Is Purgatory Mentioned in the Bible?
The word “purgatory” is not found in the Bible. The Bible doesn’t say anything about souls being purified in purgatory after death. Let’s take a look at what the Bible teaches about sin and death, and see how it differs from the idea of purgatory.
No, it’s not. The Bible doesn’t contain the word “purgatory,” and it doesn’t tell us that souls are purified in such a place. Explore what the Bible says about sin and death, and you’ll see how it doesn’t align with the concept of purgatory.
Cleansing from Sin: Faith in Jesus, Not Purgatory
Having faith in the blood of Jesus, not spending time in a supposed purgatory, is what purifies a person from sin. The Bible tells us that “the blood of [God’s] Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin” and that “Jesus Christ… freed us from our sins by his blood” (1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5, New American Bible). Jesus sacrificed his life to pay for the sins of many, acting as a ransom (Matthew 20:28, NAB). So, faith in Jesus, not purgatory, brings about cleansing from sin.
Understanding Death and Purgatory
When people die, they are not aware of anything. The Bible says, “The living know that they are to die, but the dead no longer know anything” (Ecclesiastes 9:5, NAB). Once a person has died, they can’t feel anything, which means they cannot be cleansed by any supposed fire of purgatory. Death brings an end to our awareness and experiences.
No Punishment After Death
After a person dies, there is no punishment for sins. The Bible tells us, “the wages of sin is death” and that “a dead person has been absolved from sin” (Romans 6:7, 23, NAB). Death is considered the entire and final consequence of sin. Once a person has died, there is no additional punishment.
What is the doctrine of purgatory?
Purgatory is defined in Catholic teaching as the state, place, or condition where the souls of those who die atone for their unforgiven sins and are purified. b According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, this purification is needed “to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.” The Catechism adds that “the tradition of the Church . . . speaks of a cleansing fire,” as depicted in the artwork accompanying this article. However, this is not a Scriptural teaching.From JW.org Website
Where did the doctrine of purgatory come from?
The ancient Greeks believed in Limbo and purgatory. Influenced by Greek philosophy, Clement of Alexandria asserted that the dead could be cleansed of sin by a purifying fire. However, it was Pope Gregory the Great who stressed the fire of purgatory as a matter of unquestioned belief, according to The History of Christian Doctrines. This reference work adds that Gregory, who was pope from 590 to 604 C.E., “is usually called ‘the inventor of purgatory.’” The Catholic Church defined its official teaching of purgatory at the councils of Lyons (1274) and Florence (1439) and reaffirmed it at the Council of Trent in 1547.
b See the New Catholic Encyclopedia, Second Edition, Volume 11, page 824.