Is The Rosary Biblical?
Scriptural Foundation of the Mysteries and Prayers of The Holy Rosary
Our Father Matt 6:9-13
Hail Mary Luke 1:28
Our Father Matt 6:9-13
Glory Be Philippians 4:20
How Biblical is the Rosary?
Some Protestants are really upset about the Rosary. "How unbiblical!" they claim. Well, I think it is time to analyze the Rosary and see what the Bible says about it.
The Rosary is a collection of individual prayers:
1) Apostles' Creed;
2) Our Father;
3) Hail, Mary;
4) Glory be;
5) Hail, Holy Queen.
These prayers are repeated over again in a certain way.
First, let us look at what each prayer contains:
1.) The Apostles' Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell. On the Third Day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended into Heaven and is seated at the Right Hand of God, the Father Almighty.
From thence he shall come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy catholic Church, the Communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.
This is one of the earliest creeds the Church has ever known.
It was used primarily by the Roman Christians. Nothing unbiblical in there.
The only thing one might object to is "holy catholic Church."
Well, the first person to use the adjective "catholic" (from a Greek word meaning "universal") was used by St. Ignatius of Antioch in his letter to the Smyrneans.
He died in AD 107--so the word has been around for quite a while.
He used this word to distinguish the Church founded on the Apostles
from other, heretical churches.
2.) The Our Father--we all know the Lord's Prayer. Certainly no objection to this.
3.) Hail, Mary
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 us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
This poses a big problem for most Protestants. But why?
Look at what the Bible says about it (quote from the KJV):
And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
St. Jerome, one of the early Christians, translated the Greek Bible into Latin,
and he came up with the best rendering possible in Latin: for "highly favored daughter," he put gratia plena, meaning "full of grace."
This very well denotes Mary's state: sinlessness. So, the first two sentences of the Hail Mary are quite biblical.
What about the rest?
"Holy Mary" -- since Mary was the Mother of Jesus, we expect her to be a very holy person. This certainly does not pose a problem for Protestants,
who believe we are all saints in the strict sense.
"Mother of God" -- Mary is the Mother of Jesus.
Jesus was a divine person with a human and a divine nature.
Mary--as do all mothers--bore a person, not a nature.
Which person did she bear? A divine person. Ergo, Mary is the Mother of God.
"pray for us sinners" -- We ask Mary to pray for us.
Isn't she dead? Not according to the Bible (Mk 12:26-27; Mt 27:52-53).
We are to pray for each other, says St. James (James 5:16).
Oh, but is Jesus the only mediator? Yes, just as he is the only King, the only Priest, etc....and yet we all share in his priesthood, kingship, and--mediation.
"Now and at the hour of our death" -- how can Mary know when we die?
She has beatific vision (1 Cor 13:12; 2 Peter 1:4).
Furthermore, there is no time in Heaven, there is only eternity, and therefore,
neither Mary nor the other angels and saints are bound by time limits
and can thus hear all of our prayers.
4.) Glory be
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning is now and will be forever [world without end]. Amen.
What a wonderful little prayer! No one would object to this one.
5.) Hail, Holy Queen [or Salve Regina]
Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope.
To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve;
to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us,
and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!
"Queen" -- Jesus was not married. If a King has no wife--well, who is the Queen? His mother! This applies here.
"Our Life/sweetness/hope" -- this has to do with the co-redemption.
We call Mary this because she is the cause--in a subordinate sense only, of course--
of our salvation, our life, sweetness, and hope (Jesus).
"Thine eyes of mercy" -- Mary, as a sinless woman, has mercy on her children.
Remember, we are her children; she is our Mother, because we are Jesus' body,
and this is what Mary bore.
"clement/loving/sweet" -- who would deny that Jesus' mother is clement?
Or loving? Or sweet?
This much for the individual prayers. Of course, there arises the question whether the Rosary has been condemned by Jesus when he said we should not pray in vain repetition, like the Gentiles (Matthew 6:7):
"In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words...."
Now, note that Jesus does NOT condemn repetitions
--he only condemns vain repetitions.
If I condemn drunken Catholics, then that doesn't mean all Catholics are drunk.
All it means is that those Catholics who ARE drunk I condemn.
Same thing here. Jesus simply said that those repetitions which ARE vain he condemns. That's all.
Why is the Rosary not vain?
Because we meditate in the Rosary on the Mysteries of the Bible,
such as Jesus' Incarnation, the Descent of the Holy Spirit, the Finding in the Temple, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, etc.
The Hail Marys are merely said in the "background."
We do not believe that we achieve anything by saying a certain number of prayers.
The Rosary involves lots of concentration.
The prayers are not emptily "babbled."
So, the next time someone says they are Bible Christians,
just ask them whether they honor Mary.
If they say, "No, we don't. We only honor Jesus Christ," ask them why the Bible tells us to honor the saints (1 Peter 1:6-7), and why Mary has prophecied she we will be honored forever (Luke 1:48):
"For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed...."
Note that this is not intended to be an in-depth study of the Rosary.
There is a lot more to it, but this should suffice to at least on the surface prove
that there is nothing in the Rosary that is anti-biblical.
"Our prayer should include the Mother of God . . . What the Hail Mary says is that all glory should be given to God, using these words: "Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus Christ. Amen!" You see that these words are not concerned with prayer but purely with giving praise and honor . . . We can use the Hail Mary as a meditation in which we recite what grace God has given her. Second, we should add a wish that everyone may know and respect her " --Martin Luther, Personal Prayer Book, 1522
Adapted from an article by MARIO DERKSEN at catholicsource.net