I was sitting at a sporting event, when the lovely, Christian lady beside me shouted, “Oh, my God!” as her child made a mistake. I cringed inside. And then I wondered, “does she know?” Does she know that the Bible tells us not to use God’s name in vain?
And honestly, this is not unusual. I hear Christians do this all of the time. Many are wonderful people who obviously love the Lord. Is it because we just don’t hear this called sin anymore? Are we so hardened to the use of His name due to the company we keep and the entertainment that we fill our minds with, that we just didn’t notice when we started doing it, too?
Exodus 20 is where we find the ten commandments. The third commandment is “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.”
We are not to use God’s name as a curse word. We are not to use His name lightly. If we study who God is, we understand a bit more why this is such a grave sin. God is holy, sovereign, unchangeable, omnipotent, omniscient, faithful, patient, and merciful. This is just a short list of the adjectives that could be used to describe God, the One who made a way for us to be reconciled to Him through His son, Jesus Christ. If He is so awesome and so wonderful (and He is!), then we can understand why it is so important for us not to use His name when we are angry or surprised.
I am not writing this to point a finger or to make you feel guilty. Quite honestly, I have personally believed for a long time, that I probably shouldn’t even say “Oh, my gosh!” It is obviously a sadly disguised copy of the original. And yet, I still struggle with it. You will still hear that come out of my mouth on occasion. Language is a hard thing to change. When we grow angry or are surprised, we tend to forget our speech in the heat of the moment.
My desire in writing, as always, is to make us think. We need to think about the words that come out of our mouths. If we are a redeemed soul saved by grace, then all of life should be lived intentionally to please our heavenly Father. May we recognize that taking God’s name in vain in any form is offensive to the Holy God who saved us. And let’s start today anew using our tongues to glorify God’s name instead of curse it!
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149 thoughts on “What does the Bible say about OMG?”
This is very true. I struggle with what my response should be when I hear this. How to say this in a loveing way. Thanks for posting
Glad someone is finally pointing this out. My kids hear it all the time at school and even from relatives. They probably thought we were the last family on earth to not allow these sayings. Hope this goes viral!
When I was growing up, you’d get your mouth washed out with soap for even saying, G o s h! Thanks for posting. We need to reclaim America for God. Even in speech.
So right Sherri! So correct!
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I will not even use the “OMG” exclamation in texts, Twitter and so forth because this has really become strong in me during the past couple of years.
Worse, as someone pointed out, we take God’s name in vain when we put God’s blessing on things that WE want to do, or pet doctrines and the like.
I too cringe when I hear that phrase come out of so many people and and on a regular basis. The fact is that many people, Christ followers or not, do not realize how important it is to be watchful over our tongues. We are all accountable for the things that come out of our mouths.
I heard someone refer to that phrase as one crying wolf.
When a person uses OMG, I wonder what idol they have made the god of their lives, and I pray for them to find our Lord. No problem. What really makes me angry is when they blaspheme by using “Jesus” or “Christ”. I have been known to openly confront these people. I have a banned list of authors, films & TV programs that I refuse to be a part of.
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The first commandment is much more than G-d’s last name. Many so called believers violate it routinely. Preaching without trust is a violation of this common sense rule.
My question is: How do you tell someone it is a sin without offending them? And my own answer would be…. You probably can not, but Jesus wants us to spread the truth not be politically correct. We should never do it to hurt anyone or with bad intent. We should tell them in LOVE and with Compassion. Because they WILL have to answer to God, and it would be better that we told them, instead of God, because then it would be too late to take it back or stop.
I see so much offensive trash being posted by some who claim they are Christians! I don’t understand? In one post they are thanking God for a Blessing, or saying how much they love God, and the very next post is about sex or some offensive joke, or quotes from worldly views, etc? We can not serve both God and satan. We must be a lighthouse on the hill, a good example. We must choose whom we will serve and obey. :)
Amen! Thanks for your thoughts :)
I have found that my kids are great educators! I have taught them to not use God’s name or even any euphemisms, such as gosh. Young kids are not afraid to tell people they shouldn’t say that, and people usually respond surprisingly well!
There is so much that the children of god are misinformed about concerning His Word. God Bless you keep writing
That is so true! And thank you for your encouragement :)
Totally agree and I would like to add that we can also take the Lord’s name in vain when we call ourselves “Christians” and then do not live in a manner befitting the name of Christ. Have a wonderful day and thank you for your thoughts!
