Hell in the New Testament

On April 15, I had the opportunity to present my paper entitled “Hell No? The Void of New Testament Theology” at the Doctoral Biblical Studies Seminar at Asbury Theological Seminary. This is a work of New Testament theology on the negative afterlife. My fellow Ph.D. student Donald Murray Vasser responded with a scholarly review.

Here is the paper abstract:

“It is no small quest to understand and plunge the depths of such a heated matter as Hell. Many throughout church history have perennially ventured on such an endeavor, some understandably with hesitancy and reluctance. At best, their efforts have demonstrated that this doctrine is vitally important for understanding the Christian take on the afterlife. At worst, they have left us today gazing into an abyss of immortal uncertainty about the final destination of the wicked. While some still hold to a traditional interpretation of Hell, many today have meandered off the trail pushing the theological boundaries with universalism, annihilationism, and purgatory. Furthermore, these differing perspectives and the unending debates concerning them seem to lead to more frustration and confusion, putting everyone into a state of “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Not only so, but these further leave people asking the question, “What exegetical support is there for such proposed claims anyways?” The task set before us then in answering these questions is to delve into the recesses of Hell as presented in the NT and mine the quarry therein in order to provide a thoroughly exegetical NT theology of Hell. As such, we will do this by describing and summarizing each explicit mention of Hell in the NT throughout its major sections: (1) in Jesus and the Gospels, (2) in the book of Acts, (3) in the Pauline Epistles, (4) in the Catholic Epistles, and (5) in Revelation. After the survey of each major section, I will discuss the theological implications of that section for contemporary theology and the church. To finish, I will synthesize the various perspectives on Hell in the NT, thus setting forth a NT theology of Hell. Overall, I am arguing that only the traditional interpretation of Hell holds true when compared with the theology of Hell found in the NT. Put another way, neither universalism, annihilationism, nor purgatory have any exegetical grounding in the NT, but only the traditional take on the fate of the nefarious.”IMG_2534

4 comments on “Hell in the New Testament

  1. Joel says:

    Great Tim. Listened to the first 25 minutes and could hear the heart of Jesus. Good stuff man!

  2. Hell is a difficult subject and I want to first thank you for the research and work you have presented throughout your paper. For me, I serve a loving God and so the idea of hell seems not to be in the Character of God. Yet who I am to say that I even begin to understand the Character of God, for I do not. I do believe in Heaven so for that reason I guess I have to believe in “hell”. Judgement – the fire, the place of the dead, is an anger and resentment – thus once again is that in the Character of God? The stumbling of others is serious to God (I assume, once again I am going on what my heart and soul says) yet is that not why we come to God because we all have stumbled – is He not the one who has promised us forgiveness? As you can see it is difficult for people who have a personal relationship with Christ (like me) to understand this concept. I appreciate your presentation and it has helped me to see things a bit better. Be Blessed.

  3. William H Stephens 10171 Loretto st Spring Hill Fl 34608 says:

    Right on Tim. If this was for a ships captain it would say- rough waters ahead. If it were for a truck driver it would say icy mountain ahead. But it is for all mankind and it says that if you don’t take hell fire as literal then you are standing on a banana peel and you are in danger of the fires of hell yourself. Keep preaching the truth bro.

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