Biblical references for the Mass

I know that some Fundamentalist Christians love to say, “The Mass isn’t biblical.” Quite the contrary, don’t you think?

Introductory Rites:
Sign of the Cross:
“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” (see Matt 28:19; cf. John 14:13-14; Acts 2:21)
Formal Greeting:
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ…” (2 Cor 13:14)
“The grace and peace of God our Father…” (Eph 1:2)
“The Lord be with you.” (2 Tim 4:22; cf. Matt 1:23; 28:20)
Rite of Blessing and Sprinkling Holy Water (see Ezek 36:25; cf. Num 8:7a)
Penitential Rite:
“I confess to almighty God…” (cf. Lev 5:5; Neh 1:5-9; Dan 9:3-19; James 5:16)
“Lord, Have Mercy” (Matt 15:22; 17:15; 20:30-31; cf. Ps 123:3)
“Glory to God in the highest…” (Luke 2:14; cf. Rev 4:11; 5:11-14)
Prayers concluded by “Amen” (Neh 8:6; Ps 41:13; Rom 16:27; Heb 13:20-21; Rev 7:16)
Liturgy of the Word:
Introductory/Concluding Dialogues:
“A reading from the book/letter of…”
“The Word of the Lord” (1 Peter 1:25) - “Thanks be to God” (Rom 6:17; 2 Cor 9:15)
“A reading from the holy Gospel according to…” - “Glory to you, O Lord”
“The Gospel of the Lord” - “Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ”
Acclamations before the Gospel:
“Alleluia” (many Psalms, esp. Ps 146-150; Rev 19:1-6)
“Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory!” (cf. Ps 24:7-10; 1 Thess 2:12; 2 Tim 4:18)
“Praise and honor to you, Lord Jesus Christ!” (cf. Dan 4:34, 37; 1 Peter 1:7)
“Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ!” (cf. Phil 1:11)
Profession of Faith:
“We believe…” (Mark 9:24; John 11:27; cf. John 14:1; 1 John 5:10)
General Intercessions:
“We pray to the Lord” (Exod 8:29-30; 10:17-18; Jer 42:2-4; Acts 8:22-24)
“Lord, hear our prayer” (2 Kings 20:2-5; Isa 38:2-5)
Liturgy of the Eucharist:
Preparation of the Gifts:
“Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation…” (cf. 1 Chron 29:10; Ps 72:18-19; 119:10; Luke 1:68)
Eucharistic Acclamations:
“Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might…” (Isa 6:3; Rev 4:8)
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” (Ps 118:26; Mark 11:9; Matt 21:9; Luke 19:38; John 12:13)
“Hosana in the highest” (Mark 11:10; Matt 21:9; cf. Luke 19:38)
Words of Institution: (see Mark 14:22-24; Matt 26:26-28; cf. Luke 22:17-20; 1 Cor 11:23-25)
“Take, eat, this is my body, which is given for you” (combination of Mark 14:22; Matt 26:26; Luke 22:19; 1 Cor 11:24)
“Drink of it, all of you; this is my blood of the covenant…” (combination of Mark 14:24; Matt 26:27b-28; cf. Luke 22:17, 20; 1 Cor 11:25)
“Do this in remembrance of me” (only Luke 22:19; 1 Cor 11:24a, 25b)
Memorial Acclamations:
“Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.” (cf. 1 Thess 4:14-15; 1 Cor 15:3-23)
“Dying you destroyed our death, rising you restored our life. Lord Jesus, come in glory.” (cf. 1 Cor 16:22)
“When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus, until you come in glory.” (cf. 1 Cor 11:26)
“Lord, by your cross and resurrection, you have set us free. You are the Savior of the world.” (cf. Luke 4:42)
Lord’s Prayer:
“Our Father in heaven…” (Matt 6:9-13; cf. Luke 11:2-4; Mark 14:36; Gal 4:6)
Doxology: “For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours…”
(found only in some biblical manuscripts after Matt 6:13; cf. Rev 4:11; 1 Chron 29:11)
Greeting of Peace:
“Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles, ‘I leave you peace, my peace I give you’” (John 14:27)
“The peace of the Lord be with you always.” (cf. John 16:33; 20:19, 21, 26)
Breaking of the Bread:
“Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world…” (cf. John 1:29, 36; cf. Rev 5:6-13; 22:1-3)
Preparation before Communion:
“Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.” (cf. Luke 7:1-10)
Concluding Rite:
Final Blessing (cf. Gen 28:3; Deut 14:29; Num 6:23-27; Ps 29:11)
“Go in the peace of Christ.” (cf. Exod 4:18; 1 Sam 1:17; Mark 5:34; Luke 7:50; 8:48)
“The Mass is ended; go in peace.”
“Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.” (cf. Deut 10:11-13; Judg 18:6; James 2:16)

I hear many of those references will be even clearer with the new translation!