Amen! Couldn’t agree with you more! I John 2:3-6 makes it pretty clear that the proof of genuine Christianity is living in obedience to the Word of God.
When I say OMG it’s short for oh my gosh not using God’s name in vain.
My concern with that argument is that it is very well-known to stand for “oh my God”. It’s like using the term “wtf” but saying you mean “what the frog?” No matter what you say it means, people will still think you mean something else. Does that make sense? :)
When i use OMG I do mean Oh my gosh .But God is not the name of our heavenly Father .God is a title .He ha
s many names in different langues .In the old testment It was Jehovah in english and in the new testment its Jesus .The Father and the Son I believe are the same .Cant serve one with out the other .
I get it, but the bottom line is that the general population understands omg to mean Oh, my God. Just because you may mean something different won’t change that fact. Are you explaining exactly what you mean every time you use that term? Probably not. So people walk away from you assuming you meant something you didn’t. That’s just my thought on that.
Guess I never looked at it as a sin, when I use it in talking I always and I do mean always mean it as this Oh my, God ( as in please be with me through this for guidance or help in understanding). We are all sinners and assuming that everyone uses it as such is a sin also. My God is a loving God and he will show me the error of my ways when I ask for his daily help and love and also he knows I love him above all others or all things. Here we go… Oh my, God please help these people to understand that your name is to be exalted and spoken as many times a day as we want and believe that when we all use your name it is with pure love, honor, and reverence as it should be. Amen ❤️
I am fairly sure that most people are not using in a reverent and prayerful way, which is, of course, the topic of this post.
“gosh” is a euphamism for God.
Who says gosh is a euphemism for God? I say it and never say it in place of God. I don’t use God’s name in vain. I don’t think people think of the word God when someone says gosh (except for the ones whose parents have told them it is and that they shouldn’t say it.).
Grasping at straws. Oh My Gosh is just as popular a phrase as the one you’re talking about and so is Oh, My Goodness…which are arguably intentionally used to avoid the more blasphemous counterpart. You cannot say it’s just like saying what the frog when using WTF, Because What the frog is not even an actual saying like Oh My Goodness or Oh My Gosh.
In fact one can even argue that OMG has developed it’s own meaning and carries it’s own weight, absent of the actual phrase, just like LOL really doesn’t mean “Laughing Out Loud” any more as much as it stands alone in expressing the same sentiment. The fact that OMG can mean Oh my goodness or Oh my gosh is an example of this.
SO I while I agree with your opinion about the actual phrase that uses God, I disagree about your objections to the abreviation OMG and the use of goodness
The article even addressed oh my g o s h. Just a slaing way of saying oh my … How does others around you know the difference?
The expression is known as a “minced oath”.
If I had a nickel for everytime I got in trouble, as a child, for using “substitute” words, I could have retired years ago! Needless to say, my Mom was NOT a fan of “substitute” words!
I would have to agree with her–they are definitely not the best choice –although I still catch myself using them sometimes! :(
Thanks for this!
:) You are welcome!
We no longer live under the law because Jesus fulfilled it and began the new covenant. A better defense is given by Jesus when he taught us to pray…Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Also, when we say the name of our holy God, He is listening so we must be mindful of what follows OMG. I disagree that oh my godh is a disguised form. It is a different word. I could say, oh my stars. Am I just disguising the fact the I am saying OMG…don’t think so. I know that is a prevalent teaching, but I disagree.
I respect your opinion but I am sure that you can guess from my post that I disagree with you. Also, while we no longer live under law, a true believer wants nothing more than to please our Savior. Therefore, using our Savior’s name as a curse word would be completely out of the question. It’s not about the law. It’s about love.
To those of you who have said ” we are no longer under the law” we are still under the Ten Commandments. It was the ceremonial laws that were done away with at Jesus death because He was the ultimate sacrifice The sacrifice for sins were no longer necessary since Jesus was the sacrifice.
While I fully agree with you on not saying OMG (which, to me, is very disrespectful) or any type of euphemism, God is not His name…it’s WHO He is. As a child I was never allowed to use those ‘sissy cusswords’, so as an adult I have no problem keeping them out of my vocabulary. What really pierces my heart and causes me to cringe is when people say, “Jesus Christ”, and they do not mean it reverently…they use it as a slang expression. And to me that is taking the Lord’s name in vain. While others may not agree, that’s my opinion :)
I am so bad at this, even using omgosh…please pray for me to stop.. I’m trying real hard to change my ways Dorothy
Bad habits are so hard to break, aren’t they?? I’ll pray for you, Dorothy!
