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17 Bible Verses About Purgatory

    Purgatory is a concept with significant debate within Christianity, particularly about its position in biblical doctrine. The Bible does lack explicit references to the term ‘Purgatory.’ There are, however, biblical verses, conveying concepts often associated with it – testing through fire and temporary punishment after death. While there is spectrum-wide interpretation of these verses, this analysis focuses on how they’ve contributed to shaping the understanding of Purgatory in theology.

    What is Purgatory

    Purgatory is a place or state of suffering inhabited by the souls of sinners expiating their sins before going to heaven, according to Catholic doctrine. It essentially serves as a place of purification, where souls undergo a process to be worthy of entering heaven. The idea behind Purgatory is linked to verses in the Bible that talk about purification and judgment.

    Where Do Concepts Connected to Purgatory Appear in the Bible

    Although the word ‘Purgatory’ does not appear directly in the Bible, the concept finds roots in various biblical verses. References to post-death purification and temporary punishments, seen in the New Testament, have been perceived as indirect references to Purgatory. Ideas of purification through fire, such as mentioned in Corinthian letters, and Matthew’s gospel emphasizing the repayment of every last penny are instances.

    Why do Interpretations Vary from Explicit to Metaphoric

    Interpretations of the biblical verses vary, causing division among religious denominations on the issue of Purgatory. Some readers take the biblical text at face value, suggesting that the lack of explicit reference undermines Purgatory’s existence. In contrast, others see indirect references, interpreting the mentioned temporary punishments and purification process as allusions to Purgatory. These varying interpretations stem from the different theological perspectives and traditions within Christianity.

    Who Believes in Purgatory

    Purgatory is predominantly a doctrine adhered to by Catholics, shaped by centuries-old tradition and papal authority. However, Eastern Orthodox Christians also believe in a form of post-death purification. Yet, it’s not a universally accepted Christian concept. Notably, Protestant denominations reject the notion of Purgatory entirely, arguing that it isn’t substantiated by the Bible directly. Despite these theological differences, all Christian beliefs around afterlife uphold redemption and mercy at their core.

    When did Purgatory become a Divisive Concept

    The concept of Purgatory became divisive during the Reformation in the 16th century. Critics like Martin Luther challenged it as unbiblical, sparking a debate that continues today. This marked a significant divergence of thought between Protestant beliefs and Catholic and Orthodox teachings. It has led to ongoing conversations around reconciling various understandings of Purgatory, its basis in biblical teachings, and its place in Christian doctrine.

    Below is the full list of bible verses on purgatory (King James Version – KJV). The list is ranked in order of popularity and we hope you find the inspiration you need.

    Most Popular Bible Verses About Purgatory

    2 Corinthians 5:10

    10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”

    Related Themes: Judging Others Personal Responsibility Reaping What You Sow Retribution Judgment

    Matthew 5:26

    26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.”

    Related Themes: Indulgence Omnipotence

    1 Corinthians 3:15

    15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

    Related Themes: Fire

    1 John 1:9

    9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

    Related Themes: Repentance Forgiveness Bitterness Lust Attitude

    Hebrews 9:27

    27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”

    Related Themes: Afterlife Hell Omnipresence Omnipotence Reaping

    Revelation 21:27

    27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

    Related Themes: Abomination Earth Holiness Lying

    Hebrews 9:27-28

    27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”

    Related Themes: Afterlife Hell Omnipresence Omnipotence Reaping

    Revelation 20:12

    12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”

    Related Themes: Hell Morality Destiny Accountability

    Luke 12:47

    47 And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.”

    Related Themes: Money Accountability Responsibility All Sins Being Equal Preparation

    1 Peter 3:19

    19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;”

    Related Themes: Hell

    1 Peter 4:6

    6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.”

    Matthew 5:48

    48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

    Related Themes: Holiness Morality Morals Perfection Sin

    1 Corinthians 3:11-15

    11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;13 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.14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

    Related Themes: Foundation Fire Greed

    1 Corinthians 3:13

    13 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.”

    Related Themes: Foundation Fire

    Hebrews 12:14

    14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:”

    Related Themes: Holiness Bitterness Telling The Truth Peace Arguing

    Hebrews 12:23

    23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,”

    Matthew 12:36-37

    36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”

    Related Themes: Gossip Idleness Fighting Slander Accountability