Praying for the Dead Proved from Scripture

**Praying for the Dead Proved from Scripture **

2 Timothy 1:16-18 (RSV)
May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiph’orus, for he often refreshed me; he was not ashamed of my chains, [17] but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me eagerly and found me – [18] may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day – and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.

2 Timothy 4:19
Greet Prisca and Aq’uila, and the household of Onesiph’orus.

Onesiphorus, of course, is generally accepted to have been dead when Paul wrote these passages.

They will demand proof from Scripture that he was dead at the time, and those passages won’t suffice. The language is certainly consistent with him being dead (otherwise why not say “Onesiphorus and his household”?), but it doesn’t demand it.

LOL. St Peter says the gospel must be preached to the dead, that means they can be conscious of what they’ll receive.

What more is our prayers. :wink:

I’d say it does demand it, especially taking the second reference into account. Take note how Paul concludes his Letter:
2 Tim 4:
9Do your best to come to me quickly,
10for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica.
Crescens has gone to Galatia,
and Titus to Dalmatia.
Only Luke is with me
Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.
12I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments. …
19Greet Priscilla and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus. 20Erastus stayed in Corinth,
and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus. 21Do your best to get here before winter.
Eubulus greets you, and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brothers.
Paul mentions no less than 15 people here, along with their various locations, yet Onesiphorus is not mentioned at all. Also, only one “household” is mentioned, indicating that’s all that’s left of his legacy. All evidence points to the conclusion Onesiphorus is no longer alive, none of it points to the idea he is still living.

2 Maccabees 12:43-46

43 He then took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view;

44 for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death.

45 But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought.

46 Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin.

Cant use Maccabees when talking to Protestants - Luther knew this would defeat his plan to extricate praying for the dead and indulgences which he did not want to be part of his new vision for a whole new Christianity version II. That’s specifically why he pulled out these texts (Apocrypha/deuterocanonicals) that had been in the cannon for 1400 years before him. He wanted to appeal to the peasants to put them on a level playing field so they would not feel slighted that the rich were buying themselves an easier way out of purgatory ahead of them. It was pure demagoguery. So if the peasant could not afford the small stipend for a mass then Luther would not let anyone out of purgatory early.

If Luther escaped hell then it would be justice if he was the last person to be let out of purgatory since God should not permit anyone to offer indulgences to a man who tried to outlaw them.


I agree that it’s quite strong, I agree with your conclusion and thank you for pointing it out (I’ll be using it in the future). For what it’s worth, also notice that he refers to Onesiphorus in the past tense.

I’m not sure that the text absolutely demands it, but if not it’s about as close as you can get without being there. In this case most non-Catholics won’t accept anything less than an explicit statement that Onesiphorus was dead. That’s unreasonable but some folks insist on unreasonable levels of proof before they’ll change their minds.

It really isn’t strong at all - for one thing it doen’t specify that Onesiphorus is dead.

Neither is it saying that Onesiphorus specifically was being prayed for - just his household (which arguably means just the living members).

CD, see what I mean? Some folks are unreasonable.

Lily, if the same things were said by anyone else in any other work of literature, you’d conclude that the person was dead.

That’s absurd - what do you think “may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day” is if not a prayer for him?

How about this verse…

Acts 9:40 And they all being put forth, Peter, kneeling down, prayed. And turning to the body, he said: Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes and, seeing Peter, sat up.

