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Bible Gemz 992 - The debate over Blaspheming the Holy Spirit (Luke 12;10)

June 23, 2019

"And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God; 

but he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.

"And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him.(Luke 12:8-10)


There is nothing specifically here in Luke which gives us any indication as to what blasphemy against the Holy Spirit means. To piece together the meaning, we have to look at the verses I gave you yesterday. 


Matt 12:31"So I tell you, every sin and blasphemy can be forgiven—except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which will never be forgiven.

Mar 3:28"I tell you the truth, all sin and blasphemy can be forgiven,

Mar 3:29but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven. This is a sin with eternal consequences."

Luke 12:10 "And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him."


I have clipped the following from the commentaries in E-Sword



Matthew 12:31-32

The sin against the Holy Spirit consisted in charging him with being in league with the devil, or accusing him of working his miracles, not by the “spirit” or “power” of God, but by the aid of the prince of the devils. It was therefore a direct insult, abuse, or evil speaking against the Holy Spirit - the spirit by which Jesus worked his miracles. That this was what he intended by this sin, at that time, is clear fromMar_3:30, “because they said he had an unclean spirit.” All other sins - all speaking against the Saviour himself - might be remitted. But this sin was clearly against the Holy One; it was alleging that the highest displays of God’s mercy and power were the work of the devil; and it argued, therefore, the deepest depravity of mind. The sin of which he speaks is therefore clearly stated. It was accusing him of working miracles by the aid of the devil, thus dishonoring the Holy Spirit.


A word against the Son of man -The Jews were offended at the humble life and appearance of the Saviour. They reproached him as being a Nazarene - sprung from Nazareth, a place from which no good was expected to proceed; with being a Galilean, from Galilee, a place from which no prophet came,Joh_7:52. Jesus says that reproaches of this kind could be pardoned. Reflections on his poverty, on his humble birth, and on the lowliness of his human nature might be forgiven; but for those which affected his divine nature, accusing him of being in league with the devil, denying his divinity, and attributing the power which manifestly implied divinity to the prince of fallen spirits, there could be no pardon. This sin was a very different thing from what is now often supposed to be the sin against the Holy Spirit. It was a wanton and blasphemous attack on the divine power and nature of Christ. Such a sin God would not forgive.


Speaking against the Holy Ghost -The word “ghost” means “spirit,” and probably refers here to the “divine nature” of Christ - the power by which he performed his miracles. There is no evidence that it refers to the third person of the Trinity; and the meaning of the whole passage may be: “He that speaks against me as a man of Nazareth - that speaks contemptuously of my humble birth, etc., may be pardoned; but he that reproaches my divine nature, charging me with being in league with Satan, and blaspheming the power of God manifestly displayed “by me,” can never obtain forgiveness." 


Neither in this world, nor in that which is to come -That is, as Mark expresses it, “hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.” This fixes the meaning of the phrase. It means, then, not the future age or dispensation, known among the Jews as the world to come, but it means that the guilt will be unpardoned forever; that such is the purpose of God that he will not forgive a sin so direct, presumptuous, and awful. It cannot be inferred from this that any sins will be forgiven in hell. The Saviour meant simply to say that there were “no possible circumstances” in which the offender could obtain forgiveness. He certainly did “not” say that any sin unpardoned here would be pardoned hereafter.



Here the matter is made clear beyond the smallest doubt - the unpardonable sin, as some term it, is neither less nor more than ascribing the miracles Christ wrought, by the power of God, to the spirit of the devil. Many sincere people have been grievously troubled with apprehensions that they had committed the unpardonable sin; but let it be observed that no man who believes the Divine mission of Jesus Christ, ever can commit this sin: therefore let no man’s heart fail because of it.



but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, shall not be forgiven unto men: by which is meant, not every ignorant denial of, and opposition to his deity and personality; nor all resistance of him in the external ministry of the word; nor every sin that is knowingly and wilfully committed; but it is a despiteful usage of the Spirit of grace, an opposing, contradicting, and denying the operations wrought, or doctrines revealed by him, against a man's own light and conscience, out of wilful and obstinate malice, on purpose to lessen the glory of God, and gratify his own lusts: such was the sin of the Scribes and Pharisees; who, though they knew the miracles of Christ were wrought by the Spirit of God, yet maliciously and obstinately imputed them to the devil, with a view to obscure the glory of Christ, and indulge their own wicked passions and resentments against him.



Here are some interpretations from other sources I have access to:


C K Barrett: 

Blasphemy against the Son of Man is the forgivable opposition of non-Christians; blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the unforgivable apostasy of Christians.


New International Greek Testament Commentary (NIGTC) recognizes three alternatives:

1. A post-Easter [concept] which draws a contrast between sin committed during the ministry of Jesus, when men might speak ignorantly against the Son of Man, and sin during the period of the early church when it would be witting sin to speak against the manifest work of the Spirit.


2. The Patristic Interpretation which saw blasphemy against the Son of Man as pre-baptismal sin of the heathen committed in ignorance whereas blasphemy against the Spirit was a witting act of apostasy by the baptized and so incapable of forgiveness. (Witting means knowingly)


3. Blasphemy against the Son of Man are sins of opposition to Jesus identity and personhood, not His deity. While blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is a denial of Jesus and His clear God acts which amounts to apostasy. 


H W Beyer

The conscious and wicked rejection of the saving power and grace of God towards man. Such rejection of the saving power of God deprives man of the possibility of divine forgiveness. People who think they can reject the particular way of salvation laid down by God and yet still enjoy his favour in the end.


ICC (International Critical Commentary)

Blasphemy, like lying, can be acted as well as uttered. It cannot be safely argued that blasphemy against the Spirit must be a sin of speech.


TNTC (Tyndale New Testament Commentaries)

We must understand this, not of uttering any form of words but of a the set of the life. This blasphemy concerns the whole man not a few words spoken on any one occasion. 


That gives you a good run down of the major ideas put forward to explain this verse. Now you are in a position to determine what you think it means.  Then pray and trust that your interpretation accords with how God sees it. Tomorrow I will try to sum it all up and add my thoughts, not clippings from the commentaries. 



Being certain of Scripture's authority is humility. Being certain that my interpretation is always right is arrogance. Rick Warren


Gathering information is KNOWLEDGE; Interpreting the meaning is UNDERSTANDING; (then) DOING what's right is WISDOM. Rick Warren


Be careful how you interpret the world: It is like that. Erich Heller


The Bible is a supernatural book and can be understood only by supernatural aid. A W Tozer


Ask the Author for His interpretation.  Ian









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