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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

The lack of a common language has always been a barrier to the mutual knowledge and intercourse of the great nations of mankind, all the more that the days when the educated men of all European nations were wont to converse in Latin have long since passed away. To a certain extent the gulf has been bridged for men of science by a newly-invented vocabulary of their own, and a general use of Latin and Greek names for all the objects of their study. In the world of religion it still remains a great obstacle to all attempts to realize a truly catholic and universal Church. The Latin of the Roman Catholic missal, which seems so unintelligible to the mass of the worshippers that a sign language (of ritual) is largely the medium by which they follow the services when not absorbed in the reading of devotional manuals in their own mother tongue, is but a caricature of such a general medium of interpretative forms of worship. It is, therefore, a matter of great interest to study the use of those few words of ancient origin which have taken root in the religions language of so many great Christian nations, and have come to convey, in all the services where they are used, the same or a similar meaning. Of these, perhaps the most familiar are the words ‘Amen’ and ‘Hallelujah.’ These old Heb. phrases were taken, of course, from the Bible, where, save in the case of Luther’s edition and the Septuagintversion of the earlier books of the OT, no attempt has been made to replace them by foreign equivalents. They have a deep interest for Christians, not merely as a reminder of their essential unity and their ancient history, and as a recollection of the debt which we owe to a race so often despised, but as a reminiscence of the very words which came from our Lord’s own mouth, in the days when He was sowing the seed of which we are reaping the fruits.

A brief examination of the history of the word ‘Amen’ will be sufficient to prove the meaning which it had, the way in which it acquired this meaning, and the certainty that it was one of the very words which fell from the Master and had for Him a message of rare and unusual significance. The original use of the word (derived from a Heb. root אמן, meaning ‘steadfast,’ and a verb, ‘to prop,’ akin to Heb. אֱמֶח, ‘truth,’ Assyrian temenû , ‘foundation,’ and Eth. amena , ‘trust’ [Arab. aminun = ‘secure’]) was intended to express certainty. In the mouth of Benaiah ( 1 Kings 1:36) and Jeremiah ( Jeremiah 28:6) it appears as first word in the sentence, as a strong form of assent to a previous statement. It was not till after the Exile that it assumed its far commoner place as the answer, or almost the refrain in chorus, to the words of a previous speaker, and as such took its natural position at the close of the five divisions of the Psalms. It is uncertain how far this formed part of the people’s response in the ritual of the Temple, but it is certain that it acquired a fixed place in the services of the synagogues, where it still forms a common response of the congregation. This was sometimes altered later, in opposition to the Christian practice, and ‘God Faithful King’ was used instead. The object of this use of ‘Amen’ was, in Massie’s words, ‘to adopt as one’s own what has just been said’ ( Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) i. 80), and it thus finds a fitting place in the mouth of the people to whom Nehemiah promulgated his laws ( Nehemiah 5:13). To express emphasis, in accordance with Hebrew practice the word was often doubled, as in the solemn oath of  Numbers 5:22 (cf.  Nehemiah 8:6). This was further modified by the insertion of ‘and’ in the first three divisions of the Psalter. ‘Amen’ later became the last word of the first speaker, either as simple subscription-as such it stands appended to three of the Psalms (41, 72, 89), and in many NT Epistles, after both doxologies (15 times) and benedictions (6 timed in Revised Version)-or as the last word of a prayer (Revised Versiononly in Prayer of Manasses; but 2 others in Vulgate, viz.  Nehemiah 13:31,  Tobit 13:18). In two old Manuscriptsof Tobit (end), as in some later Manuscriptsof the NT, it appears by itself without a doxology. The later Jews were accustomed to use ‘Amen’ frequently in their homes ( e.g. after grace before meals, etc.), and laid down precise rules for the ways of enunciating and pronouncing it. These are found in the Talmudic tract B e râkhôth (‘Blessings’), and are intended to guard against irreverence, haste, etc. So great was the superstition which attached to it that many of the later Rabbis treated it almost as a fetish, able to win blessings not only in this life but in the next; and one commentator, Eliezer ben Hyrcanus, went so far as to declare that by its hearty pronunciation in chorus the godless in Israel who lay in the penal fires of Gehenna might one day hope for the opening of their prison gates and a free entrance into the abode of the blessed, though Hogg suggests that this sentiment was extracted from a pun on  Isaiah 26:2 ( Elijahu Zutta , xx.; Shab . 119 b  ; Siddur R. Amram , 13 b  ; cf. Yalk . ii. 296 on  Isaiah 26:2).

