1. Subjects previously covered in our study of James include:
a. "facing temptations" (1:2-18)
b. "hearing and doing the Word" (1:19-27)
c. "respect of persons" (2:1-13)
d. "faith and works" (2:14-26)
e. "a warning for teachers" (3:1)
f. "use of the tongue" (3:2-12)
g. "true and false wisdom" (3:13-18)
h. "strife among Christians" (4:1-10)
i. "speaking evil of others" (4:11-12)
j. "self-sufficiency" (4:13-17)
k. "words of warning and reproof for the rich" (5:1-6)
l. "patience" (5:7-11).
2. (5:12) James dealt with "swearing."
3. This subject needs to be studied carefully to settle such issues as:
a. swearing to tell the truth in a court of law
b. a man and woman exchanging vows when they are married
c. making a promise (pledge) to repay a loan.
4. Let us begin by making several . . .
I. GENERAL OBSERVATIONS ABOUT SWEARING
A. We must understand what "swearing" is -- to affirm or deny with an oath, to invoke the name
of something or someone sacred in an oath.
B. We must understand that the Bible does not condemn all swearing.
1. Swearing was commanded under the Law of Moses.
a. The Israelites were instructed to swear by God's name (Deuteronomy 6:13; 10:20).
b. The Israelites were also given guidelines concerning swearing.
1) God's name was not to be taken in vain (Exodus 20:7).
2) Falsely swearing by God's name was forbidden (Leviticus 19:12).
3) Oaths and vows were to be kept (Numbers 30:2).
2. Jesus made a statement under oath (Matthew 26:63-64).
3. Paul called upon God as his witness (Romans 1:9).
4. God swore by Himself when He promised to bless Abraham (Hebrews 6:13-14).
II. CHRISTIANS ARE TO AVOID A CERTAIN TYPE OF SWEARING
A. People sometimes swear to convince others that they are telling the truth.
1. To illustrate, Peter made an oath and swore to try to convince people that he was not
a follower of Christ (Matthew 26:69-74).
2. The Jews developed a system of swearing by certain things (Matthew 23:16-22).
B. This is the kind of swearing that James condemned -- calling profanely upon God or some
sacred thing [ex.: heaven or the earth] as a witness to what is being said.
C. Jesus condemned the same kind of swearing (Matthew 5:33-36).
D. Rather than swear to convince people that we are telling the truth, . . .
III. CHRISTIANS ARE TO SAY WHAT WE MEAN
A. We are to say yes when we mean yes and no when we mean no without making oaths to
convince others that we are telling the truth.
B. Jesus gave the same instruction in Matthew 5:37.