Benedictions have been used for centuries as a way to close church gatherings. And since they’re scriptural, they’re always an appropriate way to bring a service to an end.
The word Benediction comes from the Latin bene (well) and dicere (to say; speak). It literally means “to speak well of, or bless.” In the Old Testament, benedictions were used at the tabernacle, at the temple, and even in homes where patriarchs would bless their families as they went out each day.
Here are 10 benedictions you can use to wrap up your worship service:
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.—Numbers 6:24–26
When it comes to scriptural benedictions, most people are familiar with this one. God specifically told Moses to pass this down to Aaron as a blessing to speak over Israel. It’s endured as a standard of benediction because it’s not only easy to remember, but it’s filled with power and beauty.
Invocation from Psalm 121
The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.—Psalm 121:7–8
In Psalm 121, the psalmist reminds himself that his help comes not from his own strength or abilities, but from God. In these eight verses, one’s reminded of the importance of trusting in God’s care and protection. It finishes with this beautiful reminder that God is intimately involved in every moment—both in our going out and in our coming in.
Benediction to the God of endurance and encouragement
May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.—Romans 15:5–6
What does it take for the people of God to live in harmony with each other? Encouragement and endurance! Speaking this passage over your congregation asks God—who is defined by these characteristics—to unify his church.
Paul’s benediction to the Romans
Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.—Romans 16:25–27
Paul finishes his letter to the church at Rome with this profound flourish. It’s an ideal way to end a service, especially one that’s focused on the transforming power of the gospel.
The blessing of God’s glory
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.—Ephesians 3:20–21
Sometimes when you’re reading Paul, you can sense him getting caught up in the excitement of what he’s trying to communicate. From reading this passage, you’d think that these are the last words in his epistle to the Ephesians. He’s actually enraptured by expressing the mystery of Christ that he responds with prayer in the middle of his letter—creating the perfect benediction.
Invocation of God’s grace and love
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.—2 Corinthians 13:14
If you want to invite someone from the congregation to give the benediction, this simple little passage is perfect. Even an eight-year-old child should be able to memorize and bless the congregation with it.
Blessing of sanctification
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.—1 Thessalonians 5:23
At the end of your service, you’re going to release your congregation back into the maelstrom of everyday life. All the substance shared between you will be put to the test. This benediction is a humble request for the God of peace to begin the purifying work of sanctification in them.
Benediction of Peter
May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence—2 Peter 1:2–3
In God’s grace, he extends favor to his people despite their inability to merit it. Peter boldly asks that God’s grace be multiplied to us along with his peace. In him we have all the power we need to live lives of godliness and goodness, and this is a powerful way to remind your congregation as they go out.
Prayer for God’s equipping presence
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.—Hebrews 13:20–21
The book of Hebrews is magnificently summed up in this passage. God is associated with peace because he has atoned for our sin with an eternal covenant. This points to a future in which we will be made complete in him but also recognizes a present in which we are equipped to be obedient.
Benediction of Jude
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.—Jude 24–25
When you want to send your people off with a powerful reminder of what God’s capable of, this is the benediction. This is a powerful reminder that God is able to steady our path so we don’t stumble and to keep us blameless and full of joy. These two verses are packed with rich, meaningful assurance for God’s people.
Of course, after the benediction, you can always close with a song. The disciples, after the last supper concluded, sang a song before departing. You can do the same after the benediction and depart with a song of joy, excitement, or encouragement to send the congregation out ready to face the world.
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