Summary: How do you tame the tongue?

I. The Commencement

A. An Oath Defined

1. The concept of oath-taking originated in the OT

2. "An oath is a solemn affirmation or declaration, made with an appeal

to God for the truth of what is affirmed, and imprecating His

vengeance, and renouncing His favor if what is affirmed is false."

(Barnes’ Notes, The Gospels, page 57)

3. A solemn declaration or statement with an appeal to God to bear


B. An Oath Demanded

1. Deu. 6:13

2. The reason behind the commandment with regard to oath-taking was

first and foremost to restrain man’s inclination towards lying.

3. The taking of an oath in the name of the Lord was meant to bring to

bear upon the minds of the people the seriousness of lying to their

fellow man.

II. The Corruption

A. Non-Binding Oaths

1. Non-binding oaths were oaths that were taken by the temple or the

altar. Other oaths considered to be non-binding were oaths taken by

heaven, the earth, Jerusalem, and even one’s own head.

2. The obligation of an oath depended upon the nature of the object by

which the person swore.

B. Binding Oaths

1. Only oaths on the Lord’s name were considered binding

2. Oaths on ‘temporary things’ were not

3. They ignored that all oaths are before God

III. The Confusion

A. The Pattern of the Sovereign

1. God Himself swears numerous times in the Scriptures.

2. Psalm 89:34-37

3. Psalm 110:4

4. Psalm 132:11

5. Isaiah 45:23

6. Amos 4:2; 8:7

7. Hebrews 6:12

B. The Practice of the Saints

1. Saints of both the Old and New Testaments made vows and swore one to another.

2. Abraham swore to Abimelech (Genesis 21:23-24)

3. Abraham required an oath from his servant (Genesis 24:8-9).

4. Jacob swore to Laban (Genesis 31:53).

5. Joseph swore to his father (Genesis 47:31).

6. Paul often put himself under oath (2 Corinthians 1:23; Galatians 1:20 Philippians 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:5, 10).


q Jesus calls for communication that is honest

q Jesus condemns conduct that is horrible

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