Paul on “Hell”

Since Paul is God’s spokesman for us today, we should always consult his teaching when considering any subject. “Hell” is no exception.

We may be in for a great surprise. Have we ever stopped to consider that Paul, our Apostle, never once even used the word “hell”? He didn’t use the word “hell” in any recorded messages from the Book of Acts. He didn’t use the word “hell” in any of his epistles. Not once! Get your concordance and, like the Bereans, check to see if this is so.

How could this possibly be? How could Paul have conducted his entire teaching ministry – one that brought glory to God – and yet never even once used the word “hell”? Isn’t the traditional, orthodox doctrine of “hell” at the very foundation of our religious creeds?

How could Paul have been so negligent in his solemn teaching responsibilities? How could he have gone through his entire ministry forgetting to use such a crucial word? What was up with that?

Or, was it possible that Paul understood something Christendom doesn’t? Consider Paul’s declaration found in the Book of Acts:

Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God (Acts 20:26-27).

The plain and simple fact is that Paul was not negligent in his teaching ministry. This passage makes that abundantly clear. Paul clearly states that he was “pure from the blood of all men,” because he had declared “all the counsel of God” – a counsel which obviously did not include “hell” at all. Period!

Wasn’t Paul presented as a pattern (I Timothy 1:15-16)? Didn’t Paul tell us to follow him (I Corinthians 4:15-17; 11:1; Philippians 3:17)?

Didn’t Paul tell us to,

Hold fast the form of sound words, which you have heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus (II Timothy 1:13)?

Did we hear “hell” from Paul? Was it a Pauline form of “sound words”? Have many been duped into accepting a religious tradition contrary to the sound scriptural teachings of our Apostle?

Wouldn’t we be Pauline if, like Paul, we also excluded “hell” from our teaching? Or, more pointedly, could we possibly be truly Pauline in our teaching if we continued the use of a theological system that includes the traditional “hell”?

Why not just follow our Apostle in teaching a pure grace gospel that has no place for, nor need of a religious “hell”?

Christendom is steeped in the traditions of men, and not in the traditions of Paul.

Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle (II Thessalonians 2:15).

We are to hold Paul’s traditions, “whether by word, or our epistle.” Holding to Paul’s very words and epistles will remove “hell” from your teaching.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook
© 2007, 2010

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