Article: Hell and Damnation in the King James Bible by Will Kinney

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Other Artilces by Will Kinney in the Textus Receptus database ~

Old Testament

Genesis Genesis 1:28 Replenish or Fill? - Genesis 6:6 Can God repent? - Genesis 22:1 Did God "Tempt" Abraham? Exodus Exodus 20:13 Thou Shalt Not KILL - Exodus - the Israelites "borrowed" of the Egyptians Numbers Numbers 22 Why was God Angry with Balaam? Job Bible Babel in Job - a comparative study 1 Samuel 1 Samuel 13:21 "a file" a "pim" or "two-thirds of a shekel"? 2 Samuel 2 Samuel 21:8 Michal or Merab? - 2 Samuel 21:19 Who Killed Goliath? 1 Kings 1 Kings 20:38 ashes upon his face - 1 Kings 22:38 "washed his armour" or "while the harlots bathed" NKJV Nonsense Psalms Psalm 8:5 Lower than the Angels, or a little lower than God? - Answering Doug Kutilek's anti-Preservation in Psalm 12 - Psalm 74:8 the synagogues of God; Psalm 77:2 my sore ran in the night - Psalms 1 How Different the Versions! - Psalms 2 How Different the Versions! - Psalms 3 How Different the Versions! - Psalms 4 How Different the Versions! - Psalms 5 How Different the Versions! Proverbs NKJV Bible Babel in Proverbs - Bible Babel in Proverbs Isaiah Isaiah - a Comparative Study - Does God Create Evil? Isaiah 45:7 Jeremiah Jeremiah 8:8 the pen of the scribes is in vain - Jeremiah 27:1 Jehoiakim or Zedekiah? - Ezekiel Ezekiel 29:7 Hebrew, Greek or Syriac? Hosea Hosea - a Comparative Study

New Testament

Did Jesus Tell Them to Take a Staff or Not? Matthew Is Matthew 23:14 Scripture or not? - Matthew 27:44 cast in teeth Mark Gospel of Mark - a Modern Version Mix-up Luke Is "cousin" wrong in Luke 1:36 - Luke 17:36 Is it inspired Scripture or not? John John 1:18 the only begotten Son Acts Act 3:19 times of refreshing; 7:20 Moses was exceeding fair - Acts 9:5-7 hear the voice; 7:20 exceeding fair - Acts 5:30 slew and hanged; 19:20 word of GOD - Acts 13:33 this day have I begotten thee - Acts 19:9 DIVERS were hardened, and believed not - Acts 19:35 Diana or Artemis? Jupiter, Zeus or Heaven? - The So-called "Science" of Textual Criticism. Science or Hocus-Pocus? Gospels through Acts Romans James White discussing Romans 6:17 Philippians Textual Studies in Philippians 2 Timothy 2 Timothy 3:16 Inspiration of God or God Breathed? Hebrews The Book of Hebrews - a Comparative Study 1 Peter 1 Peter - Shifting Sands of Scholarship 1 John And These Three Are One Article defending the inclusion of 1 John 5:7. - 1 John 5:7 These three are one Jude The Book of Jude - James White's "inferior" texts Revelations Revelation 13 Confusion - Vials or Bowls in the book of Revelation - Rev.16:5 and SHALT BE; 5:8-10 redeemed US - Revelation 17:8 "the beast that was, and is not, and YET IS" - Acts 28:13 We Fetched a Compass; 1 Tim5:4 Nephews - Matthew 24:3; Hebrews 9:26 End of World or Age?

Modern Versions

Bible Babel 1 - Bible Babel 2 - Bible Babel 3 - Bible Babel 4 - The Oldest and Best Manuscripts? - Every Man for Himself Bible Versions - the HCSB, NET, ESV, TNIV, NKJV - The Inerrancy of Scripture - are you a Bible believer or a Bible agnostic? - True Bible? - Modern Versions Teach Racism - Modern Versions Teach Pride as a Virtue - Do Ghosts Exist? Modern Versions say Yes ESV The English Standard Version 2001 NASB The Ever Changing NASB's NKJV NKJV Word Changes - When the NKJV departs from the TR - The New KJV is a Hack Job Translation - NKJV vs KJB Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah - Is the NKJV the same as the KJB? - Don't go on Safari with a New KJV Translator - The NKJV is a Poor Substitute for the True Bible - NKJV vs KJB Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah - NKJV Bible Babel in Proverbs

King James Word Definitions

Lucifer - Jehovah - Unicorns - Is the word "Easter" an error in the King James Bible? - Are the words "CHURCH" and 'BISHOP' wrong? - Hell and Damnation in the King James Bible - "By and by" versus "the-by-and-by" - Servants or Slaves? - Is "charity" an error in the KJB? - The Grace of God Destroyed - "Would to God" - Another alleged 'error' bites the dustIs "bottles" an inaccurate word in the King James Bible?

