A Biblical Examination of Hell

By Dr. Max D. Younce, Pastor

P.O. Box 573| Walnut Grove, MN 56180 | Telephone (507) 859-2519


  1. I would now like for you to follow me on a trip to see the trail Satan has directed his so-called scholars to lead the sincere, but unsuspecting Christian down.  The following is a comparison of the New International Version (NIV) with the King James Translation (KJT) concerning the word "Hell" in the New Testament, from the Greek "Hades."

Below are the passages where the Greek word "Hades" appears, which is translated "HELL" in the KJT in each case.  The inconsistency of the NIV will be obvious as seen by their translation of the word "Hades."

Verse KJT NIV NIV Footnotes
Matthew 11:23 "hell" "depths" (Gr. "hades")
Matthew 16:18 "hell" "hades" (or hell)
Luke 10:15 "hell" "depths" (Gr. "hades")
Luke 16:23 "hell" "hell" (Gr. "hades")
Acts 2:27 "hell" "grave" No footnote.
Acts 2:31 "hell" "grave" No footnote.
Revelation 1:18 "hell" "hades" No footnote.
Revelation 6:8 "hell" "hades" No footnote.
Revelation 20:11 "hell" "hades" No footnote.
Revelation 20:14 "hell" "hades" No footnote.

The NIV is projected to the public as easy to read and understand.  Remember, they say their version is to clarify and simplify God's Word.  In Paragraph 8 of the Preface of the NIV they state, "Samples of the translation were tested for clarity and ease of reading by various kinds of people..."  The only problem is ... their talk does not correspond with their walk.  Their treatment of one simple Greek word, "hades," is so distorted, perverted, and confusing that it may be as "villainous as Jack the Ripper teaching a Sunday School class."

May I draw your attention to the ten places the Greek word, "hades," appears and where it is always translated "HELL" in the KJT.  There is no distortion, but a simple, uniform and clear translation from the Greek into the English--Illuminating a major doctrine in the Christian faith.  NOT SO WITH THE NIV!  Instead of clarity we have confusion.  Let us recapitulate over the following by the NIV:

  1. In Matthew 11:23 and Luke 10:15 "hades" is translated as "DEPTHS" with a footnote at the bottom of the page which says, "(Gr. hades)."

  2. In Matthew 16:18 the Greek "hades" is not translated at all, but the NIV puts the Greek word, itself, in the Verse.  Then they put a footnote which says "or hell."

  3. In Luke 16:23 the NIV translated "hades" as "hell," the same as the KJT--hurrah!

  4. In Acts 2:27 and 31 they erroneously translated the Greek "hades" as "grave" and gave NO footnote or explanation.

  5. In Revelation 1:18; 6:8; 20:13-14, the NIV failed to translate "hades" and placed the Greek word, itself, into the Verse.  In all four places they put no footnote or explanation.

I believe the average reader would understand the word "hell" better than "hades," unless they possessed a knowledge of the Greek language.

Since the NIV in Luke 16:23 properly translated "hades" as our English "hell," one could hardly conclude that error in the other 9 locations was a result of carelessness!  Being in error 9 out of 10 times would hardly qualify our 100 so-called scholars for the "Scholar of the Year" award!

May I call your attention to Acts 2:27,31 where "hades" was mistranslated as "grave" by the NIV.  To take this error out of the arena of "just an oversight," it is evident that those scholars knew the correct Greek word for "grave," the Greek "mnemeion."  This word can be properly translated "grave, tomb, or sepulchre."  The NIV, almost exclusively, translates this word as "tomb" throughout.  Therefore, they are well aware of the different Greek words used for "hell" and "grave."

This translational error in Acts 2:27,32 by the NIV places both the body and soul of Christ in the grave for three days; thus agreeing with various cult religions that body and soul are in the grave in unconsciousness or extinction of being until a resurrection.  Of course, this contradicts Luke 23:43 where Christ said He was going to Paradise until His resurrection.  Likewise, the Christian is not promised the grave; but, rather, upon death to be immediately at home with the Lord!  2nd Corinthians 5:8 makes this clear...

"We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord."

James stated that, upon death, the spirit (the seat of our intelligence) separates from the body...

"For as the body without the spirit is dead..." (James 2:26)

In Revelation 6:9-10, these Christians had died but were very much alive and talking in Heaven!  And what a promise we have in 2nd Corinthians 5:1 when facing death!

"For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."

Remember, in Luke 23:43 the thief on the cross, upon death, went with Christ into Paradise, not the grave!

"And Jesus said unto him ... Today shalt thou be with me in PARADISE."

The NIV undermines truth and sends forth a false doctrine by their mistranslation of the Greek "hades" as "grave" in Psalm 16:10 and Acts 2:27,31.

You might ask, "Where is Paradise today?"  Paradise was emptied and taken to Heaven when Christ ascended in Acts 1:10.  In Ephesians 4:8 we are told...

"Wherefore he saith, When he ascended UP on high, he led captivity captive (the saved in the Paradise-side of "hades") and gave gifts unto men."