I think you so right. Lord put a guard on my lips. As it comes from my heart!! Thanks for sharing! Aunt Josie
Thank you! :)
There are many ‘Gods.’ I wonder which name was being used.
Not sure where you are going with this, but, of course, I disagree. There is only one true God.
Very good article, I am glad you wrote this it has bothered me for a long time, when say that. People have no idea what they are doing. I even wonder when it is written or in text and people say didn’t mean God but gosh or golly, yet we are not to be stumbling blocks, so if we write it and text it and a reader thinks we meant God this to is serious.
I agree! :)
I agree. I believe a lot of people don’t even realize what they’re doing and that is truly sad! I say this, because I used to be one of them. However, the Holy Spirit convicted me of this quite a while back and now, when I see something that shocks or surprises me – good or bad – I simply say “Oh my!”
I was also convicted of using the word awesome to describe anything or anyone – not saying it’s wrong for anyone else – just for me personally. You can read about it here, if you’d like: https://flashthoughts.wordpress.com/2015/03/20/remembering-awesome/
I agree with you, Kathryn. Awesome is such a powerful word that describes God and his creation so beautifully. There are so many other descriptions of great athletic plays, movies, etc.
I agree with all of you also. Another word that makes me cringe and I have spoken out on is, Holy. God is Holy and to hear that word being thrown around with words like “crap” is not right.
I try very hard not to use that phrase either in my speech or in my writing. Instead, I will use Oh My Goodness. In writing on social media and texts, it is shortened to OMGoodness. I used to use the phrase all the time, but when it was pointed out to me, I knew I needed to change.
I think it’s funny that we now live in this world that “tweets” everything. Everything needs to be short and abbreviated. I think it’s one of the reasons that people have such a hard time spending time in Bible Study. It takes time and effort. We have to re-train ourselves away from our world of short soundbites.
Useing gosh and darn are the same as useing the bad words. People who think they don’t use cuss and curse words need to pay attention to what they say! Use of the slang word is just as bad as useing the cuss or curse word.
You are quite welcome :)
I have often cringed at these same words and always wondered how to enlighten someone about the use of these words. Now I can share this post and get it out there, thank you!
Thank you! And thanks for sharing :)
OMG thank you that You first loved me and now I can and do love You! You are an awesome God! Is that taking Gods name in vain? Context is very important. Terry
That is between you and God. However, I would submit to you that using omg in this manner would be on the extremely rare side.
Agree completely. One that really makes me cringe is the use of the word “holy” as an expression of “wow.” Every time I hear “holy cow!” my stomach knots up. Only God is holy – not cows, and certainly not the other vile words that often follow “holy.” I rarely hear this addressed for some reason, though, and when I have brought it up before, I feel like I am seen as oversensitive or picky.
I agree whole-heartedly. I cringe, as well. I am amazed at how accepted that term is among believers.
I agree on this….. “Only God is Holy” automatically comes out of my month when I hear people use it like this.I mean it’s so automatic that if I hear it in the conversation behind or at the side of me…. I turn, say it and without loosing a beat…. return to my conversation. I mean I don’t know of a separation between a cap H and lower case h in this situation…. there may be as I know Spirit refers to the Holy Spirit/God’s Spirit and spirit refers to all other types of spirits. I have wondered if it started out as “wholly”…. smokes, cow….. and along the way the spelling was changed b/c someone couldn’t spell wholly. ??? Food for thought.
Oh wow, I just commented about this above somewhere. But Lisa, what did the term “wholly smokes” mean? Did they spell it that way in the same way that people substitute words? I wonder…
The sad thing to me is, so many people don’t know God’s name. Some do but refuse to use it in prayer. God’s name is Jesus. Jesus is the one true living God. If you call upon the Name of the Lord, you will be saved.
Amen. They curse Him without any idea of who He really is.
And knowing that…that Jesus is the one true and living God, I don’t used the slang “gee”. Too close to His name. I’m so thankful for a mother who had no problem teaching us how to love and respect Jesus’ name.
Thanks for this important and timely admonition!
Years ago, in a conscious effort to avoid such phrases, I decided to say, “Oh, my stars!” —- until a dear Christian friend said, “Whose stars?” I just had to give it up altogether…
That is a dilemma, isn’t it?? What to say? I often just say, “Oh my!” :)
I find “Oh, wow!” works in place of the euphemisms most of the time. ?