King James Bible

Is King James onlyism Scriptural? - Does the KJB only position "blow up"? - What About Those Printing Errors in 1611? - Does the King James Bible depart from the Hebrew Texts? - Why do you King James Bible onlyies Attack the word of God? - The Historic Confessions support the KJB position - Can a Translation be Inspired? - The Old Latin versions and the KJB


NO LXX Part 1 - NO LXX - the Fictitious Use of Septuagint

Dead Sea Scrolls

The Dead Sea Scrolls Fiasco

Hebrew Text

The NIV, NASB reject the Hebrew Texts - NIV, NASB reject Hebrew texts Part 2 - How to Destroy Messianic Prophecies

Greek Text

"The Greek" and Hebrew Games

Gender Inclusive Versions

Gender Inclusive Versions Dealing with the TNIV

Answering Critics

E mail exchange with Bible Agnostic Doug Kutilek - John MacArthur - Pastor with NO Infallible Bible - A Bible Believer's Response to James Price's book King James Onlyism - a New Sect - A King James Bible Believer's Response to Rick Norris' book 'The Unbound Scriptures' - 17 Parts

Part 1 - The "logical" Premise of Mr. Norris

Part 2 - Those Dreadful Archaic Words

Part 3 - Imperfect men, Perfect Bible

Part 4 - Revision

Part 5 - Printing Errors and Spelling

Part 6 - Inspiration and Inerrancy

Part 7 - Alleged Errors in the King James Bible

Part 8 - Let Me Count The Ways

Part 9 - Beasts or Living Creatures?

Part 10 - Mules or Hot Springs?

Part 11 - "Digged down a wall" or "hamstrung an ox"?

Part 12 - Steel, brass, copper, bronze - Paper or Plastic?

Part 13 - The Usual Suspects

Part 14 - The Preservation of the words of God

Part 15 - KJB Only versus Latin Vulgate Only Argument

Part 16 - Where Was the Word of God Before 1611?

Part 17 - Final Thoughts

Hell and Damnation in the King James Bible

Hell or Hades?

The doctrine of Hell is getting a lot cooler in the modern versions.

In fact, a lot of theologically important words in the Holy Bible are being toned down or even lost entirely. As examples, here is a partial list of the frequency of certain words comparing the King James Bible Old Testament, with the NKJV , the NASB , and the NIV Old Testament.

TRUTH KJB - 118 times; NKJV - about same; NASB - 92; NIV - 41

GRACE KJB -38 times; NKJV - 20; NASB - 9; NIV - 8

MERCY, MERCIFUL KJB - 288 times; NKJV -same; NASB - 51; NIV - 85

SOUL KJB - 478 times; NKJV - same; NASB - 255; NIV - 110

LUCIFER KJB - 1 time; NKJV - 1 time; NASB - 0; NIV - 0

JEHOVAH KJB - 7 times; NKJV - 0; NASB - 0; NIV - 0

HELL KJB - 31 times; NKJV - 19; NASB - 0; NIV - 0

Examples of other words in the whole Bible, both testaments.

DOCTRINE KJB - 56 times; NKJV - 42; NASB - 14; NIV - 7

FORNICATION KJB - 44 times; NKJV - 21; NASB - 8; NIV - 0

DAMNATION, DAMNED KJB - 9 times; NKJV - 0; NASB - 0; NIV - 0

HELL (whole Bible) KJB - 53 times; NKJV - 32; NASB -13; NIV - 14

This particular study will focus on the word Hell and how it is being air conditioned by degrees in many modern versions. There are many who criticize the King James Bible as being wrong for translating certain Hebrew and Greek words as Hell.

In the King James Old Testament the Hebrew word Sheol is variously translated as HELL - 31 times; THE GRAVE - 31 times, and as THE PIT - 3 times.

The various modern versions disagree among themselves and have little room in which to criticize the KJB .

The NKJV translates this same word Sheol 18 times and as HELL 19 times, rather than the 31 times as in the KJB . It also has translated the word as the GRAVE and the PIT.

