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history of amen

Discussion in 'Christian History' started by Timothew, Apr 19, 2010.

  1. Timothew

    Timothew Conditionalist

    What is the history of saying "amen" after a prayer?
    Does anyone know when this started?
  2. laconicstudent

    laconicstudent Well-Known Member

    Christian Seeker
    Apocalypse of John, Chapter 22, verse 21. It is a prayer concluding with "Amen".
  3. Timothew

    Timothew Conditionalist

    Hey, Thanks.

    I was just wondering. I see an "Amen" in verse 20 as well.
  4. Chesterton

    Chesterton Whats So Funny bout Peace Love and Understanding

    Eastern Orthodox
    It's used pretty similarly in the Old Testament also.
  5. Timothew

    Timothew Conditionalist

    Is "Amen" an old testament word?
  6. Chesterton

    Chesterton Whats So Funny bout Peace Love and Understanding

    Eastern Orthodox
    Yes. Like Psalm 72:19 says And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen.

    It's a Hebrew word, and I think Christians, Jews and Muslims all say it.
  7. skylark1

    skylark1 In awesome wonder

    The following is from the Holman Bible Dictionary.
    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; Psalms 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.”

    AMEN - Holman Bible Dictionary on StudyLight.org

    Until I read this, I wasn't aware that the word translated as "verily" (ἀμήν) is the same word that is translated elsewhere as "amen." Please see Blue Letter Bible - Lexicon.

    It is interesting to consider that Jesus is said to be The Amen. He is ever faithful, our Hope and the Truth.
  8. Ave Maria

    Ave Maria Ave Maria Gratia Plena

    I am pretty sure that saying "Amen" dates well in to Old Testament times.
  9. Rahm

    Rahm Give 'em Heaven

    I've taken this from wikipedia:

    Old Testament

    Three distinct Biblical usages of amen may be noted
    1. Initial Amen, referring back to words of another speaker and introducing an affirmative sentence, e.g. 1 Kings 1:36.
    2. Detached Amen, again referring to the words of another speaker but without a complementary affirmative sentence, e.g. Nehemiah 5:13
    3. Final Amen, with no change of speaker, as in the subsciption to the first three divisions of Psalms
    In the New Testament

    There are 52 Amens in the Synoptic Gospels and 25 in John. The five final Amens (Matthew 6:13, 28:20, Mark 16:20, Luke 24:53 and John 21:25), which are wanting in the best manuscripts, simulate the effect of final amen in the Hebrew Psalms. All initial Amens occur in the sayings of Jesus. These initial Amens are unparalleled in Hebrew literature, according to Friedrich Delitzsch, because they do not refer to the words of a previous speaker but instead introduce a new thought
    The uses of amen ("verily") in the Gospels form a peculiar class; they are initial, but often lack any backward reference. Jesus used the word to affirm his own utterances[citation needed], not those of another person[citation needed], and this usage was adopted by the church. The use of the initial amen, single or double in form, to introduce solemn statements of Jesus in the Gospels had no parallel in Jewish practice.

    In the King James Bible, the word amen is preserved in a number of contexts. Notable ones include:
    • The catechism of curses of the Law found in Deuteronomy 27.
    • A double amen ("amen and amen") occurs in Psalm 89 (Psalm 41:13; 72:19; 89:52), to confirm the words and invoke the fulfillment of them.
    • The custom of closing prayers with amen originates in the Lord's Prayer at Matthew 6:13
    • Amen occurs in several doxology formulas in Romans 1:25, 9:5, 11:36, 15:33, and several times in Chapter 16.[1] It also appears in doxologies in the Pss (41:14; 72:19; 89:53; 106:48). This liturgical form from Judaism.
    • It concludes all of Paul's general epistles.
    • In Revelation 3:14, Jesus is referred to as, "the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation."
    • Amen concludes the New Testament at Rev. 22:21.
    Amen in Judaism