Yep! That and “Oh, My!” :)
This Is so true. I taught a series of bible lessons this summer to our Sunday school children from the ages of 5 to 11. The lesson that covered the commandment ” thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain” brought out that the words “gosh and golly” are actually derivatives of the word God. It made sense to me then why my mother always taught us not to use those words. Thanks for posting!
Thank you! :)
I sincerely agree with your post as I too am concerned and offended when people take the Lord’s name in vain. However, to say “Oh my God” is not taking his name in vain. It Is a slang and I don’t say it… But God’s NAME Is JESUS. Not God.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
He said, “I am who I am”, who is GOD the Father. All the times where the names, Lord, LORD, Lord God, are all in reference to JESUS. The only name given under heaven by which all men must be saved.
God is a spirit. He manifested himself in flesh to come to show us and teach us His plan of salvation and did that by using the body of Jesus so that we would be able to identify with a person just like us.
Hope this helps you. :)
I whole-heartedly disagree. God is made up of three persons– God the Father, Jesus the Son and God the Holy Spirit. I believe scripture teaches the Trinity. I am thinking that you don’t believe in the Trinity. I’d suggest you spend some time studying the scripture regarding this important doctrine.
I completely disagree also. There definitely is the Trinity. Our Father, God, our Savior, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. The Word without a doubt teaches this. You can’t just serve One–you MUST serve all–three in one.
I Would love to see where in the bible it reads that God is made up of three persons. Please explain with a scripture.
The Holy Ghost is not a person. God is a Spirit.
Please let me know when you find anything about God being three persons in the bible.
Not being sarcastic at all.
There are so many people who believe there are three persons in the God-head and soon they will all now to One God and his name is Jesus.
Blessings to you.
I think you will find this article helpful–
So glad you shared this and it’s so crazy to me even among Christians they use God’s name like that not even realizing they are sad to me
I know :(
First, please explain to me how “gosh” is a euphemism for God? Nowhere is it listed in the Bible as the name for God. That is a man made-up statement. It’s never been a reference to God to me. Poor Disney’s Goofey – he says Gosh all the time…. pronouncing it Garsh.
I totally agree the Lord God’s name should not be used in vain. (it is listed as “the Lord your God” in the 10 commandments – Exodus 20 – giving a specific reference to the Holy God) There are “other gods” b/c the 10 commandments say “You shalt have no other gods before me.” (little g – which never represents the Holy God or the Lord God) But yes, there is only one true God.
I have used OMG…. God knows my heart to not be using it as oh my God and not even oh my god. (little g – ). I’ve not been convicted of using OMG. Believe me when I have used God’s name vainly…. never as cursing just vainly, the Holy Spirit convicts me. Now if I use that and someone is offended by it, I will explain that it never means oh my God when it comes from my mouth and God knows my intention when I use it even if I don’t but I will do my best not to use it your presence. Sometimes we let legalism creep in as Biblical principal when it’s only perception by those who want to be someone else’s holy spirit. However, I do know there are those who are using OMG as oh my god…. but that’s between them and God as to what their heart is meaning. However, it is our parental responsibility to teach our children not to be saying OMG or any other thing in reference to our Holy Lord God vainly.
I can’t understand Christian’s in a play or movie saying GD. They rationalize it as this…. I’m not saying it, my character is and it was written with a little g so it isn’t referencing THE God. I respect that. But as of right now….. I have passed on scripts where I would have to say language like that b/c I can’t in good conscience have that come out of my mouth. That’s my choice.
Amen to not using Reverend or being too picky?
satan is the god of this system of things. maybe that is who they are refering to.
2 corinthians 4:4
4 among whom the god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through
I highly doubt it. That wouldn’t really make sense…
I am sure they are not referring to satan. If you ask the Lord to give you light on this, I’m sure he will. You may not think its harmful to say OMG, but it’s not a good witness for those who hear. After I gave my heart to God, I continued to use some slang words. But, if you study you will find that these so called innocent slangs, all have a meaning behind them. Gosh for God, Gee for Jesus, heck for Hell, shoot for sh–, darn for damn, and others. I may not have meant them in that way, but through the years I have learned that others do. I do not want to bring reproach upon my Savior.
