Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The "essential difference" between oaths and promises


"Then there is the essential difference between vows and oaths on one hand, and resolutions and promises on the other. Reasonable, intelligent folk understand that exceptions and even reversals can be made in the latter instances, whereas oaths and vows are far more serious and binding, and don't allow for such reversals. That is true both in the biblical understanding and in the cultural / dictionary-level understanding."


Exodus 3:16-17

Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, 'The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, "I have observed you and what has been done to you in Egypt, and I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey."'

Deuteronomy 7:8

But it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

Psalm 105:8-9,42

He remembers his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant that he made with Abraham, his sworn promise to Isaac...For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham, his servant.

Luke 1:72-74

To show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear.

Luke 24:49

And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high."

Acts 2:39

For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself."

Galatians 3:29

And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

1 John 2:25

And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.


  1. It was this post, Steve, that got me thinking about definitions, and that we all really weren't in agreement about them.

    I posted my (quick) findings on your post here:


  2. Intelligent, reasonable people realize that Armstrong is making riculous adhoc distinctions that exist only to justify one's lack of basic honesty.

  3. Intelligent, reasonable people without understanding essential differences between oaths and promises tend to mix up vowels with vows; or, is vows with vowels?

    Now I am really confused?

    Can someone offer me a resolution and settle this once and for all?

    Oh, wait a minute, methinks it has already been resolved. Please see the article above, "The "essential difference" between oaths and promises".