The HyperTexts

Hell in the New Testament

Is there a clear teaching of "hell" in the New Testament? No. This is because the Greek word Hades means "the grave" or "the abode of all the dead," not "hell." If you study Greek mythology or the Wikipedia page on Hades, it becomes clear that Hades was not "hell" because it contained heavenly regions such as the Elysian fields and the Blessed Isles.

As the table below reveals, according to the consensus of modern Bible scholarship, the word "hell" was never mentioned even a single time in the entire Bible! And while some Bible translations still contain a few cryptic references to "hell," those references raise a very perplexing question: why does "hell" suddenly pop up in a few strange verses here and there in the later books of the Bible, when in biblical chronologies covering thousands of years there had never been any mention of "hell" or any possibility of suffering after death?

There was absolutely no reference to "hell" in the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament. Like the Greek word Hades, the Hebrew word Sheol clearly means "the grave," not "hell." We can easily confirm this because: (1) Job asked to be hidden from suffering in Sheol; (2) King David said that when he made his bed in Sheol, God would be with him; (3) other psalmists, the sons of Korah, said that God would redeem their souls from Sheol; and (4) the prophet Ezekiel said that all Israel would be resurrected and saved, but Israel himself said that he would be reunited with his son Joseph in Sheol. How can all Israel be saved if Israel himself is in hell? In each case, Sheol clearly means "the grave" and sounds more like heaven than hell!

According to the consensus of modern Bible scholarship, the word "hell" did not appear even once in the Old Testament (OT). Furthermore the word "hell" is very hard to find in the New Testament (NT). You can confirm this by using an online Bible search tool to scan various Bible translations for the word "hell." Or you can save time and effort by referring to the table below, which was produced by Gary Amirault, a Bible scholar who has extensively researched the question of "hell" as a biblical teaching. I have added two translations to his original list: the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB), sponsored by the famously literal and conservative Southern Baptist Convention, and the New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE), produced by more than a hundred Bible scholars working for the Roman Catholic Church. 

If this subject interests you, I have created a simple, logical proof that there is No Hell in the Bible, which you read without annoying ads by clicking the hyperlinked title.

TIMES THE WORD "HELL" APPEARS IN THE BIBLE

OT

NT

Total

"Authorized" King James Version (KJV) based on corrupted texts

31

23

54

New King James Version (NKJV) still wrong about Sheol

19

13

32

New International Version (NIV) the best-selling English Bible

0

13

13

American Standard Version (ASV)

0

13

13

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

0

13

13

Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) Southern Baptist

0

11

11

Revised Standard Version (RSV)

0

12

12

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

0

12

12

Revised English Bible (REB)

0

13

13

New Living Translation (NLT)

0

13

13

Amplified Bible (AMP)

0

13

13

Darby

0

12

12

New Century Version (NCV)

0

12

12

New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE) Roman Catholic

0

0

0

Wesley's New Testament (1755)

0

0

0

Scarlett's N.T. (1798)

0

0

0

The New Testament in Greek and English (Kneeland, 1823)

0

0

0

Young's Literal Translation (1891)

0

0

0

Twentieth Century New Testament (1900)

0

0

0

Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (reprinted, 1902)

0

0

0

Fenton's Holy Bible in Modern English (1903)

0

0

0

Weymouth's New Testament in Modern Speech (1903)

0

0

0

Jewish Publication Society Bible Old Testament (1917)

0

0

0

Panin's Numeric English New Testament (1914)

0

0

0

The People's New Covenant (Overbury, 1925)

0

0

0

Hanson's New Covenant (1884)

0

0

0

Western N.T. (1926)

0

0

0

NT of our Lord and Savior Anointed (Tomanek, 1958)

0

0

0

Concordant Literal NT (1983)

0

0

0

The N.T., A Translation (Clementson, 1938)

0

0

0

Emphatic Diaglott, Greek/English Interlinear (Wilson, 1942)

0

0

0

New American Bible (1970)

0

0

0

Restoration of Original Sacred Name Bible (1976)

0

0

0

Tanakh, The Holy Scriptures, Old Testament (1985)

0

0

0

The New Testament, A New Translation (Greber, 1980)

0

0

0

Christian Bible (1991)

0

0

0

World English Bible (in progress)

0

0

0

Orthodox Jewish Brit Chadasha [NT Only]

0

0

0

Original Bible Project (Dr. James Tabor, still in translation)

0

0

0

Zondervan Parallel N.T. in Greek and English (1975)**

0

0

0

Int. NASB-NIV Parallel N.T. in Greek and English (1993)**

0

0

0

A Critical Paraphrase of the N.T. by Vincent T. Roth (1960)

0

0

0


The HyperTexts