‘Amen’ would naturally have passed from the synagogues to the churches which took their rise among the synagogue-worshippers, but the Master Himself gave a new emphasis to its value for Christians by the example of His own practice. In this, as in all else, He was no slavish imitator of contemporary Rabbis, He spoke ‘as having authority and not as the scribes’ ( Mark 1:22), and in this capacity it is not surprising that He found a new use for the word of emphasis, which neither His predecessors nor His followers have ventured to imitate, though the title applied to Him in  Revelation 3:14 is founded upon His own chosen practice. In His mouth, by the common evidence of all the Gospels (77 times), the word is used to introduce His own words and clothe them with solemn affirmation. He plainly expressed His dislike for oaths ( Matthew 5:34), and in Dalman’s view ( Words of Jesus , 229)-and no one is better qualified to speak on the subject-He found here the word He needed to give the assurance which usually came from an oath. But in doing this ‘He was really making good the word, not the word Him,’ and it is therefore natural that no other man has ever ventured to follow His custom. That it was His habitual way of speaking is doubly plain from a comparison of all four Gospels, even though St. Luke, who wrote for men unacquainted with Hebrew, has sought where possible to replace the word by a Greek equivalent (ἀληθῶς, etc.). St. John has always doubled the word, probably for emphasis, since Delitzsch’s explanation from a word אֶמַינֶא = ‘I say’ is shown by Dalman (p. 227f.) to be wrong and based on a purely Babylonian practice.

The rest of the NT presents examples of all the older uses of the phrase, though the earliest is found only in the Jewish Apocalypse ( Revelation 7:12;  Revelation 19:14) which has probably been worked up into the Christian Book of ‘Revelation,’ and in one passage ( Revelation 22:20) christianized from it. Here it is perhaps a conscious archaic form, brought in to add to the mysterious language of the vision, which may originally, like the Book of Enoch or Noah, have been ascribed to some earlier seer. The language of St. Paul in  1 Corinthians 14:16 shows that the synagogue practice of saying ‘Amen’ as a response early became habitual among the worshippers of ‘the Nazarene,’ even if we had not been led to infer this by the growing reluctance of the Jews to emphasize this feature of their service. The use (? Jewish) in  Revelation 5:14 corresponds with this custom (cf.  Psalms 106:48). It is plain that the complete absence of the word in Acts-itself a link with the Third Gospel-must be ascribed to the peculiar style and attitude of the author, and not at all to the actual practice in the churches.

Twice in the NT ( 2 Corinthians 1:20,  Revelation 3:14) the word ‘Amen’ is used as a noun implying the ‘Faithful God,’ but it is hard to tell whether this is to be understood as a play on words based on  Isaiah 65:16 (אֱמֶת, ‘truth,’ being read as אָמֶן, ‘Amen’), or whether it is connected with the manner in which the Master employed the phrase as guaranteed by His own authority and absolute ‘faithfulness.’

The Church of the fathers made much of the word ‘Amen’ in all its OT uses, and introduced it into their services, not only after blessings, hymns, etc. (cf. Euseb. iv. 15, vii. 9), but after the reception of the Sacrament-a custom to which Justin refers in his [the earliest] account of the manner in which this service was conducted ( Apol . i. 64, 66). This is confirmed by Ambrose. The practice is still in vogue in the Eastern Church, was adopted in the Scottish Liturgy of 1637, and dropped only in the 6th cent. by the Western Church. Sometimes the ‘Amen’ was even repeated after the lesson had been read. From the Jews and the Christians it passed over to the Muhammadan ritual, where it is still repeated after the first two sûras of the Qur’ân, even though its meaning is wholly misunderstood by the Muslim imâms who guess at various impossible explanations. In the Book of Common Prayer it appears in various forms-as the end of the priest’s prayer, as the response of the people, or as the unanimous assent of both priest and people. Curiously enough, among Presbyterians it is said by the minister only. One relic of the Gospel language is retained in the Bishops’ Oath of Supremacy, which commences almost in the style of one of Christ’s famous declarations. In legal terminology the term has been introduced to strengthen affirmation, and formed an item in the ‘style’ of proclamations until the 16th century. Hogg notes that in English, as in Syriac, it has come to mean ‘consent,’ and has been enabled thus to acquire the sense of ‘the very last,’ even though it commenced its career as first word in the sentence.

The foregoing remarks may enable the reader to judge of the strange changes to which the meaning of this word has been subjected, the important part it has played, and the historical interest which attaches to its every echo.

