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Examination of every
Scripture on a single subject was once an impossibility. Now
it is relatively easily accomplished. The necessary help is
available in either of two large books:
Each of these books
lists every word in the King James translation of the Bible,
sometimes called the Authorized Version. Also listed are the
Hebrew and Greek words from
which they come (with
definitions) and other ways in which these same words are translated.
Libraries and good bookstores regularly have copies of Strongs
and Youngs Concordances.*
As an example of the
kinds of benefits reaped from exhaustive topical comparison,
note what happens when the traditionally controversial subject
of hell is examined. Below is the listing of "hell"
as found in Strongs Concordance.
Note immediately that
every occurrence of hell in the Old Testament is a translation
of a single Hebrew word (sheol) as represented by number 7585
in the right-hand column. Note the definition as reproduced
from the lexicon of Strongs Concordance shown on page
* Exhaustive Concordances
are now available for a number of translations and are frequently
also available on computer programs. Some newer versions have
been abridged and are therefore missing some important information.
Be sure to obtain an "unabridged version" to make
the most of your studies.
Following the colon
and dash (:-), Strongs Concordance lists the other ways
that this same Hebrew word (sheol) is translated in the King
James version. It is interesting to learn that the translators
occasionally rendered this word "grave" and "pit."
Finding this information, it is now important to look up grave
and pit to see the Scriptural usage of these words since they
are still a definite part of our topical study on hell.
lists the usages of grave and pit as follows: [look for number
Look in the right-hand
column for number 7585. (This, remember, means that the Hebrew
word sheol is the word being used.) This reveals the interesting
fact that good men expected to go to hell! Genesis 37:35 shows
that Jacob expected to go there and that he thought his favorite
son was there! Job 14:13 shows that Job actually prayed to go
to hell to escape Gods wrath!
Is the value of this
kind of study becoming clear? Without pursuing the matter further,
it should be becoming clear that the teaching of hell as a place
of eternal torment is contrary to the Scriptures when
they are studied exhaustively and impartially!
If this matter is
studied to its logical conclusion, it will be found that the
word "oblivion" is the best synonym for the Hebrew
word sheol and its Greek (New Testament) counterpart, hades.
Hell is not eternal torment; it is oblivion. It is not only
for the wicked; it is also for the good. It is not permanent;
it is a temporary oblivion, or non-existence, or death-state.
(For a detailed examination of every Scripture on Hell, see
our publication Where are the Dead?) It is interesting to note
that such an old and large denomination as the Church of England
has recently accepted the validity of this definition of hell.
Arranged below are
three columns of Scriptures which contain the word "earth."
These samplings are purposely listed in three columns to point
out the seeming contradictions. One column contains Scriptures
which state that the earth will be destroyed. The second column
contains texts which show that the earth will not be destroyed.
The last column entries imply that there will be a new earth.
Read these texts before proceeding:
||2 Peter 3:13
This listing is still
based on the idea that an examination by TOPIC is of foremost
importance. From this chart, however, it is clear that topical
study by itself is not always adequate to eliminate contradiction.
Note the importance of two more methods of Scripture study:
study of symbolic language and study by Time Frame.
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