Cover 2015-10-18

Ron Writes


When you say “amen” at the end of a prayer or a song, you’re saying something important. You are acknowledging your agreement and participation. You are declaring your conviction that what was said or done is the truth. Amen is transliterated. That’s why it’s the same word used by our Spanish speakers in worship. It can be translated “truth” or “certainly”. It is declaring that what was said is the truth. When Jesus is called “The Amen” (Rev. 3:14), it’s similar to saying that He’s the Truth.

It’s the same exact word that came off the lips of our Lord. At the end of what we call the “Lord’s Prayer” Jesus gave us an example of how to pray by saying, “Amen.”

It’s the word used by countless Christians. Paul was concerned that ungifted Christians (i.e., those without spiritual gifts of translation) wouldn’t be able to understand what was being said in worship to say “amen” (1 Cor. 14:16). One commentary added that the significance of 1 Cor. 14:16 was that “not saying amen to a prayer was the equivalent of not praying.” The Jews had a similar maxim that stated, “greater is he who says amen than he who prays.” Our worship isn’t complete until we join in the “amen.”

Jerome writing in the 4th century said, “at the end of every public utterance of prayer and praise, the ‘amen’ of the people sounded like the loud murmur of the sea, or the voice of thunder, while the hollow idols, and their temples that were empty, did echo and rebound with the churches’ ‘amen’ so that their fabrics shaked.” It’s a word of victory and triumph!

John tells us that the praise around the throne of God was filled with repetitions of “amen” (Rev. 5:14). It is a word often associated with praise in the Bible.

In the OT it was used to acknowledge the validity of a curse or an oath. It took courage to declare your willingness to accept the consequences of a declaration (Neh. 5:13; Deut. 27:15-16). It was used to welcome the good news of King Solomon (1 Kgs 1:36). Prophecy was received by an “Amen” (Jere. 28:6).

It’s a small word with a big meaning. It’s not to be spoken flippantly, irreverently, but solemnly and fervently. It’s a word that calls us to pay attention in worship so we can participate in the “amen.”