Literature.-The articles in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) , Dict. of Christ and the Gospels , Encyclopaedia Biblica , and Jewish Encyclopedia  ; G. Dalman, The Words of Jesus , Eng. translation, Edinb. 1902, p. 226ff.; H. W. Hogg, in Jewish Quarterly Review ix. [1896] 1-23; Oxf. Heb. Lex., s.v . אמן; Thayer Grimm’s Gr.-Eng. Lexicon of the NT, tr. Thayer, s.v. ἀμήν; articles in Expository Times viii. [1897] 190, by Nestle, and xiii. [1902] 563, by Jannaris.

L. St. Alban Wells.

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [2]

In current usage, the term "amen" has become little more than a ritualized conclusion to prayers. Yet the Hebrew and Greek words for amen appear hundreds of times in the Bible and have several uses. Amen is a transliteration of the Hebrew word amen [   1 Chronicles 16:36;  Nehemiah 8:6; and at the end of each of the first four books of Psalms, 41:13; 72:19; 89:52; 106:48).

Amen is never used solely to confirm a blessing in the Old Testament, but Israel did accept the curse of God on sin by it (twelve times in  Deuteronomy 27 , and in  Nehemiah 5:13 ), and once Jeremiah affirms God's statements of the blessings and the curses of the covenant with an amen ( Jeremiah 11:5 ). It can also confirm a statement made by people ( Numbers 5:22;  1 Kings 1:36;  Nehemiah 5:13 ). These kinds of uses lie behind the popular, basically correct, dictum that amen means "So be it."

Amen has other uses. Jeremiah mocks the words of a false prophet with an amen (28:6). Because God is trustworthy, Isaiah can call him "the God of amen, " in whose name his servants should invoke blessings and take oaths ( Isaiah 65:16; see also  Revelation 3:14 ). But Jesus' use of amen is the most striking innovation.

Jesus introduces his teaching by saying amen lego humin [ἈμήνΕἴρω ΛέγωΣύ], that is, "truly I say to you, " on nearly seventy occasions in the Gospels (thirty times in Matthew, thirteen in Mark, six in Luke, and twenty in John, where the amen is always doubled). Where the prophets often said, "Thus says the Lord, " Jesus often says, "Amen I say to you." Although some scholars see the formuLam merely as a method of giving emphasis to a statement, in actuality it constitutes a significant part of Jesus' implicit teaching about himself. We ought to consider Jesus' use of the term "amen" alongside his other implicit claims to deity, such as his claim of the right to forgive sins and to judge humankind, and his custom of performing miracles on his own authority. No mere human has the right to forgive sins, yet Jesus forgave sins. God is the judge of humankind, yet Jesus judges. God's agets ascribe the will and the glory to God when they perform miracles, yet Jesus performed miracles on his own authority. Likewise, prophets never spoke on their own authority. They say, "Thus says the Lord." Or, like Paul, they say they received a revelation from heaven. But Jesus says, "Truly I say to you" dozens of times, asserting that his words are certainly true because he says them.

Jesus often uses the formuLam when he corrects errors or is engaged in disputes. When Jesus instructed Nicodemus, for example, he appealed not to Scripture but to his own authority, saying " Amen, amen, I say to you" ( John 3:3,5; see also  Matthew 6:2,5 ,  16;  18:3;  Luke 13:35;  John 5:19,24 ,  25;  6:26,32 ,  47,53 ). Amen lego humin also punctuates the teaching of truths unknown in the Old Testament, and seasons startling sayings for which Jesus offers no proof other than his own authority. Here the amen implies that Jesus' words, like the Father's, are true merely because he utters them ( Matthew 24:34;  26:13;  Mark 3:28;  Luke 12:37;  John 10:1 ). So in  Matthew 5 Jesus comments on the Old Testament or Jewish interpretations of it six times in the chapter, saying, "You have heard that it was said , but I tell you." He concludes the first section with the amen in 5:26, and by so doing asserts that his authority exceeds the Jewish interpreters', and even brings a revelation that surpasses that of the Old Testament law itself.

In this way, whenever Jesus says "amen lego humin" [ἈμήνΕἴρω ΛέγωΣύ], he shows awareness of his authority, his deity. This evidence of Jesus' messianic self-consciousness is important because it resists skeptical attacks on the faith. Critics try to exclude many texts that present Christ's deity on the grounds that they are unauthentic. But implicit claims to deity, whether they be Jesus' use of the amen or other ones, appear in virtually every paragraph of the Gospels, and cannot be explained away.

