Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth Do Not Indicate Eternal Torment

“There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth!”

If you already had in mind the idea that hell is a place of everlasting conscious punishment, then it is understandable that when you hear someone say hell involves “weeping and gnashing of teeth,” you would imagine that phrase referring to the terrible torments in this place of everlasting conscious punishment.1 Some translations say “wailing and gnashing of teeth,” but the difference is immaterial.

But if we want to look at what the Bible actually teaches about hell, we must not simply assume that that it teaches what we already believe. And when we look at it more closely, it becomes clear that the refrain that “there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” does not so clearly mean what many initially think it means.2 See Matthew 8:12, 13:42, 13:50, 22:13, 24:51, 25:30, Luke 13:28.3 Unless otherwise noted, all scripture is quoted from the New American Standard Bible (NASB). Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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1. Some translations say “wailing and gnashing of teeth,” but the difference is immaterial.
2. See Matthew 8:12, 13:42, 13:50, 22:13, 24:51, 25:30, Luke 13:28.
3.  Unless otherwise noted, all scripture is quoted from the New American Standard Bible (NASB). Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.