A reader asks, "why did Jesus have to spend 3 days and 3 nights in hell for our sins?"
I'm not sure who started that doctrine but it's not in the Bible. In fact it disagrees with the very core of the Gospel message. The Apostle Paul is very clear that anyone who messes with the Gospel message could be in extreme spiritual danger. Some have taken a few loosely translated verses and made it into a new doctrine. First where do they pull out this strange doctrine?
Much of the confusion has arisen from such passages as Psalm 16:10-11 as translated in the King James Version, “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption....Thou wilt show me the path of life.” “Hell” is not a correct translation of this verse. A correct reading would be “the grave” or “sheol.” Indeed, God didn't leave him in the grave very long.
There are some who somehow have it in their minds that Jesus went to “hell” or the tormented side of hades in order to complete the punishment for our sins. This idea goes against the very grain of the Gospel. The Bible is very clear that it was the death of Jesus on the cross and His suffering on our behalf that completely provided for our redemption. It was the shedding of His blood that effected our own cleansing from sin (1 John 1:7-9).
Paul didn't preach Jesus crucified and then 3 days in torment to pay for our sins! Jesus even told the thief on the cross, "This day you will be with me in Paradise." If Hell is Paradise, then this will make much of the world very happy, for they don't have to accept Jesus to enjoy that blessed place! In fact in the New Testament it says that "our sins were nailed to the cross." Jesus' last words said it so well when He said, "It is finished." If He could just have had a little bit more time, He could have added, "Well, almost finished." In the Greek this phrase has the same meaning as "Paid In Full." It was a Greek phrase for a business transaction.
There are so many more passages in the Scriptures I could refer to but maybe this will encourage you to study it more on your own. Our salvation was not completed in Hell but rather at the Cross! Even the passage in I Peter chapter three doesn't say anything about Him spending 3 days in hell, suffering. Nowhere does it say He suffered for 3 days and 3 nights to pay for our sins! It was this doctrine that stopped me from attending one church a few years ago. There are a lot of doctrines where I can agree to disagree but when it comes to tinkering with the very core of the Gospel, that's where I have to draw a line.
Paul said, "That if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel other than what has been preached, let him be eternally condemned." I for one, am not going to take such a risk!