The question of whether or not hell is FOREVER is important because the answer portrays God's character to doubters and unbelievers. Is God just and merciful? Or vengeful and monstrous?
This page can build your confidence in the Bible and create a desire to talk about it with family, friends and acquaintances.
The verses in this Bible study have not been cherry-picked to support any particular point of view. This is the full extent of what the Bible says regarding the question of whether or not hell is for a time or is forever.
This page tells the interesting story of how science has come into alignment with the first two verses of the Bible. It's a good story you can weave into your Christian witness.
When confident and informed, Christians become interesting conversationalists on spiritual topics, and soon people begin asking a wide range of questions about God and the Bible.
This page has enough information to enable you to have an enlightened spiritual conversation with anyone about the Big Bang theory of the earth's origin.
A common response from Christians:
'It really doesn't matter to me whether hell is forever or only for a duration ... it's horrible either way ... just accept Jesus as Savior and you won't go there at all.'
That response misses the point and is shortsighted and self-serving. That's thinking only about me, not about others.
The primary reason why we have to be careful in the way we speak about hell is that it defines God's character in the minds of other people.
Burning forever, without being able to die, is the worst kind of torture imaginable.
Burning forever regardless of the degree of sin goes far beyond punishment and becomes infinite cruelty. Even Jesus, who paid the ultimate sacrifice for sin, was freed by death from suffering in a matter of hours. (To the thief on the cross: 'Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise' (Luke 23:43).
The erroneous image of a cruel and vengeful God who condemns people He says he loves to the worst kind of torture imaginable – burning forever without being able to die – is a contradiction to our God of love and justice, especially for people who have never even heard of Jesus.
This image in the minds of doubters and unbelievers is a big barrier to Christian faith.
This page contains all 33 verses in the Bible that say or imply something about the duration of human punishment in hell. These verses have not been cherry-picked. They are the entire biblical teaching on this subject.
The Bible verses quoted here are from the New Intetrnational Version (NIV), the most popular version in the United States today.
For deeper study, tap HERE to see any of these verses laid side-by-side in 28 different English translations, or tap HERE to see any verse in a Greek-to-English interlinear translation.
Text in red is a commentary to stimulate thinking.
The verses on this page show that, for people who reject God's forgiveness and offer of salvation for a life of unforgiven sin, there is a real hell but people are not tortured there forever.
This is affirmed in some of the best-known verses in the Bible:
'For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life' (John 3:16) – perish, not eternal life of torture.
'For the wages of sin in death, but the gift of God is eternal life' (Romans 6:23) – death, not eternal life of torture.
After physical death, resurrection, and judgment, people who reject God's offer of salvation and eternal life will eventually die (end of existence) in hell, with the degree and duration of punishment for personal sin determined by God at the time of judgment.
Contrary to what most Christians have been taught through church tradition, but in accordance with what the Bible says, the duration could be very long, but not forever.