As a long time Christian, I have always dug deep into many doctrines. In college, we once had a heated argument on Purgatory with a fellow student. I wanted solid Biblical evidence on the purgatory concept. When we couldn’t agree, we decided to approach the school’s Catholic priest for answers and it turned out to be an enlightening session. We even made it a weekly thing. Recently, I met a new Catholic convert in my online Christian forum and she was still getting versed with the Catholic faith. She wrote, “Sir, I have looked for the word purgatory everywhere in the Bible and I haven’t seen it.” Since I have vast knowledge on this doctrine, this gave me the perfect opportunity to cover this topic in length. So, how many times Purgatory is mentioned in the Bible?
Purgatory is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible. However, it is a belief among Catholics, who refer to it from verses in the New Testament. For example, verses like 1 Corinthians 3:15 inform their concept of Purgatory.
Join me in this article as I write about what the Bible says about Purgatory. I will also let you know if it has been mentioned and discuss the verses that support Purgatory. Read on to find out more.
Is Purgatory Mentioned in the Bible?
No, Purgatory is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible. However, Catholics maintain that the concept of Purgatory is written in the Bible. The concept present in the Bible is that of praying for the departed souls. Also, they believe that the concept of purification is the Bible and say that the prayers for the dead quicken their painful purification in Purgatory.
In addition, Catholics believe that Matthew 12:32 hints that forgiveness exists in the next life. The verse is about Jesus warning that sinning against the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven in this life or the next life. When He talks of the next life, Catholics draw from it that there is a next life where some sins will be forgiven while others will not. They then conclude that forgiveness happens in Purgatory.
Where Is Purgatory In The Bible?
According to the Catholic Bible, Purgatory is found in the book of 2nd Maccabees 12:46. The book talks of making an atonement for the dead so that they are set free from their sins. According to their interpretation, this is Purgatory. However, the Protestant Bible does not have this book, and most do not believe in the existence of Purgatory.
What Does the Bible Say About Purgatory?
Jesus already suffered for our sins
Romans 5:8 says that Jesus went through very painful suffering for our sake. This means He delivered us from going through the forms of suffering believed to exist in Purgatory. It is implied that the idea of Purgatory makes it look like Jesus’s dying for our sins was insufficient for us. The Bible in 1 John 2:2 says that Jesus Christ died for the sins of everyone; hence, everyone is saved from suffering. Therefore, Purgatory is contrary to the Biblical teaching of salvation.
The works of Christians pass through the fire, not Christians themselves
Catholics use 1 Corinthians 3:15 as their solid proof of the existence of Purgatory, but it is suggested that they misinterpret the verse. Catholics interpret it to mean believers go through the fire, which informs their belief in Purgatory. However, if you read it from verses 12 to 15, you realize that the Bible is not talking about believers going through the fire. Instead, the Bible talks about the works of Christians going through fire to test how good they are. Therefore, believing in Purgatory based on this scripture could be misinformed.
Biblical Support for Purgatory
Psalms 66:12 talks about humans going through water and through fire. It is interpreted to mean that water refers to being baptized, while fire refers to purification by fire in Purgatory.
Malachi 3:3 says that God is like a purifier of silver and gold. He will purify the priests to make them offer the right offerings to God. People like Oregon and St. Ambrose suggest that this verse is evidence enough of Purgatory.
2 Maccabees 12:44-45 talks about the time when Jews offered atonement for those who had died so that they were delivered from sin. It is argued that praying for the dead supports the idea of Purgatory because prayers would be useless if they were already in hell. Similarly, praying for them would be useless if they were already in heaven. Therefore, the only place these souls could go to is Purgatory, which is why Jews and Catholics pray for the dead.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.