Did Jesus Tell Us to Go to Hell?

Consider the words of Jesus from Matthew: For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matt. 16:26) My question is, what exactly does it mean to lose your soul? How can you lose your soul? For much of the religious world, the soul is this little ghost-like thing which leaves your body upon physical death and then goes off to live in another location and in a different form. This soul is thus immortal, and is the "real you", containing all your thoughts, memories and feelings. To some people "losing your soul" means that when you die, you (or rather, your soul) will go to hell. I use to think this as well. But does losing your soul equal going to hell? Let's try changing a few words in our verse to see if it makes sense: For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and go to hell? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Okay, I guess that makes sense. At least it works grammatically. But let's take a look at the previous verse: For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. (Matt. 16:25) The word life in this verse is translated from the exact same word as soul in verse 26. Life is soul, soul is life, at least in these two verses. The King James is misleading its readers by translating the same exact Greek word into two different English words in consecutive verses. Now let's try to changing a few words again to see if still makes sense: For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will go to hell for my sake shall find it. What! Did Jesus just tell us to go to hell for His sake? Of course not. This how some other English Bibles translate these verses: For whosoever would save his life shall lose it: and whosoever shall

lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what shall a man be profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and forfeit his life? or what shall a man give in exchange for his life? (American Standard Version) for whoever may will to save his life, shall lose it, and whoever may lose his life for my sake shall find it, for what is a man profited if he may gain the whole world, but of his life suffer loss? or what shall a man give as an exchange for his life? (Young's Literal Translation) For whosoever may be wanting to save his soul shall be destroying it. Yet whoever should be destroying his soul on My account shall be finding it. For what will a man be benefited, if he should ever be gaining the whole world, yet be forfeiting his soul? Or what will a man be giving in exchange for his soul? (Concordant Literal Translation) Now that's more like it. A consistent translation clears up the confusion. The message Jesus is trying to get across is that you should stop trying to "find yourself", or "save your soul", but rather lose yourself, even your life for His sake, and then you will have treasure in heaven. In verse 26, he warns us against losing your life for the wrong reasons. He wants us to give up everything for Him, rather than focus our energies on obtaining the riches of the world. To "lose your soul", literally means to give up everything, up to and including your life. It has nothing to do with hell or after life punishment. Losing your soul for the right reason is a good thing. So go ahead and "lose your soul" for Jesus. Just don't lose your soul for the wrong reasons.

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