Bible Terms

Bible Term: Fallen Asleep

In the Bible, the phrase “fallen asleep” is used as a euphemism for dead or dead. It’s much the same as we might say “passed away,” “passed on,” or “passed.”

So when Jesus raises someone who has fallen asleep, he is not merely waking them up from a deep sleep or bringing them out of a coma, he is literally raising them from the dead.

This is aptly shown in the story of Lazarus (John 11:1-43). Here Lazarus is said to have fallen asleep. The disciples take this literally and assume that Lazarus is resting well and will recover from his illness.

At that point Jesus tells them plainly, “Lazarus is dead.” Jesus later calls Lazarus from the grave and restores him to life.

Key verse about Fallen Asleep: After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up” (John 11:11, NIV).

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at