is to speak with contempt about God
or to be defiantly irreverent.
Blasphemy is verbal
character, work, or attributes.
Blasphemy was a serious crime in the law God gave to Moses. The Israelites were to worship and obey God. In Leviticus 24:10–16, a man blasphemed the name of God. To the Hebrews, a name wasn’t just a convenient label. It was a symbolic representation of a person’s character. The man in Leviticus who blasphemed God’s name was stoned to death.
Isaiah 36 tells the story of Sennacherib, king of Assyria, and his attempt to demoralize Jerusalem before he attacked. After pointing out Assyria’s many victories, he says, "Who of all the gods of these countries have been able to save their lands from me? How then can the LORD deliver Jerusalem from my hand?" (Isaiah 36:20). Sennacherib committed blasphemy by assuming Israel’s God was equal to the false gods of the surrounding nations. The king of Judah, Hezekiah, points out this blasphemy in his prayer to God, in which he asks that God deliver them for the purpose of defending His own honor (Isaiah 37:4, 17). And that’s exactly what God did. Isaiah 37:36-37 explains, "Then the angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there." Later, Sennacherib was murdered in the temple of his god Nisroch (Isaiah 37:38).
Followers of God are also responsible to make sure their behavior doesn’t incite others to blaspheme God. In Romans 2:17-24, Paul scolds those who claim to be saved through the law and yet still live in sin. Using Isaiah 52:5, Paul tells them, “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you” (verse 24). In 1 Timothy 1:20 Paul explains that he had abandoned two false teachers to Satan so they would “be taught not to blaspheme”; thus, promulgating false doctrine and leading God’s people astray is also a form of blasphemy.
Jesus spoke of a special type of blasphemy--blasphemy against the Holy Spirit—committed by the religious leaders of His day. The situation was that the Pharisees were eyewitnesses to Jesus’ miracles, but they attributed the work of the Holy Spirit to the presence of a demon (Mark 3:22-30). Their portrayal of the holy as demonic was a deliberate, insulting rejection of God and was unforgivable.
The most significant accusation of blasphemy was one that happened to be completely false. It was for the crime of blasphemy that the priests and Pharisees condemned Jesus (Matthew 26:65). They understood that Jesus was claiming to be God. That would, indeed, be a reproach on God’s character—if it wasn’t true. If Jesus were just a man claiming to be God, He would have been a blasphemer. However, as the Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus could truthfully claim deity (Philippians 2:6).
Fortunately, Jesus forgives even the sin of blasphemy. Paul was a blasphemer (1 Timothy 1:13) and tried to make others blaspheme (Acts 26:11). Jesus’ own brothers thought He was insane (Mark 3:21). All repented, and all were forgiven.
Blasphemy, by definition, is both deliberate and direct. That being the case, a believer in Jesus Christ will not/cannot commit blasphemy. Even so, we should be careful to reflect God’s holiness and never misrepresent the glory, authority, and character of God.
And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin--
But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?
1 Corinthians 6:6-10
But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers! Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven.
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?
You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you.
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
“Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.
2 Thessalonians 2:4
Who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.
But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.
“I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan."
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy.”
1 Timothy 1:20
Among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible verses are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® Copyright© 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Special thanks to OpenBible.info for the data on the most well-known Bible verses.