Confession of Faith
Chapter 22: Of Lawful Oaths and Vows
The name of God only is that by which men ought to swear, and therein it is to be used with all holy fear and reverence.1 Therefore, to swear vainly, or rashly, by that glorious and dreadful Name; or, to swear at all by any other thing, is sinful, and to be abhorred.2 Yet, as in matters of weight and moment, an oath is warranted by the Word of God, under the new testament as well as under the old;3 so a lawful oath, being imposed by lawful authority, in such matters, ought to be taken.4
It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. (ESV)
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
“How can I pardon you?
Your children have forsaken me
and have sworn by those who are no gods.
When I fed them to the full,
they committed adultery
and trooped to the houses of whores.
But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God,
Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.
But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation. (ESV)
For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation.
2 Corinthians 1:23
But I call God to witness against me—it was to spare you that I refrained from coming again to Corinth.
So that he who blesses himself in the land
shall bless himself by the God of truth,
and he who takes an oath in the land
shall swear by the God of truth;
because the former troubles are forgotten
and are hidden from my eyes. (ESV)
1 Kings 8:31
“If a man sins against his neighbor and is made to take an oath and comes and swears his oath before your altar in this house,
And I confronted them and cursed them and beat some of them and pulled out their hair. And I made them take oath in the name of God, saying, “You shall not give your daughters to their sons, or take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves.
Then Ezra arose and made the leading priests and Levites and all Israel take oath that they would do as had been said. So they took the oath. (ESV)