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Does The Bible Talk About Purgatory

Sacred Tradition And Sacred Scripture Agree

Is Purgatory in the Bible?

In this passage, Chrysostom sums up all of the Church Fathers, East and West, who never doubted that prayer and liturgy for the dead were both necessary and useful. Thus Sacred Tradition both draws upon and confirms the lessons of Sacred Scripturefound in both the Old and New Testaments, and indeed in the words of Christ Himself.

Why Don’t I Believe In Purgatory

I do not believe in purgatory because God mentions it nowhere in the Bible. And if God does not tell us about purgatory, who else has the authority to do so? Only God can tell us what is beyond death. If men, who have not seen what is beyond death, produce a theory of what will happen after death, their theory is not valid. And although they say it thousands of times over thousands of years, it is nothing more than a tradition of men. Paul warns: “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men… and not after Christ” .

Some Catholics admit that their doctrine is not based on the Bible. The New Catholic Encyclopedia says, “In the final analysis, the Catholic doctrine on purgatory is based on tradition, not Sacred Scriptures.”5

This is true, because the Bible nowhere mentions purgatory. I believe what the Bible says in Colossians 2:13, 14: “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.”

I believe that when the Bible says “all sins” it means all of them.

Concerning eternal things and the invisible world, I cannot believe anything more than what the Bible says. I cannot add to it.

-Mark Yoder

  • New Catholic Encyclopedia, Volumn 11, page 1037 Copyright 1967
  • Ibid, page 1035
  • Ibid, page 1034
  • How Should I Respond To Catholics

    Lets review the scripture which Catholics use to support purgatory:

    If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved even though only as one escaping through the flames, 1 Corinthians 3:15.

    It is critical to look at this scripture in context. Apostle Paul, using an analogy, wrote that believers are builders whose foundation is Christ:

    Their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each persons work,1 Corinthians 3:13-14.

    Upon death, one does not work. If purgatory does exist, what kind of work is done?

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    Jesus Sacrifice Vs Purgatory

    The doctrine of purgatory says that people suffer to pay for for their own sins. The Bible tells an entirely different story.

    The sacrifices of the Old Testament were temporary, and had to be repeated again and again to repeatedly cover sin. They did not accomplish the forgiveness of sins. Jesus was called the Lamb of God because His death on the cross was the last sacrifice that the world would ever need. His death accomplished the forgiveness of sins by paying the penalty for all sin.

    Heres the unbiblical implication: if sinners need to pay for their own sins in purgatory, then Jesus death is insufficient. According to this doctrine, to gain forgiveness and go to Heaven one must add their own suffering to Jesus suffering. This is entirely unbiblical.

    Catholics will usually respond that Jesus sacrifice is sufficient that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Thats 1 John 1:9, and its true. The problem with using this verse in that way is that its too limiting. In Catholicism, our sin debt is only applied to our account when we confess our sins .

    This is contradicted by a number of passages in the New Testament, including 2 Peter 2:1.

    But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them bringing swift destruction on themselves.

    Prayers And Liturgies For The Poor Souls In Purgatory

    What Is Purgatory?

    All of this explains why, from the earliest days of Christianity, Christians offered liturgies and prayers for the dead. The practice makes no sense unless at least some souls undergo purification after this life.

    In the fourth century, St. John Chrysostom, in his Homilies on 1 Corinthians, used the example of Job offering sacrifices for his living sons to defend the practice of prayer and sacrifice for the dead. But Chrysostom was arguing not against those who thought that such sacrifices were unnecessary, but against those who thought that they did no good:

    Let us help and commemorate them. If Job’s sons were purified by their father’s sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.

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    How Is Purgatory Different Than Eternal Hell

    Eternal Hell is eternal punishment for those who choose not to be with God. The torment and fires there are not extinguishable.

    Luke 1619 There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. 20 And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich mans table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. 22 When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he cried out, Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames. 25 Abraham replied, My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. 26 Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.

    The punishment in Gehenna is permanent as the person has lost all the goodness of God to help. The soul is at the of the Devil and other evil spirits, where Jesus says there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. It can also called Lake of Fire.

    We Are Living Testimonies

    While we are alive, we are living testimonies. We are Gods workmanship. Are we showing others the love of God? Are we living in such a manner that compels others to ask, Why are you so happy? Why are you so positive?

    It is Christ in us which will convince the lost. This is how we build the Kingdom of God.

    It probably isn’t the best witness to yell or ridicule the beliefs of devout Catholics. Instead, lets focus on four things that Protestants and Catholics have in common:

    1. We believe that Christ died for the sins of humanity.

    2. We believe that grace alone saves us.

    3. We believe he rose again.

    4. We believe that he will one day return to reclaim us.

    Apostle Paul encouraged the Body of Christ with these words, Be completely humble and gentle be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace, Ephesians 4:2-3.

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    What Awaits The Wicked When They Die

    According to the Bible, it is those who reject salvation and continue in sin who will suffer for eternity. “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” . The prayers of the saints can never gain them passage into heaven.

    “For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” .

    Did Jesus Teach That Purgatory Is Real

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    The Magna Carta for all Christian evangelists is Christs great commission: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations . . . teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you . Notice Christs command restricts the Christian evangelist to teaching only what Christ revealed and not his own opinions.

    Many Protestants think the Catholic Church fails in this regard. Purgatory is one Catholic dogma they dont think came from our Lord. Its asserted that this is one of the many made-up dogmas the Catholic Church binds its members to believe.

    Its true all members of the Catholic Church are bound to believe in the dogma of purgatory. But its not true that its made up.

    In answering this claim, the Catholic apologist could turn to St. Pauls classic text in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 wherein he explains how the soul suffers loss through a purgation of fire on the day of judgment but yet is saved.

    However, the question I want to consider in is, Is there any evidence that Jesus taught such a place exists? If so, then the Churchs usage of 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 for purgatory would be more persuasive.

    There are two Bible passages where Jesus taught the reality of purgatory: Matthew 5:25-26 and Matthew 12:32.

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    A Very Good Place To Start

    Perhaps the best place to start is with the most overt reference to a Purgatory of sorts in the Old Testament. I say a Purgatory of sorts because Purgatory is a teaching fully revealed in the New Testament and defined by the Catholic Church. The Old Testament people of God would not have called it Purgatory, but they did clearly believe that the sins of the dead could be atoned for by the living as I will now prove. This is a constitutive element of what Catholics call Purgatory.

    In II Maccabees 12:39-46, we discover Judas Maccabeus and members of his Jewish military forces collecting the bodies of some fallen comrades who had been killed in battle. When they discovered these men were carrying sacred tokens of the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear , Judas and his companions discerned they had died as a punishment for sin. Therefore, Judas and his men turned to prayer beseeching that the sin which had been committed might be wholly blotted out He also took up a collection and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.

    Who Believes In Purgatory

    Most Catholics and a few scattered denominations believe in Purgatory as being real. Most evangelical or Protestant Christians do not. There is no record in the history of the early church that this doctrine was ever taught. I found none of the early church fathers wrote about it like Polycarp, a student of the Apostle John or Justin Martyr. You decide for yourself whether or not you believe it. Of these things we can be certain:

    • that there is salvation only in the name of Jesus Christ
    • and there is simply no other way that a person can be saved
    • and that salvation means that one believes that Jesus lived a sinless life, died in the place of sinners, was raised from the dead, and today sits at the Right Hand of God .

    I pray that you will place your trust in Jesus Christ today and be saved , otherwise you will stand condemned and judged as guilty by the Savior, the Lord, Judge, and Master Jesus Christ .

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    Thoughts On Where Is Purgatory In The Bible

  • Jess

    Hi Im not sure how you receive non cats on your forum. But I just want to say that I am in agreement to faith with action. Jesus christs first commandment was not to kill. To me that needs no further explanation. To love my neighbor is to also love all that God created and aspire to the purity and love of St Francis. He was a saint who was so pure that even animals and birds were attracted to him. I see people always in disharmony because of misunderstanding of basic truths. People want to believe what is convenient, however before the eyes of God we are all equal it is our actions that set us apart and our level of consciousness. In my school of enlightenment the true teachings of Christ are respected and striven for. Believing is one thing but aspiring and following is even better. Would you not be pleased with a child who earned his position in your company next to you rather than just expected it to fall into his lap because he is your son? The qualities of the one who strives is far more honorable and pleasing than the one who just expects on a belief.

  • tara

    To all of you who think it is Jesus + maybe you do not really understand the way it all works out. Ill cut you some slack. But I will say that you are taking glory away from God by claiming to have the ability to pretty much save yourselves by your own good works.But unless ye repent ye shall all likewise perish.

  • wayne signor

    the work is to Believesimple really

  • kay
  • Dorothy
  • Does Scripture Support Purgatory


    The very popular Pope John Paul II, with the support of the Italian Vatican, published a second edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in 1997. It states, praying for the dead was necessary:

    All who die in Gods grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. .

    Devout Catholics also look to the book of 1 Corinthians to support their beliefs about purgatory.

    If anyones work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire, .

    “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”

    Nick Rabiipour, a reporter for Get Fed, believes purgatory is essential. Many Christians die with attachments to sin that must be gotten rid of before they can be united with God in a perfect union of love through all eternity, he wrote in his article, What Do Catholics Really Believe About Purgatory?

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    Origin Of The Doctrine Of Purgatory

    In Roman Catholic teaching, purgatory is the place where the souls of believers go to be further purified from sin until they are ready to be admitted into heaven. Thus, they have to go to a halfway place between earth and heaven, that is, purgatory.

    The Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church believe that not every Christian who dies goes immediately to heaven. The only people who enter heaven immediately are some martyrs and other highly favored individuals. Even if the person dies at peace with the church, if they are not perfect, they have to go through a time of purging.

    Most Christians who are not good enough to go straight to heaven have to go through a time of purging. Although these people have been forgiven of their sins, they are still liable to experience some temporary punishment before their admittance to heaven.

    They must be properly freed from the blemish of some defects they had received after baptism and they must work out their salvation in purgatory through suffering and a process of purification in this place. According to this view, the sufferings of purgatory are given to God in substitute for the punishment for sins that believers should have received in time but did not.

    Once their sins have been sufficiently purged, they can then enter the perfection of heaven.

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    The Bible Teaches Purgatory

    There is proof for Purgatory in the Bible. Its found in 1 Corinthians chapter 3, verse 15. Lets examine this Biblical proof for Purgatory. I will use the 1611 King James Version of the Bible, a famous Protestant translation.


    1 Corinthians 3:11-15- For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved yet so as by fire.

    Now lets look at the last part of this passage again. In 1 Corinthians 3:15, we see: If any mans work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire. So we have a man whose works have been judged. His works are, in fact, burned and he suffers loss yet he is saved, but by fire. He suffers loss, but is saved by fire.



    1 Corinthians 3:3- for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?



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