I am a member of the church of Christ as described in the New Testament. Can you help me to answer the Catholics about Ephesians 6:18? They use it to support the idea that the Bible invites us to intercede or mediate for all of God's holy people. That is why Catholics have the pope, saints, and the virgin, they have other intermediaries, besides Christ, between God and us. They say that if we pray for someone, we are being intermediaries between that person and Christ.
According to Catholic Spanish versions of the Bible:
BIBLIA LATINOAMERICANA: [Ephesians 6:18] Vivan orando y suplicando. Oren en todo tiempo según les inspire el Espíritu. Velen en común y perseveren en sus oraciones sin desanimarse nunca, intercediendo en favor de todos los santos, sus hermanos. (intercediendo= interceding or mediating).
In another Catholic Spanish version: “Vivan orando y suplicando. Oren en todo tiempo según les inspire el Espíritu. Velen en común y perseveren en sus oraciones sin desanimarse nunca. Oren unos por otros, intercediendo a favor de todos los santos” Once again they mention the word "intercediendo."
According to the Spanish Valera version (the Spanish Bible we use): Efesios 6:18: "Orando en todo tiempo con toda oración y súplica en el Espíritu, y velando en ello con toda perseverancia y súplica por todos los santos." This version uses "súplica" and it means to entreat, to implore or to make a humble reply to a superior.
According to the English Catholic version of the Bible:"In all your prayer and entreaty (urgent request) keep praying in the Spirit on every possible occasion. Never get tired of staying awake to pray for all God's holy people"
Finally, if "suplica" means to entreat or to make a humble reply to a superior, and interceder (the word the Catholics use to have intermediaries for intercede between God and us) means to entreat; then "suplica" and "interceder" have the same meaning and apparently behind the reason used by the Catholics.
Please give me biblical support, with text related to Ephesians 6:18, to answer the Catholics.
"With all prayer and requests, praying at all times in the Spirit, and being watchful to this end in all perseverance and requests for all the saints" (Ephesians 6:18).
When the precise wording of a passage is needed, it is best to go back to the original Greek language to determine what was actually stated. We can make an approximation by using the various translations, but returning to the source simplifies the matter.
The Greek word you are interested in is deesis. It means to make a request, to petition, pray, or make supplication. For instance, in classical Greek, this word was used when a prisoner made a request for freedom or some other favor. It is used in Luke 1:13 when the angel told Zacharias that his prayer was heard, or in Luke 5:33 when we are told that John's disciples fasted and prayed often. These requests are not to some intermediary, but to God Himself. "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears open to their prayer; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil" (I Peter 3:12).
Now in our prayers or requests to God, Paul is tell us that it is proper and needful for Christians to make requests not just for themselves but also for their fellow Christians. The word "saints" does not apply to a select subclass of Christians but to all people who are set apart as God's people (Romans 1:7; I Corinthians 1:2; 14:33; II Corinthians 1:1). James tells us, "Confess your offenses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The insistent prayer of a righteous person is powerfully effective" (James 5:16). Paul praised those who prayed for others. "While they themselves also, with supplication on your behalf, yearn for you by reason of the exceeding grace of God in you" (II Corinthians 9:14).
It is what Paul did in his own prayers. He prayed that Israel would be saved. "Brothers, my heart's desire and my prayer to God is for Israel, that they may be saved" (Romans 10:1). "Always in every request of mine on behalf of you all making my requests with joy" (Phillippians 1:4).
Paul appreciated that brethren were praying for him as well. "You also helping together on our behalf by your supplication; that, for the gift bestowed on us by means of many, thanks may be given by many persons on your behalf" (II Corinthians 1:11). "For I know that this will turn out to my salvation, through your supplication and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ" (Phillippians 1:19).
Notice that in each case living Christians are making requests to God on behalf of other living Christians. This is not like the system taught by the Catholics. There they have Christians making requests to people who have died thinking that they will pass on their requests to Christ and eventually God. There is no passage that teaches this. Nor can it work because Solomon tells us that the dead are unaware of the current events in this world. "For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; nevermore will they have a share in anything done under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 9:5-6).
The only ones mentioned making intercessions on behalf of Christians in heaven are Christ and the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26-27, 34; Hebrews 7:25). Here on earth, we are told to intercede on the behalf of others. "I exhort therefore, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and givings of thanks, be made for all men: for kings and all who are in high places; that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who desires all people to be saved and come to full knowledge of the truth" (I Timothy 2:1-4).