The purpose of this post is not to argue for a particular theory about hell. I simply want to make some clarifications to help people have a more biblical understanding. Here are six things that you should take into consideration when talking about hell.
The Hebrew word that is translated as hell in the KJV is sheol. However, sheol is not a place of punishing the wicked as most people think of hell. Sheol is better translated as the grave and it is the place where everyone goes when they die. It is simply the place of the dead.
One of the Greek words that is translated as hell in the New Testament is hades. This word comes from the Greek myths (Hades is the brother of Zeus and Poseidon) and it also means the place of the dead.
The other word that is translated as hell is Gehenna. Gehenna is an actual place that still exists today. If someone tells you to go to hell, you can book a flight to Israel and go there. Gehenna in the time of Jesus was a burning garbage dump. In the Old Testament it was place for child sacrifice to pagan gods.
The Apostle Paul never mentions hell (either hades or Gehenna). He does talk about destruction a couple of times but does not discuss the nature of it. Paul, no lightweight preacher, was able to motivate people without the threat of hell. I intend to do a future blog post on why Paul does not speak of hell.
Hell is not the kingdom of Satan. Satan does not rule hell and is not in hell. See this post for more details.
6. Fallen Angels
Although hell is not a place where demons are employed to torment the wicked, hell was designed and planned for Satan and his demons. See Matthew 25:41.
Hopefully these points will help you in your discussions about hell and what it is.