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What Does the Bible Say About Swearing to God?
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What Does the Bible Say About Swearing to God?

Introduction

Swearing to God is a topic that has been debated and discussed for centuries. In today’s society, swearing and using profanity has become a common practice, but what does the Bible say about making oaths and vows before God?

As Christians, we are called to a higher standard of behavior and speech, and it is important to understand what the Bible says about swearing to God and the implications of our actions.

In this blog post, we will explore the topic of swearing to God from a biblical perspective. We will examine various passages from the Bible that discuss making oaths and vows before God and how they relate to our lives as Christians.

We will also look at the positive and negative implications of swearing to God, as well as how to seek forgiveness if we break a vow or oath we have made to God.

As we delve into this topic, it is important to approach it with an open mind and a willingness to learn. Swearing to God is a serious matter, and as Christians, we are called to live a life that is pleasing to Him.

By understanding what the Bible says about this topic, we can strive to be truthful in our words and honor God with our behavior.

Swearing to god in the bible

Understanding Swearing to God

Swearing to God involves making a promise or commitment before Him. In the Old Testament, oaths were taken seriously and were often accompanied by physical actions, such as placing a hand on an object or cutting an animal in half.

These actions served as a physical manifestation of the commitment being made. In the New Testament, Jesus taught that our words should be truthful and that we should let our “yes” be “yes” and our “no” be “no” (Matthew 5:37). This means that we should not need to make oaths or vows to validate our words.

Swearing to God has both positive and negative implications. On the positive side, it can be used as a way to demonstrate the seriousness of a commitment being made. This can be especially important in legal or business settings where contracts and agreements are involved.

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On the negative side, swearing to God can be used in a manipulative or deceitful way, and can actually undermine the trustworthiness of the person making the oath.

Swearing to God in the Bible

The Bible has numerous references to swearing to God. In the Old Testament, we see examples of oaths being made by individuals such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In Genesis 21:23, Abimelech asks Abraham to swear that he will not deal falsely with him, and Abraham makes the oath.

Similarly, in Genesis 31:53, Laban and Jacob make an oath before God to not harm each other. These oaths were made to demonstrate the seriousness of their commitment to each other and before God.

In the New Testament, Jesus warns against making oaths in Matthew 5:33-37. He says,

“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.”

In other words, our words should be truthful and we should not need to make oaths to validate them.

Paul also talks about swearing to God in his letter to the Romans. In Romans 9:1, he says, “I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit.”

Paul is emphasizing the importance of speaking truthfully, and is using his own conscience and the Holy Spirit as a witness to the truth of his words.

The Implications for Our Lives

As Christians, we are called to live a life that is pleasing to God. This includes our speech and behavior. Swearing to God should be reserved for serious matters and not used for emphasis or to make ourselves appear more credible.

We should strive to be truthful in all our words and let our “yes” be “yes” and our “no” be “no.” If we do make a commitment or promise, we should do everything in our power to fulfill it.

As it says in Ecclesiastes 5:4-6,

“When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it. Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, ‘My vow was a mistake.’ Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands?”

In addition, we should be mindful of the impact our words can have on others. Using profanity or taking the Lord’s name in vain can be offensive to those around us and can damage our witness as Christians.

We should strive to use language that is respectful and honors God. As it says in Colossians 3:8, “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.”

Swearing to God can also be seen as a way of seeking validation or approval from others. In today’s society, there is often pressure to be seen as credible or knowledgeable, and swearing to God can be used as a way to bolster one’s reputation.

However, as Christians, our ultimate validation comes from God, not from the opinions of others. As it says in Galatians 1:10, “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Seeking Forgiveness for Breaking Oaths

As humans, we are fallible and we may make promises or commitments that we are unable to fulfill. When this happens, it is important to seek forgiveness and make things right with God and with those we have let down.

In Numbers 30:2, God says, “If a man makes a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by some agreement, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.”

However, in Leviticus 5:4-6, we are also given instructions for seeking forgiveness if we break a vow or oath we have made to God.

It says,

“Or if anyone thoughtlessly takes an oath to do anything, whether good or evil (in any matter one might carelessly swear about) even though he is unaware of it, but then learns of it and realizes his guilt—when anyone becomes aware that they are guilty in any of these matters, they must confess in what way they have sinned. As a penalty for the sin they have committed, they must bring to the Lord a female lamb or goat from the flock as a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement for them for their sin.”

This passage emphasizes the importance of taking responsibility for our actions and seeking forgiveness for our mistakes. When we break a vow or oath to God, we should confess our wrongdoing and make amends as best we can.

This may involve seeking forgiveness from those we have let down and doing what we can to make things right.

Final Thoughts

Swearing to God is a serious matter that should not be taken lightly.

The Bible teaches us to be truthful in our words and to let our “yes” be “yes” and our “no” be “no.” We should reserve swearing to God for serious matters and strive to fulfill any commitments or promises we make. Our speech and behavior should reflect our faith and honor God.

As Christians, we should also be mindful of the impact our words and actions can have on those around us. We should strive to use language that is respectful and honors God, and we should seek to live a life that is pleasing to Him.

When we make mistakes or break our commitments, we should take responsibility for our actions and seek forgiveness from God and those we have let down.

In conclusion, swearing to God is not to be taken lightly. As Christians, we should strive to live a life that is characterized by truthfulness, honesty, and integrity. When we make promises or commitments, we should do everything in our power to fulfill them.

And when we fall short, we should seek forgiveness and make amends as best we can. By doing so, we can honor God with our words and our lives, and be a positive influence on those around us.

Pastor duke taber
Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber

All articles have been written or reviewed by Pastor Duke Taber.
Pastor Duke Taber is an alumnus of Life Pacific University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary.
He has been in pastoral ministry since 1988.
Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.
He is currently starting a brand new church in Mesquite NV called Mesquite Worship Center, a Non-Denominational Spirit Filled Christian church in Mesquite Nevada.