Insight into Acts 2:27
“…because you will not abandon my soul to the grave…”
The Greek word translated “grave” is hadēs. Hades was the Greek word used to represent the Hebrew word sheol, which was the state of being dead. When the Hebrew Old Testament was translated into Greek around 250 BC, the Hebrew word sheol was translated by the Greek word hades. Sheol was not the physical grave itself, but the state of being dead (the actual physical grave was referred to as the qeber). In the Hebrew Old Testament, dead people are said to be in sheol.
Sheol vs. Hades
It was actually a bad choice to translate sheol as hadēs, because in sheol people are dead, whereas in the Greek mythology, hadēs was a place where the souls of dead people are alive. So when the Greeks translated sheol as hadēs, it introduced great confusion about the state of the dead into Judaism and then into Christianity, and that confusion still exists today. The Bible, properly translated, makes it clear that dead people are dead until the Rapture or a resurrection.
What Happens to the Soul?
This verse shows how mistranslation can skew theology. If this verse were being read by a first-century Greek who did not know that hadēs was the Greek translation of sheol, he would be led to think that people, including Jesus, had gone to the hadēs of Greek mythology, ruled by the god Hadēs, which is not even close to what the text is saying. However, something similar has happened today, because many Christians think that hadēs is another name for the place in Christian mythology called “Hell,” which is ruled by the Devil and his demons, and is where evil people go when they die. Jesus certainly did not go to a place where there are dead people being tormented by demons. He died and was dead. That is why the prophecy was that God would not abandon people to sheol (hadēs). If God did not raise people up from being dead, they would stay dead forever. The soul does not live on after the body dies. When the body dies, the soul is dead.
(The commentary above is from our free 1,000+ page Revised English Version® Commentary.)