Paul's use of amen returns to the Old Testament world, except that he utters amen only to bless, not to curse. Many times Paul's letters burst into praise of God the Father or God the Son and seal the confession with the amen ( Romans 1:25;  9:5;  11:36;  Galatians 1:3-5;  Ephesians 3:21;  Philippians 4:20;  1 Timothy 1:17;  6:16;  2 Timothy 4:18 ). A doxology appears at or near the end of several letters, and all close with the amen. Other letters end with a blessing on his readers, again completed with amen (1Col 16:23-24;  Galatians 6:18 ). Paul also invites his readers to say amen to the promises of God (2Col 1:20; see also  Revelation 22:20 ). Amen also closes spontaneous doxologies in Revelation; there, however, the object of praise is more often the Son than the Father (1:6-7; 5:14; 7:12; 19:4). In all this Paul and Revelation resemble the Jewish custom of the day, in which Jews said amen when they heard another bless the Lord whether in private prayer ( Tobit 8:8 ) or in worship. But they surpass it in the sheer spontaneity and enthusiasm of their praises.

Several other New Testament epistles follow Paul by praising God and/or calling on him to bestow the grace the readers need ( Hebrews 13:20-21;  1 Peter 4:11;  5:10-11;  2 Peter 3:17-18;  Jude 24-25;  Revelation 22:21 ). As in Paul, these final words often recapitulate the main themes of the letter, which the writer seals with the amen that both declare and pleads, "So be it! May God indeed be praised for bestowing the gifts his people need."

Daniel Doriani

Morrish Bible Dictionary [3]

A strong assertion of affirmation and assent. The first timewe read of its use was when a woman was supposed to have been unfaithful to her husband and was made to drink the bitter water. The priest pronounced a curse upon her if she had been guilty, and the woman had to answer Amen, Amen.  Numbers 5:22 . So when the priest upon mount Ebal rehearsed the various curses, it was appended to each "And all the people shall say, Amen."  Deuteronomy 27:14-26 .

When David declared that Solomon should be his successor, Benaiah said "Amen: the Lord God of my lord the king say so too."  1 Kings 1:36 . So when David brought up the ark, and delivered a psalm of thanksgiving, all the people said, Amen, and praised the Lord.  1 Chronicles 16:36 : cf. also  Nehemiah 5:13;  Nehemiah 8:6 .

In one instance the exclamation does not signify more than 'may it be.' Hananiah prophesied falsely that within two full years all the vessels of the Lord's house would be returned from Babylon; Jeremiah said "Amen, the Lord do so;" though he knew it was a false prophecy he could well hope that such a thing might be.  Jeremiah 28:6 .

At the end of each of the first four books of the Psalms Amen is added.  Psalm 41:13;  Psalm 72:19;  Psalm 89:52;  Psalm 106:48 . In these instances it is not another acquiescing in what is said, but the writer adds Amen at the end, signifying 'may it so be,' and three times it is repeated.

The Hebrew word is always translated 'Amen,' except twice in  Isaiah 65:16 , where it is rendered 'truth.' "He who blesseth himself in the earth, shall bless himself in the God of 'truth;' and he that sweareth in the earth, shall swear by the God of 'truth.' " And in  Jeremiah 11:5 , where it is translated 'So be it,' God declared that He would perform the oath that He had sworn, and the prophet answered, "So be it, O Lord." A cognate Hebrew word signifies 'to believe:' it is used in  Genesis 15:6 .

In the N.T. it is often added to the ascription of praise and to benedictions, as in  Hebrews 13:21,25 . As a response see  1 Corinthians 14:16;  Revelation 5:14;  Revelation 7:12;  Revelation 22:20 . There is another way in which the word is used, as in  2 Corinthians 1:20 , "Whatever promises of God [there are], in him is the yea [the confirmation] and in him the Amen [the verification] for glory to God by us." And that Christ is the verification of all the promises is so true that He Himself is called 'the Amen:' " These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God."  Revelation 3:14 . As there are responses in heaven, as seen in some of the above texts, so there should be responses on earth in the assemblies of the saints, and not simply a hearing of prayer and praise. It is the word constantly used by the Lord, and translated 'verily.'

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [4]

One of the distinguishing names of the Lord Jesus Christ, as Christ God-man Mediator. For so Jesus condescended to make use of it. ( Revelation 3:14) And the meaning of it, in the original language, shews the great blessedness of it, as it concerns his people, in the Lord Jesus condescending to do so. For the word, in the original Greek, from whence it is taken, means verily, certain, sure, true, faithful. And surely, the Lord Jesus Christ is all these, and infinitely more, JEHOVAH'S Yea and Amen, as he saith himself; the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; that is in his mediatorial character.

And it is worthy our closest remark, that our Lord very frequently began his discourses with this word, and repeated it-"Verily, verily, I say unto you;" that is, in plain terms, (and indeed, it is the very word in the original) Amen, Amen. And it is yet worthy of farther remark, that none but the Lord Jesus ever did use such words, at the opening of the discourse, by way of confirmation. As if the use of it was particularly his, and belonged to him only, as his name. All the gospels, indeed, end with Amen. But then, this seems to be but as a farther proof that they are his, and he puts, therefore, his name as a seal at the end of them, by way of establishing their truth.

