The HyperTexts

How many times is "hell" mentioned in the Bible?

How often does "hell" appear in the Bible? As the table below reveals, according to the consensus of modern Bible scholarship, the word "hell" was never mentioned, not even a single time, in the entire Bible! And while some modern Bible translations still contain a handful of cryptic references to "hell," those references raise a very interesting question: why does "hell" suddenly pop up in a few stray verses here and there in the later books of the Bible, when in earlier biblical chronologies covering thousands of years there had never been any mention of "hell" or any possibility of suffering after death?

According to the consensus of modern Bible scholarship, the word "hell" did not appear even once in the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament (OT). And the word "hell" is very hard to find in the New Testament (NT) as well. 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 and written about 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.

This is true because:

(1) The Hebrew word Sheol clearly means "the grave" not "hell." Everyone went to Sheol when they died, not just the wicked. Sheol was not a place of suffering, as Job asked to go to Sheol to escape suffering. Sheol was not a place where God was absent, as King David said in a Psalm that when he made his bed in Sheol (i.e., when he died), God would be with him. And Sheol was not an eternal prison, as in a Psalm the Sons of Korah said that God would redeem them from Sheol, by which they meant that they would be resurrected to new life after death.

(2) The Greek word Hades clearly means "the grave" not "hell." Everyone went to Hades when they died, not just the wicked. Hades contained heavenly regions like the Elysian Fields and the Blessed Isles.

(3) The place name Gehenna does not mean "hell" because Gehenna is a valley in Israel. Today Gehenna is a lovely park; you can find pictures of this lovely "hell" on the Internet.

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


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