Justin Martyr's History of Hell

What the early church really believed about the immortality of the soul, “hellfire” and its relevance to today, from the life of Justin Martyr. Who Was Justin Martyr?

Justin (AD 110-165) came from a Greek-speaking Gentile family living in Flavia Neapolis, Biblical Shechem, in Samaria1. This was near Jacob’s Well where Jesus offered another non-Jewish seeker the “living water” of eternal life, the abundant life that comes only through faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour (John 4:10, 14). A well-educated, well-travelled young man, searching for truth, Justin attached himself to a succession of philosophical schools, finally content to be called a follower of Plato.2 That was until (about AD 130)3 he met an old man while walking along the seashore. This unknown man of faith pointed out to Justin some weaknesses in his Platonic system. He showed him how the Old Testament predicted the coming of Christ. Seeing the courage of the martyrs in facing death, Justin was convinced.4

Justin drank for himself from the water of life. Still content to wear his philosopher’s cloak5, as a token of his belief that Christianity was the “true philosophy”, he dedicated the rest of his life to explaining Christianity to the Greeks and the Romans and defending the faith against its intellectual opponents.

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Author: David Burge

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Bible reference(s): Matthew 5:22, Matthew 5:29-30, Matthew 10:28, Matthew 11:23, Matthew 16:18, Matthew 18:8, Matthew 18:9, Matthew 23:15, Matthew 23:33, Matthew 25:41, Matthew 25:46, Mark 9:43, Mark 9:45, Mark 9:47, Luke 10:15, Luke 12:5, Luke 16:23-24, Acts 2:27, Acts 2:31, 2 Thessalonians 1:9, Jude 1:7, Revelation 1:18, Revelation 6:8, Revelation 19:20, Revelation 20:10, Revelation 20:13-15, Baruch 2:17, Baruch 3:11, Baruch 3:19, 2 Maccabees 6:23, Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 14:12, Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 14:16, Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 17:27, Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 21:10, Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 28:21, Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 41:4, Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 48:5, Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 51:5, Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 51:6, Tobit 13:2, Wisdom of Solomon 1:14, Wisdom of Solomon 2:1, Wisdom of Solomon 16:13, Wisdom of Solomon 17:14, 2 Esdras 4:41

Source: “The History of Hell: Justin Martyr, God’s Philosopher”.

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