Unforgivable Sin

Question: 

What does Jesus teach us about Blasphemy of the holy Spirit? What makes this sin unforgiveable?

Answer: 

The Biblical translations of Mark 3:29 are misleading. Below I list the problems with the KJVs and the NIV translations. Most people might find a literal translation more understandable. For a complete analysis, see Mark 3:29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost... for a detailed analysis of the Greek and a word-by-word comparison of the Greek with the English translations. The KJV describes the "sin" differently as " in danger of eternal damnation:. The "unpardonable sin: idea only comes from the more recent translations such as the NIV which translates the end of the verse as "they are guilty of an eternal sin."

More recent translations correspond less and less to the original Greek. They are paraphrases heavily influenced by current religious thinking, not translation.

The original Greek says more literally: That one, however, when he might slander regarding the breath of life, the one dedicated to the Divine, he doesn't have a release in this lifetime. Instead, he is liable for lifelong failure.

We should also compare the Mark version to the version in Matthew 12:32, which says also doesn't say anything about "an unpardonable sin." It read literally, in the original Greek: And who, when he speaks an idea against the son of the man, it is going to be let go for him. Who, however, when he speaks against the breath of life, the pure one, it is not going to be let go for him neither in this lifetime nor in the one destined.

In my articles on the Greek of Jesus's verses (links provided above), I code each translation issue on the line where I discuss each English word of the translation and how well it fits with the Greek. Those codes are used below to show how the KJV and NIV English translations of this "sin” in this verse.

The following thirteen issues are found in the KJV: Mark 3:29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:

  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "when" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "shall" does not mean the future tense.
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "blaspheme" means "slander." It is the untranslated Greek word adopted into English with a different meaning.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "against" should be "concerning."
  • WP -- Wrongly Placed -- The word "holy" doesn't appear with "ghost" as an adjective but after its own article as a noun.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "ghost" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "ghost" is more commonly translated as "spirit" but also "life" and "soul."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "never" should be "not."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "in" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "lifetime" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "forgiveness" is better translated as "release."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "eternal" is better translated as "lifelong," or "perpetual."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "damnation" is better translated as "mistakes," or "failure."

Below are the sixteen issues in the NIV: Mark 3:29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.

  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "when" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "might" is not shown in the English translation.
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "blaspheme" means "slander." It is the untranslated Greek word adopted into English with a different meaning.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "against" should be "concerning."
  • WP -- Wrongly Placed -- The word "holy" doesn't appear with "ghost" as an adjective but after its own article as a noun.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "spirit" is not shown in the
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "never" should be "not." English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "will" should be "have."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "in" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "lifetime" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WF - Wrong Form - The "forgiven" is not an passive verb but a noun.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "forgiven" is better translated as "release."
  • WN - Wrong Number- The word "they" is translated as plural but the verb is singular.
  • WN - Wrong Number- The word "are" is translated as plural but it is singular.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "eternal" is better translated as "lifelong," or "perpetual."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "damnation" is better translated as "mistakes," or "failure."

There are a similar number of problems with the Matthew version, but that version doesn't mention an "unforgivable sin." I am willing to answer any questions you may have about the Greek or my analysis, but please review the article cited above and its related articles on “spirit” and “holy spirit.”