- Parent Category: FAQs
- Category: Questions about Eternity, Heaven and Hell
- Published on Wednesday, 23 October 2013 19:58
How do various Bible versions translate the words Sheol and Hades?
The meaning of SHEOL and HADES
In the King James Version, the Hebrew word SHEOL is usually translated as hell. The corresponding Greek word HADES is also translated as hell. Sheol means “the place of departed spirits” and hades means the “place of the dead”. The word “hell” conjures images of darkness, flames, torment and agony. However, the departed spirits of the Old Testament believers also went to sheol/hades, but not to suffer torments.
According to Vines Dictionary…
Hades is the region of departed spirits of the lost". This includes the blessed dead in periods preceding the ascension of Christ. It corresponds to "Sheol" in the Old Testament. In the Authorized King James Version it has been unhappily rendered "hell" (Psalms 16:10) or "the grave," (Genesis 37:35) or "the pit" (Numbers 16:30-33). In the New Testament the Revised Version always used the rendering "hades". In the Old Testament, they have not been uniform in the translation. For example in Isaiah 14:15 it is translated "hell" with a note in the margin that says "Sheol". Usually they have "Sheol" in the text and "the grave" in the margin. Sheol never denotes the grave, nor is the permanent region of the lost.
Most Bible translators avoid using “hell” to translate the words sheol and hades. Instead they simply transcribe the words from the original Hebrew (sheol) or Greek (hades) such as the English Standard Version (ESV). Other translations that use “sheol” instead of hell include the New American Standard Bible (NASB), The New King James Version (NKJV), Darby, and Young’s Literal Translation. The NIV and other loose translations and paraphrases use a phrase such as “the realm of the dead”.