Bible Articles on the Topic of Abrahams bosom

The following articles have been compiled and indexed by inWORD Bible software.


In the [King James Version] of the Old Testament the word ‘hell’ appears thirty-one times: Deuteronomy 32:22; 2 Samuel 22:6; Job 11:8; 26:6; Psalms 9:17; 16:10; 18:5; 55:15; 86:13; 116:3; 139:8; Proverbs 5:5; 7:27; 9:18; 15:11,24; 23:14; 27:20; Isaiah 5:14; 14:9,15; 28:15,18; 57:9; Ezekiel 31:16,17; 32:21,27; Amos 9:2; Jonah 2:2; Habakkuk 2:5.

Not Giving Heed to Jewish Fables: Abraham in the Underworld

Evidence from surviving Jewish texts of the period show that what is described in Luke 16:19-30 is drawn from popular first century teachings concerning a division in the underworld between the fires of Hades and the paradise where Abraham and other patriarchs dwelt:

Some Difficult Passages: Lazarus and the Rich Man

There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day... (Luke 16:19)

From Life, Death and Destiny

In Luke 16:19-31, we find Jesus’ famous story about a rich man who went to torment after death, while Lazarus, a poor man who had passed a miserable existence outside the rich man’s gate, went to “Abraham’s bosom”. Does not this passage, then, teach that the wicked pass at death to torment in hell, while the righteous go immediately to bliss? My answer, and that of most reputable scholars today, is: no.

The Great Salvation: The Rich Man and Lazarus

In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, recorded in Luke 16:19-31, the believer in disembodied existence after death in torture or happiness — “heaven or hell” — thinks he finds positive proof of his theory. It is with this passage of Scripture the same as with the few others that seem, superficially viewed, to sustain the popular dogmas. There are preconceived notions that cause readers to read into the Scriptures what is in their minds but what is not in the texts themselves. Instead of reading the words of the text there is a reading “between the lines”. To avoid this mistake — a mistake that many make unconsciously — it is necessary to have in mind the general teachings of the Scriptures upon the subjects involved. One with the popular theory of the nature of man and the state of the dead in his mind will read into this parable “immortal soul” and “never-dying spirit,” without perceiving that no such words are there. “The rich man died,” they will read in their minds, “The body of the rich man died.” “In hell he lifted up his eyes” to them is, “In hell his immortal soul lifted up it’s eyes,” forgetting that their theory says the soul is immaterial without parts, and therefore has no eyes to “lift up”. Throughout the entire parable there is this same reading in of terms and phrases that are only in the mind of the reader, and thus a false conclusion is reached by a false method of reading. If it were remembered that “immortal soul” is a phrase of pagan invention and not found in the Bible the folly of supplying it in the text would be seen. With the Scripture definition of death in the mind and Platonic fiction out of the mind the words, “The rich man died” and “The beggar died,” would be accepted in harmony with the fact that when a man dies “his breath goes forth, he returneth to his earth and in that very day his thoughts perish” (Psalms 146:4) and “the dead know not anything” (Ecclesiastes 9:5)

Parable or Literal Narrative

The account of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) is the principal stronghold of the popular belief [in the immortality of the soul and a conscious intermediate state]. It is brought forward with great confidence on every occasion on which the popular belief is assailed. A little consideration, however, will reveal its unsuitability to the purpose for which it is used. We must first realise, if we can, the nature of the passage of Scripture in question. It is either a literal narrative or a parable. If it is a literal narrative-that is, an account of things that actually happened, given by Christ as a guide to our conception of the “disembodied” state-then it is perfectly legitimate to bring it forward in confutation of the view advanced in this lecture. But in that case it would not only upset that view, but it would upset the popular view also, and establish the view that was entertained by the Pharisees, to whom the parable was addressed; for it will be found on investigation that it is the tradition of the Pharisees that forms the basis of the parable; a tradition which clashes with the popular theory of the death state in many particulars.


The popular conception of hell is of a place of punishment for wicked ‘immortal souls’ straight after death, or the place of torment for those who are rejected at the judgment. It is our conviction that the Bible teaches that hell is the grave, where all men go at death.

Rich man and Lazarus

The parable of the rich man and Lazarus (also called the Dives and Lazarus or Lazarus and Dives) is a well-known parable of Jesus appearing in the Gospel of Luke.

Wrested Scriptures: The Rich Man and Lazarus

This is a stock passage cited by many religious groups to prove that souls of the departed go to torment in hell or bliss in heaven.

