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Would it be alright if I was to say "Thank God?" I'm not sure, as I'm quite a new Christian. This is the context:

I am late for the plane. I rush through the check-ins and stuff, and I reach the plane just in time. I say, "Thank God!".

Would that be counted as using God's name in vain? This comes from this question.

What about saying "Thank the Lord!" Would that be taking the Lord's name in vain?

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3 Answers 3

In English, "Thank God" seems to be an established phrase that is used in certain kinds of situations, regardless of the actual meaning. I can easily see how this could be misused. Then again, there are phrases such as "goodbye", originally meaning "God be with ye". You can't always avoid saying goodbye, but you can mean what you say.

That said, there's no reason you can't be thankful to God in such everyday circumstances as you describe. In fact, it's God's will:

Ephesians 5:20 (NLT)
And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NLT)
Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

So do thank God when you feel like it -- the words you use don't really matter much!

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Taking his 'name in vain' refers to 'using his name without consideration for its meaning'. That is to say, using it like a common word, or just a noun without any specific meaning.

In such a case 'Thank God' could be a case of using God's name in vain.

Also consider another viewpoint.

'God' is not God's name, but rather, a title. The commandment refers to an actual name, which for the Jews of the time was 'Yahweh'. (But ultimately, this was just an evasive title God gave himself; later on Moses does learn his name, after the experience of 'seeing his back', but we never learn this name from the scripture.)

In this way, the better interpretation would be to be careful with your use of the name 'Jesus', since that is the only personal name we have for God.

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Depends on the intent of the speaker. Do they say it with gratitude and in recognition of God? Who could find fault with that? It would not be vain then. But, if it is said without such a sentiment, it is vain.

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