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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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AMEN . A Hebrew form of affirmation usually translated in the LXX [Note: Septuagint.] by an equivalent Greek expression ( Numbers 5:22 , Deuteronomy 27:15 ‘so be it,’ Jeremiah 28:6 ( Jeremiah 36:6 ) ‘truly’), but sometimes transliterated ( 1 Chronicles 16:36 ) as in English. It is an indication of solemn assent, chiefly in prayer, to the words of another, on the part either of an individual ( Numbers 5:22 ) or of an assembly ( Deuteronomy 27:15 ); sometimes reduplicated ( Psalms 41:13 ), sometimes accompanied by a rubrical direction ( Psalms 106:48 ). From the synagogue it passed into the liturgical use of Christian congregations, and is so referred to in 1 Corinthians 14:16 ‘the (customary) Amen at thy giving of thanks’ (? Eucharist). The use peculiar to the NT is that ascribed to our Lord in the Gospels, where the word ‘verily’ followed by ‘I say’ introduces statements which He desires to invest with special authority ( Matthew 5:18 , Mark 3:28 , Luke 4:24 etc.) as worthy of unquestioning trust. The Fourth Gospel reduplicates a form which, though Christ may Himself have varied the phrase in this manner, is nevertheless stereotyped by this Evangelist ( John 1:51; John 1:24 other places), and marks the peculiar solemnity of the utterances it introduces. The impression created by this idiom may have influenced the title of ‘the Amen’ given to the Lord in the Epistle to Laodicea ( Revelation 3:14 ). A strikingly similar phrase is used by St. Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:20 ‘through him ( i.e . Jesus Christ as preached) is the Amen’ the seal of God’s promises. Its use in doxologies is frequent.

J. G. Simpson.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Amen'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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