Does the Bible say not to swear?

No, it doesn’t. The Hebrew word translated by all these oaths as “swear” in the Old Testament is literally “not swear.”

No, it doesn’t. The Hebrew word translated by all these oaths as “swear” in the Old Testament is literally “not swear.” The Old Testament did not have a word for “sworn” (i.e., a man could not swear) that was equivalent to “not swear.” In fact, none of the Hebrew words that would have referred to this were “swear” at all. In the Torah, God gave men certain words, so they could be sure he was not speaking to them falsely (Exodus 25:11).

These five reasons show the Bible’s teaching that swearing is not a sin. But why should our first commandment to keep our word be different than its second commandment?


The Second Commandment

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The New Testament makes no mention of swearing.

To be sure, we could say that the New Testament teaches that swearing is wrong, but it’s not taught in the Bible. Rather, the New Testament teaches that swearing is allowed in the New Testament. This teaching is explained in Romans 13:9, which says,

For if you confess with your mouth that you believe and are justified freely by faith, you are acceptable to God. The same is true with respect to oaths. For one is an oath purifying a person, cleansing him from sins. The same is true of a spiritual oath, which is given to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

However, there would have been no reason not to mention swearing without the New Testament, for the Old Testament teaches that swearing is wrong. The same is true with respect to a spiritual oath, which is given to cleanse man from all unrighteousness.

This is because God did not require man to swear on his life. In fact, when Paul wrote for the whole church in 1 Thessalonians 2:15 he said,

For God in Christ Jesus has subjected us to a corporal sentence which neither death, nor life, nor angels can lay hold upon.

However, there would have been no need to mention oaths in the Old Testament because God did not require man to swear on his life.

The Third Commandment

We have already seen that the Old Testament does indeed teach men to keep their promises—not merely to keep the “second commandment”—and