Worship of Saints or Mary Biblical?

Firstly, before you judge me, I want to say I love my catholic friends and I have no intention to defame anyone but just want to highlight what the Bible says about this practice of worship of Mary and saints.

My reason for writing this article is so that through the Bible they can see what they practice today is it from the Bible? My intent is to help Christians or Catholics grow in understanding the Bible better and make a decision for themselves.

What is Worship?

The word Greek word for “worship,” proskuneō, means “to encounter God and praise Him.” And prayer is described in the Bible as seeking God’s favor (Exodus 32:11), drawing near to God (Psalm 73:28) and prayer in the New Testament are always direct towards God or Jesus ( John 16:23). So can one person worship Mary or the saints? 

What The Bible Says About Who We Can Worship?

You shall fear only the Lord your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name. You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you – Deuteronomy 6:13-14

The Bible is very clear on who we should worship only and that is only God and no other gods. The only time other than God receiving worship is mentioned in the bible are false gods, which are satan and his demons.

Even when Apostle Peter enter the house of the gentiles in the book of Acts, Cornelius fell at his feet and wanted to worship Peter but read what Peter told him to do instead

“But Peter pulled him up and said, “Stand up! I’m a human being just like you!” – Acts 10:26

So here we can clearly read that even Peter himself acknowledges He is not to be worshiped but interesting we do have people today praying to a statue that is seemingly supposed to be Peter in modern times.

Worshiping Mary and The Saints

Many will argue on what is prayer and what is worship to them in their view it may seem alright to give respect to a statue by saying some words or putting a candle but the Bible clearly tells us and describes to us what prayer and worship is below

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me – Exodus 20:4-5

Can a carved image of a saint or Mary be anything that is a likeness that is in heaven above? Yes of course.

Note, the verse above mentions, that you SHALL NOT BOW DOWN TO THEM or SERVE THEM. But how many people actually do that to the saints and Mary?

There is only one person you can bow down to and his name is Jesus Christ.

Roman Catholics attempt to “bypass” these clear bible principles by claiming they do not “worship” Mary or saints, but rather that they only “give them great respect”.

Firstly there is no bible verse in the Bible that tells anyone to give revere, venerate or respect to anyone but God alone!

There is nothing wrong to respect faithful Christians who have gone before us or honoring and acknowledging Mary as the earthly mother of Jesus. But there is no instructions or even Bible verse that shows disciples worshiping, revering or venerating, or praying to them after they are gone to heaven. You only can pray to Jesus period!

Prayer To Anyone Besides God is Not Biblical

Prayer is an act of worship, when we pray to God, we are asking God and admitting that we need his guidance and help. Directing your prayers to anyone other than God is robbing God of the glory that is His alone.

Many of my Catholics will deny praying to Mary or the saints but if you read out the words they pray in church you will clearly see they are praying to Mary. Here are just some examples below from this resource: https://www.catholicity.com/prayer/prayers.html

Example 1 : Hail Mary

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

Example 2 : Saint Michael Prayer

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against
the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God,
cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl throughout the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Example 3: Miraculous Medal Prayer

O Mary, Conceived without Sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee, and for those who do not have recourse to thee, especially the enemies of the Church. Amen.

So from the three examples mentioned above, you can clearly see they are prayers with an “Amen” ending the prayer. So firstly you cannot say it’s not a prayer when it is. Amen means “so be it”.

Secondly, there is no mention of credit being given to Jesus other the first example that briefly gives a mention. Notice all three focus was given mainly to Mary or the saint and not Jesus.

Thirdly, did you notice in all three prayers there were totally no references or passing messages to Jesus even? It was all directed towards only Mary and the saints.

What is Consider Biblical From My View

To be fair not all catholic prayers are not biblical, there are also prayers that are biblical and they do pray to Jesus direct too. Below is one such example

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

Source: https://www.catholic.org/prayers/prayer.php?p=331 

Noticed the big difference here is the prayer ends with dedicating it to our Lord Jesus Christ. This is alright because this prayer about Holy Spirit is directed toward Jesus and not Mary.

Praying To Anything Else Then God is Idolatry

Another way Catholics give respect to Mary and the saints is by creating statues and images of them. The big issue is no one knows what they look like in the first place and how do you even know if that image is Mary, Jesus, or the saint? It might be even a false person or a false god.

Many Catholics use images of Mary and/or the saints as “good luck charms” as well. Rubbing rosary beads is considered idolatry as well based on the Bible. Lighting candles before a statue or portrayal of a saint or Mary is idolatry and prayer to it as well.

The issue is not the theology or term we used to describe “worship” that is the problem. The Bible nowhere instructs us to revere, pray to, rely on, or “idolize” anyone other than God period!

We are to worship God alone and give praise to only God and honor only below to God alone.

Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. – 1 Corinthians 8:6