PAUL'S TEACHING ON HELL
Paul has been given a very special place in our age. He has been chosen by God as the Apostle to the Gentiles (Romans 11:13). God gave to him the distinct message of the Gospel [good news] of the Grace of God (Acts 20:24), and the Revelation of the Mystery (Romans 6:25; Ephesians 3:3) for the Church, the Body of Christ (Colossians 2:18) in the Dispensation of Grace (Ephesians 3:2; Colossians 1:25).
As C. I. Scofield has stated,
“In his [Paul’s] writings alone we find the doctrine, position, walk, and destiny of the church.” (Scofield Reference Bible, Ephesians 3:6, emphasis ours).
These words of Scofield convey the clear teaching of Paul:
"Whereunto He called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle” (II Thessalonians 2:14, 15).
“Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (II Timothy 1:13)
And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. (2 Timothy 2:2)
Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. (Titus 1:9)
Because Paul is God’s spokesman for us today, we are to faithfully study (II Timothy 2:15) his teaching when considering the application of any doctrine. The subject of Hell is not exception. What follows here in this article is a complete listing of every occurrence of Paul’s usage of the word hell. We shall list all of his teachings regarding hell as recorded by Luke in the Book of Acts, as well as himself in all of his epistles (Romans through Philemon).
Are you surprised to see empty columns?
Did you ever stop to consider that Paul, our Apostle, never once 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! None! Zero!
How could this possibly be?
How could Paul have conducted a teaching ministry that brought glory to God, and yet have never even once used the word hell? Isn’t the traditional, orthodox doctrine of hell at the very foundation of the religious system’s creeds?
How could Paul have been so negligent? How could he have gone through his entire ministry, forgetting to use such a crucial word? What’s up with that?
Or, is it possible Paul understood something we don’t? Could it be we have been deeply buried under religious tradition?
Consider for a moment this declaration of Paul himself, 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. Here is a passage that makes this clear. Paul said 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.
Do we find ourselves perplexed that Paul, the Apostle, never use the word hell and yet was able to declare “all the counsel of God”? Are we amazed that he could have been “pure from the blood of all men” without even once using the word hell? Could our bewilderment here be because we have been steeped in the traditions of men, and not in the traditions of Paul.
“ Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye 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 our teaching.
“Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus”( II Timothy 1:13)
Again, “holding fast the form of sound words” that we have heard from Paul will remove hell from our doctrine.
We must be like those from Berea and search the scriptures for ourselves (Acts 17:11). We need to diligently test, or prove the things that we believe against the Scriptures.
“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (I Thessalonians 5:21).
We need to see for ourselves if religious hell was a part of the vocabulary divinely given to Paul. We must consult an exhaustive concordance if need be. We must not settle for the party line, or a secondhand faith.
“...Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind” (Romans 14:5).
Isn’t Paul presented as our present pattern? (I Timothy 1:15,16).
Doesn’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 thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” ( II Timothy 1:13)?
Did we hear hell from Paul? Is it a Pauline form of sound words?
Have we been duped into accepting a religious tradition that is contrary to the sound Scriptural teachings of our Apostle?
Wouldn’t we be Pauline, if we like Paul, also excluded hell from our teaching?
Or, more pointedly, could we possibly be truly Pauline in our teaching, if we continue the use of a theological system that includes the traditional hell?
“But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1).
The religious system’s teachings concerning hell is not Pauline, and is not sound doctrine.
Let’s not be afraid of where truth leads us. Truth truly liberates us from suppressive religious bondage. Well did our Savior say,
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
Why not enjoy the true freedom of believing the Scriptures over traditional teaching?
Why not follow Paul in a pure Grace Gospel that has no place for, nor need of a religious hell?