Amen



AMEN ā mĕn’ (in ritual speech, prayer, and song, ä-men, ä'-men) (אָמֵן, H589).

Meaning.

“Amen” in both Gr. and Eng. is a transliteration from the Heb., while the same spelling is also retained in Lat. and Ger. In fact, it is probably the most universal of all words, with only “ma” for mother a close second. The Heb. means “to make firm,” to “found, to prop up, to build”; hence, “support,” “confirm, so be it.” In addition, the Gr. usage may more clearly be defined as truly, verily, indeed, “so is it, so be it,” or “may it be fulfilled.” Therefore “Amen” is far more meaningful than a period, a stop, or a signing-off word by which a prayer, song, or declaration is terminated. It carries the weight of approval, confirmation, and support of what is said or sung. Its significance is seen in Moses’ instructions to Joshua. When the curses were to be read by the priests at Shechem, “all the people shall say, ‘Amen’” (Deut 27:15-26). Subsequently it became a Jewish custom in the synagogues, and from them was passed on into Christian assemblies. After a reading or a discourse when a solemn prayer was offered to God, members of the audience responded with “Amen,” thereby making the substance of what was uttered their own (see the “Amen” in 1 Cor 14:16). Grammatically, “Amen” is used as an adverb at the beginning of a sentence—verily, truly; optatively at the end of ascriptions of prayer or praise; and substantively as a name of Christ (Rev 3:14). In Heb. it is usually an adjective, “true” or “faithful.”

In the OT.


In the NT.



Bibliography

J. H. Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon of the NT (1889), 32; Davies-Mitchell, Student’s Hebrew Lexicon (1960), 46; Zondervan’s The Interlinear Greek-English NT, Lexicon Division (1965), 6; H. M. Buck, People of the Lord (1966), 477.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(in ritual speech and in singing a-men’, a’men) (’amen; amen, = "truly," "verily"): Is derived from the reflexive form of a verb meaning "to be firm," or "to prop." It occurs twice as a noun in Isa 65:16, where we have (the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American)) "God of truth." This rendering implies the pointing ’omen or ’emun i.e. "truth," or "faithfulness," a reading actually suggested by Cheyne and adopted by others. "Amen" is generally used as an adverb of assent or confirmation--fiat, "so let it be." In Jer 28:6 the prophet endorses with it the words of Hananiah. Amen is employed when an individual or the whole nation confirms a covenant or oath recited in their presence (Nu 5:22; De 27:15 ff; Ne 5:13, etc.). It also occurs at the close of a psalm or book of psalms, or of a prayer.

That "Amen" was appended to the doxology in the early church is evident both from Paul and Rev, and here again it took the form of a response by the hearers. The ritual of the installation of the Lamb (Re 5:6-14) concludes with the Amen of the four beasts, and the four and twenty elders. It is also spoken after "Yea: I come quickly" (Re 22:20). And that Revelation reflects the practice of the church on earth, and not merely of an ideal, ascended community in heaven, may be concluded from 1Co 14:16, whence we gather that the lay brethren were expected to say "Amen" to the address. (See Weizsacker’s The Apostolic Age of the Christian Church, English translation, II, 289.)