A hearty Amen! God’s Name is to be revered, honored and held precious. I can’t stand the initals either. Sadly, I hear both the entire phrase and/or the initials from Christians as well as non-Christians.
I know :(
This is so true! and it bothers me greatly to hear someone use God or Jesus as a slang word! thanks for posting this!
Thanks for commenting :)
It is so interesting that the word Jehovah at first was spelled without any vowels so that it could not be pronounced, either on purpose or accidentally as they were so afraid of blaspheming His name. It is sad His glorious Name has become a by-word to be used as an element of surprise, anger, shock, or just emphasis. It is no longer even connected to Deity.
I know. I agree.
I used to hear someone say, “Oh, my word.” I did not think anything of it, until I realized that the “word” to which she referred was really “the Word,” as in, our Lord; the One who became flesh. Saying that is wrong, too. We have to think carefully about what comes out of our mouths.
That is a most interesting perspective. I have always said “Oh my word” and it has never meant that or to my knowledge been understood as that! I beg to differ on that meaning. If it does to you, then you definitely shouldn’t say it, but it means MY word, not THE Word of God.
This is a wonderful site! Good on you for speaking up!. We are going to have to to make a change.Blessings, Laura
That’s great to hear!
Of course, it is wrong to use God’s name as a curse word. But I am not sure that is technically what it means to use the Name of the Lord in vain. A better example is when someone says, “God told me to do this…” or “God told me to tell you…” or some such pronouncement. It is a horrible habit, and a violation of the third commandment, in most cases.
How about oh my goodness?
I teach my boys not to use God name in vain I let them know we will hear all kind of inappropriate language and not to repeat it
God is His title, His name is Jesus Christ, Yahwey or Jehova. GOD is not his name. I suppose if you want to err on the side of caution, you may want to heed this advice. Otherwise, you are just imposing your convictions on someone telling them they’ve sinned when they haven’t. Wow…. I’m not even a Christian and I know this.
Dave, “not a Christian”, I am assuming you will understand if I don’t really take a whole lot of stock in your response, as you are not a believer by your own admission and therefore would not believe in the Bible to be the inspired, inerrant Word of God.
i’ve heard this so much and, like you, it has bothered me very much. thanks for sending this message – hopefully many will remember God’s wonderful love for us amd drop this from conversations & messages. God bless you.
Thank you for the reminder!! I struggle daily with this seemingly simple sin… Not that taking the Lord’s name in vain is simple. But, the OMG aspect of it is so ingrained in our everyday life and that makes it seem okay.
Saying “OMG” is NOT using the Lord’s name in vain ! And the confusion and dishonesty
here is that of the devil himself. Stop it! What ridiculousness!
What Bible are you reading exactly?
this is big to our family…we were taught to not use Gosh, Golly, Gee, or use the Lords Name in Vain and I raised my kids to believe this way also. It hurts my heart to hear people so casually use His name in Vain….
I couldn’t begin to count how many times I have heard “Christian” folks use this term and not even think twice about it. My only concession to the term is “oh my goodness” or “oh my word” but I am old school enough that using words like “crap” and “pissed” are equal to the actual swear words. My life verse is Eph. 4:1 “walk worthy of the calling God has given us.” Be of the world but not part of it!
True enough. The 3rd commandment covers the term OMG among other euphemisms. But the 4th commandment says to keep the Sabbath day holy. The 7th day. Try that one on for size. Lawlessness abounds among main stream Christianity.
The 4th Commandment is the only one not repeated in the New Testament. Just for your information.
Agreed! But what about calling a minister by the title “Reverend?” Doesn’t it mean to revere someone? Pretty sure God is the only one we are to revere. Am I being too picky?
Maybe a little too picky, in my opinion…
I also believe it is using God’s name in vain to claim Christ as Savior but not live accordingly when you consider that vain means in an empty manner. It is not just about the words that come out of our mouth. I am also guilty here but praying now that being aware, I will live more for Him!
I personally have noticed this also, so when using o
mg, to me it means oh my goodness.
Unfortunately, we can’t “choose” what it means.
I totally agree. I don’t use OMG but I hear others and I just think it is wrong. I hear people Oh Jesus! Don’t like that either.
Thank you for posting this article. I’ve been in the wrong so many times for using the Lord’s name on vain. Even though I’ve cleaned up my words in some areas, I’m still at fault in other areas. Thank you again!
You are welcome! Thanks for the encouragement :)
This is exactly as I was taught by Godly parents. We were not allowed to use the “by words” our peers used. I still respect this and cringe when I hear otherwise . Thank you for speaking out about this.