Egyptian Folk Tale

An Egyptian folk tale, to which attention was drawn by H[ugo] Gressmann, tells the story of an Egyptian who was reincarnated after his death as Si-Osiris, the miraculous son of a childless couple. When his ‘father’ one day remarked on how a rich man had had a sumptuous funeral while a poor man had been simply buried, Si-Osiris took him to Amnte, the land of the dead, where he was able to see the rich man in torment and the poor man in luxury. The explanation is added that the good deeds of the poor man had outweighed his evil deeds, but the opposite was true of the rich man. The general motif of this story found its way into Jewish lore, and it is attested in some seven versions, the earliest of which concerns a poor scholar and the rich publican, Bar Ma’jan... Because of his one good deed Bar Ma’jan had a great funeral, but the poor scholar had a simple burial. One of the scholar’s friends, however, had a dream in which he saw the poor man after his death in paradisial gardens beside flowing streams, while the publican was standing on the bank of the river but unable to reach the water. Thus the scholar receive no reward in this life, in order that he might have a full reward in the next, while the publican received his reward for his one good deed in this world, so that he might have no reward in the next. It is clear that Jesus’ parable bears some relation to this folk tale.

The Rich Man and Lazarus Parable

The imagery of the parable is borrowed from the opinions of the heathen concerning Hades, or the invisible world, the state of the dead-which the Jews, in the time of the Saviour’s ministry had in part imbibed. There is sufficient evidence, both internal and external, to prove that the passage is a parable.

Heaven is Not My Home

This world is not my home I’m just a passing throughMy treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blueThe angels beckon me from heaven’s open doorAnd I can’t feel at home in this world anymoreOh lord you know I have no friend like youIf heaven’s not my home then lord what will I doThe angels beckon me from heaven’s open doorAnd I can’t feel at home in this world anymore

The Sleep of the Dead

What happens when you die? Is there an intermediate state? What does the Bible teach about the dead before resurrection? These questions are important for our study of the kingdom of God. If you go straight to heaven when you die, you’re not going to care very much about what happens when Jesus returns. You may find it marginally interesting, but it’s what’s next for you. In this way, the doctrine of heaven-at-death eclipses Jesus’ gospel of the kingdom. However, as it turns out, the Bible teaches that the dead are asleep until the resurrection on the last day. In this lecture you’ll learn the primary texts that support conditional immortality and you’ll see how this Hebrew notion compares to what other cultures and religions say about the intermediate state and afterlife.

Abraham’s bosom

(Luke 16:22,23) refers to the custom of reclining on couches at table, which was prevalent among the Jews, an arrangement which brought the head of one person almost into the bosom of the one who sat or reclined above him. To “be in Abraham’s bosom” thus meant to enjoy happiness and rest (Matthew 8:11; Luke 16:23) in the age to come. (See BANQUET; MEALS.)

Abraham’s Bosom

booz ́um (κόλπος Ἀβραάμ, kólpos Abraám; κόλποι Ἀβραάμ, kólpoi Abraám): Figurative. The expression occurs in Luke 16:22-23, in the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, to denote the place of repose to which Lazarus was carried after his death. The figure is suggested by the practice of the guest at a feast reclining on the breast of his neighbor. Thus, John leaned on the breast of Jesus at supper (John 21:20). The rabbis divided the state after death (Sheol) into a place for the righteous and a place for the wicked (see ESCHATOLOGY OF OLD TESTAMENT; SHEOL); but it is doubtful whether the figure of Jesus quite corresponds with this idea. See HADES; PARADISE.


(χάσμα, chásma, “a chasm,” “vent,” “a gaping opening”—a great interval; from χαίνω, chaínō, “to gape” or “yawn”): Occurs only in Luke 16:26, “Between us and you there is a great gulf fixed” (compare “afar off” in Luke 16:23). This is very different from, though it probably reflects, the rabbinical conception of the separation between the two compartments of Hades (Sheol) by “a hand’s breadth,” “a wall,” or even, later, “a chasm,” as the parable can be given here only a figurative significance, and is of purely ethical import. The fundamental difference between the Rich Man and Lazarus lies not in their conditions but in their characters. See also ABRAHAM'S BOSOM; HADES.


hā ́dēz (Αἵδης, Haídēs, ᾅδης, haídēs, “not to be seen”): Hades, Greek originally Haidou, in genitive, “the house of Hades,” then, as nominative, designation of the abode of the dead itself. The word occurs in the New Testament in Matthew 11:23 (parallel Luke 10:15); Matthew 16:18; Luke 16:23; Acts 2:27, 31; Revelation 1:18; 6:8; 20:13 f. It is also found in Textus Receptus of the New Testament 1 Corinthians 15:55, but here the correct reading (Tischendorf, Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek, the Revised Version) is probably Thánate, “O Death,” instead of Háidē, “O Hades.” The King James Version renders “Hades” by “hell” in all instances except 1 Corinthians 15:55, where it puts “grave” (margin “hell”) in dependence on Hosea 13:14. The Revised Version everywhere has “Hades.”


shē ́ōl (שׁאול, she‘ōl):


Hebrew word of uncertain etymology (see Sheol, Critical View), synonym of “bor” (pit), “abaddon” and “shaḥat” (pit or destruction), and perhaps also of “tehom” (abyss).


