s a quick answer: The Bible doesn’t explicitly prohibit suicide, but it generally affirms the value of life and cautions against taking one’s own life hastily.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk through the biblical passages that relate to suicide, examine whether it is forbidden according to Christian teachings, look at biblical figures who died by suicide, and explore what the Bible says about mental health and finding hope.

Old Testament Passages on Suicide

Ecclesiastes Affirms the Value of Life

The book of Ecclesiastes, written by King Solomon, affirms the value of life and warns against despair that leads to suicide. Ecclesiastes 9:4-6 states, “Anyone who is among the living has hope – even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!

For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even their name is forgotten. Their love, their hate and their jealousy have long since vanished; never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun.”

This passage teaches that life, even with its sorrows, is better than the oblivion of death. Suicide cuts short one’s opportunity to enjoy God’s blessings in this life.

In Ecclesiastes 7:17, Solomon advises, “Do not be overwicked, and do not be a fool – why die before your time?” While suicide may appear an easy way out of problems, it is a permanent solution to what are often temporary troubles. With faith and patience, life’s storms can be weathered.

Abimelech’s Suicide to Avoid Shame

One clear case of suicide in the Old Testament is Abimelech, who was mortally wounded by a woman throwing a millstone on his head (Judges 9:50-54). Rather than face the disgrace of being killed by a woman, Abimelech commanded his armor-bearer to run him through with a sword.

This account shows that suicide was an option considered by ancient peoples to avoid shame.

However, Abimelech’s suicide stands in contrast to the pattern of Scripture, which esteems patient endurance and care for one’s reputation, even in adversity. As Abimelech’s life illustrates, suicide can be motivated by pride and an unwillingness to accept what God has permitted.

Samson’s Suicide to Defeat the Philistines

Samson’s suicide (Judges 16:23-31) exhibits his personal vengeance against the Philistines, yet God used it to fulfill His purpose. Blinded and imprisoned by the Philistines, Samson prayed for strength to exact one last act of vengeance.

He pushed down the pillars of the pagan temple, killing the lords of the Philistines along with himself. Samson’s suicide completes the cycle of violence and dysfunction that characterized his life.

While God used Samson despite his flaws, Samson’s life is not presented as a model to follow. His suicide destroys enemies of Israel’s peace, yet there is no indication that God approved the means. The moral difficulties presented by this passage illustrate the complexity of applying Old Testament stories directly as models of conduct.

New Testament Passages on Suicide

Judas Iscariot’s Suicide Out of Guilt and Despair

The New Testament contains the tragic story of Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ twelve disciples, who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver and then committed suicide out of guilt and despair. Here are some key details:

  • Judas betrayed Jesus by leading the religious authorities to arrest him in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:14-16, 47-50).
  • After Jesus was condemned to death, Judas was filled with remorse and returned the 30 pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, confessing “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood” (Matthew 27:3-4).
  • Judas then went away and hanged himself out of despair (Matthew 27:5).

The grief and guilt Judas felt led him to take his own life. His story is a sober reminder that betrayal and lack of repentance can lead people down a dark path ending in tragedy. The good news is that through Jesus there is always an open door of hope and restoration for those who confess their sins and turn to him.

Saul’s Suicide to Avoid Torture and Humiliation

Another suicide in the New Testament is that of King Saul in 1 Samuel 31. After being badly wounded in a battle with the Philistines, Saul ordered his armor-bearer to kill him rather than being captured and tortured by the enemy.

But when his armor-bearer refused, Saul took his own sword and fell on it, taking his life (1 Samuel 31:1-4).

Some key details about Saul’s suicide:

  • As King of Israel, Saul had disobeyed God’s commands and was rejected from being king.
  • The Philistines routed his army and wounded Saul with arrows on Mount Gilboa.
  • With enemy soldiers hot on his heels, Saul was desperate to avoid torture, humiliation and public mockery if captured alive.
  • So he took matters into his own hands and committed suicide.

Saul’s suicide illustrates how the pressure of shame and fear of enemy brutality drove him to take his own life. His death marked the end of his reign. While suicide may seem an escape, God offers us better ways to handle shame and hardship through courage, faith and dependence on Him.

What Christian Teachings Say About Suicide

Human Life Has Intrinsic Value as God’s Creation

The Bible teaches that human beings are created in the image of God and have intrinsic value (Genesis 1:27). As God’s creations, our lives belong to Him, not to us. We are merely stewards of the lives God has given us (Psalm 24:1).

Therefore, suicide is viewed as an act of rejecting God’s sovereignty over human life.

The commandment “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13) applies to murdering others and ourselves. While suicide is an act of despair, the Bible reminds us that with God there is always hope and a way forward (Jeremiah 29:11).

As Christians, our lives should be lived to glorify God, who can bring meaning and purpose out of any circumstance.

Suicide Closes the Door to Repentance and Redemption

Ending one’s life closes the door to the possibility of repentance and redemption. The Bible encourages believers to persevere through suffering because God can bring good out of it (Romans 8:28). Dark times are opportunities to deepen our relationship with God and develop Christian virtues.

Furthermore, suicide causes deep, lasting pain for loved ones left behind. As part of the body of Christ, Christians should care for one another and “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2). Suicide leaves family and friends carrying a heavy burden of grief, confusion and guilt for years to come.

Mental Anguish Can Be Overcome with God’s Help

The Bible acknowledges that our minds and emotions can spiral into extremely dark places. When despair sets in, we may wrongly believe that suicide is the only way out. However, Scripture promises that with God’s help, we can overcome mental anguish and “take every thought captive” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

God invites us to cast all our anxiety on Him when we feel overwhelmed (1 Peter 5:7). He will never allow us to be tested beyond what we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). Additionally, speaking honestly with pastors, Christian counselors and mature believers can help us find hope and healing.

Finding Hope and Help in the Bible

Psalms for Healing from Depression

Several Psalms express the struggle with despair and a longing for God’s presence during times of trouble (Psalms 13, 88). Reading these can resonate with those battling depression and reassure them that their feelings are not unknown to God.

Some specific encouraging verses are Psalm 34:17-18, reminding us that God hears our cries and delivers us from afflictions.

New Testament Verses on Overcoming Trials

Jesus teaches that we all will have troubles in this world, but we can take heart because He has overcome the world (John 16:33). Other verses emphasize bringing our anxieties to God in prayer (Philippians 4:6-7, 1 Peter 5:7) and looking to Jesus as the ultimate empathizer in our suffering (Hebrews 4:15-16).

Seeking the Support of the Church Community

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 describes the value of having others to support us in hard times. Galatians 6:2 instructs believers to bear one another’s burdens. James 5:13-16 gives direction to pray for each other for healing and encouragement.

Churches can surround struggling individuals with empathy, resources, counseling referrals, and prayer support.

Websites like Focus on the Family and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention provide many articles with spiritual and practical guidance for overcoming suicidal thinking.


While the Bible does not strictly forbid suicide, its overarching message is one of hope, redemption, and perseverance through suffering. For those considering suicide, the Word of God encourages seeking help, finding meaning in existence, and trusting in divine providence.

Ultimately, the decision to end one’s life should be made with spiritual wisdom and care for the sanctity of all human life.

Similar Posts