But how do we know this is what that scripture refers to? I personally think it means that we are not to SAY we follow Christ but then live as if we do not. That is in vain. I don’t agree with saying Oh my God, but I’m just not sold on the scripture meaning that.
Jas 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
Jas 5:12 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.
Mat 5:34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:
Mat 5:35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
Mat 5:36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
Mat 5:37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
The same verses from Matt as they are rendered in the Easy Read Version—Mat 5:34 But I tell you, when you make a promise, don’t try to make it stronger with a vow. Don’t make a vow using the name of heaven, because heaven is God’s throne.
Mat 5:35 Don’t make a vow using the name of the earth, because the earth belongs to him. Don’t make a vow using the name of Jerusalem, because it also belongs to him, the great King.
Mat 5:36 And don’t even say that your own head is proof that you will keep your promise. You cannot make one hair on your head white or black.
Mat 5:37 Say only ‘yes’ if you mean ‘yes,’ and say only ‘no’ if you mean ‘no.’ If you say more than that, it is from the Evil One.
While I respect your view, I strongly disagree, and I hasten to say that OMG is not part of my normal conversation–either stated or abbreviated. My objection has nothing to do with before or after the Law; to me that is irrelevant.
My problem has to do with the fact that “God’s Name” is not “God.” His Name is Jehovah or Yahweh. God is our descriptive term for a power greater than humankind and it is a term used freely among many religions whose god (little g) is a mere figment of their imagination or a creation of their hands.
When we settle for believing what you have written about OMG, we relegate this commandment to a place greatly inferior to what God (our Heavenly Father) intended.
When we became followers of God, we took His name. We became identified with him as much as a woman who takes her husband’s name is identified with him. This is so powerfully true that we as Christians are called “The Bride of Christ.” We took His name and are called (since Antioch) Christians.
As a minister for 50 years and an evangelical, Protestant, Pentecostal theologian I am convinced that this commandment #3 is connected theologically, chronologically, and experientially to the first two: “You shall have no other gods before Me,” and “You shall not make any graven images.” When we take His name and become His followers and then allow other gods (little g) to rule our lives, we have “taken God’s name in vain.” When we worship any other image, we have “taken God’s name in vain.”
While I do not believe the age old interpretation of this verse is accurate–that speaking the word “God” is “taking God’s name in vain,” I agree that as believers our conversation should be free from foolish jesting, unseemly speech, as well as cursing (which is clearly condemned in scripture), and vulgarity.
Thanks for considering my perspective. And I agree we should speak better than a lot of us do.
While I do think the commandment is much broader than we’d like to think and I do agree with some of your points, I have to categorically disagree that His name is not God. Yes, He is called all of the other things but He is also God. And when people use the name of God as a curse word, they are blaspheming His name.
Leslie, I agree with you when it is curse word. What does it mean to “curse” someone? It means to “damn” them. So, when the word God is used together with a curse (“gd you”) that is a curse. That is sin!
We will agree to disagree on “God” being a name. It is an English word. In Spanish it is “Dios” etc.
“God” is a translation of “Theos” or “Mighty one,” and was and is used of multiple deities in multiple cultures and religions. This is why we capitalize it–to differentiate the one true God from false deities which do not really even exist).
You see, I am man. I am human. I am flesh. But that is not my name. My essence is flesh. My essence is human. But my name is James. Our heavenly Father’s essence is God. He is not man, plant, animal, reptile…He is God. But His Name is Jehovah or Yahweh. His Name is also Elohim. Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning Elohim (Hebrew) created the heavens and the earth.”
In response to an earlier comment about the nature of God. That person said that there are no Scriptures to prove God is a Trinity. But
God is a Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matt 28:19, 1 John 5:7, John 15:26, Matthew 3:16-17).
Blessings. We agree on more than we disagree on. And we disagree in principle: God’s people ought to talk better than the world’s people.
Leslie I love the message of your post – teaching against using God’s name in vain – but James is correct – I was curious to see if anyone else had pointed this out before I commented.
“God” is simply not a name in any way, shape or form: it is a title/role/description/etc, but not a name: and it’s certainly not the name that we’re commanded not to use in vain.
