Bible Question:

I was raised a Roman Catholic, but now I attend a Baptist church. I do not consider myself to be a true Roman Catholic any longer, but I have always been comforted by praying the Rosary. What is your view about the Rosary?

Bible Answer:

The question we want to answer is, “What does the Bible say about praying the Rosary?” But first, for the benefit of those who are not Roman Catholic, we want to first ask, “What is the Rosary?” The second question is, “What does Scripture say about the Rosary?”

What does the Bible say about the rosary?

What Is The Rosary?

Different forms of the Rosary are prayed in Roman Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, the Bahá’í Faith, and Islam. It may surprise some that Hinduism also practices celibacy of the clergy, separation from the world, worship of saints, fasting, processions, litanies, and use of holy water. In each of these religions, the Rosary is made of beads on a string or knotted cord. Islam uses 99 beads and the Hindus and Buddhists use ones with 100 as well as 66 beads. Prayers are repeated as the beads are counted.

The Rosary was not used by Jesus, by His apostles, or by the early church fathers. The Roman Catholic Church started using the Rosary around A.D. 1350. Protestants do not use a Rosary. Within the Roman Catholic Church, the Rosary has five sets of ten beads. Each set of ten beads is called a decade. Each decade is separated by one large bead. Different prayers are recited for different beads. The “Our Father” or “Lord’s Prayer” is recited on the large bead while the “Hail Mary” is prayed on each of the small beads.

Prayer of the Rosary

The “prayer of the Rosary” has ten steps and each step has different prayers and recitations. The worshipper is to do or say the following:

1. Make the Sign of the Cross and say the Apostles’ Creed.
2. Our Father — which is called the Lord’s Prayer
3. Three “Hail Mary” prayers
4. “Glory Be”
5. Meditate on the first mystery and say the “Our Father” prayer.
6. Ten “Hail Mary” prayers
7. “Glory Be”
8. Meditate on all remaining mysteries and say the “Our Father” prayer.
9. Say “Hail Holy Queen” prayer and the “Final Prayer.”
10. Make the Sign of the Cross.

The “Hail Mary” prayer is,

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.[1]

The “Hail, Holy Queen” prayer is,

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our Life, our Sweetness, and our hope. To thee we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn then most gracious advocate, Thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this, our exile, show unto us, the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Pray for us O Holy Mother of God, That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.

There are twenty mysteries included in the Rosary. They are spread out over the various days of the week. Five “Joyful Mysteries” are recited on Monday through Saturday. Five Luminous Mysteries are recited on Thursday. The five Sorrowful Mysteries are recited on Tuesday and Friday. The five Glorious Mysteries are recited on Wednesday and Sunday. There are Sorrowful Mysteries recited on the Sundays of Lent.

Roman Catholic View of Mary

The Roman Catholic Church claims that praying the Rosary properly venerates Mary since they claim,

Mary has by grace been exalted above all angels and men to a place second only to her Son, as the most holy mother of God who was involved in the mysteries of Christ: she is rightly honored by a special cult in the Church. From the earliest times the Blessed Virgin is honored under the title of Mother of God, whose protection the faithful take refuge together in prayer in all their perils and needs.[2]

Mary is also considered by Catholics to be a co-mediator and a co-redeemer. The Roman Catholic Church states that the Rosary encompasses the gospel. Praying the Rosary is also said to provide special graces and protection against various evils, including false teaching. Praying the Rosary is said to provide partial removal of the punishment that we deserve for our sins while we are here on earth. Roman Catholic doctrine also teaches that a person can earn a complete “relief” from all stored up punishment at the time of praying the Rosary, receiving the sacraments of confession, receiving the Eucharist, and offering prayers for the Pope. That is a brief overview of the Roman Catholic Rosary. However, it is important to know that other religions use the rosary also.

What Does Scripture Say About the Rosary?

Does the Bible refer to the Rosary?  The answer is no! The concept of praying the Rosary, a string of beads, is never mentioned in Scripture because it is a human invention. It is not Biblical and it is not of God. The Roman Catholics defend the “prayer of the Rosary” by showing that some phrases can be found in the Bible, but most of the “Hail Mary” prayer and “Hail Holy Queen” prayer cannot be found in the Bible. In fact, parts of the prayers are not only unbiblical; they are absolutely heretical.

Hail Mary Prayer

For example, in the “Hail Mary” prayer, the phrases “full of grace,” “Holy Mary,” and “Mother of God” are never said of Mary in the Bible. The phrase “Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb . . .” can be found in the Bible in Luke 1:42. “Hail, Mary” is the greeting the angel used in Luke 1:28 in the KJV.   In the prayer, the request for Mary to “pray for sinners” is not biblical.

Hail Holy Queen Prayer

The entire prayer called the “Hail Holy Queen” prayer is unbiblical. A few examples of statements that cannot be found in the Bible are “Hail Holy Queen,” “Mother of Mercy,” “To thee we send up our sighs,” “most gracious advocate” and “Holy Mother of God.”

The Bible says that Jesus is our advocate in 1 John 2:1.

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous . . . 1 John 2:1 (NASB)

Scripture never refers to Mary as being our advocate. This means that the Roman Catholic Church falsely teaches that Mary is our advocate when in truth only Jesus is our Advocate. The Roman Catholic Church is a false church.

Bible Teaches Us To Worship Only God

Additionally, the Bible encourages us to pray to God and not to men or women. Jesus encouraged us to pray to the Father in Matthew 6:9-13. Jesus never encouraged us to pray to Mary. To pray to anyone other than God is a violation of the second of the Ten Commandments. We are not to worship anyone other than God. For example, in Acts 10:24-26 we read that a Gentile called Cornelius had bowed and worshipped Peter. Notice Peter’s reply.