The NIV never translates it as hell or even as Sheol, but instead has the GRAVE 55 times, DEATH 6 times, the DEPTHS 2 times, the DEPTHS OF THE GRAVE 2 times, and as THE REALM OF DEATH once.

The NASB on the other hand, transliterates rather than translates this word every single time as SHEOL. How many Christians know what Sheol is? It strikes fear in the heart, doesn't it?

What we see here is that the very scholars who criticize the King James Bible for translating the word at times as HELL can't seem to agree even among themselves as to what the word means in various contexts.

Let's look at a few examples.

Psalm 9:17

King James Bible - "The wicked shall be turned into HELL, and all the nations that forget God."

NIV - "The wicked RETURN TO THE GRAVE, all the nations that forget God."

There are two big problems with the NIV rendering here. First, you can only RETURN TO someplace you have already been before. Does the NIV teach reincarnation? You can teach it using the NIV, but you cannot get the doctrine of reincarnation from the King James Bible.

Second, most everyone, the wicked and the righteous, go to the grave. So what else is new? The context is the fate of the wicked, and it is not the same as that of the righteous. The NIV rendering is silly at best, and diabolical at worst.

NASB - "The wicked will RETURN TO SHEOL, even all the nations who forget God."

The NASB has two similar problems. How do people return to someplace if they have not been there before? Also what in the world is Sheol? Many criticize the KJB for being hard to understand, but how many of them know what Sheol is? And again there is no distinction between the wicked and the righteous in the NASB rendering.

The NKJV - "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God." = the KJB here.

In 1395 Wycliffe wrote: "Synneris be turned togidere in to helle; alle folkis, that foryeten God."

And the 2002 Message paraphrases it in this way: "The wicked bought a one-way ticket to hell."

The Hebrew word Sheol communicates nothing to us in the English language. There are many different views among the scholars themselves as to what this word signifies and it seems to vary with different contexts. Many Hebrew and Greek words have multiple meanings which change their sense according to the context and scholars argue over them all the time.

There are times when the word simply means the GRAVE, as in Genesis 42:38 where Jacob says: "My son shall not go down with you (into Egypt)...if mischief befall him...then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to THE GRAVE."

At other times the word means HELL, as the place of the dead in the heart of the earth. Scriptue tells us in both the Old and New Testaments that there are compartments or degrees of hell. Both Deuteronomy 32 and Psalm 86 speak of THE LOWEST HELL. In Deuteronomy 32:22 God says: "For a fire is kindled in mine anger and shall burn unto the lowest hell", and in Psalm 86:13 David says to God: "For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell."

Shoel as HELL in the Old Testament

Among the various Bible versions that sometimes translate the Hebrew word sheol as "hell" are the following: Wycliffe 1395, Coverdale 1535, the Bishop's Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, Webster's 1833 translation, the Jewish 1936 Hebrew Publishing Company translation by Alexander Harkavy into English, the Spanish Reina Valera 1909, the Italian Diodati 1602, the Douay-Rheims 1950, the Bible in Basic English 1961 (2 Sam.22:6; Psalm 18:5), New Life Version 1969 (Pro. 5:5, 7:27, 19:18, 15:24,23:14), God's Word Translation 1995, the KJV 21st Century Version, Third Millenium Bible, and the 2002 version called The Message in 2 Samuel 22:6; Job 26:6, Psalm 9:17, 16:10, 18:5, 31:17, 49:14, 55:15, 88:3, 89:68, 116:3, 141:7, Proverbs 5:5, 7:27, 9:18, 15:24, 27:20, and Isaiah 57:9!!!,

In the New Testament the same confusion among the various bible versions is seen in the manner in which they translate or not the word Hades. There are many Bible critics who tell us the King James Bible is in error for translating the word Hades as Hell. Yet, as we shall see, the "scholars" are in total disagreement among themselves regarding this.

Luke 16:19-31 is the classic case showing the division that existed in hell before the resurrection of Christ from the dead. There we see the beggar Lazarus in Abraham's bosom being comforted and in contrast we see the rich man IN HELL being tormented. There was a great gulf fixed between the two sections dividing the righteous from the wicked.

The Greek word used here is hades. The King James Bible translated it as hell, while the NKJV and NASB have Hades. The NIV is interesting in that it has variously translated this same word as "Hades -5 times, depths - 2 times, grave - 1 time; and as Hell only once and that is here in Luke 16:23!

Hell itself is not the final state of the wicked. After the great white throne judgment we are told in Revelation 20:14 "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death."

Those who complain about this word being translated as "hell" should check out some other bible versions to see what others, who have just as much education as they do, have done with these passages.

Hades as HELL in the New Testament

Not only does the King James Bible translate the Greek word hades as "hell" but so do the following Bible versions: Wycliffe 1395, Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, Bishop's Bible 1568, Geneva Bible 1599, John Wesley 1755, Webster's 1833 translation, Spanish Reina Valera 1909(infierno), Italian Diodati, Douay 1950, New Life Version 1969, the Living Bible, the New Living Translation 1996 (Mat. 16:18), Today's English Version 1992 (Mat.11:23, Luke 10:15), Good News Bible 1992 (Mat. 11:23; Luke 10:15), Bible in Basic English 1961 (Mat. 11:23; 16:18, Luke 10:15, 16:23, Acts 2:27,31, and the 4 in Revelation), God's Word Translation 1995 (Mat. 11:23, 16:18, Luke 10:15, 16:23, Rev.1:18, 6:8, 20:13-14), KJV 21st Century, Third Millenium Bible, and The Message of 2002 (Mat. 16:18, Luke 10:15, 16:23, Rev. 1:18, 6:6, 20:13-14).

Wordsmyth Dictionary defines Hades as:

1. in Greek mythology, the underworld inhabited by the dead, or the god who rules there; Pluto. 2. in the New Testament, the state or home of the dead. 3. the place of punishment for the wicked after death; hell.

The American Heritage Dictionary 200 defines Hades as:

1. Greek Mythology a. The god of the netherworld and dispenser of earthly riches. b. This netherworld kingdom, the abode of the shades of the dead. 2. also hades Hell.

Notice that the first definitions given refer to Hades as myth, or merely as the place of the dead, without any reference to suffering or torment. For a preacher to say: "Repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ or you will go to Hades" seems to lack the visceral impact of "or you will go to Hell." What do you think?

The American Heritage dictionary defines hell as: 1. Hell - The abode of condemned souls and devils in some religions; the place of eternal punishment for the wicked after death. b. A state of separation from God; exclusion from God's presence. 2. The abode of the dead, identified with the Hebrew Sheol and the Greek Hades; the underworld.

The New KJV is not the same as the King James Bible. Here are some examples:

Matthew 16:18

KJV: "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

NKJV: "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." Luke 16:23

KJV: "And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom."

NKJV: "And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom."

The New KJV is inconsistent in the Old Testament in that it does render the word sheol as "hell" 19 times, yet it transliterates this same word as Shoel 18 times to match the NASB rendering. The word Hell is removed in 2 Samuel 22:6, Job 11:8, 26:6, Psalm 16:10, 18:5, 86:13, 116:3, Isaiah 5:14, 14:15, 28:15,18, 57:9, Jonah 2:2, Matt. 11:23, 16:18, Luke 10:15, 16:23, Acts 2:27, 31, Rev. 1:18, 6:8, 20:13,14.

Damned and Damnation, Condemn and Condemnation

These words have two primary meanings each, both in English and in Greek.

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition 2000.


1. To pronounce an adverse judgment upon. See synonyms at condemn. 2. To bring about the failure of; ruin. 3. To condemn as harmful, illegal, or immoral: a cleric who damned gambling and strong drink. 4. To condemn to everlasting punishment or a similar fate; doom. 5. To swear at. Intransitive verb: To swear; curse.

Webster's 1828 dictionary


1. To sentence to eternal torments in a future state; to punish in hell. 2. To condemn; to decide to be wrong or worthy of punishment; to censure; to reprobate. He that doubteth is damned if he eat. Rom xiv 3. To condemn; to explode; to decide to be bad, mean, or displeasing, be hissing or any mark of disapprobation; as, to damn a play, or a mean author. 4. A word used in profaneness; a term of execration.

Condemn and Condemnation

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.


1. To express strong disapproval of: condemned the needless waste of food. 2. To pronounce judgment against; sentence: condemned the felons to prison. 3. To judge or declare to be unfit for use or consumption, usually by official order: condemn an old building. 4. To lend credence to or provide evidence for an adverse judgment against: were condemned by their actions. 5. Law To appropriate (property) for public use. ETYMOLOGY: Middle English condemnen, from Old French condemner, from Latin condemnre : com-, intensive pref.; see com– + damnre, to sentence (from damnum, penalty).

