'Vain' in the Bible
You shall not use or repeat the name of the Lord your God in vain [that is, lightly or frivolously, in false affirmations or profanely]; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
I will do this: I will appoint over you [sudden] terror (trembling, trouble), even consumption and fever that consume and waste the eyes and make the [physical] life pine away. You shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.
And your strength shall be spent in vain, for your land shall not yield its increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruit.
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in falsehood or without purpose.
And turn not aside after vain and worthless things which cannot profit or deliver you, for they are empty and futile.
Now David had said, Surely in vain have I protected all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belonged to him; and he has repaid me evil for good.
Let the stars of the early dawn of that day be dark; let [the morning] look in vain for the light, nor let it behold the day's dawning,
The caravans of Tema looked [for water], the companies of Sheba waited for them [in vain].
I shall be held guilty and be condemned; why then should I labor in vain [to appear innocent]?
But the eyes of the wicked shall look [for relief] in vain, and they shall not escape [the justice of God]; and their hope shall be to give up the ghost.
Behold, all of you have seen it yourselves; why then have you become altogether vain [cherishing foolish notions]?
If I have withheld from the poor and needy what they desired, or have caused the eyes of the widow to look in vain [for relief],
Surely God will refuse to answer [the cry which is] vanity (vain and empty -- "instead of abiding trust); neither will the Almighty regard it -- "
She is hardened against her young ones, as though they were not hers; her labor is in vain because she has no sense of danger [for her unborn brood],
From men by Your hand, O Lord, from men of this world [these poor moths of the night] whose portion in life is idle and vain. Their bellies are filled with Your hidden treasure [what You have stored up]; their children are satiated, and they leave the rest [of their] wealth to their babes.
[You and] I abhor those who pay regard to vain idols; but I trust in, rely on, and confidently lean on the Lord.
O give us help against the adversary, for vain (ineffectual and to no purpose) is the help or salvation of man.
Surely then in vain have I cleansed my heart and washed my hands in innocency.
The Lord knows the thoughts of man, that they are vain (empty and futile -- "only a breath).
Give us help against the adversary, for vain is the help of man.
You spurn and set at nought all those who stray from Your statutes, for their own lying deceives them and their tricks are in vain.
Except the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; except the Lord keeps the city, the watchman wakes but in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early, to take rest late, to eat the bread of [anxious] toil -- "for He gives [blessings] to His beloved in sleep.
Who speak against You wickedly, Your enemies who take Your name in vain!
If they say, Come with us; let us lie in wait [to shed] blood, let us ambush the innocent without cause [and show that his piety is in vain];
For in vain is the net spread in the sight of any bird!
Wealth [not earned but] won in haste or unjustly or from the production of things for vain or detrimental use [such riches] will dwindle away, but he who gathers little by little will increase [his riches].
A scoffer seeks Wisdom in vain [for his very attitude blinds and deafens him to it], but knowledge is easy to him who [being teachable] understands.
Charm and grace are deceptive, and beauty is vain [because it is not lasting], but a woman who reverently and worshipfully fears the Lord, she shall be praised!
Then I saw that all painful effort in labor and all skill in work comes from man's rivalry with his neighbor. This is also vanity, a vain striving after the wind and a feeding on it.
Better is a handful with quietness than both hands full with painful effort, a vain striving after the wind and a feeding on it.
For who [ limited to human wisdom] knows what is good for man in his life, all the days of his vain life which he spends as a shadow [going through the motions but accomplishing nothing]? For who can tell a man what will happen [to his work, his treasure, his plans] under the sun after he is gone?
Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun -- "all the days of futility. For that is your portion in this life and in your work at which you toil under the sun.
Then I said, I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and in empty futility; yet surely my right is with the Lord, and my recompense is with my God.
They shall not labor in vain or bring forth [children] for sudden terror or calamity; for they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them.
In vain have I stricken your children (your people); they received no discipline (no correction). Your own sword devoured your prophets like a destroying lion.
Truly in vain is the hope of salvation from the hills and from the tumult and noisy throng on the mountains; truly in and with the Lord our God rests the salvation of Israel.
And you [plundered one], when you are made desolate, what will you do? Though you clothe yourself with scarlet, though you deck yourself with ornaments of gold, though you paint your eyelids and make them look farther apart, in vain you beautify yourself. Your lovers (allies) despise you; they seek your life.
The bellows blow fiercely, the lead is consumed by the fire; in vain do they continue refining, for the wicked [the dross] are not removed.
But they will say, That is in vain! For we will walk after our own devices, and we will each do as the stubbornness of his own evil heart dictates.
Thus says the Lord of hosts: Do not listen to the words of the [false] prophets who prophesy to you. They teach you vanity (emptiness, falsity, and futility) and fill you with vain hopes; they speak a vision of their own minds and not from the mouth of the Lord.
Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, says the Lord, and tell them and cause My people to err and go astray by their lies and by their vain boasting and recklessness -- "when I did not send them or command them; nor do they profit these people at all, says the Lord.
Go up into Gilead and take [healing] balm, O Virgin Daughter of Egypt! In vain do you use many medicines; for you there is no healing or remedy.
For behold, I will raise and cause to come up against Babylon an assembly of great nations from the north country. They will equip and set themselves against her; from there she will be taken. Their arrows will be like [both] an expert, mighty warrior and like his arrows -- "none [of them] will return in vain.
Thus says the Lord of hosts: The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly overthrown and [the foundations] made bare, and her high gates shall be burned with fire; the peoples shall labor in vain, and the nations [only] to satisfy the fire, and they shall be weary.
And they shall know, understand, and realize that I am the Lord. I have not said in vain that I would bring this evil calamity [in punishment] upon them.
For the teraphim (household idols) have spoken vanity (emptiness, falsity, and futility) and the diviners have seen a lie and the dreamers have told false dreams; they comfort in vain. Therefore the people go their way like sheep; they are afflicted and hurt because there is no shepherd.
In vain (fruitlessly and without profit) do they worship Me, ordering and teaching [to be obeyed] as doctrines the commandments and precepts of men.
Who by the mouth of our forefather David, Your servant and child, said through the Holy Spirit, Why did the heathen (Gentiles) become wanton and insolent and rage, and the people imagine and study and plan vain (fruitless) things [that will not succeed]?
And Saul said, Who are You, Lord? And He said, I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting. It is dangerous and it will turn out badly for you to keep kicking against the goad [to offer vain and perilous resistance].
Men, why are you doing this? We also are [only] human beings, of nature like your own, and we bring you the good news (Gospel) that you should turn away from these foolish and vain things to the living God, Who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything that they contain.
And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice in the Hebrew tongue saying to me, Saul, Saul, why do you continue to persecute Me [to harass and trouble and molest Me]? It is dangerous and turns out badly for you to keep kicking against the goads [to keep offering vain and perilous resistance].
Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile and godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened.
For Christ (the Messiah) sent me out not to baptize but [to evangelize by] preaching the glad tidings (the Gospel), and that not with verbal eloquence, lest the cross of Christ should be deprived of force and emptied of its power and rendered vain (fruitless, void of value, and of no effect).
And if Christ has not risen, then our preaching is in vain [it amounts to nothing] and your faith is devoid of truth and is fruitless (without effect, empty, imaginary, and unfounded).
Laboring together [as God's fellow workers] with Him then, we beg of you not to receive the grace of God in vain [that merciful kindness by which God exerts His holy influence on souls and turns them to Christ, keeping and strengthening them -- "do not receive it to no purpose].
I went because it was specially and divinely revealed to me that I should go, and I put before them the Gospel [declaring to them that] which I preach among the Gentiles. However, [I presented the matter] privately before those of repute, [for I wanted to make certain, by thus at first confining my communication to this private conference] that I was not running or had not run in vain [guarding against being discredited either in what I was planning to do or had already done].
[Therefore, I do not treat God's gracious gift as something of minor importance and defeat its very purpose]; I do not set aside and invalidate and frustrate and nullify the grace (unmerited favor) of God. For if justification (righteousness, acquittal from guilt) comes through [observing the ritual of] the Law, then Christ (the Messiah) died groundlessly and to no purpose and in vain. [His death was then wholly superfluous.]
Have you suffered so many things and experienced so much all for nothing (to no purpose) -- "if it really is to no purpose and in vain?
I am alarmed [about you], lest I have labored among and over you to no purpose and in vain.
Holding out [to it] and offering [to all men] the Word of Life, so that in the day of Christ I may have something of which exultantly to rejoice and glory in that I did not run my race in vain or spend my labor to no purpose.
See to it that no one carries you off as spoil or makes you yourselves captive by his so-called philosophy and intellectualism and vain deceit (idle fancies and plain nonsense), following human tradition (men's ideas of the material rather than the spiritual world), just crude notions following the rudimentary and elemental teachings of the universe and disregarding [the teachings of] Christ (the Messiah).
But certain individuals have missed the mark on this very matter [and] have wandered away into vain arguments and discussions and purposeless talk.
O Timothy, guard and keep the deposit entrusted [to you]! Turn away from the irreverent babble and godless chatter, with the vain and empty and worldly phrases, and the subtleties and the contradictions in what is falsely called knowledge and spiritual illumination.
But avoid all empty (vain, useless, idle) talk, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness.
[They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God.
For there are many disorderly and unruly men who are idle (vain, empty) and misleading talkers and self-deceivers and deceivers of others. [This is true] especially of those of the circumcision party [who have come over from Judaism].