Using God's Name in Vain

Updated on April 19, 2019
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Ryan D. Neely is a freelance writer from Louisville, Kentucky who enjoys writing creative literature regarding Christianity.

Photo provided by Hunor83 via
Photo provided by Hunor83 via

When I was young, I can remember learning the ten commandments. The third commandment tells us to not take the Lord’s name in vain. In simple terms, we are to respect God’s name or names. However, I would like to look at what it means to reverence God’s name or names in order to understand how we can take His name or names in vain.

The Third Commandment of The Ten Commandments

To get started, I believe it is important to look at the number of the commandment itself. The commandment to not take the Lord’s name in vain is the third commandment (Exodus chapter 20 verse 7). I believe God placed this commandment sequentially as the third commandment for two reasons. First; the number three in biblical number interpretation stands for divine completeness. Second; God Himself likes to be referred to mostly in three titles as The Father, Son, and The Holy Spirit which are all names of God.

Making God's Name Useless

Next; to use God’s name in vain is to make it useless. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word vain in further detail as idle, worthless, silly and more. Whenever we use one of God’s name, we must use it in respect to its divinity and in a godly manner. One writer I researched said that to take God’s name in vain is to rob Him of His infinite glory. If we are not going to use God’s name in a magnifying manner when we speak of Him, we sadly have Him mistaken for He is the Almighty God and He is good.

Jesus's Name Has Authority

New Testament Christians understand that there is power in the name of God’s Son’s name Jesus. In the book of Mark chapter 16 verses 17 through 18, Jesus told His followers that in His name shall they cast out devils, speak with new tongues, take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them. Also, they shall lay hands on the sick, and the sick shall recover in that same name. Jesus tells us in the book of Matthew chapter 28 verse 19 to teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. In the book of Acts chapter two verse 21, the Bible says that it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Christians' Share in Jesus's Authority

I point these things out to show how Jesus’s name has authority to save and heal and because of His permanent residence in us as believers, we have the authority to preach salvation and pray for others to be healed in His name. However, if we wrongfully esteem His name, we are forsaking the power that has been bestowed upon the name as well as in us, leading us to slack in the areas of performing signs, wonders, and miracles, which in turn bring glory to God’s name encouraging more people to be saved.

Respecting a Person's Title

It would not be right for an American to address the country’s President by their name without saying President in front of it, or it would be the same as talking to a person who is not President. We do not call our mother or father by the first name as it highly disrespects their deity to us as parents. In school as children, we addressed our teachers as Ms. and Mr. respecting them as professionals and adults. In college, we called our professors doctor or professor respecting either the level of degree they achieved or their authority to teach on a particular subject. When speaking to a person in the military, we address them by their rank before saying their name.

God's Names With Characteristics

When it comes to God’s names, as said earlier, we must remember that they have power. He is our Father who watches over us. He is the Holy Spirit who lives in us leading us to righteousness and bringing glory to none other than His name. He is the Son of God who came down to earth to show us how to live and died and rose again for our salvation. He also is the:

I Am (always was and always will be)

El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty)

El Elyon (The Most High God)

Adonai (Lord, Master)

Yahweh (Lord, Jehovah)

Jehovah Nissi (The Lord My Banner)

Jehovah-Raah (The Lord My Shepherd)

Jehovah Rapha (The Lord That Heals)

Jehovah Shammah (The Lord Is There)

Emmanuel (God is with us)

Jehovah Tsidkenu (The Lord Our Righteousness)

Jehovah Mekoddishkem (The Lord Who Sanctifies You)

El Olam (The Everlasting God)

Elohim (The Supreme God)


As you can see, everything about our God is top notch. Therefore, let us not take His name in vain and allow it to be just as powerful in our own lives

Questions & Answers


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      • RDN profile imageAUTHOR

        Ryan D Neely 

        3 months ago from Louisville, KY

        Thank you very much brother Elijah:-)

      • The0NatureBoy profile image

        Elijah A Alexander Jr 

        3 months ago from Washington DC

        Bro. RDN, "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" are titles, not names. The Hebrew for we write as YHWH which means I AM THAT I AM as Moses was told to tell the Pharaoh.

        With God's name of I AM THAT I AM or YHWH can be used in vain is to say that "anything" has no worth because god is everywhere and makes it valued because it is god and god is it.

        What Matthew 28:19 is telling us is by saying "baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" is I AM THAT I AM is in the son Yeshua (Jesus) since it means I AM THAT I AM Saves and who will become the Holy Ghost (whole man who can do as ghosts are known to do as Jesus demonstrated after his resurrection), Elijah, who will rule the nations with a rod of iron (Rev. 12:5) and like the prophet like Moses will live with us through the "wilderness" of 7 millenniums, means Almighty God is I AM THAT I AM. That is why it say "in the name of, and (also) of, and (also) of".

        "Christians' Share in Jesus's Authority" only when they are living according to Acts 1:1-26 where they were first called Christians because they were doing what the Christ had done before them.

        I must say, RDN, you are actually doing your own studying, keep it up.



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