What Does the Bible Say About Breaking Promises?

Answered on



A broken chain

Promises play an integral part in human interactions. A promise can serve as a binding pledge, a reassurance of commitment, and a trust-building tool. In a religious context, promises can have even more profound implications and consequences. But what does the Bible say about promises and more specifically, what does it say about breaking promises? This article seeks to explore that question in-depth.

Understanding the Concept of Promises in the Bible

The Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments, provides multiple insights into the concept of promises. To understand these perspectives, it’s essential to delve into their cultural and religious context.

The Importance of Promises in Biblical Times

In Biblical times, promises were held in high regard. The strength of a person’s word was often indicative of their integrity. A promise was not merely a verbal agreement, but a covenant of trust. Breaking such a covenant was considered a grave sin, one that could carry significant spiritual implications.

Furthermore, the concept of promises held social importance as well. They were used as tools to establish relationships, make treaties, and settle disputes. In a society where written contracts were not as common, promises served as a binding agreement. Everyone, from the common man to kings, was expected to uphold their promises.

For example, in the book of Genesis, we see the story of Abraham and God’s promise to make him the father of many nations. This promise was not only a personal blessing but also had far-reaching implications for future generations.

The Different Types of Promises in the Bible

The Bible encompasses various types of promises. Some promises are made between humans, while others are divine promises made by God Himself. These divine promises are infallible as God is portrayed as always fulfilling His promises. And just like there are different types of promises, so are there different implications for breaking them.

One example of a divine promise is found in the book of Jeremiah. God promises to restore the Israelites and bring them back to their land after their exile. This promise not only offers hope to the people but also highlights God’s faithfulness and sovereignty.

In contrast, human promises can be flawed and prone to failure. The consequences of breaking a promise between humans can vary depending on the circumstances and the severity of the breach of trust. However, the Bible encourages believers to be people of their word and to honor their commitments.

In the next sections, we will dive into specific biblical passages that discuss promises and their importance. These passages shed light on the significance of promises in the lives of individuals and communities, offering guidance and inspiration for believers today.

Biblical Verses About Keeping Promises

The Bible is replete with verses that emphasize the importance of keeping promises, reflecting the weight given to one’s word in Biblical times.

Keeping promises is a fundamental aspect of integrity and trustworthiness. The Bible recognizes the significance of fulfilling one’s commitments and highlights the consequences of failing to do so. Let us explore some of the biblical verses that shed light on this crucial aspect of human behavior.

Old Testament Verses on Promise Keeping

The Old Testament is rich with scriptures on promise-keeping. From the story of Jacob who made a vow to God in Genesis 28:20 to the command in Numbers 30:2 that makes it obligatory for a person who makes a vow to the Lord to fulfill it, the message is clear: promises are not to be taken lightly.

The story of Jacob serves as a powerful reminder of the gravity of promises. In Genesis 28:20, Jacob vowed to God, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God.” This heartfelt promise demonstrates Jacob’s deep faith and commitment to God.

Another verse that underscores the importance of fulfilling vows is Numbers 30:2, which states, “If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.” This commandment leaves no room for ambiguity – once a vow is made, it must be honored.

Studies on other common Bible verses also echo this sentiment. One particularly relevant passage is Deuteronomy 23:21, which warns against delaying in fulfilling vows made to the Lord. This verse emphasizes the urgency and sincerity required in keeping one’s promises to God.

New Testament Verses on Promise Keeping

The New Testament continues to uphold the significance of keeping promises. In Matthew 5:37, Jesus Himself commands, “Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’.” This powerful directive stresses the uncompromising essence of promise-keeping, ensuring that words align with actions.

Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:37 challenges believers to be people of integrity, whose words can be trusted without hesitation. By emphasizing the simplicity of a straightforward “yes” or “no,” Jesus highlights the importance of honest and reliable communication.

Other New Testament verses, such as James 5:12, further reiterate the divine importance of keeping one’s word, discussing the perils of swearing oaths without the intention of fulfilling them. James writes, “But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your ‘yes’ be yes and your ‘no’ be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.” This verse echoes the sentiment expressed in Matthew 5:37, emphasizing the need for consistency between one’s words and actions.