Accubation — the posture of reclining (ἀνάκειμαι, ἀνακλίνω,“sit at meat,” “sit down”) on couches at table, which prevailed among the Jews in and before the time of Christ; a custom apparently derived from Persian luxury, but usual among the Romans likewise. The dinner-bed, or triclinium, stood in the middle of the dining-room (itself hence called “triclinium” also), clear of the walls, and formed three sides of a square which enclosed the table. The open end of the square, with the central hollow, allowed the servants to attend and serve the table. In all the existing representations of the dinner-bed it is shown to have been higher than the enclosed table. Among the Romans the usual number of guests on each couch was three, making nine for the three couches — equal to the number of the Muses; but sometimes there were four to each couch. The Greeks went beyond this number (Cic. In Pis. 27); the Jews appear to have had no particular fancy in the matter, and we know that at our Lord’s last supper thirteen persons were present. As each guest leaned, during the greater part of the entertainment, on his left elbow, so as to leave the right arm at liberty, and as two or more lay on the same couch, the head of one man was near the breast of the man who lay behind him, and he was, therefore, said “to lie in the bosom” of the other. This phrase was in use among the Jews (Luke 16:22-23; John 1:18; 13:23), and occurs in such a manner as to show that to lie next below, or “in the bosom” of the master of the feast, was considered the most favored place; and is shown by the citations of Kypke and Wetstein (on John 13:23) to have been usually assigned to near and dear connections. So it was “the disciple whom Jesus loved” who “reclined upon his breast” at the last supper. SEE LORD'S SUPPER. Lightfoot and others suppose that as, on that occasion, John lay next below Christ, so Peter, who was also highly favored, lay next above him. This conclusion is founded chiefly on the fact of Peter beckoning to John that he should ask Jesus who was the traitor. But this seems rather to prove the contrary — that Peter was not near enough to speak to Jesus himself. If he had been there, Christ must have lain near his bosom, and he would have been in the best position for whispering to his master, and in the worst for beckoning to John. The circumstance that Christ was able to reach the sop to Judas when he had dipped it, seems to us rather to intimate that he was the one who filled that place. The morsel of favor was likely to be given to one in a favored place; and Judas, the treasurer and almoner of the whole party, might be expected to fill that place. This also aggravates by contrast the turpitude and treachery of his conduct. SEE BANQUET. The frame of the dinner-bed was laid with mattresses variously stuffed, and, latterly, was furnished with rich coverings and hangings. Each person was usually provided with a cushion or bolster on which to support the upper part of his person in a somewhat raised position, as the left arm alone could not long without weariness sustain the weight. The lower part of the body being extended diagonally on the bed, with the feet outward, it is at once perceived how easy it was for “the woman that was a sinner” to come behind between the dinner-bed and the wall and anoint the feet of Jesus (Matthew 26:7; Mark 14:3). The dinner-beds were so various at different times, in different places, and under different circumstances, that no one description can apply to them all (see Critica Biblica, 2, 481). Even among the Romans they were at first (after the Punic war) of rude form and materials, and covered with mattresses stuffed with rushes or straw; mattresses of hair and wool were introduced at a later period. At first the wooden frames were small, low, and round; and it was not until the time of Augustus that square and ornamental couches came into fashion. In the time of Tiberius the most splendid sort were veneered with costly woods or tortoise-shell, and were covered with valuable embroideries, the richest of which came from Babylon, and cost large sums (Soc. Useful Knowl. Pompeii, 2, 88). The Jews perhaps had all these varieties, though it is not likely that the usage was ever carried to such a pitch of luxury as among the Romans; and it is probable that the mass of the people fed in the ancient manner seated on stools or on the ground. It appears that couches were often so low that the feet rested on the ground; and that cushions or bolsters were in general use. It would also seem, from the mention of two and of three couches, that the arrangement was more usually square than semicircular or round (Lightfoot, Hor. Heb. in John 13:23). SEE DIVAN.

The Bad Rich Man in Hell (Le Mauvais Riche dans l’Enfer)

Abrahams bosom


Abraham (/ˈeɪbrəˌhæm, -həm/ ABE-raham; Hebrew: אַבְרָהָם,  listen ), originally Abram, is the first of the three patriarchs of Judaism. His story is a center piece of all Abrahamic religions and Abraham plays a prominent role as an example of faith in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.