In Hebrew God is the word אלהים (‘elohim) and in Greek θεος (theos), and in both instances there’s not a proper name element to it. When we see ‘The LORD God’ then we have a mixture of God’s actual name in the Hebrew Bible (יהוה) YHWH and (אלהים) God: יהוה אלהים which is a proper name when in the Hebrew construct form. But ‘God’/אלהים is not proper on its own. (‘LORD’ with the ‘ORD’ capitalized tells us which instances of the English word “Lord” are actually the Hebrew word יהוה / YHWH). Similarly, I would agree that “God” when included in the noun phrases “God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit” can be considered proper in some sense, but that’s not what’s being argued about: here the conversation is only about the word ‘God’ on it’s own.
Your reply above to James’ comment is also problematic.
Initially you claim that you disagree that his name is not God. Here you’re arguing that “God” is his name, but this is not correct as per the biblical text which does in fact give God’s proper name: יהוה (YWHW – guessed at being pronounced as “Yahweh” and completely wrong and mistranslated as Jehovah based on a misunderstanding of the Hebrew masoretic vocalization points for אדני (‘adonai/Lord) under the tetragrammatron YHWH). This is clearly the name that is being referred to in the commandment, as per the rest of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament.
Then you state that he “is also God” in addition to other descriptors. Here you are absolutely correct to say that God is God, but “God” is a description – not a name: which is what your statement is claiming here despite this being the opposite of what you’re arguing for.
Finally, you state, “when people use the name of God…” – a statement which acknowledges that using the NAME of God, not “God” is sinful, which is correct – here you’re talking about two different things: 1. God’s name, and 2. God (as title): but it disagrees with your original statement that God’s name and “God” are one in the same. So yes – when people use the name of God – as in God’s actual name – they are blaspheming. But the word ‘God’ is not God’s name, and therefore it is not blasphemy when spoken.
I want to be clear that I agree with the spirit of your post, and that using God’s name in vain is sinful, but “God” is not a name as used in the biblical text.
Can we agree that God is the name that English-speaking people know and use? Can we agree on that? You can get technical on me, but the bottom line is that when we say “God” we are referring to the Creator of the Universe.
I feel like we should not blacklist “God” as an unmentionable word. When saying OMG, its like you’re calling out to OUR father in a time of hardship or need, much like a child would call for his or her parents when needing help. This does not make you any less of a Christian.
The very definition of vain means self-centered, egotistical, arrogant, or unsucessful. An example of this would be claiming you are the God of a particular area of expertise. This is not a proper use of “God” for Christians. Not to mention, OMG is also used as an abbreviation for “Oh my gosh” which I feel does not make you any less of a Christian either.
Calling out for help is not what I am talking about here as you will be able to tell from my example.
I hate hearing OMG. I always say “oh my word”. I believe that is okay.
How true. I used to do that all the te. Now when I’m surprised, excited , frustrated or amazed I usually just Say FRUIT LOOP. I had to concentrate to catch my self and what I was saying and came up with fruit loop while eating breakfast.
I’ve often thought that no matter what context this phrase; or, similarly, saying “Jesus Christ”, or “Oh, Lord” as reaction exclamations – the only context that would be acceptable are in petition (prayer), praise and worship. When we substitute OMG for “oh, how terrible/rude/ignorant” – what are we really indicating about God? It is a struggle to be in the world but not of it. This is just one of the tests/trials we face.
I have struggled with this same thing quite a bit over the last few years, I never say it and I don’t say gosh either as my mom never let us say anything even remotely similar to any forbidden words. However, over the last many years as I have studied different religions and my own, I have been enlightened to the fact that God is not the name of our Great Creator and Heavenly Father. He has a given name. In ancient times they would not even write His name so as not to be unable to discard the paper etc. So over time the name of our Heavenly Father has been lost. I thought it was Jehovah and that is one of the names used for him as is Comforter etc. But since He does have a name, is it really taking His name in vain if you use the work god? Every other religion refers to their god’s with names except for us, the Christians. we should learn His name and also the real name of Christ. Of course since God knows our hearts then He knows who we are speaking to, well He knows everything……. So I understand it is really the point and I still will always choose not to use god in any manner which feels disrespectful. but I know if i did say it, it is not using His name in vain. Maybe we should not share His name with the world. But we should learn it. :) It’s beautiful.
Oh and if I want to write OMGoodness that is how I write it! OMG is Oh, My Goodness! :)
This is a wonderful explanation of how we dishonor our God. Many people have no idea that they are taking the Lord’s name in vain. Thank you for sharing the Word with others.