By examining these verses, it becomes evident that promise-keeping is not merely a social obligation but a spiritual one as well. The Bible’s teachings on this subject serve as a timeless reminder of the importance of honoring our commitments, both to God and to our fellow human beings.

The Consequences of Breaking Promises According to the Bible

The Bible doesn’t only emphasise the importance of keeping promises; it also warns of the consequences of breaking them.

When we make a promise, we are making a commitment to fulfill a certain action or uphold a certain belief. The act of promising is not taken lightly in the Bible, as it signifies a bond of trust and reliability. Breaking promises, according to Scriptures, can lead to spiritual repercussions.

It’s seen as a defiance of God’s command, which could separate one from God’s love and grace. The Bible teaches that God is a faithful God who keeps His promises, and when we break our promises, we are going against His nature and character. Such transgressions could lead to spiritual decline and loss of favor.

However, it’s also important to remember the Biblical view of God’s mercy and redemption. Even when promises are broken, repentance and seeking forgiveness remain open paths. The Bible reassures believers that God is ready to forgive and restore those who genuinely seek His forgiveness. It is through sincere repentance and a desire to change that one can find redemption and restore their relationship with God.

Social Consequences of Broken Promises

Breaking a promise doesn’t just affect one’s relationship with God but also social relationships. Trust is a fundamental pillar of any relationship, and failing to keep promises can shatter this trust, leading to strained relations.

When we fail to keep our word, it can cause disappointment, hurt, and resentment in the hearts of those who were relying on us. Our actions have consequences, not only for ourselves but for those around us. The Bible advises that keeping promises preserves harmony in social circles and helps maintain one’s integrity and reputation in society.

Furthermore, the impact of broken promises extends beyond immediate relationships. It can create a ripple effect, affecting how others perceive and trust us. Our reputation is built on our ability to follow through on our commitments, and when we break promises, it can tarnish our image and credibility.

However, just as with spiritual consequences, the Bible also provides guidance on how to repair and restore broken relationships caused by broken promises. It encourages believers to seek reconciliation, ask for forgiveness, and make amends with those they have hurt through their unfulfilled promises.

In conclusion, the Bible highlights the importance of keeping promises and warns of the consequences that come with breaking them. Whether spiritual or social, the repercussions of broken promises can have a significant impact on our lives and relationships. It is a reminder to be mindful of the commitments we make and to honor them to the best of our abilities, seeking forgiveness and reconciliation when we fall short.

God’s Promises in the Bible

Perhaps the most profound promises in the Bible are those made by God Himself. His promises inspire faith, instilling hope and security amid earthly trials and tribulations.

God’s Faithfulness in Keeping Promises

When we examine Biblical stories, we often see God making and keeping promises. From the promise to Noah to never again destroy the earth by flood in Genesis 9:11, to His promise to David about establishing his kingdom forever in 2 Samuel 7:12-13, God has always been faithful in fulfilling His word.

This consistency highlights the unwavering nature of divine fidelity and serves as an example for humans to emulate in their own promise-keeping.

What We Can Learn from God’s Promises

God’s promises serve as reassuring reminders of His unconditional love and divine plan. Through God’s promises, we learn about the values of faith, trust, persistence, and the power of unwavering commitment.

Moreover, they serve as a guide for our lives, showing us how to make and keep promises ourselves, to promote integrity, trust, and love in our communities.

How to Avoid Breaking Promises: Biblical Guidance

Avoiding broken promises is vital, and the Bible offers plenty of wisdom on how to keep our promises.

Practical Steps to Keep Promises

One essential advice the Bible gives is to be mindful of the promises we make, ensuring they are commitments we can honor. Moreover, it encourages constant self-checks, honesty and using the strength given by God to keep our promises.

It also suggests being humble enough to seek forgiveness when we falter, thereby fostering restoration and healing in our relationships.

Seeking God’s Help in Promise Keeping

Keeping promises may be a difficult task, but the Bible reminds us that we are not alone in this journey. By seeking God’s help through prayer, His wisdom and strength can guide and empower us to fulfil our commitments.

In conclusion, the Bible provides profound insights into the concept of promises: their importance, the consequences of breaking them and guidance on how to honor them. Cherishing these insights and integrating them into our daily lives is a powerful act of faith and obedience.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Currently powered by GPT-4 AI