Though most of us have heard the word “amen” used since we were “knee high to a grasshopper”, it is quite likely we are not familiar with the following facts about this word:
- The English word “amen” is a transliteration of both the Hebrew (in the Old Testament) and Greek (in the New Testament) words. A transliteration is the transfer of letters (not meaning) from one language to another. The Hebrew word is spelled a-m-e-n; the Greek word is spelled a-m-e-n. (The word “baptize” is another transliterated word. The Greek word is baptizo. Most English translations contain the Anglican transliteration [i.e. “baptize”], not a translation [i.e. “to dip, plunge, immerse, bury”—see Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12].)
- “Amen” is first used in the Scriptures in Numbers 5:22. In this passage, it is the response to be given by a woman whose husband suspects her of adultery and has brought her to an Old Testament priest who has placed her under a severe curse should her husband’s suspicions be true.
- “Amen” occurs most often in the 27th chapter of Deuteronomy. Here, it is intended to be the response given by God’s people when the Israelites renew their covenant with Jehovah after entering the Promised Land. Again, it is in the setting of agreeing to God’s curses. This time the curses are upon idolatry, disrespect of parents, dishonesty, mistreatment of the vulnerable, sexual impurity and deviancy, bribery, and disobedience to God’s word (vv. 14-26).
- “Amen” is used in reference to God (“the God of truth/Amen” in Isaiah 65:16).
- “Amen” is used in reference to Jesus—“the Amen, the faithful and true witness” (Revelation 3:14).
- “Amen” is not only used on earth, it is also used in heaven (Revelation 5:12-14, 7:11-12, 19:4).
There is more to “amen” than many people realize.