Clear Word vs Bible: Doctrine of Hell

(c) Grosvenor Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

One of the things that I have found amusing about looking into this is that SDA will claim that they believe what the Bible teaches.  But if that is true then why does one have to change it so much to arrive at SDA beliefs in the Clear Word?  If what SDA taught and what the Bible said were the same thing then you wouldn’t have to change anything.

Below I am going to present some of the clearest passages of the Bible on the doctrine of Hell and compare alongside their rendering in the Clear Word.  As an aside, even if you personally believe in annihilationism, ask yourself if you would be okay with adding to or deleting from the text of scripture to support it.


The Holy Bible

The Clear Word

“And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Matt 13:50 KJV “Then the bad will cry and feel the terrible pain of God’s withdrawal just before they’re destroyed forever.”

Where is the concept of “destroyed forever” in the Biblical text?

What word, phrase, or idea is this claiming to paraphrase?

Even in the NLT or the Message you can draw a vague nexus between the concepts in the paraphrase and those in a scholarly translation.  Where is the connection here?  This concept of “destroyed forever” is added to the text of the clear word out of nowhere.

The Holy Bible

The Clear Word

“By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;  Which sometime were disobedient, when once the long suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” 1 Peter 3:19-20 KJV “It was also through the power of the Holy Spirit that Christ worked for the salvation of people in the past to set them free from the prison house of sin.”  This was the case in Noah’s day when the Holy Spirit offered the people a way of escape.  But they kept right on sinning.  God patiently waited for one hundred and twenty years, and the whole time that Noah was building the Ark.  But only eight people decided to come into the Ark and be saved.”


What I find telling here is how much longer the clear word is.  Obviously great bodies of text are being liberally added.  I am no reader of Greek but I am willing to bet my last dollar before payday that there is no nexus from the Greek to the clear word on the extra verbiage.

Look at what was changed though.  Notice in the clear word we have a narrative of events in old testament times, while in the Bible we see Christ preaching to spirits who were in prison during first century ‘present day’ but had also been alive in the time of Noah.  In the Clear word the text is pointing from Noah forward while in the Bible it is pointing from Christ backward.  This is a complete reversal of the temporal momentum of the text.


The Holy Bible

The Clear Word

“And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” Revelation 14:11 KJV “The fire of God’s judgment will give no rest to those who worship the sea beast and his image and have the mark of his name until they are destroyed.”


The Youngs Literal Translation renders “for ever and ever” as “ages of ages”.  Some latch onto this without realizing that “ages of ages” is simply a first century greek term meaning “for ever and ever”.  But even if you do believe that “ages of ages” means a finite period of time, would you change the text?  Or would you leave it how it is and simply point that out?

If SDA really believed that this verse taught”until” and “destroyed” on its own why would they feel the need to add these words into the ‘paraphrase’?


The Holy Bible

The Clear Word

“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” Revelation 20:10 KJV “And the devil who had deceived the wicked was consumed in the lake of fire, together with those who had worshiped the sea beast and the animal turned false prophet.  They were all punished with the second death which lasts forever.”


Notice the difference, the Bible says day and night forever and ever, and the Clear Word replaces this with a past tense “punished” which results in a nothing that lasts forever.  These are conflicting concepts.  The words “day” and “night” combined with “forever” and “ever” convey an ongoing state of “tormented” where as in the clear word we have an act that ends with finality.

Why do SDA feel the need to switch the words around?  Does the Bible simply not work for them here?


The Holy Bible

The Clear Word

“And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:  Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” Mark 9:43-44 KJV “You must be willing to sacrifice anything that would take you away from me, even something as valuable as your right arm.  It is better to be physically handicapped and be in the kingdom of God than to go through life physically whole only to lose eternal life and be consumed in the lake of fire.  That fire will do its work as thoroughly as worms eat a dead body or as forest fire burns trees.”


