Q: #389. What is blasphemy, and how do you commit blasphemy?
By: Steve Shirley
A: Our word blasphemy comes from the Greek word "blasphemia," which Strong's Concordance defines as "vilification (espec. against God)." Webster's Dictionary gives these definitions: "1a: the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God b: the act of claiming the attributes of deity 2: irreverence toward something considered sacred or inviolable." Smith's Dictionary simply says: "speaking evil of God."
The Bible calls blasphemy a sin (Col 3:8)(Mt 15:19-20)(Mk 7:21-23)(James 2:7)(Isa 65:7), and in early Old Testament days, committing it was punishable by death (Lev 24:10-16)(Lev 10:1-2)(Ezek 35:1-14). Blasphemy is no longer a death sentence, but if it was, a LOT of people would be dead. Thousands blaspheme God every day. How? Here are some examples:
Breaking the 3rd Commandment (Ex 20:7) by taking the Lord's name in vain (i.e. "O
my G - -" or "G - - D - - -").
Denying that God exists.
Committing idolatry (putting anything ahead of God).
Adding to, or taking away from God's Word (i.e. Mormons, JW's, Islam making their "holy books" equal with the Bible).
Practicing astrology, using horoscopes, or giving ANY created thing (i.e. sun, moon, stars) power that belongs to God.
Saying God said something He didn't say, or did something He didn't do (i.e. God told me this [when He really didn't]).
***Note: This is why I often caution people about saying they "got a word from God" unless they are SURE.
Or, stating the reverse, saying God didn't say something that He did say, or didn't do something that He did do.
In addition, the Bible tells us that we as Christians should live our lives in such a way that the name of God is not blasphemed. We are ambassadors and representatives of God, and as such, if the way we live our lives does not line up with the Bible, it can cause people to "speak evil of God." An example of this is found in the Old Testament with David. In (2 Sam Ch.11), David had an affair with the wife of Uriah (one of his soldiers), got her pregnant, and then had Uriah killed. In (2 Sam Ch.12), Nathan the prophet confronted David about his sin, and said this: "However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child who is born to you shall surely die (2 Sam 12:14).
In other words, people knew that David was a representative of God, and when he sinned in this way, it reflected badly upon God. Today, we might call this sin hypocrisy. We claim to be Christians, and as such, our lives should be different than those who are not. We should be reflections of God and His Word. However, are our lives truly different? We divorce at the same rate as non-Christians. We look at porn, drink, smoke, fornicate, live together with the opposite sex unmarried, commit adultery, sue each other, and more... In doing so, we bring disrepute to the name of God. We cause the name of God to be blasphemed... I believe that the "hypocrisy" of Christians is one of the PRIMARY reasons why non-Christians want nothing to do with the church, or with God. Christian friends, our actions MUST line up with the Bible. (Paul speaks to the Jews about this very thing in Rom 2:17-24.)
Paul gives us two other verses relating to this in the New Testament.
(1 Tim 6:1)(NKJV) Let as many bondservants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and His doctrine may not be blasphemed.
(Titus 2:3-5)(NKJV) the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things (4) that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, (5) to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
If you are looking for examples of blasphemy in the Bible, here are some verses to look at: (1 Tim 1:20)(2 Kin Ch. 19)(Job 2:9)(2 Th 2:3-4)(Rev 2:9)(Rev 13:1-6). Jesus, while being God in flesh on Earth, was also blasphemed a number of times in the Gospels (Lk 22:65)(Mt 16:22-23)(Mt 27:27-31,38-44)(Mk 3:21)(Mk 15:29-32 / Lk 23:39 "railed" = Gr. "blasphemeo"). He was also wrongly accused of committing blasphemy (Mt 9:2-8)(Mt 26:65)(Mk 2:7)(Mk 14:64)(Lk 5:21)(Jn 10:30-39).
Fortunately, the Bible also tells us that blasphemy, as well as all sins, can be forgiven (Mt 12:31-32)(Mk 3:28)(Lk 12:10). (Except for "Blasphemy Of The Holy Spirit," which we will discuss in the next question.) Before Paul became a Christian, he tried to force Christians to blaspheme God (Acts 26:11), and blasphemed God himself, but was forgiven (1 Tim 1:13). Jesus' brothers belittled Him (Jn 7:2-5), and His family thought He was "out of His mind" (Mk 3:21), but they later became Christians and were forgiven (apparently after Jesus' resurrection). (James became the leader of the church at Jerusalem, and wrote the book of James. Jude wrote the book of Jude.) Peter denied that he knew Jesus (Mt 26:69-75)(Mk 14:66-72)(Lk 22:54-62)(Jn 18:15-27), but he repented, was forgiven, and used greatly by God. (Jn 21:15-17 shows Jesus restoring Peter.) Through Christ, we can be forgiven. We must turn to Him, confess our sins, and repent.
P.S. (2 Tim 3:1-2) tells us that in the "last days" (before Jesus' return), there will be an increase in the number of "blasphemers."