Jesus’ statement is usually taken to mean that from Christ onward, a believer is not allowed to swear.  Instead, he or she must simply be truthful. But like everything else, this statement had its own context.

“But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King … let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.” (Mat. 5:34-37)

Swearing was mostly done not by the Name of God, therefore, it was considered less binding, working very much against the whole idea of guaranteeing the promise made.
However, in Numbers 30:2 we read: “When a man makes a vow to the Lord … he must not break his word; he must do whatever he has promised.” This is the basic meaning of not taking God’s Name in vain (Ex.20:7). Instead of presenting something new, Jesus recalls that which the Torah already specified.

This becomes even clearer when we read that: “… everyone who swears by God will exult, because the mouths of liars will be silenced.” (Ps.63:11) Even the apostle Paul, when he was accused by his enemies of doing great evil in the sight of God, called the Lord to be his witness that he was telling the truth (Gal. 1:20).

The upshot is that swearing must be limited only to extra-ordinary situations, and if one is going to swear, he or she must swear by the Lord God Himself. Nothing else will do.

BEGIN YOUR JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY

68 COMMENTS

  1. MyFriends;
    I have been following your posts and teachings for a while now.
    I have been a member of BAR for many years.
    Combining these two wonderful sites...THANK YOU FOR YOUR WISDOM.
    I recommend you both to all who search for knowledge and truth.
  2. When you are a Christian you are an ambassador of Christ. WWJD is a great thought to go through you head before you open your mouth. Thank you for the insight
  3. I was hoping for a lesson on curse words. I have read that when Paul said “Dung”, that it was almost the same as as the word, “shit”. So we see that we are to be yes or no but what about curse words?
    • Thank you, Dillard. One of my favorite profs at school used to say that his friend loves Jesus, and curses like a sailor :-). Yes, I've been thinking about that as well.

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  4. I don't see how you can read "But I say to you, make no oath at all" and hear "only make your oaths in the Lord's name". I have to say, I disagree with you on this one. Jesus called his disciples to be truthful, and to make no oaths.
    • Stephen, hi. I refer you to an even more contested topic "divorce" do look up a post under my name about this. You will see a very similar point, perhaps you can see from another angle. Thanks for sharing.

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    • I have to agree with You here. I am of the same opinion. Someone more scholarly than I—please add to, or disagree with now 2 who stand believing the same.
  5. Mat 5:34-37 self explain itself clearly to swear is sinful no matter where you cut it from. The liquid poison is still the same substance even if you transfer it to a small bottle. One should never swear not by the Lords name..
    • Does the Bible command people to sin, Serafin? You commented that swearing is sinful, but Deu.6:13 and 10:20 command, "you shall swear by His name." Yeshua never said swearing is sinful; He was saying that it is better to be honest and diligent than it is to make oaths.
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  6. In South Africa when you appear in court every body have to take the oath by putting your right hand on the Bible and say loud "so help me God" Beleivers and non believers That is where the most lies is spoken by mankind Sorry for bad English
  7. Thank You very much for discussing bible verses for some text I read without understanding Today in my class I was reading matt18 but I did not understand it the way You explain it
  8. I agree. I think Yeshua is alluding to Ex 20:7//Deut 5:11 to teach his audience that swearing by these vows—akin to crossed fingers—is swearing vainly. I found that Philo has a similar view on the third commandment: ἢ συνόλως μάτην ὀμνύναι; or swearing at all vainly (Laws 2.224). Notice (συν)όλως.
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