Discussing the bible


I had a two conversations with two people who are non Catholic Christians about the bible. In the first conversation I was discussing prayers for the dead and had mentioned that in 2 Timothy 1:16 there seems to be strong evidence that Paul prayed for the soul of Onesiphorus. My friend responded by saying that Paul was human (and all humans are fallible) and we’re not to pray for the dead. In the second conversation I was explaining to another person who doesn’t know why Catholics call priests father. I brought up the fact that Paul called himself father when he wrote to his followers and again the response I heard was that Paul was human and the bible has practices in it that we shouldn’t do. My question is how should we respond to their arguments like Paul was still human. I know the bible is inerrant but I don’t know how to articulate a defense against this. Has anyone else ever had a similar conversation and how did you handle it?


I would say that priests beget spiritual children in Christ as the ordinary ministers of baptism. They satisfy the Divine command to increase and multiply spiritually instead of carnally. As such, we call our priests father. Jesus Christ called Abraham his father, so the prohibition against calling someone father meant something other than what your friend thinks.


They haven’t thought through their positions because they have indicted the reliability of the Bible. You can point that out but I doubt you’ll be well received. Both discussions are likely to go nowhere.

On prayers for the dead, I have an article on my blog that may help. Biblical and Jewish Traditional Beliefs About Purgatory

CA has a pretty excellent tract that will help with that 2nd issue. It’s called Call No Man “Father”?

I hope all this helps you out. :slight_smile:



It doesn’t matter if you pray for the dead. It is not a sin to do so or not to do so. No where in the Mosaic law or in Christian writings is it considered sinful. Some protestants get hung up thinking that praying for the dead is worshiping the dead which is incorrect. :gopray2:


Ask them to show you in scripture that we are not to pray for the dead.

Also ask them when in the telling of the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man, Jesus himself says father Abraham.

Then I would ask them since all humans are fallible, why you should trust that any of the scriptures are reliable since the writers were human? If they answer the writers were inspired, ask them: "then wasn’t St. Paul also inspired when he called himself father?

Lastly, ask them why you should trust their answer over St. Paul, when choosing between fallible humans? Are their writings in scripture?


I would just say that we don’t pray to the dead; they are living:

'And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.’ (Matt 22:31-32, RSV)


Thank you everyone for responding. Unfortunately I got sidetracked shoveling and forgot I posted this question. I found all your responses helpful and I would sum it up with asking can someone support their claim with scripture. I knew there was an easy answer but I couldn’t articulate it. Thanks again!


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.