James 5:12

12 Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned.

James 5:12 in Other Translations

KJV
12 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.
ESV
12 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.
NLT
12 But most of all, my brothers and sisters, never take an oath, by heaven or earth or anything else. Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned.
MSG
12 And since you know that he cares, let your language show it. Don't add words like "I swear to God" to your own words. Don't show your impatience by concocting oaths to hurry up God. Just say yes or no. Just say what is true. That way, your language can't be used against you.
CSB
12 Now above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. Your "yes" must be "yes," and your "no" must be "no," so that you won't fall under judgment.

James 5:12 Meaning and Commentary

James 5:12

But above all things, my brethren, swear not
As impatience should not show itself in secret sighs, groans, murmurings, and repinings, so more especially it should not break forth in rash oaths, or in profane swearing; for of such sort of swearing, and of such oaths, is the apostle to be understood; otherwise an oath is very lawful, when taken in the fear and name of God, and made by the living God, and is used for the confirmation of anything of moment, and in order to put an end to strife; God himself, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and angels, and good men, are in Scripture sometimes represented as swearing: and that the apostle is so to be understood, appears from the form of swearing prohibited,

neither by the heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other
oath;
of the like kind; such as are forbidden, and cautioned, and reasoned against by our Lord, in ( Matthew 5:34 Matthew 5:35 Matthew 5:36 ) to which the apostle manifestly refers; (See Gill on Matthew 5:34), (See Gill on Matthew 5:35), (See Gill on Matthew 5:36).

But let your yea be yea, and your nay, nay;
that is, whenever there is an occasion for affirming, or denying anything, let it be done nakedly, simply, and absolutely, without any form of oath annexed to it; for whatever addition of that kind is made comes from evil, and tends to it, and is evil:

lest ye fall into condemnation;
by the Lord; for either false, or rash, or profane swearing; for he will not suffer it to go unpunished; see ( Exodus 20:7 ) . Some copies read, "lest ye fall into hypocrisy"; or dissimulation, and get into a habit and custom of lying and deceiving, as common swearers do; and so reads the Arabic version.

James 5:12 In-Context

10 Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
12 Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned.
13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.
14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.

Cross References 1

  • 1. Matthew 5:34-37