Is It Wrong for Christians to Swear on the Bible?

A Daily Little Lesson

Read the transcript of this video below.

Is it wrong for Christians to swear on the Bible? We’re asking a question about swearing on the Bible because we’re reading a portion of the Scripture that is applicable to that very question, Jesus’s prohibition, not against making oaths, but His prohibition against making oaths that are coupled with swearing on something, like the Bible, although He didn’t use that example in the examples that He gave.

Before we answer that question, let’s just go back to some basic, fundamental morals here. Everyone knows fundamental morality is tell the truth, don’t deceive people to take advantage of them and to gain something from them. That’s selfishness. That’s wrong. You don’t want to be treated that way. You don’t want people to lie to you. So, treat others like you want to be treated. Love your neighbor as yourself. This is Morality 101, and it’s just so easy and so obvious to understand. It’s contained in the 10 Commandments, do not bear false witness.

I read one guy one time who said, he’s not a Christian and he was implying that he, himself, had a higher ethic than God. He was so disappointed to read that God only forbid lying under oath. Because somehow he thought that that prohibition about do not bear witness only had application in court, and so for that reason he rejected the Bible, and other reason too. Whatever. Stupid person. God gave him a conscious, that’s how he knows it’s wrong to be untruthful and to lie. And people have known that long before the Law of Moses was ever given to a tiny, little group of people over in the Middle East.

Every conscious, any time someone lies, in their heart they knew it was wrong because God them a conscious, right? Right. And then of course, those fundamental moral, ethical principles were incorporated into the Law. So in the 10 Commandments, thou shalt not, do not bear false witness. It was just another way of saying, “You’re in court all the time. God’s watching you and when you lie, when you lie in God’s court, you’re bearing false witness. You’re giving a false testimony in God’s court.” You’re always in God’s court and so he’s not saying it’s only prohibited to lie when you’re in court. Of course, it’s wrong to lie anytime, because you’re always in God’s court. Okay? That’s fundamental.

Go through to the Old Testament, you find all of this. When people say, “God’s raising the bar,” how could God possibly raise the bar? How can you go higher than always tell the truth? How can you go higher than don’t lie? It’s so silly to say in the Sermon on the Mount, in those statements where Jesus said, “You have heard, but I tell you,” it’s so silly to claim that he was raising the bar. No, he’s correcting the false teaching of the scribes and the Pharoses, who, as we looked at, we saw in our previously Little Lesson as we looked at Matthew chapter 23, it’s clear as day. Nobody can deny this, it’s biblical that the scribes and Pharoses had concocted a way that they justified lying. And not just lying in general, but they justified lying with a vow. This is like … This is so far from fundamental morals and ethics. It’s just hard to believe people could be like the scribes and Pharisees, but they were and they are today. Okay?

What did Jesus say? He said, “Make no oath at all, either by heaven,” so he’s forbidding making oaths with a vow, “or by Earth,” etc., etc. We didn’t read this yet but this is Matthew 5 and the first of verse 36, “Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let your statement be, yes, yes or no, no. Anything beyond these is of evil.” Now some folks, oh bless their heart, legalists to the core. We never sign any contracts, because that’s beyond yes, yes and no, no. And they’ve picked apart to try to keep the letter of the law and they’re missing it by a million miles. Be truthful.

And of course contracts are good and necessary at times, because it records in writing. You can find, under the old covenant law, where God had people do things in front of witnesses and a record made, which is just an ancient form of a contract, a record made, and there’s nothing wrong and there’s everything right about that. You can’t just say yes, yes, no, no when you’re entering into a business contract with somebody. Jesus is saying, don’t be swearing with an oath. Read it in context for goodness’s sakes. In context. Don’t just take one verse and say, “This is what the Bible says.” Take the passage and say, “This is what the Bible says.” And then take it within the context of the whole Bible and say, “This is what the Bible says.” Don’t be taking verses and saying, “Oh my, Jesus was changing fundamental law.” How can you alter fundamental ethics and morality? Not unless God is out of his mind.

The question I posed at the beginning, is it wrong for Christians to swear on the Bible? Well, why would you do that? Well, you could do that in court because they often ask you to. Why? Because in court they know people lie. That’s called perjury, testifying under oath. It’s a step above lying in the world’s eyes. It’s not a step above lying in God’s eyes. It’s lying just like any other lying is. But Christian people, who are followers of Christ, don’t need to swear on anything because they’re supposed to always be telling the truth. And that’s why in the court system of the country where I live, they have a provision for people who are followers of Christ and you don’t have to swear on the Bible. They ask you, “Will you tell the truth?” and you just say, “Yes.” If they asked me, I’d say, “Of course. I’m supposed to always tell the truth because Jesus is my Lord, and even if he wasn’t my Lord, I’m supposed to tell the truth because all liars will go to hell.” Be a great chance to tell people about Jesus there in court, right?

Let’s take it out of the court setting. If you’re trying to convince somebody, if you say, “If you want me to, I’ll swear on the Bible,” then you’re admitting you’re a liar, and in order to persuade someone that this time you’re not lying, you’re going to put on this show for them. Is it wrong for Christians to swear on the Bible? Yes. Is it okay in court? You could acquiesce to them, but I would take … if they won’t let you do the Christian thing, then if they say, “You have to do this,” you can say, “Okay. Obey you. But I don’t need to do this. I always tell the truth and I don’t need to swear on the Bible.” So, if you do swear on the Bible then you get a chance to say, “This isn’t necessary for me.” And hopefully your reputation precedes you and everybody knows that already, because everything you say comes to pass and you keep your vows. You keep your promises. You keep your word.

All right. Thank you so much for joining on today’s Little Lesson. Hope to see you the next time. God bless.