Suicide: An Unforgivable Sin in the Bible?

Does the bible say that suicide is an unforgivable sin?  Before I start this topic, I’d like to say I have had family, a first cousin in fact, kill himself.  This is a personal topic to me, but I feel that it needs to be addressed.  Why does it need to be addressed?  Because if a person thinks that suicide is a reasonable way to go then there is nothing discouraging them.  If I could kill myself and end up in heaven, then it would sound like a reasonable option to me, since I’d be rewarded with paradise for killing myself.  Here are a few people I remember who killed themselves in the bible.

suicide is unpardonable

King Saul

“Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it. And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him.” (1Samuel 31:4-5)

“The Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him” (1Sam 16:14).  Saul attempted to murder David several times (1Sam 19:1-2).  He went to demons for advice (1Sam 28:8).  Conclusion: Saul was not right with God.



Ahithophel betrayed David and conspired against him (2Sam 15:31).  He told Absalom to have sex with his father’s concubines (2Sam 16:21).  Judas is even compared to Ahithopel when David wrote “My own familiar friend who I trusted who ate my bread has betrayed me” (Ps 41:9).   “And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his ass, and arose, and gat him home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died, and was buried in the sepulchre of his father.” (2Samuel 17:23)


Judas Iscariot

“Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.  And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.” Matthew 27:3-5

Despite Jesus saying, “one of you {Judas} is a devil” (John 6:70), and “woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed {Judas}!  Good were it for that man if he had never been born.” (Mark 14:21), the question that most people still ask is “did Judas go to Heaven or Hell?”  Jesus’ words definitely suggests that Judas is in Hell.

Two others who killed themselves are Abimelech in Judges 9:54 and Zimri in 1 Kings 16:18.



“And Samson called unto the Lord, and said, O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.  And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left.  And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life” (Judges 16:28-30).

When talking about those who were justified by faith, Paul said, “And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets” (Heb 11:29).  An interesting question would be, is Samson in Heaven or Hell?  But it seems like He is in Heaven.  After all, if he had no faith, God would give him no super-natural strength, and if he had no strength, he couldn’t have pushed the pillars over and wouldn’t have died.

Kamikaze suicide, as it was done in World War 2 for example, is not an act self sacrifice through love as Jesus did, but through hate for their enemy.  It isn’t an act of faith as Samson either.  It is an act of destroying lives, not saving lives.


Self Sacrifice Is Not Suicide

Understand that sacrificing your own life for the lives of others is not the same as suicide.  Suicide is a selfish act while self sacrifice is a selfless act.  Self sacrifice is not a result of despair or depression but of love!  It is the act of saving someone’s life, not destroying your own.  Jesus is the perfect example of that.



“No man has greater love than to lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet perhaps for a good man some would even dare to die.  But God showed his love toward us, in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:6-8).

“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,  Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth (1Cor 13:4-6).

The question is, when someone commits suicide, do they do it through love or charity?  Don’t they “seek their own?”  Is suicide a result of suffering long and patience?  Jesus said, “you shall know them by their fruits” (Matt 7:20).


Suicide: Work of Flesh or Fruit of Spirit?

Galatians 5:19-23 describes the works of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit.  Is suicide a fruit of the spirit or work of the flesh?  Does is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, or gentleness describe suicide?

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1Cor 6:19-20).

Unless you belong to God, you are not saved.  If you belong to God, you cannot destroy yourself!  You’ve been bought by God!  You don’t belong to yourself anymore!  If you destroy yourself, you are destroying God’s property, not your own!  Of course that’s a sin.  Not only that, but if it’s the last thing that you do while you’re on earth, then there’s no opportunity to repent to receive forgiveness.

Some people quote verses, such as, “Nothing can separate us from God’s love” (Rom 8:38-39), which they then go on to say that includes suicide.  However, study the verses beforehand and you’ll see that “the things” are persecution and tribulation, all for Jesus sake.  “…he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Mark 13:13).  Is suicide the act of enduring or giving up?  Should we conclude that giving up through suicide can save us?


Baptized and Then Suicide

When my cousin killed himself, I remember the preacher saying, “He came to me and asked me to baptize him”, indicating that he was right with God before death.  Later on, I thought about what that preacher said more and more, and I was angry when I realized that he was doing was suggesting that all a person needed to do to be saved is be baptized, regardless of if he killed himself or not, just to comfort the immediate family members.

What I’m saying right now would not comfort my family, but it is truth.  Anyone who won’t hear the truth, no matter how hard it is, is opening themselves up to believe a lie.  No one who kills themselves can call Jesus Lord, because they are not imitating His actions.

Matthew 7:21 – “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”

If praying a “prayer of salvation”, being baptized, and then killing yourself will land you in heaven, then I suggest that everybody do that.  “Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt 7:14).  No one should assume that killing themselves is the straight and narrow way that leads to eternal life.

Make sure that you also learn more about Hell, as the bible paints a very graphic picture of it.

Kent Owen

Author: Kent Owen

After college I lived in China for 5 years, working as an English teacher and foreign marketing manager. Now i'm an insurance salesman, but my real passion is Christ and learning the bible.

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