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NAVE: Blasphemy
EBD: Blasphemy
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Blasphemy [EBD]

In the sense of speaking evil of God this word is found in Ps. 74:18; Isa. 52:5; Rom. 2:24; Rev. 13:1, 6; 16:9, 11, 21. It denotes also any kind of calumny, or evil-speaking, or abuse (1 Kings 21:10; Acts 13:45; 18:6, etc.). Our Lord was accused of blasphemy when he claimed to be the Son of God (Matt. 26:65; comp. Matt. 9:3; Mark 2:7). They who deny his Messiahship blaspheme Jesus (Luke 22:65; John 10:36).

Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost (Matt. 12:31, 32; Mark 3:28, 29; Luke 12:10) is regarded by some as a continued and obstinate rejection of the gospel, and hence is an unpardonable sin, simply because as long as a sinner remains in unbelief he voluntarily excludes himself from pardon. Others regard the expression as designating the sin of attributing to the power of Satan those miracles which Christ performed, or generally those works which are the result of the Spirit's agency.

Blasphemy [NAVE]

See also Slander; Speaking, Evil.Ex. 20:7 Deut. 5:11. Lev. 19:12 Lev. 22:32. Lev. 24:10-16; 2 Kin. 19:22 Isa. 37:23. 2 Chr. 32:19 The following passages from the book of Job (with the exception of Job 21:13,14) are interpreted by some authorities as blasphemy.) Job 9:16-18, 34, 35; Job 10:2-7; Job 13:7-9, 25-27; Job 15:13, 25, 26; Job 16:9, 11-14; Job 19:6, 7, 21, 22; Job 21:13, 14; Job 22:12-14, 17; Job 30:21; Job 33:10, 11; Job 34:5, 6, 9, 16-19, 37; Job 37:20; Job 40:2; Psa. 10:11, 13; Psa. 50:21; Psa. 73:9, 11; Psa. 74:18; Psa. 78:19, 20; Psa. 94:7; Psa. 139:20; Prov. 30:8, 9 v. 7.; Isa. 8:21, 22; Isa. 29:15, 16; Isa. 36:15, 18, 20, 21; Isa. 37:10; Isa. 40:27; Isa. 45:9; Isa. 52:5; Isa. 65:7; Jer. 4:10; Jer. 17:15; Jer. 20:7; Jer. 23:10; Ezek. 8:12; Ezek. 9:9; Ezek. 18:25; Ezek. 20:27; Ezek. 33:17-20; Ezek. 35:12, 13; Dan. 7:25; Dan. 11:36, 37; Hos. 7:13; Zeph. 1:12; Zech. 5:3, 4; Mal. 3:13, 14; Matt. 10:25; Matt. 12:31, 32 Mark 3:29, 30; Luke 12:10. Matt. 15:19; Mark 7:21-23; John 19:7; Rom. 2:24 2 Sam. 12:14. 1 Cor. 12:3; Col. 3:8; 2 Thess. 2:4; 2 Tim. 3:2 Rev. 16:11; Heb. 10:29; Jas. 2:7; Jas. 3:10; Jas. 5:12; 2 Pet. 3:3, 4; Rev. 13:1, 6; Rev. 16:9, 21; Rev. 17:3 Prophecy of, Rev. 13:1, 5, 6; 16:9, 11, 21; 17:3.
Instances of
The depraved son of Shelomith, who, in an altercation with an Israelite, cursed God, Lev. 24:10-16.
Of the Israelites, in complaining against God, Num. 21:5, 6.
Infidels, who used the adultery of David as an occasion to blaspheme, 2 Sam. 12:14.
Shimei, in his malice toward David, 2 Sam. 16:5.
Rabshakeh, in the siege of Jerusalem, 2 Kin. 18:22; 19; Isa. 36:15-20; 37:10-33.
Job's wife, when she exhorted Job to curse God and die, Job 2:9.
Peter, when accused of being a disciple of Jesus, Matt. 26:74; Mark 14:71.
The revilers of Jesus, when he was crucified, Matt. 27:40-44, 63.
The early Christians, persecuted by Saul of Tarsus, compelled to blaspheme the name of Jesus, Acts 26:11; 1 Tim. 1:13.
Two disciples, Hymenaeus and Alexander, who were delivered to Satan that they might learn not to blaspheme, 1 Tim. 1:20.
Man of sin, 2 Thess. 2:3, 4.
Backslidden Ephesians, Rev. 2:9.
False Indictments for
Of Naboth, 1 Kin. 21:13; Jesus, Matt. 26:65; Mark 14:58; Luke 22:70, 71; John 19:7; Stephen, Acts 6:11, 13.
Jesus falsely accused of, previously to his trial, Mark 2:7; Luke 5:21.


in its technical English sense, signifies the speaking evil of God and in this sense it is found (Psalms 74:18; Isaiah 52:5; Romans 2:24) etc. But according to its derivation it may mean any species of calumny and abuse: see (1 Kings 21:10; Acts 18:6; Jude 1:9) etc. Blasphemy was punished by stoning, which was inflicted on the son of Shelomith. (Leviticus 24:11) On this charge both our Lord and St. Stephen were condemned to death by the Jews. The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, (Matthew 12:32; Mark 3:28) consisted in attributing to the power of Satan those unquestionable miracles which Jesus performed by "the finger of God" and the power of the Holy Spirit. It is plainly such a state of wilful, determined opposition to God and the Holy Spirit that no efforts will avail to lead to repentance. Among the Jews it was a sin against God answering to treason in our times.


