Do you believe expressions like, "Oh my G-d," or "For G-d's sake" are violations of the 3rd commandment (i.e., Exodus 20:7)?

Yes, clearly so
50% (13 votes)
Probably, and we must confront Christians who use these.
19% (5 votes)
Probably, we should avoid but do not need to confront fellow believers who use these expressions
15% (4 votes)
Probably not
4% (1 vote)
12% (3 votes)
Other (use this choice only if you cannot approximate another one)
0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 26
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There are 6 Comments

Ed Vasicek's picture

I know of pastors and friends who will sometimes use the above expressions.  I do not use them, and we taught our children not to do so.  I am of the view that this is a violation of the spirit of the 3rd commandment (in typical protestant numbering).  Exodus 20:7 in the ESV reads:


“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."


Strictly interpreted, God's Name is "Yahweh" (LORD), while titles like God, Almighty, Lord (Adonai), The Most High, King of Kings, etc. are just that, titles.  I could see how some might suggest that it is God's Name -- not one of his titles -- that is the issue here.


The ancient Jews stopped speaking God's Name (YHWH, Yawheh) to protect against this, and Christians, it seems, followed in the tradition (wrongly so, IMO).  That is why even our modern version do not transliterate YHWH as Yahweh, but translate it as though it were Adonai, only with upper case letters, LORD.

IMO, it would be worse to desecrate the actual Name of God, but using his titles lightly is also wrong, though in a lesser way.  What do you think?



"The Midrash Detective"

pvawter's picture

I suppose that one might split hairs between the name of God and titles that God bears, but in Scripture this prohibition is clearly intended to reflect the awesome nature of God and his right to be revered by men. It seems among many Christians today, that the view of God as impeccably holy has been minimized if not lost, and too few consider our solemn obligation to approach him as such. Trivializing the use of his name (or titles) reflects a generally cavalier attitude taken toward the Almighty, and it is contrary to the overwhelming evidence of the Scriptures that God is unapproachable in his majesty and glory. While we are called to come boldly before the throne of grace, and to call him "Abba," we must at all times recognize that we stand before him as sons and not as equals.

My wife and I teach our children not to speak of God casually or without respect. 

Karl S's picture

I heard an interpretation of this recently that interpreted the "taking" of God's name to be identifying oneself with Him. Thus, taking His name in vain would carry the idea of claiming Jesus Christ or Jehovah while acting like/being a reprobate.

SuzanneT's picture

I really really dislike this expression..and all the more when I hear it from fellow Christian's-which is a rare occurrence, thankfully.  That said, this is an area I don't believe is "critical" and among my church family (and beyond) I've chosen to "handle with care".

I have found that other believers who use God's name carelessly this way are generally under-35; either in denial and refusing to change their habit ("it's no big deal"), or, honestly don't yet understand (ignorant) that it's offensive.  For the most part I have only run into the latter and for now, as long as it isn't incessant I just pray and hope the person catches it on their own, and/or for opportunity to speak truth in love. 

pvawter said it very well.


/Yes, Karl brings up a good point - there is much more to the taking of God's name in vain than in what we say.

kirkedoyle's picture

Not only do I not like that phrase, we teach our children to avoid some of the phrases that sound similar.  "Oh my gosh." for example.  I catch myself using "Oh my goodness..." and I wish I didn't even do that...

Dick Dayton's picture

The Lord drew me to Himself when I was in grad school studying physics. I freely used inappropriate language, and am very sensitive to what might be called "muted profanity."  That kind of talk is both unbecoming and unnecessary for a follower of Christ. The English language is rich in descriptive terms, and we dot need profanity to express ourselves.

All profanity revolves around one of three centers : 1- Names of God, the One Who loved us and should be revered. 2- sexual intimacy, which was created by God before the Fall, and is totally appropriate within the parameters God has established. 3- bodily functions. We intake veggies, meat, fruit, and our God designed bodies produce blood, hair, muscles, energy and we are left with a biodegradable byproduct .

in short, profanity maligns and cheapens our view of the Person of God and all His works. Let our yes be yes and our no be no.

Dick Dayton