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Page 443

Some religious groups believe that all types of oath-taking or swearing by God to confirm truth is wrong. They base this belief upon Jesus' words "Swear not at all... but let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil" (Matthew 5:34a, 37).

The third commandment, however, does not state that it is wrong "to take God's Name," but that it is forbidden "to take God's Name in vain." By comparing Scripture with Scripture and studying this verse in its context, we can determine that Jesus' "swear not at all" does not refer to all times and circumstances. If that were true, Scripture would contradict itself, which is impossible. The texts listed in the side margin represent direct commands to swear by God's Name; the chart below lists several scriptural examples of proper swearing by God's Name.

Scriptural Reference

1. God Himself

Psalm 132:11
Hebrews 6: 16-18

2. Jesus Christ

Matthew 26:63-64

3. An angel

Revelation 10:5-6

4. Eliezer to Abraham

Genesis 24:2-3

5. Jacob to Laban

Genesis 31:53

6. David to Jonathan

I Samuel 20:42

7. Paul to the Corinthians

II Corinthians 1:23


Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve Him, and shalt swear by His Name.

- Deuteronomy 6:13

Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God; Him shalt thou serve, and to Him shalt thou cleave, and swear by His Name.

- Deuteronomy 10:20

That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are his from mine eyes.

- Isaiah 65:16

And thou shalt swear, The LORD liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in Him, and in Him shall they glory.

- Jeremiah 4:2

And it shall come to pass, if they will diligently learn the way so of My people, to swear by My Name, the LORD liveth; as they taught My people to swear by Baal; then shall they be built in the midst of My people.

- Jeremiah 12:16


  • Context - The words, sentences, and passages before and after the statement being considered which affect the proper understanding of its meaning

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