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VOW (נָדַר, H5623, to vow, a vow; אָסַר, H673, bond, binding obligation; εὐχή, G2376, a prayer to God; also a vow). The vow is a pledge or oath of a religious character, and a transaction between man and God, in which man dedicates himself or his service or something valuable to God. A common feature in ancient religions, it is also a frequent exercise in religious life among the Israelites. Though generally a promise made in expectation of a divine favor eagerly sought, there were also vows of voluntarily imposed self-discipline for the achievement of character, and of self-dedication for the attainment of certain goals.

Jesus rebuked as reprehensible the payment of vows when used as occasion for escape from obligation to parents (Matt 15:3-9; Mark 7:9-13). Apart from this condemnation of vows wrongly used, it is not evident that Jesus or any of the NT writers make significant reference to vows which are so prominent an expression of OT piety. The NT call to dedication and thankfulness and service stands in the deeper and richer relationship of life to the cross of Christ (Matt 16:24; Rom 12:1, 2; 1 Cor 6:20; 1 Pet 1:15-19). See Worship of Church.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

In the New Testament Jesus refers to vows only to condemn the abuse of them (Mt 15:4-6; Mr 7:10-13; compare Talmud, Nedharim, and see Corban). In Ac 18:18 (compare Ac 21:23,24) Paul desires to show his Jewish brethren that he is willing to keep the forms of Jewish piety so long as they do not clash with his Christian conscience (compare 1Co 9:21). For the vow of the Nazirite, see Nazirite.