Yes. That is, after the mass (little M) confusion is over.


Well this was before the new translation of the Mass, or revision whatever you would like to call it. The Byzantine Liturgies, specifically the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great, were 86% from the Bible. This means direct phrases, the Novus Ordo on the other hand had only about 32% from the Bible. Hopefully this new revision/translation will increase that so that Westerners may lessen the gap. Either way I strongly support this revision, and both East and West have Biblical phrases throughout their Mass/Divine Liturgies/Quorbonos. This information was given to me several years ago from the former Dean of St. Cyril and Methodios Byzantine Catholic Seminary in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His name is Fr. Jack Custer, he received his Sacred Theology Doctorate from the Biblicum and he also studied at the Pontifical Gregorian. Also, in no way was this post meant to demean the West. The percentages also have to deal with the Spirituality, Theology, and Traditions of the Eastern Churches, since East and West tend to focus on different aspects of Christ, the saints, theology, spirituality, etc.

In Christ,

My books on the new translation have lots of scriptural annotations for the prayers of the Mass. The Eucharistic Prayers (the third volume) are also steeped in Scripture.

Mojo - I’d like to know how those statistics were generated. % of prayers? % of phrases? Direct quotations or strong allusions?

yes, because the mass is the un-bloody sacrifice of Christ, it is the passion, which is most certainly biblical,
here is a very nice explanation of the mass and what each part in the mass refers to, although i got it from an old book, so it’s using the Latin mass for reference -

*first - the priest with an acolyte approaches the altar from the sacristy - this reminds us how Jesus with His apostles went to the Garden of Olives to begin His Holy Passion.

The priest prays at the foot of the altar - this denotes how Crist prayed in the Garden of Olives with His disciples.

The priest ascends the steps, kisses the altar and goes to the epistle side - this tells us how Jesus went forth to meet the servants of the high priest, was betrayed by Judas with a kiss, and led before the high priest Annas.

The priest then goes to the middle of the altar, and says three times the Kyrie Eleison - this signifies Christ led from Annas to Caiphas, and denied three times by Peter.

The priest turns to the people and says, “Dominus vobiscum” - this denotes how Christ turned to Peter and moved him to repentance.

The priest goes to the epistle side and prays - this signifies how Jesus was led before Pilate and falsely accused.

The priest dies from the epistle side to the middle of the altar, and then to the gospel side, where he reads the Gospel - this signifies how Christ was sent from Pilate to Herod, and was mocked and derided by the latter.

The priest goes from the gospel side again to the middle of the altar - this signifies how Jesus was sent back from Herod to Pilate.

The priest uncovers the chalice - this recalls and signifies how Christ was stripped for the scourging.

The priest offers bread and wine - this signifies how Jesus was bound to the pillar and scourged.

The priest covers the chalice after the Offertory - this denotes how Jesus was crowned with thorns.

The priest washes his hands - this signifies how Pilate declared Jesus innocent by washing his hands.

The priest turns towards the people and says, “Orate fratres!” - Christ covered with blood and wounds was presented to the people with the words, “Behold the man!”.

The priest says the Preface - this signifies how Christ was condemned to the death of the cross.

The priest makes the sigh of the cross over the bread and wine - this reminds us how Jesus was fastened to the cross with nails.

The priest elevates the Sacred Host - Christ nailed to the cross was raised up upon it.

The priest elevates the chalice - Christ shed His Precious Blood.

The priest prays after the consecration - Christ hung three hours upon the cross.

The priest strikes his breast and prays for the forgiveness of his sins - this recalls how Jesus promised paradise to the penitent thief.

The priest says the Our Father - this betokens how Jesus recommended His Blessed Mother to the beloved disciple John.

The priest divides the Sacred Host - this signifies the death of Jesus.

