The Third Commandment: Don’t Take God’s Name In Vain

What Is The Third Commandment In The 10 Commandments?

In Deuteronomy 5:11, we read, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.” This is the third commandment out of the 10 Commandments and it serves as a reminder to always honor and respect God’s name.

We are called to speak about God in ways that honor Him. When we speak God’s name, it should be with reverence and respect. This commandment also extends to using Jesus’ name in oaths or promises, as we are called to keep our word and not use God’s name lightly.’ name in oaths or promises, as we are called to keep our word and not use God’s name lightly.

What Does It Mean To Take God’s Name In Vain?

To take God’s name in vain means to use His name carelessly or without proper regard. This can include using God’s name as a curse word or in an irreverent manner. It can also refer to making false promises or oaths in God’s name.

In Psalm 139:20, the psalmist says, “They speak against You with malicious intent; Your enemies take Your name in vain.” This shows that using God’s name without reverence and respect is seen as an act of hostility towards Him.

In Isaiah 29:13, God says, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.” This highlights the importance of not just using God’s name lightly, but also having a true heart and genuine reverence for Him.

Essentially, taking God’s name in vain is using it in any way that dishonors or disrespects Him. This goes against the very nature of who God is and breaks His commandment to honor His name.

What Is The Significance of God’s Name?

Why is it so important that we not take God’s name in vain? What is so significant about His name? Well, in the Bible, a name is not just an identifier but it holds great significance and represents one’s character and nature.

In Exodus 3:14, God reveals His name to Moses as “I AM WHO I AM.” This name signifies that God is eternal, self-existent, and unchanging. In other words, His very name reflects His divine nature.

In addition, God’s name is holy and should be treated with utmost reverence. In Leviticus 22:32, God says, “Do not profane my holy name, for I must be acknowledged as holy by the Israelites.” This shows that even in the Old Testament times, God’s people were commanded to honor and respect His name.

So, when we use God’s name in vain, we are essentially disregarding or disrespecting His divine nature and holiness. This is a serious offense in the eyes of God.

Practical Applications Of The Third Commandment

As believers, it is our responsibility to live out the third commandment in our daily lives. Here are a few practical ways to do so:

Use God’s Name With Reverence and Respect

When we speak about God or address Him in prayer, we should do so with reverence and respect. This means avoiding using His name carelessly or flippantly.

In Matthew 6:9, Jesus teaches us to pray by saying, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.” This shows that we should approach God with a sense of awe and reverence.

Keep Our Promises and Oaths

When we make promises or oaths in God’s name, we are essentially calling on His name as a witness to our words. Therefore, it is important to keep our promises and fulfill our oaths. This not only honors God’s name, but also reflects our integrity as believers.

In Matthew 5:33-37, Jesus teaches us the seriousness of making oaths in God’s name and emphasizes the importance of keeping them. He says, “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.”

Speak Truthfully About God

As believers, we have a responsibility to accurately represent God’s character and teachings. This means avoiding spreading false information or speaking negatively about Him.

In Psalm 50:20, God says, “You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother’s son.” This verse reminds us that speaking negatively about someone, including God, is not honoring to His name.

Live According To God’s Will

Ultimately, the best way to honor God’s name is by living according to His will. This includes obeying His commandments, following Jesus’ example, and living a life that brings glory to Him.

In Colossians 3:17, Paul writes, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” This verse reminds us that everything we do should be done for the sake of honoring God’s name.

This includes the way we speak, act, and live our lives.

Bible Verses Related To The Third Commandment?

  • Exodus 20:7 – “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.”
  • Matthew 5:33-34 – “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.”
  • James 5:12 – “But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No,’ lest you fall into judgment.”

These verses emphasize the importance of honoring God’s name and not taking it in vain. We should also not swear falsely, as this goes against God’s commandment to not bear false witness.

A Prayer To Honor God’s Name

Dear God,

Thank you for giving us your holy name. We ask for forgiveness for any time we have dishonored it through our words or actions. Help us to always live according to your will and bring glory and honor to your name in everything we do.

May our speech be pure, and may we always speak the truth as a reflection of your character. Guide us in using your name with reverence and respect, never taking it in vain or using it to swear falsely.

We pray that our lives will be a testimony of your goodness and grace, and that through us, others may come to know and honor your holy name.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Read more about the 10 Commandments:

First Commandment | Second Commandment

Hey, I'm Stephen Altrogge. I'm a dad and published author. I've written for The Gospel Coalition, Desiring God, ERLC, Church Leaders, Crosswalk, and many more outlets. You can follow me on Instagram and Facebook .

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