What does the word hell mean according to the bible?
Does the bible claim it to be a physical, spiritual, or metaphorical?
Does hell exist?
Who is hell for?
As the meaning of a word may vary according to its context, it is important to study the context carefully to arrive at its meaning.
Do not assume that a word always has the same meaning. A new context may give birth to a richer meaning.
Commentaries and Lexicons are helpful aids, but are not without their errors. On many occasions authors and editors differ from one another in crucial areas. It is advisable to do the word study first before consulting the “authorities.”
For interpretative purposes, the contextual meaning of a word is more important than its etymological meaning.
Procedure for an In-depth Word Study
Here is a methodical outline of how to conduct an in-depth word study
Using a concordance, locate every passage of Scripture in which the word appears and write down every pertinent reference.
List every Hebrew or Greek word from which the word under study was translated.
Note the other ways these Hebrew and Greek words were translated into English
Look up each passage chronologically and determine the meaning of the word in each context.
Where the meanings are similar, categorize the references under their common meanings.
Determine why the word has these different categories of meaning.