What is Blasphemy?
Matthew 15:16-20 – And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: these are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.
We’ve all seen it, or heard it…foul and offensive language being used by people at work, on the street, in our shopping centers – nearly everywhere we go. It even manages to find its way into our homes by way of many movies, radio broadcasts and even the internet. It seems that society has accepted the slang terms, offensive remarks, derogatory insults and swearing as a normal part of what is considered to be our self expressive nature.
The other day I was less than privileged to overhear part of the conversation between two individuals in a store while shopping. Nearly every sentence uttered by one of the two had a broad mixture of swear words blended into it, and though he was even referring to his friend by addressing him in a less than friendly manner, they both laughed and joked as though it were completely normal to call each other names. All of this within earshot of small children. Though I probably should have spoken out against there profanity, I resisted the urge and moved away from them as I knew to speak would only make the situation worse. Which brings me to what I believe is the source of the problem: What is considered to be normal vocabulary or self-expression in today’s society has exceeded the moral boundaries of what is acceptable in the eyes of our Creator.
What is Blasphemy – Old Testament
Blasphemy is speaking or behaving disrespectfully toward God. Originally, the word referred to any slander directed against God or other human beings. This is the meaning the ancient Greeks gave to the term.
In the Old Testament, blasphemy always means to insult God, either by attacking him directly or mocking him. Either way the glory and honor of God are lessened, so blasphemy is the opposite of praise. An Israelite might directly insult God by cursing him (Leviticus 24:10-16) or deliberately disobeying God’s law (Numbers 15:30). Either of those blasphemies was punishable by death, as was idol worship, the ultimate blasphemy (Isaiah 66:3).
To blaspheme God is to strike at the very heart of the one who created and loves us. God, who created all things and is above all things deserves our highest respect and admonition. Consider Job – a man who the Bible depicts as being of perfect moral character, and though he had lost all that he had; his family, his possessions, and even suffered boils upon his body, in the midst of his intense suffering Job refused to curse God.
Job 2:9-10 – Then said (Job’s) wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.
What is Blasphemy – New Testament
In the New Testament, blasphemy takes on a wider Greek meaning, for it includes slandering a human being as well as God (Matthew 15:19; see also Romans 3:8; 1 Corinthians 10:30; Ephesians 4:31; Titus 3:2). It even includes mocking angelic or demonic powers, which is just as wrong as mocking any other being (2 Peter 2:10-12, Jude 1:8-10). In other words, slander, derision, and mocking of any kind are totally condemned in the New Testament.
Blaspheming another human being goes completely against what God says we are to do. We are commanded to love one another, to lift each other up and admonish each other (Romans 15:14; Colossians 3:16). If we are being truly obedient to God, blasphemies of any kind directed at anyone has no place in our lives!
Profanity in General
Blasphemy and profanity is wrong. It is condemned by God. It breeds hatred, intolerance, anger, resentment, hostility, and so on. It is unnecessary and unbecoming of a persons moral character. God knows that we can be better than this, and he expects it of us. If a foul vocabulary is something that you deal with, I challenge you to change. Find better words to express yourself without using profane or derogatory remarks. Think before you allow the words to pass from your lips. Remember, once a word is spoken it can never be taken back again. If you have a tendency to simply “blurt out” what ever is on your mind, consider counting to ten before you speak and think about what you are going to say – choose how to use your tongue, don’t allow your tongue to use you. When you are on the internet or at a social media site, avoid posting rude, profane words that are offensive to others. Above all, remember that God knows the heart of every man, woman and child. The way you speak says a lot about the condition of your heart!