And I beg to remark yet farther, by way of shewing the sweetness and peculiar claim that the Lord Jesus hath to this name, that all the promises are said to be, Yea and Amen in Christ Jesus, ( 2 Corinthians 1:20) that is, strictly and properly speaking, they are His; for He himself is the One great promise of the Bible, and all are therefore, promises in and by Him. And the prophet Isaiah ( Isaiah 65:16) describes the believer in the gospel church, as saying, That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; that is, the God Amen. It were devoutly to be wished, that whenever this sacred name is used, in our public worship, or private devotion, our minds were to recollect the person of the Lord Jesus. For certain it is, when we say Amen to the giving of thanks, (see  1 Corinthians 14:16) we do, to all intents and purposes, use the name of Christ, however inattentively it be said. And, therefore, if this were rightly considered, we should use it with an eye of love, and faith, and thankfulness to him.

I shall only beg to add, to what hath been offered on this precious name of our Lord Jesus, that as John is the only one of the Evangelists who hath recorded, so very particularly, our Lord's discourses with those double Amens, or Verilys, it is plain, that he considered them very highly important. And the apostle Paul, in desiring that no one should ignorantly say Amen in the church, at the assemblies of the faithful, seems to have same sentiment with John, that every one naming Christ should know Christ.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [5]

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.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [6]

("firm", "faithful", else "verily".) Jesus is "the Amen, the, faithful and true witness" ( Revelation 3:14). Compare  2 Corinthians 1:20;  John 1:14;  John 1:17;  John 14:6. "The God of Amen" (Hebrew for "truth") ( Isaiah 65:16). Jesus alone introduces His authoritative declarations with Amen in the beginning; in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, singly, in John ( John 3:3;  John 3:5;  John 3:11;  John 10:1) always doubled. It is most marked how the apostles and others avoid the use of it in the beginning, which is His divine prerogative.  Jeremiah 28:6 is not an exception; it is praying for the divine ratification of what preceded. In oaths those who pronounce the "Amen" bind themselves by the oath ( Numbers 5:22;  Deuteronomy 27:15-26).

God alone can seal all His declarations of promise or threat with the "Amen," verily, in its fullest sense; our assertions mostly need some qualification. As John records Christ's discourses on the deeper things of God, which man is slow to believe, the double Amen is appropriately found at the beginning of such discourses 25 times. Amen was the proper response to a prayer, an oath, or a solemn promise ( 1 Kings 1:30;  Nehemiah 5:13;  Nehemiah 8:6;  1 Chronicles 16:36;  Jeremiah 11:5); the God of Amen witnesses our covenants. Jewish tradition states that the people responded to the priest's prayer not "Amen," but, "Blessed be the name of the glory of His kingdom for ever." But in synagogues, as in the Christian assemblies, and in family and private prayers, Amen was the response ( Matthew 6:13;  1 Corinthians 14:16).

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [7]

1: Ἀμήν (Strong'S #281 — N/A — amen — am-ane' )

is transliterated from Hebrew into both Greek and English. "Its meanings may be seen in such passages as  Deuteronomy 7:9 , 'the faithful (the Amen) God,'  Isaiah 49:7 , 'Jehovah that is faithful.'  Isaiah 65:16 , 'the God of truth,' marg., 'the God of Amen.' And if God is faithful His testimonies and precepts are 'sure (amen),'  Psalm 19:7;  111:7 , as are also His warnings,  Hosea 5:9 , and promises,  Isaiah 33:16;  55:3 . 'Amen' is used of men also, e.g.,  Proverbs 25:13 .

 Deuteronomy 27:15 Nehemiah 5:13 1—Kings 1:36 1—Chronicles 16:36 Jeremiah 11:5 Psalm 106:48 Revelation 3:14 2—Corinthians 1:20 1—Corinthians 14:16 Revelation 5:14 Revelation 22:20 Ephesians 3:21 Matthew 16:28 Mark 9:1Verily.