The priest strikes his breast and says, “Agnus Dei” - the side of Christ was opened with a lance.

The priest communicates - Christ is laid in the tomb.

The priest goes to the epistle side and prays - Jesus rises from the dead and meets the weeping woman going to the grave.

The priest turns to the people and says, “Dominus Vobiscum”- this signifies how Jesus appeared to His apostles and said to them, “Peace be with you!”.

The priest says the last prayers at the epistle side - Jesus, after His resurrection, remained for forty days with His beloved disciples.

The priest says for the last time, “Dominus vobiscum” - Jesus ascends gloriously into heaven.

The priest blesses the people and reads the last Gospel - Jesus sends the Holy Ghost upon His apostles and disciples. *

I don’t think when Protestants say the mass isn’t biblical, they are saying specific phrases said during the mass isn’t biblical. That’s obvious at first glance.

They are speaking of what they see as crucifying Christ over and over again. So the issue has to be approached in that way.

Verse often cited:

Hebrews 4: 6
4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen[a] away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

And here’s my own, for the Ordinary Form of the Mass:
*]Entering Jerusalem (Mt. 21:1-9) Entrance Procession
*]Cleansing the Temple (Mt. 21:12-14) Penitential Act
*]Joyful singing in the Temple (Mt. 21:15-16) Gloria
*]Teaching in the Temple (Lk. 19:47-48) Liturgy of the Word
*]Preparing the Passover (Lk. 22:8) Offertory
*]Last Supper and Passion (Lk. 22-23) Eucharistic Prayer
*]Resurrection (Lk. 24:1-7) Mingling of Body and Blood
*]“The breaking of the bread” (Lk. 24:30-35) Receiving Communion
*]“Stay in the city” (Lk. 24:49; Ac. 1:3-5) Praying after Communion
*]Blessing (Lk. 24:50-51) Last Blessing
*]Great Commission (Mt. 28:18-20) Dismissal
*]Pentecost (Ac. 2) After Mass


Although I did not specifically question him on how he exactly broke the percentages down, I will give you the short answer of how he came about it. In essence he looked for direct phrases (quotations) from Scripture, Fr. Jack to the Mass as a whole and the Divine Liturgy as a whole. This means pretty much everything that is said rather than the actions of the priest. It would actually be unfair to the West if actions were also counted, because the Byzantine Divine Liturgies are pretty much standard since the 6th century, if I am not mistaken, it might be 4th century. Also, he examined the Novus Ordo before the new revision since this was a number of years ago. Basically he did English translations of each, and looked for direct references to Scripture, whether a phrase said or prayed it counted. To vouch for his accuracy, he knows Latin, Koine Greek, Italian, Russian, English, Gaelic, Old Slavonic, Slovak, and many others that I probably don’t know about. Also, I’m not sure if he has lost it yet, since very few people have it for their whole life, but he has a photographic memory.

In Christ,

When fundamentalists say, “The Mass isn’t biblical”, they are not suggesting that it omits the Bible in the liturgy. Indeed nearly all of it is from scripture, as you have well pointed out. However, I could take the Masonic ritual, or the ritual of most other fraternal organizations, and they would all be full of verbiage from the Bible. Does that make them biblical? I think not.

What the fundamentalists are saying is that there is no biblical example of anyone saying the Mass. Nor is there any biblical teaching concerning the saying of the Mass. And they have a point. There are several biblical passages that could be said to imply the Mass (if you actually believe the Mass is valid), but none that you can point to without any ambiguity and say, “There it is.”

While I’m no bible scholar, the reason this may be true is because the bible is not the full authority. Christ gave his authority to the church.

I’m pleased to hear that the third edition of the Missal will have a higher amount of clarity between the Liturgy and Scripture.

I’d say a form of the Mass is in Luke 24. Jesus speaks from Scripture and then teaches from it on the Road to Emmaus, and then He blesses bread and breaks It!

Thank you for posting this bro I’ve been looking for this for days.anyway can I have a copy of this post in Tagalog language because we want to use it in our Gospel Sharing with Non Catholics in our town . theres no tagalog version of this in the Internet …Your a big help in our mission to spread the fullness of the Catholic faith thank you so much for sharing …from Francisrockstar and Cursillo In Christianity Sacred Heart Cursillo team Binangonan RIzal Phil. …De Colores

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