Peter seems to be praying for the dead woman :shrug:

As the souls in purgatory are children of God and still members of the Church, they share in the communion of saints, and are relieved by our prayers.
The communion of saints is the union that exists between the members of the true Church on earth with each other, and with the blessed in heaven, and the suffering souls in purgatory.
Scripture says "It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins. (2 Mach. xii. 46)
There are also the other quotes already mentioned by St. Paul.
God Bless :slight_smile:

I would suggest that Peter may have been asking God to perform a miracle rather than praying for this dead woman. His prayer for a miracle was indeed answered.NLM:)

Hmm, now I think I finally see why the French intellectual-secularists favored the guillotine during the French Revolution. They wanted to decapitate reason from the soul and seperate head from trunk just in case those pesky Catholic priests & bishops might have friends about who would come back to raise them from the dead. Probably where the idea of “talking heads” came from. :smiley:

This is not personally directed but this is an opportune moment to say that ‘I think I am going to start praying that God raise some IQs from the dead around here’. Now that would be both a miracle as well as praying for the dead. On, the other hand I can see why many council that it is often more merciful to be quite and let dead dogs lay. :stuck_out_tongue:


One very close possibility or an example of prayers for the dead happened at David’s time. In 2 Samuel 21, a three-year famine was inflicted at Israel and by the Lord’s message the reason for it is Saul’s actions to the Gibeonites, whom he sought to exterminate. They had still nurtured grudges to the fallen King.

The Gibeonites demanded seven men from Saul’s kinsmen to be killed to pay as retribution. David spared the son of Jonathan by an oath they mutually made when Jonathan was still alive.

That time the bones of Saul and Jonathan were displaced. David took them and buried them together with Saul’s father Kish’s bones and the bones of the seven men who were killed by the Gibeonites. At that time prayers rose and God restored the Land (cf. 2 Samuel 21:1-14)

I think David did pray on the behalf of the dead here for he knew by the counsel of the Lord that the famine was caused by Saul’s ruthless acts. And of course, it is reasonable for him to pray for we know that David treasure Jonathan dearly (that made him decide to spare Jonathan’s son). No good friend can withhold wishing the good for his own friend who had been good to him, too, so he must have prayed for Jonathan also, especially in the truth that Jonathan was ever associated with his ruthless father. Notice here that it is on the burying of the dead in the proper place of burial (that is, with Saul’s father Kish) that the curse in Israel was lifted up. I think it is reasonable enough to say that David did pray to God on behalf of the dead,** for if God wills the affairs of the long dead to linger on, like the sins of Saul to the Gibeonites, then our actions must be very meritorious if we correct it for the sake of the dead.** And doing or praying for them is one action. Thus our Deuterocanonical Sirach says that:

“A gift hath grace in the sight of all the living, and restrain not grace from the dead.”
(Sirach 7:33)

In this tradition the importance of proper burial and burial rites strengthened among the Jews. I think why the Jews are terrified by unburial is that they’re afraid that their past actions will linger on and no one will pray on behalf of them. :slight_smile:

I wouldn’t say Lily is unreasonable, but I would disagree with her comments and believe the evidence is against her.

The best thing I can say at this point is to have a look at this link:

Here it shows numerous well respected Protestant theologians and Protestant Commentaries saying Onesiphorus was likely dead. And Protestants would not come anywhere near affirming that if there was a better explanation.

To pray means to ask.

If Peter asked God for a miralce (that she come back to life), is he not praying for her.

She was dead
The text says Peter "prayed"
His prayer was answerd
She came back to life
A miracle


How about 2nd. Mac. 12: 39 On the next day, as by that time it had become necessary, Judas and his men went to take up the bodies of the fallen and to bring them back to lie with their kinsmen in the sepulchres of their fathers. 40 Then under the tunic of every one of the dead they found sacred tokens of the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear. And it became clear to all that this was why these men had fallen. 41 So they all blessed the ways of the Lord, the righteous Judge, who reveals the things that are hidden; 42 and they turned to prayer, beseeching that the sin which had been committed might be wholly blotted out. And the noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen. 43 He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection. 44 For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. 45 But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.

Love and prayers

Except, of course, to point out that Maccabees provides historical evidence that praying for the dead was customary among the Jews.

But you knew that…:stuck_out_tongue:

Hello James, Why would God want to make getting to heaven more difficult for the poor? It makes absolutely no sense to say I can buy my way out of a purgatory which I do not believe exists in the first place. It was and is a money making venture and nothing else. That is my opinion.NLM

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