Should Christian Swear On Bible In Court?


I cannot think of any biblical reason that a Christian cannot swear on the Bible if asked to in court.

Now, it is true that Jesus said in Matthew 5:33-37 that we should not swear at all.  However, we need to consider the context.  In the context of Matthew 5, Jesus is talking about a person who is saying something and trying to convince the person they are talking to that they are telling the truth by swearing according to the temple (or the Bible, or…).  In essence, Jesus is saying to his followers, “Look, just tell the truth!”   In the situation in a court, we can assume that the Christian is telling the truth, and expects to be believed, but the state is asking the person to swear on the Bible.  Because it is the state calling us to swear on the Bible, rather than us trying to convince we are telling the truth the situation is very different.

Consider the alternative.  We are in court and they ask us to swear by the Bible that we will tell the truth.  We say, “no, I will not swear to tell the truth.”  A Christian may not need another Christian to swear to tell the truth, but the state is dealing with a different range of people, and therefore asks people to swear.  This is not a matter of a possibly dishonest person trying to convince someone that we are telling the truth by calling on the temple or the Bible.

Some Christians take Matthew 5:33-37 as proof that we cannot swear at all.  I suppose that if it bothered the conscience of a believer to swear in court, based on Matthew 5, then they should not do so (Romans 14:23), but to make this a matter of doctrine is not justified by Matthew 5, given the context.  That is my view.

John Oakes











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