Will the soul and body get destroyed in hell (Matthew 10:28)?

Author: BibleAsk Team


“Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell”.

Matthew 10:28

Soul – Greek

The word soul (Gr. psuchē) means “breath,” or “life.” Psuchē (plural, psuchai) is translated 40 times in the New Testament as “life” or “lives” (Matthew 2:20; 6:25; 16:25; etc.). It is rendered 58 times as “soul” or “souls” (Matthew 10:28; 11:29; 12:18; etc.). In some of these instances it means simply “people” (Acts 7:14; 27:37; 1 Peter 3:20; etc.). In other instances it is translated as some personal pronoun (Matthew 12:18; 2 Corinthians 12:15; Psalm 16:10). At times it refers to the emotions (Mark 14:34; Luke 2:35; etc.), to appetites (Revelation 18:14), to the intellect (Acts 14:2; Philippians 1:27), or to the heart (Ephesians 6:6).

There is nothing in the word psuchē itself that implies at all a conscious entity that is able to survive the death of the body and hence be immortal. In no references of its use in the Scriptures does psuchē refer to a conscious entity able to exist apart from the body. The Bible does not teach a living, conscious soul that, supposedly, survives the body.

Soul – Hebrew

To further understand the word soul, let us examine its Hebrew meaning. In Psalms 16:10, we read: “or You will not leave my soul in [a]Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to [b]see corruption.” In this verse, the word soul (Hebrew nephesh) occurs 755 times in the Old Testament, 144 times in the psalms, most frequently translated “soul.”

A short analysis of the Hebrew word will show what the Bible writers meant when they used this word. Nephesh comes from the root naphash, a verb found only 3 times in the Old Testament (Exodus 23:12; 31:17; 2 Samuel 16:14), each time meaning “to revive oneself” or “to refresh oneself.” The word goes back to the basic meaning of breathing.

A definition for nephesh originates from the Bible account of the creation of man (Genesis 2:7). The record says that when God gave life to the body He had formed, the man literally “became a soul of life.” The “soul” did not previously exist, but came into existence at the creation of Adam. A new soul comes into existence every time a person is born. This special individuality seems to be the idea emphasized in the Hebrew term nephesh.

Nephesh is designated not only to humans but also to animals. The clause, “let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life” (Genesis 1:20), is literally, “let the waters swarm swarms of souls of life [individuals of life].” Animals and birds are called “living creatures” literally, “souls of life” (Genesis 2:19; Revelation 16:3). Hence, animals as well as human beings are “souls.”

This main idea of “soul” being the individual rather than a constituent part of the individual, underlie the different occurrences of nephesh. It is therefore more correct to say a person or an animal is a soul than to say he or it has a soul.

From the main idea of a nephesh being a person, comes the idiomatic use of nephesh for the personal pronoun. Expressions like “my soul” are idiomatic for “I,” “me”; “thy soul” for “you”; “their soul” for “they,” “them.”

Since each new nephesh represents a new unit of life, nephesh is often used synonymously with “life”. In 119 instances the KJV translates nephesh by “life,” and there are other instances where “life” would have been a more accurate translation (1 Kings 17:21).

Most of the references of nephesh may be accurately translated by “person,” “individual,” “life,” or by the proper personal pronoun. “The souls that they had gotten in Haran” (Genesis 12:5) is simply “the persons that they had gotten in Haran.” “My soul shall live because of thee” (Genesis 12:13) is simply, “I shall live because of thee.” “That soul shall be cut off” (Leviticus 19:8) is simply, “he shall be cut off.”

The Soul and the Body Destroyed in Hell

Some teach that that the soul never dies, but God says, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4, 20). Though Ezekiel was speaking mainly of the immediately impending judgments, his words have a wider application. They are equally true of the last second death (Revelation 20:14; Matthew 10:28).

God’s restored universe will have every mark of sin removed. There will be no reminders of the curse of sin, such as eternally burning souls in an ever-existing hell. God’s victory over sin will be complete. The teaching that the wicked will be given eternal life, though in torment, is entirely contrary to the Scriptures. Fore more on this topic, check: https://bibleask.org/is-hell-forever/

The doctrine of eternal hell rests upon the false premise that the soul is a separate entity and is indestructible. But this idea is derived, not from the Scriptures, but from false mythological and pagan concepts that crept into Jewish and Christian belief. The word translated “soul” (nephesh) does not refer to any immortal part of man nor even to an animating principle in man. It is equal to “man,” or “person,” or “self.” Nephesh refers to man as a special individual, different from any other individual. When this special identity is stressed, the Scriptures refer to man as a “soul.”

In conclusion: according to Scriptures, the wicked will be destroyed in hell fire–both soul and body.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

Leave a Comment