Unpacking the unforgivable sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit

Mat 12:31: And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.

Mat 12:32: Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

Before we get into too many details, lets define what "sin" and "blasphemy" are, as they are absolutely critical to understand these words from Jesus.

Sin according to the Bible

This is a surprisingly easy definition. If we turn to 1 John 3:4, it clearly states what sin is:

1 John 3:4: Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.

In other words, anyone who sins is transgressing the Law of God.

Blasphemy according to the Bible

|Side Note| Ever since modern English Bibles were translated in the late 1600's, there have been a lot of points that have been lost in translation. That is why if you want a tool to look at the Hebrew/Greek texts, I encourage you to use the Blue Letter Bible app. It is a tool I use often and gives incredible insight into the texts. I seriously encourage you guys to get it!

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If you use a tool like the Blue Letter Bible, you can find out the origin of the word blasphemy:

βλάσφημος – blasphēmos – From a derivative of G984 and G5345; scurrilous, that is, calumnious (against man), or (specifically) impious (against God): – blasphemer (-mous), railing. ( G984 – βλάπτω – blaptō – A primary verb; properly to hinder, that is, (by implication) to injure: – hurt. ) ( G5345 – φήμη – phēmē – From G5346; a saying, that is, rumor (“fame”): – fame. )

It can therefore be seen as "hurting" (Blapto) the "fame"(Pheme) of God. We see many instances of this word being used throughout the Old and New Testament. (e.g. Acts 6:11, Rev 13:6 etc...). Blasphemos is the word used in the Greek manuscripts for the New Testament.

The sin explained

Now that we have our definitions, let's proceed to unpack the verses where Jesus speaks about this unforgivable sin.

The Greek texts contain the word "Blasphemos" in the Teexts of Matthew 12:31, 15:19 and 26:65, but the Hebrew version carries another word, "Gadpah" for the account in Matthew.

Let's see what this word means:

H1442 – גּדף – gâdaph – A primitive root; to hack (with words), that is, revile: – blaspheme, reproach.

This word is used in the Old Testament as well, specifically in Numbers 15:29-31:

Num 15:29: One and the same law applies to everyone who sins unintentionally, whether a native-born Israelite or a foreigner residing among you.

Num 15:30 ‘But anyone who sins defiantly, whether native-born or foreigner, blasphemes ( Gadaph ) the LORD and must be cut off from the people of Israel.

Num 15:31Because they have despised the LORD’s word and broken his commands, they must surely be cut off; their guilt remains on them.’ ”

Looking at this context, a person who blasphemes / gadaphs is someone who completely disregards the commandments of God. Acting disrespectfully whilst also defaming His mighty name. God instructs the Israelites to cut these people off. There is no more sacrifice for this kind of behavior.

This trail of thought is backed up by a passage in Hebrews 6:4-6:

Heb 6:4: It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit,

Heb 6:5: who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age

Heb 6:6: and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

Whoever commits a sin (i.e. Transgress the Law according to 1 John 3:4), and does it willfully, means they are defaming (i.e. blaspheming) God.

God is forgiving, but we need to remember that God is a God of justice. There is an example in Numbers 15 with a man gathering wood on a Sabbath day. Aaron and Moses asked God what to do with this man and ultimately God decided he should be put to death. Only God could see the mans heart - and judging by God's actions - The man probably chose to willfully defy the Law of God.


The unforgivable sin has many interpretations, but diving into the Word shows a clear definition. Willful transgression of God's Law, which brings defamation to His name, is considered to be the sin that cannot be forgiven. Such an act means you take the salvation He bought for us and take it in vain.

God can and will forgive anyone, but He is a God of righteousness and will punish those who defame His name.