On Lily Maiden’s blog a young poster named Bethany asked for the scriptural references for purgatory. I promised her that I would post them. If you have other questions about Purgatory please check out the two articles that I link to at the top of my blog. Chances are that I covered your question already.
I am asking any readers of my blog to please get out your bible and double check what I am writing. Never take another person’s word for what the bible says but instead, read the verses in context. That is a good habit to get into.
Let’s start with Matthew 23:26 Come to terms with your opponent or you will be handed over to the judge and thrown into prison. You will not get out until you have paid the last penny. Most people will quickly understand that the judge in this parable is actually God. Some will mistakenly assume that prison he is referencing is Hell. But how can that be when no one gets out of Hell? The verse says that you will not get out of jail UNTIL you have paid the last penny. That indicates that at sometime the person will have the ability to get out of jail. How is that possible if the above verse is speaking of Hell.
In Luke 12:41-48 Jesus describes the actions and rewards of the good, bad and ignorant servants when the master is away. The good servant will be rewarded, while the bad servant will be beaten and assigned a place with the unfaithful (hell) Yet, Jesus qualified this story by discussing the plight of the ignorant servant. 48 And the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly. The servant obviously is not in Heaven because there will be nothing akin to a beating in Paradise neither can it be Hell we will no longer be with the Master(Notice that the bad servant was sent away)
Corinthians 3:10-15 compares Christ to a building foundation Verses 11-114 For no one can lay foundation other than the one that is there, namely, Jesus Christ(faith in Jesus)If anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay or straw the work of each will come to light, for the Day will disclose it. It will be revealed with fire and the fire will test the quality of each one’s work. If the work stands that someone builds upon the foundation the person will receive a wage. These verses speak about the fact that we need to have our life built upon Jesus in order to enter heaven. The next verse states that But if someone’s work is burned up, that one will suffer loss; the person will be saved, but only as though fire. The person indicated in the verse is still saved but will need to go through a purification process to enter heaven. Catholics call this purification process Purgatory.
Also in Corinthians 15: 29 Paul speaks about a Christian practice during his time period in which the individual was baptized for the dead. Paul does not state whether he approves or disapproves of this now defunct practice. He is using it as an example to prove the resurrection of the dead. But it would seem a waste of effort for early Christians to be baptized for either those who were in Heaven or Hell. No one goes from Hell to Heaven or back.
Peter affirms in 1 Peter 3:18-19 that Christ did indeed die for our sins but that after his death and before his physical resurrection he preached to those souls in prison. It would make little sense for Jesus to preach to those in Hell who can not be saved by him. Neither would it seem appropriate for Peter to refer to those in Heaven as being in ‘prison’ The only logical explanation is that Jesus spoke to souls who were in a third realm that was neither Heaven or Hell.
It is very possible that I missed some verses so please visit Scripture Catholic which is a wonderful resource that I visit frequently.