Acts 5 Lesson

Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

What is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit and is that what Luke is writing about in Acts 5:1-11? 

Defining blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is not easy.  Jesus says in Mathew 12:

“Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.  And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” – Mathew 12:31-32.

So what is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit?  To try and understand it, we must remind ourselves that God knows our hearts, our thoughts and everything there is to know about us.  He also gives us freewill.  Some people will decide that they want nothing to do with God, Jesus or the Bible and deliberately live lives contrary to God’s teachings.  This behavior rises to blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.  When somebody is filled with hate to the point where they denounce God with the intention of never turning back (no repentance) and choose evil over good, that is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Only God can make the determination of whether somebody has committed blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. God knows when somebody has turned away and is never coming back.  

Here in the beginning of Acts 5, Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, sold a piece of property, kept back some of the money for themselves, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.  Beginning in verse 3, Luke writes:

“But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came over all who heard of it. The young men got up and covered him up, and after carrying him out, they buried him.” – Acts 5:3-6.

About 3 hours after that, Ananias’ wife, Sapphira, came in, not knowing what had happened.  And Peter responded to her:

“Tell me whether you sold the land for such and such a price?” And she said, “Yes, that was the price.” Then Peter said to her, “Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well.” And immediately she fell at his feet and breathed her last, and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.  And great fear came over the whole church, and over all who heard of these things.” – Acts 5:8-11.

These are hard core and intense scriptures to read.  Both Ananias and Sapphira lied to the apostles.  Peter pointed out that they had not just lied to them, but more importantly, they had lied to God.  They immediately died and were buried.  So what happened then?  Did their sins rise to the levels of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit?  It sure looks that way.  But only God knows for sure.

The second half of Chapter 5 discusses the high priest and his associates being filled with jealousy over the apostles.  They arrested the apostles and put them in jail.  That night an angel of the Lord freed them and said:

“Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life.” – Acts 5:20.

The apostles did as the angel told them to and went to the temple to teach the people about Jesus.  

When the leaders came, they found the prison locked up but with nobody in it and were greatly perplexed how the apostles had been freed.  Luke writes in verse 25:

“But someone came and reported to them, “The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!”  Luke then tells us that the leaders brought the apostles back to jail, “Without violence (for they were afraid of the people, that they might be stoned)”. – Acts 5:25-26.

The apostles were again brought before the leaders who reminded them, they were given strict orders not to continue teaching in Jesus’ name.  The apostles showed great courage when they replied:

“We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.   And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.” – Acts 5:29-32.

And we are back to the topic of the Holy Spirit.  Perhaps the most important thing to remember from today’s study is found in verse 32:

“And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

The inspired scripture tells us that if we obey God, we receive the Holy Spirit.  This is consistent with Acts 2 where the apostles obeyed God and received It. 

God gives us His Spirit freely, but it is up to us to accept this precious gift.

For more on what the Bible has to say about The Holy Spirit, click on the link below.

Virtual Bible Study's Discussion Forum on The Holy Spirit

Thank you for studying with us today!  Please join us again tomorrow as we look at Acts 6. Our topic of discussion will be, “Appointing deacons.”  May God’s blessings be upon you until then.  Amen


Pat Dermody

I have friends from different Christian denominations and one who is a Jewish. We frequently talk about the importance of God in our lives, doing the right thing and helping our fellowman. We respect each other’s religious beliefs and even discuss the various beliefs in a non judgmental way. I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by such wonderful people.


"Good vs. Evil". Tale as old as time.