What did jesus mean concerning oaths?


he told us not to sware oaths?

do vows and promises constitute as oaths? if not, what’s the difference? and if they are, why are they allowed?


From dictionary.reference.com

  1. a solemn appeal to a deity, or to some revered person or thing, to witness one’s determination to speak the truth, to keep a promise, etc.: to testify upon oath.
  2. a statement or promise strengthened by such an appeal.
  3. a formally affirmed statement or promise accepted as an equivalent of an appeal to a deity or to a revered person or thing; affirmation.
  4. the form of words in which such a statement or promise is made.
  5. an irreverent or blasphemous use of the name of God or anything sacred.



  1. a solemn promise, pledge, or personal commitment: marriage vows; a vow of secrecy.
  2. a solemn promise made to a deity or saint committing oneself to an act, service, or condition.
  3. a solemn or earnest declaration.
    verb (used with object)
  4. to make a vow of; promise by a vow, as to God or a saint: to vow a crusade or a pilgrimage.
  5. to pledge or resolve solemnly to do, make, give, observe, etc.: They vowed revenge.
  6. to declare solemnly or earnestly; assert emphatically (often followed by a clause as object): She vowed that she would take the matter to court.
  7. to dedicate or devote by a vow: to vow oneself to the service of God.

As to *why *we should let our “no” mean no and “yes” mean yes without all the oath taking, I suppose it might mean, we need to speak the truth or keep quiet without all the swearing which may lead us to greater sin (especially if lying). And our word if we are honest, should be sufficient.

But vows/promises are not the same as oaths.



I found this link to be the most helpful one so far. The part that may be of interest begins on p. 140.

Sermon on the Mount: Restoring Christ’s Message to the Modern Church By Charles Quarles (click on pic of the book)


For anyone intersted in a lengthy study of oaths in the OT:

Oaths - Jewish Virtual Library



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