Webster's 1828 Dictionary


1. To pronounce to be utterly wrong; to utter a sentence of disapprobation against; to censure; to blame. But the word often expresses more than censure or blame, and seems to include the idea of utter rejection; as, to condemn heretical opinions; to condemn ones conduct.

We condemn mistakes with asperity, where we pass over sins with gentleness.

2. To determine or judge to be wrong, or guilty; to disallow; to disapprove.

Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, we have confidence towards God. I John 3.

3. To witness against; to show or prove to be wrong, or guilty, by a contrary practice.

The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it. Matthew 12.

4. To pronounce to be guilty; to sentence to punishment; to utter sentence against judicially; to doom; opposed to acquit or absolve; with to before the penalty.

The son of man shall be betrayed to the chief priests, and to the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death. Matthew 20.

He that believeth on him is not condemned. John 3.

5. To doom or sentence to pay a fine; to fine.

And the king of Egypt--condemned the land in a hundred talents of silver. 2 Chronicles 36.

6. To judge or pronounce to be unfit for use or service; as, the ship was condemned as not sea-worthy. To judge or pronounce to be forfeited; as, the ship and her cargo were condemned.

Even the Greek words themselves have a variety of meanings. The principal verbs translated as damned and damnation in the King James Bible are krino and katakrino. The noun forms are krima and krisis. They are used in the New Testament in BOTH senses. 1. to condemn to final perdition. and 2. to condemn as being wrong, guilty or inappropriate.

The word damned and damnation occur 14 times in the King James Bible. These words are completey missing from such modern versions as the RSV, ESV, NKJV , NIV, NASB , ISV.

  • Mark 16:16 - He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

  • Romans 14:23 - And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

  • 2 Thessalonians 2:12 - That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

  • Matthew 23:14 - Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.

  • Matthew 23:33 - Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

  • Mark 3:29 - But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:

  • Mark 12:40 - Which devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.

  • Luke 20:47 - Which devour widows' houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation.

  • John 5:29 - And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

  • Romans 3:8 - And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.
  • Romans 13:2 - Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

  • 1 Corinthians 11:29 - For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

  • 1 Timothy 5:12 - Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.

  • 2 Peter 2:3 - And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

As can be seen from this list, sometimes the word damnation means the eternal state of perdition for the unrepentant wicked, and at other times it means the state of judgment for being wrong, guilty or inappropiate.

However the newer versions, like the NKJV , NIV, NASB , ESV, that substitute the word "condemned" in these places, still have the same difficulty. Sometimes the word "condemned" means one thing (eternal perdition), and then another (wrong and guilty of inappropiate behaviour) - just like the words "damned" and "damnation" do in the King James Bible.

The King James Bible is not alone in translating the word krino as "damnation" when it means merely the state of being guilty, wrong or inappropriate, and does not refer to the eternal state of finally being lost in the lake of fire.

In Romans 14:23 we read: "And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin."

This verse is not speaking of a brother or sister in Christ who is finally lost in hell for eating meat offered to an idol, but rather speaks of a judgment that comes upon their conscience and condemns them as being wrong and guilty of inappropiate behaviour.

Other Bible versions that likewise render this word as "damnation" are Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, Bishop's Bible 1568, Webster's 1833 translation, the KJV 21st Century Version, and the Third Millenium Bible.

John Gill comments on Romans 14:23

"And he that doubteth,.... Or makes a difference between meats and meats, or is in suspense whether any difference should be observed or not, is damned; not with everlasting damnation, which is not the consequent of, nor connected with such an action, as eating of a thing indifferent, with a scrupulous conscience; but such an one is condemned in his own conscience; he is self-condemned, his conscience condemns him for what he himself does; and he is self-condemned in judging and censuring others, for the same things."

B.W. Johnson's People's New Testament commentary says: " He that doubteth is damned if he eat. He is contrasted with him "who has faith". He has not faith, or does not believe that it is right to eat these meats. Hence he is condemned ("damned") by his own conscience. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin. The context shows that Paul means that whenever actions are done by a Christian which he does not believe are right, he sins in doing them. If he is doubtful whether they are right, he must not do them."

So, as we can see from the various meanings of the word "damned" and "condemned", both have different meanings in different contexts. The use of the word "damned" is not wrong or incorrect in the King James Bible (as well as Tyndale, Coverdale, Bishop's, Webster's, KJV 21, and TMB), just as the word "condemned" is not wrong. Depending on the context, both words must be explained as having different meanings in English as well as Greek.

Will Kinney

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