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James 5:12 - Let your "Yes" be yes, and your "No," no

NIV Above all, my brothers, do not swear-not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your "Yes" be yes, and your "No," no, or you will be condemned.
KJV But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.
NASB But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment.
James 5:12


Here it is not a question of profanity, or cursing, primarily. Neither is it a matter of taking an oath in a court of law. The practice forbidden is the thoughtless use of the Lord's Name or some other name to attest the truthfulness of one's speech. The Christian should not have to swear by anyone or anything, either in heaven or on earth. Those who know him should be able to depend on the fact that his "Yes" means "Yes" and his "No" means "No."

MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. (1997, c1995). Believer's Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments (Jas 5:12). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

do not swear / any other oath. As Jesus did before him (Matt. 5:33-36; 23:16-22), James condemned the contemporary Jewish practice of swearing false, evasive, deceptive oaths by everything other than the name of the Lord (which alone was considered binding).

MacArthur, J. J. (1997, c1997). The MacArthur Study Bible (electronic ed.) (Jas 5:12). Nashville: Word Pub.

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