Why does the Clear Word change something that is never consumed into something that is?  In the Holy Bible it uses the words “never” and puts it next to “quenched”.  In the Clear Word it speaks of being “consumed” by a work that is done “thoroughly” and ends like a forest being burnt to the ground.

One teaches an ongoing fire and the other one that consumes.  These concepts are not consistent with each other.  This is plain evidence that the writer of the Clear Word just didn’t like what the Bible was saying in these areas so he felt the need to tweak them a bit.  Why would he do that if the Bible actually taught what he believed in a consistent fashion?



The Holy Bible

The Clear Word

“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” Matt 25:41 KJV “Then He will say to those on His left, ‘You can’t be given a home in my Father’s kingdom, for you are still controlled by your sinful nature.  Leave my presence.  You will perish in the same fire which will destroy the devil and his angels.”


Notice that the Holy Bible says “into everlasting fire” while the Clear Word says a destroying fire.  One is everlasting and the other destroys and it is done.  If the author of the Clear Word truly believed that “everlasting” meant “destroy” why did he feel the need to tweak it?  Why not just let it read how the Bible renders it?

Furthermore, why did he feel the need to tweak every clear passage on Hell?  Is it because he doesn’t believe what they are saying?  It is a fair question.  If you were interested in this post and would like to read more on Hell please click HERE.  Going forward I plan on blogging more topical comparisons of the Bible vs the Clear Word.


About ACTheologian

I am a layman who blogs my Biblical studies. Enjoy, please read with an open Bible and do double check with your pastor.
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6 Responses to Clear Word vs Bible: Doctrine of Hell

  1. Glen Stambaugh says:

    I agree with your criticisms, but tend to agree with the clear meaning version as a practical matter. To go with the text is to say that evil will not be utterly destroyed, but be sustained in some unnatural state of perpetual burning and remain alive in this state forever more. Is my view extabiblical? Probably.


    • ACTheologian says:

      This post wasn’t an argument for Eternal Conscious Torment so much as it was for not messing with the text. There are sound annialationist scholars out there and they don’t mess with the text like the Clear Word does. If you are interested in the topic I recommend two posts that I put together in the past when I was wrestling with these things:


      The Holiness, Wrath, and Love of God


  2. It is interesting that you use one wrong translation to go after the clear-word “bible”. Both the doctrine of hell and eternal Torment and the doctrine of annihilation are wrong and a mischaracterization of God. Neither accept God’s word that says that Jesus Died for the Sins of All and that All will come to the realisation of the truth. Both portray a God who is not powerful enough to save His entire creation from sin. This is wrong. Jesus does accomplish what He says He does. He is the Savior of All Mankind.


    • ACTheologian says:

      With respect, your hermeneutic contradicts passages that teach people do go to hell and are tormented forever. Also you seem to abbrogate the Holiness and Wrath of God with his Love.

      Let me challenge you to believe all of the Bible. Not just the verses that say Jesus died for all. He did die for all but those who do not recieve this death through the means he has provided are outside of Christ. And being out of Christ they suffer Gods eternal wrath. I have posts on this you can read.

      And with respect I believe the king James translated these just fine. It is the liberals who prefer to change it to fit their beliefs.

      Let us at least agree that we shouldn’t change the Bible.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Spring says:

    You are absolutely correct! (just as the pot is when it calls the kettle black). Your analysis of the two versions is spot on. The Clear Word is essentially a commentary in running text form. It is very useful when demonstrating to an SDA how much they must change the Bible in order to make it fit with their beliefs.

    You might be interested to know that that the KJV is just as far from the the original text as the Clear Word is from the KJV….(use a literal lexical, Concordant, Young’s, or Dabhar if you can get it)


    • ACTheologian says:

      I disagree, the King James is a good translation. Just like the ESV or NKJV. All strive to convey a word for word translation into English.

      The problem with a literal translation is meaning ends up being lost. Not every word has an equivalent.

      If you’re troubled try looking up the same verse in several scholarly versions.

      I know there are different words for hell in the Bible. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they should all be translated differently. The text is always speaking of the same basic concept.


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