On the following day he entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them and had called together his relatives and close friends. When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter raised him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am just a man.” Acts 10:24–26 (NASB)

Peter said, “Stand up; I too am just a man.” Mary was just a woman.  Another example is Acts 14:13–15. Here a group of pagans fell down and worshipped the apostle Paul. Notice how Paul responded.

The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their robes and rushed out into the crowd, crying out and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, WHO MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM. Acts 14:13-15 (NASB)

Just as Peter did, Paul stopped them from worshipping him.

In Matthew 4:10 Jesus tells Satan that we are to worship only God. That is, no one should bow down and worship Mary, and they should not pray to her either. It is a sin to worship and pray to Mary. The behaviors associated with “venerating Mary” are identical to acts of worship.

Bible About Mary Herself

In addition, Mary was not holy. In Mary’s prayer, “The Magnificat,” Mary calls God her “Savior.” The prayer is found in Luke 1:47. Mary states that she needs a Savior, and she calls God her Savior. Since only sinners need a Savior, Mary admits in prayer to God that she needed a Savior. She said this just after Jesus was conceived in her womb. Jesus was not immaculately conceived.

Finally, it is amazing that the Roman Catholic Church has adopted the title “Queen of Heaven” for Mary. It is amazing since the title occurs five times in the Bible. Each time it is applied to the idols of the goddesses called “Ashtoreth,” “Astarte” and to the wife of Baal or Molech (Jeremiah 7:17–19; 44:16–27).[3] Why did the Roman Catholic Church give the name of an idol to Mary? It may be that God allowed that to happen to further reveal that Roman Catholicism is a false religion.

In summary, praying the Rosary does not provide forgiveness of our sins, relief from punishment, or provide certain graces; nor does it give us victory over hell. Praying the Rosary is a deceptive practice that cannot be found in the Bible. It is heretical.

Our Sins Are Forgiven By God The Father

In fact, God has given us different directions for having our sins forgiven.

TruthScripture
Only Jesus forgives sins.
Mary cannot do anything for us.
For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus . . (NASB) 1 Timothy. 2:5
God the Father is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins.
The Father forgives because it is His character to forgive. This is a promise. We do not need the help of Mary.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9 (NASB)
God forgives and not Mary.
Mary, herself, said that she was a sinner herself (Luke 1:47). The Bible never says or promises that Mary forgives the sins of anyone.
When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin to Thee, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”; and Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin.
Psalm 32:3-5 (NASB)
Christians are royal priests.
We do not need to go to a priest to be forgiven. We can confess our sins directly to God.
But you are . . . a royal PRIESTHOOD . . . 1 Peter 2:9 (NASB)
Walking in the Holy Spirit gives us certain graces.But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control . . .Galatians 5:22-23 (NASB)
Victory over hell is found in the armor of God.Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6:10-19 (NASB)

Nowhere in Scripture are we told that Mary forgives our sins, pleads for our forgiveness with the Father and blesses us with graces. There are no promises that Mary does anything for Christians. Also, note that Mary does not appear in the pages of Scripture after Acts 1.

Conclusion:

The Rosary is a pagan practice – not a Biblical one. The Rosary cannot be found in the Bible. The Rosary promises benefits which it cannot provide. The Rosary is doctrinal error since God has already given us different directions for prayer.

If you are a Christian, did you know that God has already forgiven all of your sins? If you are depending on Jesus to forgive your sins, then God has forgiven you and considers you to be holy. Listen to this wonderful verse.

Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (NASB)

Did you notice that Christians are the temple of God and that He considers us to be holy? Did you know that God already considers or views you to be in heaven?

. . . and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus . . . Ephesians 2:6 (NASB)

God considers Christian to be spiritually seated in heaven while we are physically still here on earth. Positionally, we are in heaven even while we are stll on earth. God has already forgiven ALL of your sins even though you still sin. He has already forgiven all of your past sins, present sins, and your future sins. But that does not mean you are free to sin. A true Christian will not want to sin since it is offensive to Jesus. In fact if we sin and do not admit or confess that we have sinned, God will start disciplining us.

It is wonderful to know that God restores the sweetness of our fellowship with Him when we simply confess our sins. Confession is not begging God to forgive our sins. God does not forgive us because we have done some form of penance or suffered in some way in this life. Confession literally means “to admit.” God asks us to humble ourselves by admitting that we are sinners and by naming those sins we have committed. He forgives us because He has promised to forgive us. When we confess our sins to Him, the Holy Spirit ceases to be grieved and is then free to control us.  Men have added penance and a Rosary. Why should we suffer more when Jesus suffered on the cross for us 2,000 years ago? Are you struggling with some past sin or sins? If so, maybe this will help from a gentleman already in Heaven.

God has cast our confessed sins into the depths of the sea, and He’s even put a “No, Fishing” sign over the spot. – Dwight L. Moody

 

References:

1. Catechism of the Catholic Church. Libreria Editrice Vaticana. 1994.  2676.
2. Second Vatican Council, “The Cult of The Blessed Virgin In The Church.”
3. F. B. Huey, jr. Jeremiah. The New American Commentary. B&H Publishing. 1993. p. 108.

Suggested Links:

Who was Mary, the mother of Jesus?
Mary, The Favored One!
Mary’s Magnificat
When were Mary and Joseph married?
Why do people believe in saints & images of the Virgin Mary?
Is Mother Mary part of the Holy Trinity? — Worship of Mary