Bible Study: What does it mean to take God’s name in vain?

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. Exodus 20:7This is a follow up article of the last two articles and the reason the previous articles were written. Here is the first and second articles. It is recommended you read those two before this one. Because I think it will get you in the right frame of mind to understand this topic.

Starting with a scripture:

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Exodus 20:7

To be most clear, the question posed in this article is the following:

According to Exodus 20:7, what does it mean to take the Lord’s name in vain?

I think to first really understand what this statement means, we must understand the following:

What it means to “Take the Lord’s name”. It takes understanding this before you know what it means to take it in vain, which is the main purpose of this article.

If you can answer this question:

“What does it mean to take the Lord’s name?”

Then you probably have a pretty good idea of what it means to take it in vain. But we will go over it anyway for those who don’t understand this already. The cool thing is, I don’t know greek or hebrew, so I will only talk to you in English about this topic. (Yay!)

Understanding Take

Lets define the word “take”, seeing this is the action of the verse. The dictionary on my computer has a vast number of things. I will just show you the origin.

origin of take

When I take something, it usually involves obtaining something. Example, I am in the grocery store and I take something off of the shelf to look at it and/or toss it into the cart. Not all that relevant to taking a name.

Something a little more relevant to the “name” would be like marriage. My wife took my name when we got married. She obtained my name. Now the marriage between the church and God is another topic for another day, but it is the same as far as taking the name it is the equivalent.

In addition to all of this “take” should not be confused with the word “say” or “use”. To say something, is obviously to use your mouth and speak it. To use it would be to well, use it. Like a hammer is used to hammer things. These words, USE and SAY can not be interchangeable with the word TAKE because of the very point blank definitions.

I think we have the “take” understanding down at this point.

This next part will handle the very common misconception, which is in regard to the name.

Understanding the Name

There is a very ambiguous understanding to what God’s name is, I will in a later artcile cover in depth the name of God. This will be a brief overview of his name.

So to start off, we will begin with Isaiah 9:6 being the most straightforward explanation of the name. I will highlight a couple things in this verse.

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.

Isaiah 9:6

A child is born, a son is given, he is God according to this scripture. To remove any ambiguity we know this child, being the Prince of Peace, is Jesus. Therefore, God’s name is Jesus according to this scripture. Pretty straight forward, right?

This son is the one born in the New Testament.

And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

Luke 1:31

The only begotten Son according to John 3:16.

Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

Colossians 1:15

Well, how is God’s name Jesus in the Old Testament?

What scriptures do we have to affirm this? Well do you remember that rock Moses smote and water came out? Well, that Rock was Jesus.

And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

1 Corinthians 10:4

Like I said, brief overview, this is about the extent I will cover his name here. If you have further questions, then by all means leave them in the comments or email me. Moving on!

How does all of this come together?

Now I think we understand the word “Take” and what God’s name is, it should be straightforward from here as far as how to take his name, right?

Sure, I think so. When would an individual take the name?

The answer is when you are considered one of the “called by his name” in 2 Chronicles 7:14 and James 2:7.

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14

Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?

James 2:7

Those who are part of God’s chosen people who are considered the sons of God:

In the Old Testament, it was Israel and those who kept the ways of God. Those who are considered the sons of God. Those who weren’t born in the lineage could be proselyted in and separated. Circumcision of the flesh.

In the New Testament, it is still those who are considered the sons of God. However, there was a different requirement to become part of the sons of God. It is when you have been keeping his commandments and are loved by him. Jesus loves his friends John 15:13 and his friends are those who do whatsoever he commands John 15:14. Circumcision of the heart, in the spirit (Romans 2:29).

According to Acts 2:38 being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and receiving the Holy Ghost. Affirmed by Matthew 28:19 the singular name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, which is Jesus affirmed by Isaiah 9:6.

Being baptized in Jesus’ name and receiving the Holy Ghost is receiving the name and being called by his name.

Now all of this is taken into context of taking his name, we shall now explain how it can be done in vain.

Understanding Vanity (vain)

When it comes to vanity, when you do something and it results in nothing or no profit, then it was done in vain.

Here is a good definition:

defining vain

If anything is done in the flesh it is done in vanity, because it profits him not in the kingdom. This being where we should be laying up our treasures.

Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?

Ecclesiastes 1:2-3

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Matthew 6:19-20

Understanding Exodus 20:7

So when it comes to taking his name, we ought to be doing his word as well, which is godliness :)

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Galatians 5:25

If we do nothing, then our faith is dead and we bare no fruit. The name was, at this point of doing nothing, taken in vain.

In all things, let God be magnified!

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