Jesus & Oaths

A common (and in some cases fair!) critique of Christians is that we behave one way on Sunday and a different way Monday through Saturday. 

  • What are some of the most common examples you’ve heard when people talk about the hypocrisy of Christians?

Yet Jesus charges his followers to be people of integrity. To be people that strive to consistently live in obedience to his commands in every domain of life. One area that Jesus powerfully demonstrates this point is in how we view oaths.

Matthew 5:33-37

Formal and informal oaths have played significant roles in societies throughout history and they continue to play a role in our society today (e.g., “I swear to God”).

  • What is the purpose of an oath?
  • Why do you think it’s so important to Jesus that his followers reject appealing to sworn oaths?

Though oaths may not be something that we think about as a prominent theme in the Bible, they play a significant role throughout the book of Matthew and elsewhere in Scripture. Let’s see what James has to say about them.

James 5:12

As we see here James reiterates the same point Jesus made in the Sermon on the Mount. That followers of Jesus need to always mean what they say. Christians do not need to appeal to oaths to emphasize that something is actually truthful. Everything we speak should be able to bear that weight.

  • Can you remember a time when you were positively impacted by someone else’s integrity towards you? Why was it meaningful to you?
  • In what area of life is it most difficult for you to follow through on your word?

Pray Together