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Jennifer Stewart wrote:

Hi, guys —

Is there any Scripture that directly speaks about the following topics:

  • Praying to the saints
  • Confession of sin to a priest, and
  • Purgatory?


  { Are there any Scriptures that speak on praying to saints, confession to a priest and Purgatory? }

Mike replied:

Hi Jennifer,

Thanks for the question.

These are from my Scripture Passages page:

Praying to the Saints and intercessory prayer to the Saints

Tobit 12:12
Angel presents Tobit and Sarah's prayer to God.

Romans 15:30
Join me by your prayers to God on my behalf.

Ephesians 4:3
Pray for us.

Ephesians 6:18-19
Never get tired of staying awake to pray for all God's holy people, and pray for me to be given an opportunity to open my mouth and fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.

2 Thessalonians 1:11
We always pray for you.

2 Thessalonians 3:1
Finally, brothers, pray for us.

Revelation 5:8
Angel offers prayers of the holy ones to God.

You can find more non-Scriptural support from the Early Church Fathers on this page.

If you are talking with a Sola Scriptura person, they really can't ignore this.

  • Why?

Because the Scriptures themselves are a tradition, written by Catholics and their Old Testament ancestors, for Catholics, for use in the Catholic liturgy, the Mass. Before A.D. 382 there was no known canon of Scripture. This may surprise many, but that's because they don't know the origins and development of the Scriptures. Scott Hahn's book Letter and Spirit is good eye-opener for those that have never heard this.

Confession of sin to a priest

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you." 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."

John 20:19-23

16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.

James 5:16

You can find more non-Scriptural support from the Early Church Fathers on this page.


You are not going to find the word Purgatory in the Scriptures because Purgatory is a Latin word and up until the beginning of the 5th century everyone spoke Aramaic or Greek.

What you will find are the sediments of Purgatory from my Scripture Passages page:

First a Catholic Note:

Purgatory refers to a temporary state of purification for those who have died in the state of grace but still need to get rid of any lingering imperfections (venial sins, earthly attachments, self-will, etc.) before entering the perfection of heaven.

Purgatory has nothing to do with ones justification or salvation. Those in Purgatory are justified; they are saved. Purgatory has to do with ones holiness and the burning away of remaining self-love. (Revelation 21:27)

It's true that the word "Purgatory" doesn't appear in the Bible (neither do the words "Trinity", "Incarnation", "altar call" or even "Bible"). However, what's important is not the word, but the doctrine. And the doctrine of the final purification of the elect, apart from heaven or hell, is clearly taught in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

13 So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. 14 However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.”

2 Samuel 12:13-14 - David, though forgiven, is still punished for sin.

39 And the day following Judas cam with his company, to take away the bodies of them that were slain, and to bury them with their kinsmen, in the sepulchres of their fathers. 40 And they found under the coats o the slain some of the donaries of the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbiddeth the Jews: 41 Then they all blessed the just judgment of the Lord, who had discovered the things that were hidden. 42 And so betaking themselves to prayers, they besought him, that the sin which had been committed might be forgotten. But the most valiant Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves from sin, forasmuch as they saw before their eyes what had happened, because of the sins of those that were slain. 43 And making a gathering, he twelve thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection, 44 (For if he had not hoped that the that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead,) 45 And because he considered that the who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them. 46 It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.

2 Maccabees 12:39-46 (Douay-Rheims)

Side note: Though this book was rejected by the Protestant reformers and therefore is not in Protestant Bibles, one can not ignore the historical reality of this event and the reality of the words which were said.

Other Scripture passages:

Matthew 5:25-26
"You will be thrown into prison and not be released until you have paid the last penny."

Matthew 5:48
Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Perfection is to be strived for on earth.)

Matthew 12:32
Sin against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, in this age, or the next.

Matthew 12:36
You will have to account for every idle word on judgment day.

1 Corinthians 3:10-16
"If someone's work is burned ... the person will be saved, but only as through fire."

1 Corinthians 15:29-30
Paul mentions people baptizing for the dead.

2 Timothy 1:16-18
Paul prays and asks that God have mercy on his dead friend, Onesiphorus.

Hebrews 12:14
Strive for that holiness without which one cannot see God.

Hebrews 12:29
For our God is a consuming fire.

James 1:14-15
When sin reaches maturity it reaches death.

James 3:2
We all fall short in many respects.

1 Peter 3:18-20 — 4:6
Jesus preached to the spirits in prison.

1 John 5:16-17
Distinction made between deadly sins and one that are not deadly.

Revelation 21:27
Nothing unclean will be allowed to enter into heaven.
See also:

and the Church Fathers on Purgatory.

Hope this helps,


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