James 5:12
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear--not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple "Yes" or "No." Otherwise you will be condemned.

King James Bible
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.

Darby Bible Translation
But before all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, nor by the earth, nor by any other oath; but let your yea be yea, and your nay, nay, that ye do not fall under judgment.

World English Bible
But above all things, my brothers, don't swear, neither by heaven, nor by the earth, nor by any other oath; but let your "yes" be "yes," and your "no," "no;" so that you don't fall into hypocrisy.

Young's Literal Translation
And before all things, my brethren, do not swear, neither by the heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath, and let your Yes be Yes, and the No, No; that under judgment ye may not fall.

James 5:12 Parallel
Commentary
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Above all things - swear not - What relation this exhortation can have to the subject in question, I confess I cannot see. It may not have been designed to stand in any connection, but to be a separate piece of advice, as in the several cases which immediately follow. That the Jews were notoriously guilty of common swearing is allowed on all hands; and that swearing by heaven, earth, Jerusalem, the temple, the altar, different parts of the body, was not considered by them as binding oaths, has been sufficiently proved. Rabbi Akiba taught that "a man might swear with his lips, and annul it in his heart; and then the oath was not binding." See the notes on Matthew 5:33, etc., where the subject is considered in great detail.

Let your yea be yea, etc. - Do not pretend to say yea with your lips, and annul it in your heart; let the yea or the nay which you express be bona fide such. Do not imagine that any mental reservation can cancel any such expressions of obligation in the sight of God.

Lest ye fall into condemnation - Ἱνα μη ὑπο κρισιν πεσητε· Lest ye fall under judgment. Several MSS. join ὑπο and κρισιν together, ὑποκρισιν, and prefix εις, into, which makes a widely different reading: Lest ye fall into hypocrisy. Now, as it is a fact, that the Jews did teach that there might be mental reservation, that would annul the oath, how solemnly soever it was taken; the object of St. James, if the last reading be genuine, and it is supported by a great number of excellent MSS., some versions, and some of the most eminent of the fathers, was to guard against that hypocritical method of taking an oath, which is subversive of all moral feeling, and must make conscience itself callous.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

above.

1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

3 John 1:2 Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.

swear not. See on

Matthew 5:33-37 Again, you have heard that it has been said by them of old time, You shall not forswear yourself...

Matthew 23:16-22 Woe to you, you blind guides, which say, Whoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing...

but. See on

2 Corinthians 1:17-20 When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh...

lest.

James 3:1,2 My brothers, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation...

1 Corinthians 11:34 And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that you come not together to condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.

Library
June the Twenty-Ninth Effectual Prayers
"The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." --JAMES v. 13-20. Or, as Weymouth translates it, "The heartfelt supplication of a righteous man exerts a mighty influence." Prayer may be empty words, with no more power than those empty shells which have been foisted upon the Turks in their war with the Balkan States. Firing empty shells! That is what many professed prayers really are; they have nothing in them, and they accomplish nothing. They are just forged upon the lips, and
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

"Who Will Rise up with Me against the Wicked?"
Ps. 94:16. 1. In all ages, men who neither feared God nor regarded man have combined together, and formed confederacies, to carry on the works of darkness. And herein they have shown themselves wise in their generation; for by this means they more effectually promoted the kingdom of their father the devil, than otherwise they could I have done. On the other hand, men who did fear God, and desire the happiness of their fellow-creatures, have, in every age, found it needful to join together, in order
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

On the Whole, Since Scripture Places the Principal Part of Worship in the Invocation Of...
On the whole, since Scripture places the principal part of worship in the invocation of God (this being the office of piety which he requires of us in preference to all sacrifices), it is manifest sacrilege to offer prayer to others. Hence it is said in the psalm: "If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god, shall not God search this out?" (Ps. 44:20, 21). Again, since it is only in faith that God desires to be invoked, and he distinctly enjoins us to frame
John Calvin—Of Prayer--A Perpetual Exercise of Faith

But Some Seem to be Moved by the Fact...
But some seem to be moved by the fact, that the prayers of saints are often said to have been heard. Why? Because they prayed. "They cried unto thee" (says the Psalmist), "and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded" (Ps. 22:5). Let us also pray after their example, that like them we too may be heard. Those men, on the contrary, absurdly argue that none will be heard but those who have been heard already. How much better does James argue, "Elias was a man subject to like passions
John Calvin—Of Prayer--A Perpetual Exercise of Faith

Cross References
Matthew 5:34
But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne;

James 1:16
Don't be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.

James 1:19
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,

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