Amen

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{Aay - men'}

This Hebrew word means firm, and hence also faithful (Rev. 3:14). In Isa. 65:16, the Authorized Version has "the God of truth," which in Hebrew is "the God of Amen." It is frequently used by our Saviour to give emphasis to his words, where it is translated "verily." Sometimes, only, however, in John's Gospel, it is repeated, "Verily, verily." It is used as an epithet of the Lord Jesus Christ (Rev. 3:14). It is found singly and sometimes doubly at the end of prayers (Ps. 41:13; 72:19; 89:52), to confirm the words and invoke the fulfilment of them. It is used in token of being bound by an oath (Num. 5:22; Deut. 27:15-26; Neh. 5:13; 8:6; 1 Chr. 16:36). In the primitive churches it was common for the general audience to say "Amen" at the close of the prayer (1 Cor. 14:16). The promises of God are Amen; i.e., they are all true and sure (2 Cor. 1:20).

(Easton Illustrated Dictionary)

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Amen

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This Hebrew word originally was an adjective meaning "reliable, sure, true." or an adjectival verb, "it is reliable or true." The related verb 'aman meant "to support, sustain"; in the niphal stem: "prove oneself steady, reliable, loyal"; in the hiphil stem: "to regard someone as reliable, trustworthy, or truthful," and hence, "to believe." 'Amen by itself was used as a formula ("Surely!" "In very truth!") at the end of (a) a doxology, such as: "Blessed be Jehovah forever" (where the Amen signifies: "Yes indeed!" or, "May it be so in very truth!"); cf. Pss. 41:13; 72:19; 89:52; 106:48; also 1 Chr. 16:36 and Neh. 8:6, where the audience assents to and adopts their leader's praise of God; (b) a decree or expression of royal purpose, where the obedient listener indicates his hearty assent and cooperation (1 Kings 1:36; Jer. 11:5). The one who prays or asseverates or joins in the prayer or asseveration of another, by the use of "Amen," puts himself into the statement with all earnestness of faith and intensity of desire. The usage is the same in the NT. Isa. 65:16 speaks of Jehovah as the God of Amen, meaning that he speaks the truth and carries out his word. The same is implied by the Lord Christ when he calls himself "The Amen" in Rev. 3:14.

It is significant that Jesus introduces matters of importance with a solemn amen, lego hymin (Truly, I say unto you), thus affirming the truthfulness of what he is about to say. This is peculiar to Jesus in the NT and probably reflects his divine self-consciousness. He does not need to wait until after he has spoken to ratify what is said; all that he says has the mark of certain truth.

G L Archer, Jr.

(Elwell Evangelical Dictionary)

Bibliography
H. Bietenhard, NIDNTT,I, 97ff.; H. Schlier, TDNT,I, 335ff.; H. W. Hogg, "Amen," JQR 9:1ff.; G. Dalman, The Words of Jesus.


Amen

Advanced Information

Amen is transliterated from Hebrew into both Greek and English. "Its meanings may be seen in such passages as Deut. 7:9, 'the faithful (the Amen) God,' Isa. 49:7, 'Jehovah that is faithful.' 65:16, 'the God of truth,' marg., 'the God of Amen.' And if God is faithful His testimonies and precepts are "sure (amen)," Ps. 19:7; 111:7, as are also His warnings, Hos. 5:9, and promises, Isa. 33:16; 55:3. 'Amen' is used of men also, e.g., Prov. 25:13. "There are cases where the people used it to express their assent to a law and their willingness to submit to the penalty attached to the breach of it, Deut. 27:15, cf. Neh. 5:13. It is also used to express acquiescence in another's prayer, 1 Kings 1:36, where it is defined as "(let) God say so too," or in another's thanksgiving, 1 Chron. 16:36, whether by an individual, Jer. 11:5, or by the congregation, Ps. 106:48. "Thus 'Amen' said by God 'it is and shall be so,' and by men, 'so let it be.'" "Once in the NT 'Amen' is a title of Christ, Rev. 3:14, because through Him the purposes of God are established, 2 Cor. 1:20 "

The early Christian churches followed the example of Israel in associating themselves audibly with the prayers and thanksgivings offered on their behalf, 1 Cor. 14:16, where the article 'the' points to a common practice. Moreover this custom conforms to the pattern of things in the Heavens, see Rev. 5:14, etc. "The individual also said 'Amen' to express his 'let it be so' in response to the Divine 'thus it shall be,' Rev. 22:20. Frequently the speaker adds 'Amen' to his own prayers and doxologies, as is the case at Eph. 3:21, e.g. "The Lord Jesus often used 'Amen,' translated 'verily,' to introduce new revelations of the mind of God. In John's Gospel it is always repeated, 'Amen, Amen,' but not elsewhere. Luke does not use it at all, but where Matthew, 16:28, and Mark, 9:1, have 'Amen,' Luke has 'of a truth'; thus by varying the translation of what the Lord said, Luke throws light on His meaning."

(From Notes on Galatians, by Hogg and Vine, pp. 26, 27.)


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