Hell is talked about many times in the Bible, including by the Lord Jesus Christ. We know it as a place for people who don’t accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. These people do not have a way to pay for their sins in which the wages are death. Therefore, they suffer eternal death in hell. Let’s take a look at what the word hell means in Hebrew and Greek.

All scriptures are taken from NKJV unless otherwise marked.

What Does The Word ‘Hell’ Mean In Hebrew?

sheowl- abode of the dead.

Sheol is the place where those who have physically died pass onto. Sheol was not known as a place of punishment, but simply the eternal resting place of all of mankind. It was dreaded because it meant the end of the physical life on earth and no praise of God occurred there (Psalm 6:5).

Everything about Sheol was viewed in a negative manner. Firstly, there’s the fact that people were going to spend eternity in a physical frame of a grave. Secondly, the body became dust through decomposition. Lastly, Sheol did not seem enjoyable to spend in the afterlife.

Related: What Does The Word ‘Brimstone’ Mean In Hebrew and Greek?

What Does The Word ‘Hell’ Mean In Greek?

hades- place of the dead.

This place corresponds with Sheol. God’s people used to live here before the ascension of Christ. The term ‘hades’ is always used by the Lord.

In Revelation 1:18, Christ declares he has the key to Hades. Also, in Revelation 6:8 we see Hades riding behind Death on the pale horse.

Finally, in Revelation 20,14 God casts Death and Hades into the lake of fire.

So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’

– Luke 16:22-26

geenna- valley of (the son of) Hinnom (the valley of Tophet), hell.

The Vallet of Tophet was a place where people committed child sacrifice to the gods of Molech and Baal. This valley had a burning rubbish heap and they would throw the children in there. The Bible talks about this in Jeremiah 7:31-34.

Read more about The Valley of Tophet here.

This word is found 12 times in the New Testament, each time used by the Lord.

And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

– Matthew 5:30

We should fear the Lord with a fear that keeps us from doing evil because God is the one who has the authority to cast someone into hell.

But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!”

– Luke 12:5

Here are scriptures that are descriptive of hell:

  • Matthew 13:42
  • Philippians 3:19
  • 2 Thessalonians 1:9
  • Hebrews 10:39
  • 2 Peter 2:17
  • Jude 1:13
  • Revelation 3:11
  • Revelation 20:6

tartaroo- to incarcerate in Tartarus, the deepest abyss of Hades. 

It can be translated into “cast down to hell.”


All in all, hell is a place for those who do not know God nor His forgiveness. It was originally created for the demons and Lucifer when he was kicked out of heaven. However, they’ve worked tirelessly to pull more and more people there. God love people because they are the only creations made in His image.

Therefore, the best way they know to hurt God is to hurt His people. That’s why God has done everything to pave the way to heaven for people. All they have to do is believe that Jesus died for their sins and they will be forgiven. Yet, that choice is up to each individual person.

That’s what the word hell means in Hebrew and Greek. I pray you found this article helpful. If so, please share this content. Also, feel free to share any thoughts in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

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What does the word hell mean in Hebrew and Greek?

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