BLASPHEMY - blas'-fe-mi (blasphemia): In classical Greek meant primarily "defamation" or "evil-speaking" in general; "a word of evil omen," hence, "impious, and irreverent speech against God."

(1) In the Old Testament as substantive and vb.: (a) (barakh) "Naboth did blaspheme God and the king" (1 Ki 21:10,13 the King James Version); (b) (gadhaph) of Senna-cherib defying Yahweh (2 Ki 19:6,22 = Isa 37:6,23; also Ps 44:16; Ezek 20:27; compare Nu 15:30), "But the soul that doeth aught with a high hand (i.e. knowingly and defiantly), .... the same blasphemeth (so the Revised Version (British and American), but the King James Version "reproacheth") Yahweh; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people." Blasphemy is always in word or deed, injury, dishonor and defiance offered to God, and its penalty is death by stoning; (c) (charaph) of idolatry as blasphemy against Yahweh (Isa 65:7); (d) (naqabh) "And he that blasphemeth the name of Yahweh, he shall surely be put to death" (Lev 24:11,16); (e) (na'ats) David's sin is an occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme (2 Sam 12:14; also Ps 74:10,18; Isa 52:5; compare Ezek 35:12; 2 Ki 19:3 the King James Version; Isa 37:3).

(2) In the New Testament blasphemy, substantive and vb., may be (a) of evil-speaking generally, (Acts 13:45; 18:6); The Jews contradicted Paul "and blasphemed," the Revised Version, margin "railed." (So in the King James Version of Mt 15:19 = Mk 7:22; Col 3:8, but in the Revised Version (British and American) "railings"; Rev 2:9 the Revised Version, margin "reviling"; so perhaps in 1 Tim 1:20; or Hymeneus and Alexander may have blasphemed Christ by professing faith and living unworthily of it.) (b) Spea king against a heathen goddess: the town clerk of Ephesus repels the charge that Paul and his companions were blasphemers of Diana (Acts 19:37). (c) Against God: (i) uttering impious words (Rev 13:1,5,6; 16:9,11,21; 17:3); (ii) unworthy conduct of Jews (Rom 2:24) and Christians (1 Tim 6:1; Tit 2:5, and perhaps 1 Tim 1:20); (iii) of Jesus Christ, alleged to be usurping the authority of God (Mt 9:3 = Mk 2:7 = Lk 5:21), claiming to be the Messiah, the son of God (Mt 26:65 = Mk 14:64), or making Himself God (Jn 10:33,36). (d) Against Jesus Christ: Saul strove to make the Christians he persecuted blaspheme their Lord (Acts 26:11). So was he himself a blasphemer (1 Tim 1:13; compare Jas 2:7).

The Unpardonable Sin:

(3) Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit: "Every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in that which is to come" (Mt 12:31,32 = Mk 3:28,29; Lk 12:10). As in the Old Testament "to sin with a high hand" and to blaspheme the name of God incurred the death penalty, so the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit remains the one unpardonable sin. These passages at least imply beyond cavil the personality of the Holy Spirit, for sin and blasphemy can only be committed against persons. In Mt and Mk a particular case of this blasphemy is the allegation of the Pharisees that Jesus Christ casts out devils by Beelzebub. The general idea is that to attribute to an evil source acts which are clearly those of the Holy Spirit, to call good evil, is blasphemy against the Spirit, and sin that will not be pardoned. "A distinction is made between Christ's other acts and those which manifestly reveal the Holy Spirit in Him, and between slander directed against Him personally as He appears in His ordinary acts, and that which is aimed at those acts in which the Spirit is manifest" (Gould, Mark at the place). Luke does not refer to any particular instance, and seems to connect it with the denial of Christ, although he, too, gives the saying that "who shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven." But which of Christ's acts are not acts of the Holy Spirit, and how therefore is a word spoken against Him not also blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? John identifies the Holy Spirit with the exalted Christ (Jn 14:16-18,26,28). The solution generally offered of this most difficult problem is concisely put by Plummer (Luke ad loc.): "Constant and consummate opposition to the influence of the Holy Spirit, because of a deliberate preference of darkness to light, render repentance and therefore forgiveness morally impossible." A similar idea is taught in Heb 6:4-6, and 1 Jn 5:16: "A sin unto death." But the natural meaning of Christ's words implies an inability or unwillingness to forgive on the Divine side rather than inability to repent in man. Anyhow the abandonment of man to eternal condemnation involves the inability and defeat of God. The only alternative seems to be to call the kenotic theory into service, and to put this idea among the human limitations which Christ assumed when He became flesh. It is less difficult to ascribe a limit to Jesus Christ's knowledge than to God's saving grace (Mk 13:32; compare Jn 16:12,13). It is also noteworthy that in other respects, at least, Christ acquiesced in the view of the Holy Spirit which He found among His contemporaries.


T. Ress

Also see definition of "Blasphemy" in Word Study

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