What Does Blasphemous Mean In The Bible

Blasphemy, as defined in the Christian Bible, is any irreverent or disrespectful speech or action towards God, or anything attributed to God, such as religious objects, prayers and rituals. This includes any action that shows contempt for the divine. Blasphemy has historically been a crime punishable by death, and continues to be a sensitive issue in many countries today.

In the Bible, blasphemy is taken very seriously, and is mentioned dozens of times in both the Old and New Testaments. In the Ten Commandments, it is written “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain”, which is a reference to blasphemy. In the book of Leviticus, it is said that anyone who blasphemes against God must be stoned to death without fail. In the New Testament, Jesus is recorded as speaking out against those who blaspheme, and he even went as far as to say that those who verbally abuse the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

In addition to verbal offending, other acts of blasphemy can take place, such as desecrating sacred objects or symbols, engaging in menial labor or activities on the Sabbath, and participating in forbidden rituals. The Bible does not specify the exact punishment for these offenses, but it does indicate that those who commit them will face severe consequences.

Blasphemy is a complex topic and can be interpreted differently in different contexts. Jane Johnson, former professor of New Testament at Northwestern University, says “Blasphemy is a highly contextual phenomenon that can take on very different meanings in different contexts. In some cases, it can be a way of showing disrespect to something that is sacred or holy, while in other cases it can be a way of making a political or philosophical statement.”

Jumping off of Johnson’s comment, Ellen Nisbet, professor of religion at the University of California, Los Angeles, argues “Blasphemy is an act of moral courage that can serve to challenge the status quo. As a form of protest against state-sanctioned religion, blasphemy can be an important means of expressing dissent.” Nisbet goes on to claim “it is still relevant today, and can be seen in many different contexts, ranging from art to politics.”

The theological implications of blasphemy are deep and complex, and many religious scholars, theologians, and philosophers have devoted their lives to studying it. The topic is also steeped in history, as it is intertwined with the histories of various religious, philosophical, and political movements. Further, it has been a source of much controversy throughout the centuries, as different countries and societies have had very different opinions on what constitutes blasphemy and how it should be dealt with.

What is the Definition of Blasphemy

An often-cited definition of blasphemy is an “act or utterance that shows contempt or lack of reverence for God”. Some interpretations of this definition also include any form of irreverence towards religious figures, symbols, or practices. Additionally, it has been argued that religious blasphemy includes not just verbal insults towards God or religion, but also expressions of doubt or skepticism.

The definition of blasphemy is said to have evolved over time as different cultures began to adopt different interpretations of it. For example, in Ancient Rome, blasphemers were punished more harshly than those accused of theft or murder. In the Middle Ages, blasphemy was commonly used as an excuse to repress political dissent. On the other hand, Enlightenment thinkers argued that blasphemy helped to promote freedom of speech and thought.

The definition of blasphemy has been the subject of much debate among scholars and faith leaders. This debate has been especially prevalent in recent decades, with some arguing that blasphemy should be punishable by death. Others, however, argue that blasphemy should not be treated as a crime, and that any legal action taken should be limited to civil cases, rather than criminal ones.

What are Examples of Blasphemy

The Bible provides many examples of blasphemy. It includes both verbal offenses and acts of irreverence towards God or sacred objects. One well-known example is in the story of Moses, where an Egyptian pharaoh blasphemes against God and is punished for it. The Bible also includes stories of people blaspheming against prophets or religious figures, as well as stories of individuals committing acts of desecration or idolatry. In the New Testament, Jesus himself speaks out against those who blaspheme.

Blasphemy has also had a long history outside of the Bible. In Ancient Greece, verbal offenses against the gods were punished by imprisonment or even death. Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate, who was accused of blaspheming against the Christian God, was banished from Rome and later executed. In the Middle Ages, many people were tortured and killed by the Church after being accused of blaspheming against Christianity.

Today, blasphemy remains a highly sensitive subject. It continues to be punishable by death in some countries, and people have been prosecuted for it in others. Additionally, there are still many instances where people face social or economic penalties for expressing views that are considered blasphemous by the prevailing powers.

Blasphemy and Free Speech

The issue of blasphemy and free speech is as relevant today as it ever has been. In many countries, laws have been implemented which make it illegal to speak out against or criticize religious figures or symbols, and many countries also have laws that penalize people for expressing views which go against the prevailing religious consensus. Those who oppose these laws argue that they restrict freedom of speech, while those who support them argue that they protect religious beliefs and help to maintain public order.

The debate surrounding blasphemy and free speech has become increasingly prominent in recent years, as the internet has allowed people to easily share their views with a much wider audience. Additionally, the “cancel culture”, which is a phenomenon where people are denounced and criticized for expressing dissenting opinions, has made many people fearful of speaking out against religious or social norms. This has led to a number of high-profile cases where individuals have been accused of blasphemy and subjected to public shaming.

The issue of free speech and blasphemy is likely to remain a contentious one for the foreseeable future. With many different countries having different laws and attitudes towards the issue, it is unclear what the best approach is or what the global consensus on the matter will eventually be.


Blasphemy is an ancient concept that continues to be relevant to this day. It is steeped in history and has been the subject of much debate and controversy. The definition of blasphemy has changed over time, and it continues to be interpreted differently depending on the context. Blasphemy can also lead to serious consequences, as it is still punishable by death in some countries. In addition, the issue of blasphemy and free speech continue to spark debate and controversy, as laws governing what constitutes blasphemy and how it should be punished remain contested.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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