Landis from Arlington, TX
The best why I know to stop a bad habit is to replace it with a good habit.
My dad suggested when I was young, rather than use a cuss word say: “snacklefrackle” it’s gotten many strange looks over the years but it’s kind of a fun word to use now.
The point being, we replaced the bad with the good.
Legalism. Legalism is not of God.
Legalism is doing the right thing with a heart of stone. Love is doing the right thing from a heart that desires to be holy and please God. They are two completely different things.
When I studied Biblical Hebrew, I learned that they didn’t even say the word for God out loud. It was spelled out one way but when read out loud another word was used. Thank you for the reminder to treat His holy Name with reverence.
Some of the more conservative Jewish people (Sadducees, mostly) believed that you could not speak the holy name out loud. Nor should you write it out (thus the name Jehovah). This is very different. Taking the Lord’s name literally referred to swearing an oath in God’s name, a practice frequently practiced and not condemned in the Bible or anywhere else. Exodus 20 is forbidding us to swear an oath in God’s name *and then not fulfill it!* It’s the “in vain” part that’s forbidden. Using the name of God casually or as a curse word may be impolite and some would say disrespectful or sinful, but that is not what this verse is referring to.
Any time God’s name is used in a casual phrase is sinful and so I do believe that this command encompasses this sin.
Psalms 83:18: We as well as our God have personal names. It wouldn’t be nice to always say woman to you or me, but using our names, makes it personal. Even Jesus, when on earth made his Father’s name known: John 17:6. Food for thought for us all. Sincerely
“God” is not his name. God is a title. His name to the Hebrews was Yahweh. Yahweh came to earth in the form of a man and was named Yeshua which means “Yahweh salvation”. The Jews understood his claim to be God and thought it was heresy and conspired to kill him fulfilling the path to Calvary.
Can we agree that God is the name that English-speaking people know and use? Can we agree on that? You can get technical on me, but the bottom line is that when we say “God” we are referring to the Creator of the Universe.
I was raised to believe this and this verse was the main reason my parents gave for setting that standard. I am not sure anymore that this is what this verse is actually saying though. I believe this verse actually means we should not take on the name of God as in claiming to be one of God’s family (hence using His name as ours as a family member does) if we do not actually follow His ways. If we are hypocrites, this means we are taking His name in vain. If we are going to be particular about this we should really follow the Jewish custom of not even writing His name… So G_d would be a more respectful way to say His name in writing. The fact that they didn’t even spell His full title or name lets us know there was an expectation to highly regard the name of God, so it makes logical sense to not misuse His name by saying it in anger or shock. But if you are calling out to God when you say it, there is nothing wrong with it. However, OMG is almost never said except in a flippant manner. So even though I think this verse is being taken out of context, the Bible does tell us not to use idle words AND we of course shouldn’t disrespect God by yelling His name when we are angry. Glad you wrote about this as I have been disappointed in my friends and family that see no problem with it.
The same goes for the saying: Oh my Word. Joh1:1.
Honest question here. If you are a Christian did you not give up on the ways of the Old Testament and if not then what about all the other sins that you break daily? No one sin is greater than another.
All the commands except for Keeping the Sabbath Holy are repeated in the New Testament.
My teaching span in high school English covered 37 years. I didn’t allow students to “take the Lord’s name in vain.” Many were not even aware that they said it. I have good rapport with teens and would call attention to it when handing out test papers. “Now, don’t any of you blame Jesus or God for the grade you’re about to see.” Or when dealing with OMG…..”Really? He’s my God, too.I’m sure you meant that in a prayerful, reverent manner.” Thousands of teens came through my doors, and I can count on one hand students who developed an attitude. Their friends took care of it with positive peer pressure.
By treating Jehovah’s name with respect, I have had conversations outside of school with former students when they needed spiritual help.
I totally agree with your comments of how people use OMG in their everyday vocabulary especially in e-mail and texting! I have pointed this out to several people that have used God’s name so liberally and not even realize they have used His Name in vain! To me, OMG should ONLY BE USED when addressing the Lord in prayers & supplications, but then calling on God, you would not say ‘0MG’, but Oh, my God!
As a small child, I would even confront my earthly father when he would use God’s name in vain, scolding him for doing so. As a child, I KNEW that was not the thing to do. I pray I never loose the spirit of reverence HE has place in this mind and body – to always give Him reverence and respect because HE us my Father, my creator, my over present help in time of trouble!
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