Heidelberg Catechisms 101 – 102

Preacher: Rev Gavino Fioretti

Readings: Matthew 5: 33 – 37; Exodus 20: 1-17

Text: Exodus 20: 7 You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. (ESV)

Q. 101 But may we swear an oath in God’s name if we do it reverently?

A. Yes, when the government demands it, or when necessity requires it, in order to maintain and promote truth and trustworthiness for God’s glory and our neighbour’s good. Such oaths are grounded in God’s Word and were rightly used by the people of God in the Old and New Testaments.

Q. 102 May we also swear by saints or other creatures?

A. No. A legitimate oath means calling upon God as the only one who knows my heart to witness to my truthfulness and to punish me if I swear falsely. No creature is worthy of such honour.

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The Third Commandment


  1. Biblical cases:

The law: It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear (Deut 6:13)

The king: The king swore, saying, “As the Lord lives, who has saved my life from every adversity, as I swore to you by the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Your son Solomon shall succeed me as king, and he shall sit on my throne in my place,’ so will I do this day.” (1 King 1:29-30)

The apostle: But I call on God as witness against me: it was to spare you that I did not come again to Corinth (2 Corinthians 1:23).

The only God: For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” (Hebrews 6:13-14)

  1. Biblical meaning:

God’s authority:

God’s knowledge:

God’s witness:

God’s judgment:

  1. Biblical conditions:

God’s name:

God’s glory:

  1. Biblical focus: