Matthew 10:28 and Alternative Meanings of Apollumi That Are Eliminated By Context

If you’ve ever heard of annihilationism, then you’ve heard of Matthew 10:28. It’s understandable that this passage is commonly cited to show that, rather than keeping anyone alive in torment forever, God destroys body and soul in hell:

Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 1 Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quotations I give are 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.

A common response by traditionalists – those who believe in eternal conscious hell – is that the word translated “destroy,” apollumi in Greek, has other meanings in scripture besides literal destruction (or for lack of a better term, annihilation). 2 For more on why annihilationism doesn’t mean or require some sort of cosmic zapping into nothing, see “Introduction to Evangelical Conditionalism: What Do We Mean By “Annihilationism?’“. 3 Note that, for our purposes, even destroying in just the sense of killing is sufficient to establish the doctrine of evangelical conditionalism. These alternative meanings are consistent with the idea of eternal torment.
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References
1 Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quotations I give are 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.
2 For more on why annihilationism doesn’t mean or require some sort of cosmic zapping into nothing, see “Introduction to Evangelical Conditionalism: What Do We Mean By “Annihilationism?’“.
3 Note that, for our purposes, even destroying in just the sense of killing is sufficient to establish the doctrine of evangelical conditionalism.