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Mark 2:7

ESV “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
NIV Why does this fellow talk like that? He's blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?'
NASB Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins except God alone?'
CSB "Why does he speak like this? He's blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone? "
NLT What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!'
KJV Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?

What does Mark 2:7 mean?

Jesus has just declared that a paralyzed man's sins are forgiven. The wording Jesus uses in Mark 2:5, "your sins are forgiven," has a particular passive tense that is common to prophets who speak for God in a way that doesn't use His name for fear of blasphemy. We would say, "God forgives you."

Scribes, Pharisees who are experts in the Mosaic Law, are present. Their job is to teach the Scriptures and identify false teachers. They know that only God can forgive sins but they don't accept Jesus as a prophet. Instead of taking the evidence of Jesus' miracles and teaching and determining that He is at least God's messenger, they decide He must be a blasphemer.

The Greek root word from which "blaspheme" is taken is the familiar-looking blasphemeo. It means "to speak in a way that expresses disapproval, to disrespect, to revile." The scribes consider the evidence and determine that Jesus reviles God. Traditionally, it means that someone disrespects God's "name," which could mean His actual name or His character. When Jesus declares what only God could declare, the scribes possibly see that Jesus is insinuating that He is God, which blasphemes God's character because He is one (Deuteronomy 6:4).

The scribes' questions are valid, but their conclusion isn't. Their job is to know the Old Testament and, therefore, the characteristics of the Messiah. But although the Babylonian captivity has reoriented the Jews into following God and acknowledging their need for the Messiah, it also confuses them as to what the Messiah will do. Jesus reveals His identity and purpose gradually, so the scribes shouldn't necessarily recognize Him right away. But they should take more than a moment to "question in their hearts" (Mark 2:6) before making a judgment call. The real problem, as explained in Matthew 9:4, is that their thoughts in this instance are not sincere, they are "evil."
What is the Gospel?
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