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Bible Dictionaries

Holman Bible Dictionary


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is a transliteration of a Hebrew word signifying something as certain, sure and valid, truthful and faithful. It is sometimes translated, “so be it.” In the Old Testament it is used to show the acceptance of the validity of a curse or an oath (Numbers 5:22; Deuteronomy 27:15-26; Jeremiah 11:5 ), to indicate acceptance of a good message (Jeremiah 28:6 ), and to join in a doxology in a worship setting to affirm what has been said or prayed (1 Chronicles 16:36; Nehemiah 8:6; Psalm 106:48 ). “Amen” may confirm what already is, or it may indicate a hope for something desired. In Jewish prayer, “amen” comes at the end as an affirmative response to a statement or wish made by others, and is so used in the New Testament epistles (Romans 1:25; Romans 11:36; Romans 15:33; 1 Corinthians 16:24; Galatians 1:5; Ephesians 3:21; Philippians 4:20 ). Paul ended some of his letters with “amen” (1 Thessalonians 5:28; 2 Thessalonians 3:18 ).

In the gospels, Jesus used “amen” to affirm the truth of His own statements. English translations often use “verily,” “truly,” “I tell you the truth” to translate Jesus' amen. He never said it at the end of a statement, but always at the beginning: “Amen, I say to you” (Matthew 5:18; Matthew 16:28; Mark 8:12; Mark 11:23; Luke 4:24; Luke 21:32; John 1:51; John 5:19 ). In John's Gospel, Jesus said “Amen, amen.” That Jesus prefaced His own words with “amen” is especially important, for He affirmed that the kingdom of God is bound up with His own person and emphasized the authority of what He said.

Jesus is called “The Amen” in Revelation 3:14 , meaning that He Himself is the reliable and true witness of God. Perhaps the writer had in mind Isaiah 65:16 where the Hebrew says “God of Amen.”

Roger L. Omanson

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Amen'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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