A Sin to Think About Death…?


National Association of Christian Ministers How to Series: Answers to Controversies #

By Michael Mooney, Exec. Elder

Recently I was speaking with a fellow minister -a friend of mine.  He said that a Christian Physical Therapist told someone who is likely to die sometime in the new future that “the Bible says that it is a sin to think about dying.”  I was appalled to hear that some people think the Bible teaches that it is a sin for believers to think about dying.  While if that were stated another way like: “The Bible teaches that it is a sin to fear death” I could at least consider that to be a more sensible statement.  But I am not sure if I even agree with that (and don’t want to lose sight of the subject).

Regarding the concept of the Bible teaching that it is a sin to think about dying is absurd!   The very beginning of such a statement is riddled with error.  Here are a few points to consider: #

1)  We come to God-fearing that death is our inevitable. We want to continue living after we die.

The first command that God gave humans was a call to think about death.

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Gen 2:17)

2)  We are mindful of death by the very nature of living.  Here are a few example verses:

 One cannot do so without the fact that it is appointed unto man once to die:

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, (Heb 9:27)

Jesus tells to consider eternity in our daily lives. 

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. (Mat 6:19-20)

3) Believers long for the day that we all can be together with God.

2Co 5:1-5

(1)  For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
(2)  For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling,
(3)  if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked.
(4)  For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.
(5)  He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

Surely David was thinking about death when he wrote:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
(Psa 23:4)

The same is true of Paul when he said:

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. (Rom 8:18-19)

4) The wisdom of Solomon advises that we consider death often, as we seek to apply wisdom to living.

Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”; (Ecc 12:1)

For man does not know his time. Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and like birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of man are snared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them. (Ecc 9:12)

God advised thinking about death to Hezekiah 

In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover.’” (2Ki 20:1)

Final thoughts

Over my lifetime, I have heard many people speak a lot of things that are not in the Bible.  For example: 

“One of the signs of the time that the Lord will return, we will not know the seasons” (such as summer and winter). 

“Cleanliness is next to godliness.”

“This too shall pass.”

“God helps those who help themselves.”

Money is the root of all evil.” (The actual phrase is “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” – 1 Timothy 6:10)

“The lion shall lie down with the lamb.” (The Bible says, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb.” – Isaiah 11:6)

“Spare the rod, spoil the child.” (The concept is in Proverbs 13:24, but the exact wording is not used.)

“God works in mysterious ways.”

“Moderation in all things.”

“God won’t give you more than you can handle.” (The Bible says, “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13)

“Money can’t buy happiness.”

“Better to cast your seed….”

It’s important to note that while these phrases may not be verbatim in the Bible, some may capture the essence of certain biblical teachings.

Whenever someone says to me that something is in the Bible, I tend to reply this way: 

I have been reading the Bible all of my life (I still have the one I used when I was 5 years old.)  Yet, never have I seen a verse which says what you claim.  I insist that you show me where I can find those words so that I can understand, avoid sin, and live the best life offered to me by the wisdom of God.