Holman Bible Dictionary [8]

 Numbers 5:22 Deuteronomy 27:15-26 Jeremiah 11:5 Jeremiah 28:6 1 Chronicles 16:36 Nehemiah 8:6 Psalm 106:48 Romans 1:25 Romans 11:36 Romans 15:33 1 Corinthians 16:24 Galatians 1:5 Ephesians 3:21 Philippians 4:20 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

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [9]

אמן , in Hebrew, signifies true, faithful, certain. It is used likewise in affirmation; and was often thus employed by our Saviour: "Amen, amen," that is, "Verily, verily." It is also understood as expressing a wish, "Amen! so be it!" or an affirmation, "Amen, yes, I believe it:"   Numbers 5:22 . She shall answer, "Amen! amen!"  Deuteronomy 27:15-17 , &c. "All the people shall answer, Amen! amen!"  1 Corinthians 14:16 . "How shall he who occupieth the place of the unlearned, say, Amen! at thy giving of thanks? seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest." "The promises of God are Amen in Christ;" that is, certain, confirmed, granted,  2 Corinthians 1:20 . The Hebrews end the five books of Psalms, according to their distribution of them, with "Amen, amen;" which the Septuagint translate, Γενοιτο , γενοιτο , and the Latins, Fiat, fiat. The Gospels, &c, are ended with AMEN. The Greek, Latin, and other churches, preserve this word in their prayers, as well as alleluia and hosanna. At the conclusion of the public prayers, the people anciently answered with a loud voice, "Amen!" and Jerom says, that, at Rome, when the people answered, "Amen!" the sound was like a clap of thunder, in similitudinem caelestis tonitrui Amen reboat. [Amen rings again like a peal of thunder.] The Jews assert that the gates of heaven are opened to him who answers, "Amen!" with all his might.

The Jewish doctors give three rules for pronouncing the word:

1. That it be not pronounced too hastily and rapidly, but with a grave and distinct voice.

2. That it be not louder than the tone of him that blesses.

3. That it be expressed in faith, with a certain persuasion that God would bless them, and hear their prayers.

AMEN is a title of our Lord, "The Amen, the true and faithful witness,"

 Revelation 1:14 .

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [10]

‘Amen’ is a transliteration from a Hebrew word meaning ‘surely, truly, certainly, trustworthily’. It was used as a formula expressing agreement to a variety of statements or announcements; for example, an oath ( Numbers 5:19-22), a blessing or curse from God ( Deuteronomy 27:11-26;  Jeremiah 11:5), an announcement ( 1 Kings 1:36), a prophecy ( Jeremiah 28:6), an expression of praise ( 1 Chronicles 16:36;  Psalms 41:13;  Judges 1:24-25), a prayer ( 1 Corinthians 14:16), a statement ( Revelation 1:7) or a promise ( Revelation 22:20).

Since the promises of God find their true fulfilment (their ‘yes’, their ‘amen’) in Jesus Christ, he may be called ‘the Amen’. He is what the Old Testament calls ‘the God of truth’, ‘the God of the amen’ ( 2 Corinthians 1:20;  Revelation 3:14; cf.  Isaiah 65:16). Christians acknowledge this by adding their own ‘amen’ ( 2 Corinthians 1:20). Jesus, by introducing many of his statements with ‘Amen’ (i.e. ‘Verily’ or ‘Truly’), guaranteed that those statements were true, certain, reliable and authoritative ( Matthew 8:10;  Matthew 10:15;  Matthew 10:23;  Matthew 10:42;  Matthew 11:11;  Matthew 13:17; etc.). (See also Truth .)

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [11]

A Hebrew word, which, when prefixed to an assertion, signifies assuredly, certainly, or emphatically, so it is; but when it concludes a prayer, so be it, or so let it be, is its manifest import. In the former case, it is assertive, or assures of a truth or a fact; and is an asseveration, and is properly translated verily,  John 3:3 . In the latter case, it is petitionary, and, as it were, epitomises all the requests with which it stands connected, Numb. 5: 25.  Revelation 22:20 . This emphatical term was not used among the Hebrews by detached individuals only, but on certain occasions, by an assembly at large,  Deuteronomy 27:14;  Deuteronomy 27:20 . It was adopted also, in the public worship of the primitive churches, as appears by that passage,  1 Corinthians 14:16 . and was continued among the Christians in following times; yea, such was the extreme into which many run, that Jerome informs us, that, in his time, at the conclusion of every public prayer, the united amen of the people sounded like the fall of water, or the noise of thunder. Nor is the practice of some professors in our own time to be commended, who, with a low though audible voice, add their amen to almost every sentence, as it proceeds from the lips of him who is praying. As this has a tendency to interrupt the devotion of those that are near them, and may disconcert the thoughts of him who leads the worship, it would be better omitted, and a mental amen is sufficient. The term, as used at the end of our prayers, suggests that we should pray with understanding, faith, fervour, and expectation.

