Discussion Questions on Hell: Is it real? Why is it necessary? What are the implications for today?

Why is the idea that God would punish people in hell so offensive to people today?

What is hell? Is it real?

Read Luke 16:19-31. How is hell described in this passage? How is Jesus’ description of hell different from some popular conceptions of hell?

Read Mathew 13:42; Mark 9:48; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; Revelation 14:10-11. What do these passages add to our understanding of hell?

Popular Misconceptions about Hell

  1. Hell is a fun place where all my friends will be – How was the party for the rich man?
  2. Hell is a metaphor for being annihilated – How do the previous verses discredit this understanding of hell?
  3. Universalism – No one goes to hell; all go to heaven. How does John 3:36 respond to this?
  4. Second chance – How does story of the rich man and Lazarus discredit this understanding of hell? Also see Hebrews 9:27.

Why is hell necessary?

Why is it surprising that the rich man ends up in hell? In what way does the realty of hell honor the choices that we make in this life?

If God made man for fellowship with Him, why would God cast people into hell? Why not save everyone?

 Read Exodus 9:13-17. What must God do in order to rescue the Hebrews? How does this parallel our own salvation?

In what way is God glorified in both the salvation of the righteous and the judgment of the wicked? How does the Biblical picture of God’s majesty and love differ from the sentimental view of love prevalent in our society?

 What is the connection between understanding the severity of God’s judgment and the extravagance of His grace? How does a biblical understanding of hell increase our view of God?

 The Reality of Hell and Our Mission Today

Read Romans 10:11-17. What must we do in order to escape hell? What must happen in order for others to escape hell?

 How does the reality of hell increase our sense of urgency for the lost?

What About Those Who Have Never Heard the Gospel? 

  1. All people have heard about God through the fact that God has revealed Himself in creation (Romans 1:18-20).
  2. All people have rejected God (Romans 1:21-32).
  3. Therefore, all people are guilty before God and deserve His punishment (Romans 3:10-11).
  4. But God has made a way of salvation for all people through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 3:21-24).
  5. People must hear the gospel to believe and be saved (Romans 10:14).
  6. The gospel only goes forward through human instruments, which means the task of evangelism is urgent (Romans 10:15-17).

This lesson was developed from the Gospel Project: A God-Centered Worldview lesson on Hell.