During the month of February 2012, we studied what the Bible teaches about Hell.

While this admittedly-uncomfortable doctrine is often neglected in most churches, we profited greatly from discussing it together.

For your own private instruction and encouragement, we invite you to review our study guides / outlines below:

Study One – Why Study Hell?

1. Like all things mentioned in scripture, the doctrine of Hell is “profitable” for our study (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

2. Unlike many things mentioned in scripture, damnation in Hell is one of the most basic doctrines (Mark 16:16).

3. Uncomfortable doctrines like Hell are oftentimes (and even forcibly) neglected by preachers (2 Timothy 4:2-4).

4. Understanding the horrors of Hell will increase our gratitude and improve our worship (Psalm 86:12-13).

5. Exploring the horrors of Hell will motivate us to share the gospel with others more diligently (Luke 16:27-28).

Study Two – Why Does Hell Exist?

1. Hell is necessary because God is holy and just (Exodus 34:6-8, Psalm 5:4-6, Nahum 1:2, Habakkuk 1:13).

2. Hell was originally prepared to punish the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41, 2 Peter 2:4, Jude 1:6).

3. The devil seduced all mankind into rebellion against God through the original sin (Genesis 3:1-7, Romans 5:17-21).

4. Men continue in their allegiance to Satan and rebellion against God through actual sin (John 8:44, Rev. 14:9-11).

5. The punishment of angels and men in Hell will bring glory and worship to God (Romans 9:22-24, Rev. 19:1-6).

Study Three – What is Hell Like?

1. At present, Hell is something like a “holding cell” for disembodied spirits (Acts 2:30-31, 1 Peter 3:18-20).

2. Judgment day will be like a “court trial” when the wicked are raised, tried, and found guilty (John 5:28-29, Rev. 20:12).

3. Jesus himself will function as the “prosecutor, judge, and executioner” on that dread day (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10).

4. Hell will then become like a “torture chamber” in which the wicked are punished in body and soul (Matthew 10:28).

5. The worst thing about Hell is that “the sentence” is unbearable and eternal (Matthew 13:41-42, 25:46).

Study Four – Degrees of Punishment?

1. Some sins are inherently more heinous than others (Proverbs 6:16-19, 1 John 5:16).

2. Some sins become worse by reason of several aggravations (John 19:11; 2 Samuel 12:14).

3. God is perfectly just in his punishment of sin (Exodus 21:23-25; Deuteronomy 25:1-3, 32:4).

4. Jesus made explicit statements about varying degrees of punishment in Hell (Matthew 11:20-24).

5. The Apostles issued explicit warnings about increased degrees of punishment (Hebrews 10:28-31; 2 Peter 2:20-22).

Study Five – What About Purgatory?

1. The doctrine of purgatory flows from erroneous views on the more foundational doctrines of Sin and Justification.

2. Rome teaches that “mortal” sins bring eternal punishment and “venial” sins bring only temporal punishment.

3. Those who die in a “state of grace” with forgiven mortal sins or venial sins must be punished before going to Heaven.

4. The living can help people escape purgatory through Prayers and Indulgences drawn from the church’s Treasury of Merit.

5. Scripture contradicts all this: Romans 8:1, Luke 23:43, John 5:24, 2 Cor. 5:8, Phil. 1:21-23, Psalm 49:6-9, Hebrews 9:27-28



Grace Reformed Church is committed to promoting and defending the biblical and reformed faith by providing Bible study guides and online. Please feel free to download and distribute these lessons (with appropriate attribution).