Blaspheme is derived from the compound Greek word blasphemeo = blapto (harm) + pheme (speech). It is speech intended to do harm, especially to one’s character. Several Hebrew words can be translated as blaspheme, the most common of which is gadaph. Synonyms for blaspheme found in English Bibles include revile, malign, deride, speak against, speak evil of, slander, and rail.

While blasphemy normally refers to words, actions which express the same disposition are sometimes called blasphemy. In the Bible, blasphemy could be directed at God, people, or things.  Ezekiel 20:27; Numbers 15:30; Titus 3:1-2; 1 Timothy 6:1

There is some debate over the meaning of Jesus’ ominous warning concerning blasphemy toward the Holy Spirit. I believe this sin is a sustained rejection of the message originally delivered by the Holy Spirit. Many Jews blasphemed the Son of God during his earthly life, but some later repented when the Holy Spirit revealed more of the truth. Those who continued to opposed it ultimately blasphemed the Holy Spirit who had given the message and confirmed it with miracles. There was no further stage of revelation, so as long as they refused to believe it, they would not find forgiveness.  Matthew 12:31-32; Mark 3:28-30; Luke 12:10; Acts 7:51; Acts 13:45-46

To avoid blasphemy against God, we must never use his name carelessly (as in interjections like “OMG”) or euphemistically (as in substitutes like “gosh” or “jeez”). Claims of equality with God are also blasphemous. Toward others, our speech should not tear down but build up. It should be seasoned with grace rather than slander and name-calling. Corrections and warnings are appropriate, but the goal must always be to heal rather than harm.  Ephesians 4:29; Colossians 4:6; 1 Peter 3:9-16; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; Matthew 5:44; Romans 12:14

We must avoid causing others to blaspheme God. Israel had done this historically in two ways. First, they behaved hypocritically, priding themselves in their covenant with the true God while breaking his laws. Second, when God punished Israel for this, enemy nations attributed Israel’s defeat to the weakness of its God. We can likewise cause unbelievers to blaspheme our God when they observe us suffering for sin and acting hypocritically. Instead, we should prompt people to glorify God when they see the good works which his word produces in our lives.  Romans 2:17-24; Isaiah 52:5; Ezekiel 36:19-23; Matthew 5:14-16; 1 Peter 2:12

I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.  1 Timothy 1:12-16

~ SR

Ruhmann, Scott. “Word of the Week: Blaspheme.” 27th Street Church of Christ. Access date: .