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The third commandment states "Thou shalt not take the Name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His Name in vain" (Exodus 20:7). The third commandment concerns whose name to worship; it pertains to God's Name. It forbids all profaning, abusing, or misusing of God's Names, attributes, words, ordinances, or works; it condemns all cursing, rash swearing of oaths, or perjuring. The third commandment requires the reverent and holy use of God's Names and all that pertains to Him.

God's third commandment testifies of the need for carefulness in speech. Language is a precious gift of God; it is one of the factors which places man above animals and other lower forms of creation. As with all God's gifts, however, language may be misused. All use of cursing, profane, obscene, or degrading language is forbidden. A person's choice of words, the speech and expressions he uses, reveal something of his personhood.

The diagram on the following page pictures the range of possible language usage.

  • Profaning - Blaspheming; polluting; misusing that which is sacred
  • Rash - Acting or speaking without due caution; reckless; hasty
  • Perjuring - Willfully making a false oath; lying under oath
  • How is the first petition of the Lord's Prayer related to the third commandment?

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