Matthew 23:21

ESV And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it.
NIV And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it.
NASB And the one who swears by the temple, swears both by the temple and by Him who dwells in it.
CSB The one who takes an oath by the temple takes an oath by it and by him who dwells in it.
NLT And when you swear ‘by the Temple,’ you are swearing by it and by God, who lives in it.
KJV And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein.

What does Matthew 23:21 mean?

Jesus continues to show just how foolish the teaching of the Pharisees is when it comes to the issue of swearing oaths to create binding agreements. It's more than merely unwise: Jesus has declared "woe" upon them in judgment for leading the people of Israel astray in this way (Matthew 23:15–20).

Swearing by the temple of God amounts to the same as swearing by God Himself, since He "lives" in the temple. The Pharisees had declared that swearing by the temple was meaningless. Jesus is showing that swearing by the temple would be the same as swearing by God Himself. No oath could be more binding, or more dangerous for the one making it.

It's important to understand that Jesus is not teaching people to swear by the temple. He has taught people not to use such "added on" enhancements to their promises, at all. Instead, Christ taught His followers to let their "yes" or "no" stand on its own (Matthew 5:33–37). What Jesus does here is prove that the scribes and Pharisees have neither a spiritual nor a logical basis for their teaching on oaths.
What is the Gospel?
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