See Mr. Booth's Amen to social prayer.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [12]

Amen ( Â-Mĕn' ), Firm, Faithful, Verily. The proper signification of this word is that one person confirms the words of another, and expresses his wish for the success and accomplishment of the other's vows and declarations. Thus it is used in  Numbers 5:22;  Deuteronomy 27:15-26;  1 Kings 1:36;  Jeremiah 28:6. Also after ascriptions of praise,  Psalms 106:48; and in A. V. of  Matthew 6:12, but omitted in R. V. Again, we find it at the beginning of a sentence, to signify the firm certainty of what was about to be said, as very frequently in our Lord's addresses ( Matthew 25:40;  John 3:3;  John 3:5;  John 3:11, and in other places), where it is usually rendered "verily." The promises of the gospel, too, are said to be "yea, and amen,"  2 Corinthians 1:20, to indicate their stability. And once the word is used as a proper name.  Revelation 3:14, applied to him from whose lips every syllable is assured truth; so that, though heaven and earth should pass, nothing that he has spoken can remain unaccomplished.  Matthew 24:35.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [13]

Strictly an adjective, signifying firm, and by a metaphor, faithful. So in  Revelation 3:14 , our Lord is called "the Amen, the faithful and true Witness," where the last words explain the preceding appellation. In its adverbial use it means certainly, truly, surely. It is used at the beginning of a sentence by way of emphasis, frequently by our Savior, and is there commonly translated Verily. In John's gospel alone, it is often used by him in this way double, Verily, verily. At the end of a sentence it is often used, singly or repeated, especially at the end of hymns and prayers; as "Amen and Amen,"  Psalm 41:13   72:19   89:52 . The proper signification of it here is, to confirm the words which have preceded, assert the sincerity and invoke the fulfilment of them: so it is, so be it, let it be done. Hence, in oaths, after the priest has repeated the words of the covenant or imprecation, all those who pronounce the Amen, bind themselves by the oath,  Numbers 5:22   Deuteronomy 27:15   Nehemiah 5:13   8:6   1 Chronicles 16:36 . Compare  Psalm 106:48 .

Smith's Bible Dictionary [14]

A'men. Literally "True" and used as a substantive, "That Which Is True",. "Truth",  Isaiah 65:16, a word used in strong asseverations, fixing, as it were, the stamp of truth upon the assertion which it accompanied, and making it binding as an oath. Compare  Numbers 5:22.

In the synagogues and private houses, it was customary for the people or members of the family who were present to say "Amen" to the prayers which were offered.  Matthew 6:13;  1 Corinthians 14:16. And not only public prayers, but those offered in private, and doxologies, were appropriately concluded with "Amen".  Romans 9:5;  Romans 11:36;  Romans 15:33;  Romans 16:27;  2 Corinthians 13:14; etc.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [15]

 Revelation 3:14 Isaiah 65:16 Revelation 3:14

It is found singly and sometimes doubly at the end of prayers ( Psalm 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 ( Numbers 5:22;  Deuteronomy 27:15-26;  Nehemiah 5:13;  8:6;  1 Chronicles 16:36 ). In the primitive churches it was common for the general audience to say "Amen" at the close of the prayer ( 1 Corinthians 14:16 ).

The promises of God are Amen; i.e., they are all true and sure ( 2 Corinthians 1:20 ).

King James Dictionary [16]

AMEN'. This word, with slight differences or orthography, is in all the dialects of the Assyrian stock. As a verb, it signifies to confirm, establish, verify to trust, or give confidence as a noun, truth, firmness, trust, confidence as an adjective, firm, stable. In English, after the oriental manner, it is used at the beginning, but more generally at the end of declarations and prayers, in the sense of, be it firm, be it established.

And let all the people say amen.  Psalms 104 .

The word is used also as a noun.

"All the promises of God are amen in Christ " that is, firmness, stability, constancy.

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [17]

 Revelation 3:14 (a) This word is a word of finality. Its actual meaning is "so be it." Christ takes this name to indicate the permanence of His decisions, the certainty of His program, and the finality of His judgment. The angels sang a song which begins and ends with this word. It is found in  Revelation 7:12. There are seven glories in this prayer or song, and these describe the perfections of GOD. Nothing can be added to this revelation, and certainly nothing may be taken from it.

Webster's Dictionary [18]

(1): (interj., adv., & n.) An expression used at the end of prayers, and meaning, So be it. At the end of a creed, it is a solemn asseveration of belief. When it introduces a declaration, it is equivalent to truly, verily.

(2): (v. t.) To say Amen to; to sanction fully.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [19]

(Hebrew amen', אָמֵן , Ἀμήν ), a particle of attestation adopted into all the languages of Christendom.