Paradise is no longer in the center of the earth, but is now in Heaven--where all the saved go (2nd Corinthians 12:2-4).

  1. In our second diagram, we will compare "Hell" (English) in the New Testament as translated from the Greek words, "hades" and "gehenna," the everlasting abode of the lost.  The columns to the left will have the Scripture location.  Next to the Verses will be the translation of the St. Joseph New Catholic Edition Confraternity--(Douay Version).  This is the Bible the Catholics have used for many, many years.  Next to this will appear the new, modern translation of the Catholic Bible known as "New American Bible" (1991).  Next to this will appear "The New World Translation," the Jehovah's Witness Bible.


Scripture Reference St. Joseph New Catholic Confraternity -Douay New American Bible New World Translation
Matthew 11:23 "Hell" "Netherworld" "Hades"
Matthew 16:18 "Hell" "Netherworld" "Hades"
Luke 10:15 "Hell" "Netherworld" "Hades"
Luke 16:23 "Hell" "Netherworld" "Hades"
Acts 2:27 "Hell" "Netherworld" "Hades"
Acts 2:31 "Hell" "Netherworld" "Hades"
Revelation 1:18 "Hell" "Netherworld" "Hades"
Revelation 6:8 "Hell" "Hades" "Hades"
Revelation 20:13 "Hell" "Hades" "Hades"
Revelation 20:14 "Hell" "Hades" "Hades"


Scripture Reference St. Joseph New Catholic Confraternity -Douay New American Bible New World Translation
Matthew 5:22 "Fiery Gehenna" "Fiery Gehenna" "Fiery Gehenna"
Matthew 5:29 "Hell" "Gehenna" "Gehenna"
Matthew 5:30 "Hell" "Gehenna" "Gehenna"
Matthew 10:28 "Hell" "Gehenna" "Gehenna"
Matthew 18:9 "Hell-Fire" "Gehenna" "Fiery Gehenna"
Matthew 23:15 "Hell" "Gehenna" "Gehenna"
Matthew 23:33 "Judgment of Hell" "Gehenna" "Gehenna"
Mark 9:43 "Fire Not Quenched" "Gehenna" "Gehenna"
Mark 9:44,46 Vs. 44 "Hell"/Vs. 46 "Hell Fire" omitted Vss. 44 and 46 omitted
Luke 12:5 "Hell" "Gehenna" "Gehenna"
James 3:6 "Hell" "Gehenna" "Gehenna"
  1. As one can notice from our last two diagrams, the Roman Catholic Church as well as Jehovah's Witnesses in the "New World Translation," have purposely excluded the word "hell" from their Bibles.  The following is a summary of a few of the so-called religious organizations and their beliefs concerning Hell.

  1. Jehovah's Witnesses and Hell

  1. "...The Bible Hell is mankind's common grave." (Let God Be True, p.92)

  2. "The doctrine of a burning hell where the wicked are tortured eternally after death cannot be true." (ibid, p.99)

  1. Christian Science and Hell

  1. "The sinner makes his own hell by doing evil, and the saint his own heaven by doing right." (Science & Health, p.266)

  1. L. Ron Hubbard & Scientology

  1. "...hell is a total myth, an invention just to make people very unhappy and is a vicious lie." (Scientology: A World Religion, pp. 16,35)

  1. Seventh-Day Adventists and Hell

  1. "We, as Adventists, have reached the definite conclusion that man rests in the tomb until the resurrection morning" (Questions on Doctrine, p.520).  This is the same belief as Jehovah's Witnesses.  They also do not believe in an eternal Hell for the unbeliever.  In their book, Questions on Doctrine, they take 22 pages from p.544 to p.566 to try to explain away Hell.

  1. The Lutherans & Catholics are at odds on Purgatory

  1. Roman Catholicism -"All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.  The church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect.  The church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory at the Councils of Florence and Trent.  The tradition of the church, by reference to certain text of scripture speaks of a cleansing fire.  This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead..." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994, p.268,269)

  2. Martin Luther (Lutherans) -"Augustine, Ambrose, and Jerome held nothing at all of Purgatory.  As for Purgatory, no place in Scripture makes mention thereof, neither must we in any way allow it; for it darkens and undervalues the grace, benefits, and merits of our blessed, sweet Saviour, Christ Jesus.  The bounds of purgatory extend not beyond the world; for here in this life the upright, good, and godly Christians are well and soundly scoured and purged." (Luther's Table Talk, p.278, The Lutheran Publication Society)

  1. World Wide Church of God, Herbert W. Armstrong

  1. "There is a real truth about death--without consciousness.  A resurrection is the hope of the dead--not living for all eternity in some fanciful "limbo" or compartment of "heaven" or "hell."  The stories you have heard all your life about the boiling pots or the "pearly gates" ARE SHEER MYTH! (After Death Then What?, P26).

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Dr. Max D. Younce, Pastor

P.O. Box 573
Walnut Grove, MN 56180
Telephone (507) 859-2519

Web: www.heritagebbc.com

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