    Main article: Berakhah
    Jewish law requires an individual to say Amen in a variety of contexts.
    Liturgically, amen is a communal response to be recited at certain points during the prayer service. It is recited communally to affirm a blessing made by the prayer reader. It is also mandated as a response during the kaddish doxology. The congregation is sometimes prompted to answer 'amen' by the terms ve-'imru (Hebrew: ואמרו‎) = "and [now] say (pl.)," or, ve-nomar (ונאמר) = "and let us say." Contemporary usage reflects ancient practice: As early as the 4th century BCE, Jews assembled in the Temple responded 'amen' at the close of a doxology or other prayer uttered by a priest. This Jewish liturgical use of amen was adopted by the Christians. But Jewish law also requires individuals to answer amen whenever they hear a blessing recited, even in a non-liturgical setting.
    The Talmud teaches homiletically that the word Amen is an acronym for אל מלך נאמן (’El melekh ne’eman, "God, trustworthy King"), the phrase recited silently by an individual before reciting the Shma.
    Jews usually pronounce the word as it is pronounced in Hebrew: /ɔːˈmeɪn/ aw-MAYN (Ashkenazi) or /ɑːˈmɛn/ ah-MEN (Sephardi).
    Amen in Christianity

    The use of "Amen" has been generally adopted in Christian worship as a concluding word for prayers and hymns and express strong agreements.
    "Amen". Encyclopædia Britannica.. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.. 2008. http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9006072/amen. Retrieved 2008-03-17. </ref> The liturgical use of the word in apostolic times is attested by the passage from 1 Corinthians cited above, and Justin Martyr (c. 150) describes the congregation as responding "amen," to the benediction after the celebration of the Eucharist. Its introduction into the baptismal formula (in the Greek Orthodox Church it is pronounced after the name of each person of the Trinity) is probably later. Among certain Gnostic sects Amen became the name of an angel.
    In Isaiah 65:16, the authorized version has "the God of truth," ("the God of Amen," in Hebrew. Jesus often used Amen to put emphasis to his own words (translated: "verily"). In John's Gospel, it is repeated, "Verily, verily." Amen is also used in oath (Numbers 5:22; Deuteronomy 27:15-26; Nehemiah 5:13; 8:6; 1 Chronicles 16:36). "Amen" is further found at the end of the prayer of primitive churches (1 Corinthians 14:16).
    In some Christian churches, the amen corner or amen section is any subset of the congregation likely to call out "Amen!" in response to points in a preacher's sermon. Metaphorically, the term can refer to any group of heartfelt traditionalists or supporters of an authority figure.

    Amen in Islam

    Muslims use the word "&#700;&#256;m&#299;n" (Arabic: &#1570;&#1605;&#1610;&#1606;&#8206;) not only after reciting the first surah (Al Fatiha) of the Qur'an, but also when concluding a prayer or dua, with the same meaning as in Christianity. The Islamic use of the word is the same as the Jewish use of the word.
    In Arabic &#700;&#256;m&#299;n simply means "so be it". To Muslims it is a reasonable end to any supplication. A&#7717;&#257;dith narrated from the prophet Muhammad suggesting that the he encouraged people to say it after supplications. There are also a great number of traditions which tell us that the prophet commanded the believers to say &#8121;m&#299;n when the Im&#257;m completes reading s&#363;rah F&#257;ti&#7717;ah.

    Whew :thumbsup:
  10. Timothew

    Timothew Conditionalist

    Wow, you guys have a lot of information.
    I've seen the initial "Amens" in John, and started thinking, why do we end our prayers with Amen? The information about this starting in the OT prayers and with the Lord's Prayer is good. I tried praying without the amen, but it seems like the prayer is incomplete. If I'm praying with someone, they don't know when I'm finished. So informally, "Amen" must mean, "The end."

    I've seen churches where the preacher will say "And all God's people said. . ." and the congregation replys "Amen!" It's good to see the Hebrew origin of this.

    Our congregation style is not very vocal, but I've seen in other churches what you say about the "amen corner" or "amen section," Kirkhaven, in our old church, wasn't there usually an "Amen" called out a few times from the amen section?

    Sometimes I get so worked up by a sermon that I'll nod my head, but usually I keep quiet, as you know! (Kirkhaven)

  11. Rahm

    Rahm Give 'em Heaven

    I recall that it was a rare event. It really depended on the speaker. We did have one in the interim where that happneed on a few occasions. Head bobbing was more numerous though (and here I thought you were nodding off in Church the whole time)! ;)
  12. no_one_of_onsequence

    no_one_of_onsequence stay human

    this is really interesting
    i never really knew where the word came from.
    thanks kids!