I.' This word is strictly an adjective, signifying "Firm," and, metaphorically, "faithful." Thus, in  Revelation 3:14, our Lord is called "the Amen, The Faithful and True witness." In  Isaiah 65:16, the Hebrew has "the God of amen," which our version renders "the God Of Truth," i e. Of Fidelity. In its adverbial sense amen means Certainly, Truly, Surely. It is used in the beginning of a sentence- by way of emphasis rarely in the Old Test. ( Jeremiah 28:6), but often by our Savior in the New, where it is commonly translated "Verily." In John's Gospel alone it is often used by him in this way double, i.e. "verily, verily." In the end of a sentence it often occurs singly or repeated, especially at the end of hymns or prayers, as "amen and amen" (Psalm 41:14;  Psalms 72:19; Psa 89:53). The proper signification of it in this position is to confirm the words which have preceded, and invoke the fulfillment of them: "so be it,! Fiat ; Sept. Γένοιτο . Hence in oaths, after the priest has repeated the words of the covenant or imprecation, all those who pronounce the Amen bind themselves by the oath ( Numbers 5:22;  Deuteronomy 27:15;  Deuteronomy 27:17 :  Nehemiah 5:13;  Nehemiah 8:6;  1 Chronicles 16:36; comp.  Psalms 106:48). (See Oath) .

II. In the public worship of the primitive churches it was customary for the assembly at large to say Amen at the close of the prayer; a custom derived from apostolic times ( 1 Corinthians 14:16). Several of the fathers refer to it. Jerome says that in his time, at the conclusion of public prayer, the united voice of the people sounded like the fall of water or the noise of thunder. Great importance was attached to the use of this word at the celebration of the eucharist. At the delivery of the bread the bishop or presbyter, according to the Apostolical Constitutions, is directed to say, "The body of Christ;" at the giving of the cup the deacon is instructed to say, "The blood of Christ, the cup of life;" the communicant is directed on each occasion to say "Amen." This answer was universally given in the early Church. (See Response).

III. It is used as an emphatic affirmation, in the Sense "so be it," at the end of all the prayers of the Church of England. It is sometimes said in token of undoubting assent, as at the end of the creed, Amen, "So I believe." The order of the Church of England directs that the people shall, at the end of All prayers, answer Amen." Bingham, bk. 15, ch. 3, § 25.

Special treatises on the subject are Kleinschmidt, De particula Amen (Rint. 1696); Weber, De voce Amen. (Jen. 1734); Wernsdorf, De Amen, liturgico (Viteb. 1779); Brunner, De voce Amen (Helmst. 1678); Fogelmark, Potestas verbi אָמֵן (Upsal. 1761); Meier, Horoe Philol. In Amen (Viteb. 1687); Treffentlich, De אָמֵן (Lips. 1700); Vejel, De Vocula Amen (Argent. 1681); Bechler, Horoe philol. in Amen (Wittemb. 1687).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [20]

ā - men ´ (in ritual speech and in singing a-men', a'men) (אמן , 'āmēn  ; ἀμήν , amḗn , = "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  Isaiah 65:16 , where we have (the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American)) "God of truth." This rendering implies the pointing 'ōmēn or 'ēmūn 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  Jeremiah 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 (  Numbers 5:22;  Deuteronomy 27:15;  Nehemiah 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 ( Revelation 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" ( Revelation 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  1 Corinthians 14:16 , whence we gather that the lay brethren were expected to say "Amen" to the address. (See Weizsäcker's The Apostolic Age of the Christian Church , English translation, II, 289.)

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [21]

This word is strictly an adjective, signifying 'firm,'and, metaphorically, 'faithful.' Thus in  Revelation 3:14, our Lord is called 'the amen, the faithful and true witness.' In  Isaiah 65:16, the Hebrews has 'the God of amen,' which our version renders 'the God of truth,' i.e. of fidelity. In its adverbial sense Amen means certainly, truly, surely. It is used in the beginning of a sentence by way of emphasis—rarely in the Old Testament ( Jeremiah 28:6), but often by our Savior in the New, where it is commonly translated 'Verily.' In John's gospel alone it is often used by him in this way double, i.e.'verily, verily.' In the end of a sentence it often occurs singly or repeated, especially at the end of hymns or prayers, as 'amen and amen' ( Psalms 41:13;  Psalms 72:19;  Psalms 89:52). The proper signification of it in this position is to confirm the words which have preceded, and invoke the fulfillment of them: 'so be it.' Hence in oaths, after the priest has repeated the words of the covenant or imprecation, all those who pronounced the amen bound themselves by the oath ( Numbers 5:22;  Deuteronomy 27:15;  Deuteronomy 27:26;  Nehemiah 5:13;  Nehemiah 8:6;  1 Chronicles 16:36; comp.  Psalms 106:48).