Matthew 12:31 All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men:

KJV Verse: 

Matthew 12:31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

By this I am teaching you: every error and slander are going to be let go for these men. That, however, about the spirit? Slander is not going to be let go.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Again, the most important word appears at the end of this verse, not in the beginning as would be more normal in Greek. The context is the previous verse, Matthew 12:30. That verse divides people into those who are working for him and against him. However, the larger context is a discussion of casting out demons. The contrast here is between the slanders by men of the "spirit" by which that tossing out is done.

The word translated as "all manner" is a Greek adjective that means simply "all" or, when modifying a singular noun, "every." 

The word translated as "sin" more generally means mistakes or errors. It is singular. It is not repeated in the second part of this verse. 

The word translated as "blasphemy" more generally means "slander." This noun is repeated in the second part of this verse as its subject. In neither case does the word have an article ("the") so it is not "the blasphemy". 

The Greek word translated as "forgiven" really means "to let go." It is Christ's first word in the Gospel (Matthew 3:15) when he tells John to "suffer" baptizing him. It is often translated as "to leave" or "to let" in the Gospels. It is first translated as "forgive" in the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:12) where it is applied to forgiving debts. It has the sense of leaving something alone and letting it drop. It is in the future, "going to let go" and the passive, "going to be let go." This verb appears at the end of the sentence as its punch line. 

There is an untranslated word in the original Greek that appears before the following phrase. The word is a pronoun that can be translated "he" or "she", but also means "which," "what", and "where." It often indicates a verbal question. 

There a no Greek word that can be translated as "against". There was such a word in the previous verse Matthew 12:30.

There is also no Greek word here that can be translated as "Holy". It was an invention of the translators to make this verse mean something more specific that it says.

The Greek word translated as "spirit" means "wind", blast", "breath" and "spirit." The means the "breath of life" that animates us. More about this word and its relationship to the Greek words Christ uses to describe other aspects of being human in this article. The sense of this word is the immortal self-awareness put into us by God, though this is not the word the NT usually translates a "soul".  The word is used with an article, "the" in English, but often more like "that" in Greek. The form of the word "spirit" is what is usually used as the possessive ("the spirit's slanders" or "slanders of the spirit."). However, it comes before "slanders" not after, which is more commonly the way Christ uses possessive nouns. Christ also usually used an article on the word being modified by the possessive. That is not the case here. 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Διὰ (prep) "Wherefore" is from dia (dia) (with touto below) which means "through", "in the midst of", "in a line (movement)", "throughout (time)", "by", "among," and "between."

τοῦτο (adj sg neut nom/acc) "Wherefore" is from toutô (touto) (with dia above), which means "from here", "from there", "this [thing]," or "that [thing]."

λέγω (verb 1st sg pres ind) 1st sg pres ind act) "I tell" is from legô (lego) means "pick up", "choose for oneself", "pick out," and "count," but it used to mean "recount", "tell over", "say", "speak", "teach", "mean", "boast of", "tell of", "recite," nominate," and "command."

ὑμῖν (pron 2nd pl dat) "You" is the plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

πᾶσα (adj sg fem nom) "All" is from pas, which means "all", "the whole", "every", "anyone", "all kinds," and "anything."

ἁμαρτία (noun sg fem nom) "Sin" is the Greek hamartia, which means "to miss the mark", "failure", "fault," and "error." Only in religious uses do it become "guilt" and "sin."

καὶ (conj) "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just."

βλασφημία (noun sg fem nom) "Blasphemy" is from blasphêmia, which means "slander", "profane speech", "word of evil omen," and "irreverent speech against God."

ἀφεθήσεται (3rd sg fut ind pass) "Forgiven" is aphiêmi, which means "to send forth", "to launch", "to send away", "to put away", "to get rid of", "to set free," and "to be released from." It means literally "to go from."

τοῖς ἀνθρώποις, (noun pl masc dat) "Men" is from anthropos, which is "man," and, in plural, "mankind." It also means "humanity" and that which is human and opposed to that which is animal or inanimate.

 (pron sg fem nom.adv) Untranslated is hos, which is the demonstrative pronoun in its various forms. It means "this", "that", "he", "she", "which", "what", "who", or, "whosoever", "where", and as an adverb, "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

δὲ (partic) "But" is from de, which means "but" and "on the other hand." It is the particle that joins sentences in an adversarial way.

τοῦ πνεύματος (noun sg neut gen) "Ghost" is from pneuma, which means "blast", "wind", "breath", "the breath of life," and "divine inspiration."

βλασφημία (noun sg fem nom) "Blasphemy" is from blasphêmia, which means "slander", "profane speech", "word of evil omen," and "irreverent speech against God."

οὐκ (partic) "Not" is from οὐ ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. The other negative adverb, μή applies to will and thought; οὐ denies, μή rejects; οὐ is absolute, μή relative; οὐ objective, μή subjective.

ἀφεθήσεται (3rd sg fut ind pass) "Forgiven" is aphiêmi, which means "to send forth", "to launch", "to send away", "to put away", "to get rid of", "to set free," and "to be released from." It means literally "to go from."

Wordplay: 

The word for "spirit" also means "breath" or "wind." In Christ's view, the visible world is temporary and the invisible world of the spirit is permanent. You cannot "let go" of the wind, because you cannot hold it.

The idea of "letting something go" (the meaning of the word translated as "forgiven") can be both positive of negative. It is positive in the sense that you don't have to hold onto bad things. However, it is negative in the sense that the mistakes that are forgotten are repeated. 

Related Verses: 

Jul 29 2017