This issue is a little more complicated than it appears on the surface. The reason is the difference in the understanding of "GRACE" between the Protestant and the Catholic.(this really is the divisive issue in most Protestant-Catholic dialogues)  I told you that so that you can be aware when you show your biblical proofs of Purgatory, many Protestants won't accept it because of their idea of grace.  I'm working on a project now that I hope will help other Catholics in this area; that is, explaining Grace, and the nature of Grace to the non-Catholic.   With all that said, it is still wise to show these fellow students that Purgatory is in the Bible, hey, we're the original Bible Christians!!

    Believe it or not, Purgatory is actually one of the most oft mentioned doctrines in the New
Testament.  The first passage to show would be Matt 5:22-26 "But I say to you that every one
who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something
against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny."  This passage has Purgatory all through it.  Let's break it down.  In verse 22 you see that there are different punishments for different offenses, this right away goes against what most Protestants believe, that is 'sin is sin', and there are no varying degrees.  Yet, Jesus very clearly here shows there are varying degrees of sin, that is why one is only answerable to the Sanhedrin, while the other is sent to Gehenna.  For our purposes of Purgatory, verse 25 & 26 clinch the case." lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny."   Notice the judge, who is God, hands the offender over to the guard "TO BE PUT IN PRISON".  This prison cannot be Hell, because the next verse assumes you will get out "After you've paid the last penny", and no one gets out of Hell, it can't be heaven, for there is no punishment there.  This leaves only one other alternative, that being Purgatory.

    The second verse to bring up is 1 Cor 3:12-15 "Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw -- each man's work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.  If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire."  Notice first of all, that Paul is speaking of our judgement day, for he says " the Day will disclose it" this 'day' can only refer to the time when we meet our maker.  Why?   Because "each ones work will become manifest", and when does that happen?  At the judgement, as the book of Revelation says "And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, by what they had done.(Rev 20:12).   Now note that the fire tests those works, if those works are good works, done in Christ (since He is the foundation), he will recieve a reward (see the Catholic teaching on merit here?).  If they are poor works, not done in Christ, his work is burned up, and "he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire."  One of the objections I've heard is "Well its the works that are burnt up, not the person."  Have none of it.  The passage very clearly says "...He will suffer loss", not just the works.  It also says "he himself will be saved, but only as through fire."

    The last verse, actually they are verses to use need to be put together.  I have yet to here a
non-Catholic respond to these.  First is Psalm 6:5; "For in death there is no remembrance of thee; in Sheol who can give thee praise?"; then Isaiah 38:18; "For Sheol cannot thank thee, death cannot praise thee; those who go down to the pit cannot hope for thy faithfulness."  Both these verses show that those in Hell do not praise God, right?  Then turn to Phillipians 2:10-11; "that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."  Rev 5:13 is similar "And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all therein, saying, "To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might for ever and ever!"  So what is my point?  Well we know those in Hell can't praise the Lord, as shown before.  The last two passages show people in heaven, on the earth, and under the earth giving glory to God.  We know those in heaven are the saints and angels, those on earth are the believers in Christ, but I ask you, who are those "under the earth", since they can't be in Hell???