I Corinthians 14:6-19
In I Corinthians 14:15, 16 Paul said, “I will prayer with the spirit, and I also will pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. Otherwise, when you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say?” Paul is saying here, “If the one who leads the public prayer, prays in a foreign language that the audience cannot understand, how will the members of the church say, “Amen” at the end of the prayer.” When a public prayer was ended among the early Christians, it was the custom of the entire audience to say, “Amen.” Familiar to us from our infancy is the sound of this word, which has found a home wherever people have come to love the one true and living God and Jesus Christ His son. This word is heard often in the public assemblies of God's people.
This word has been adopted and without translation retained in most all languages, wherever the gospel of Christ has been preached. The Hebrew language is one of the most ancient languages of the human race. Some think that Hebrew may have been the one language of the whole earth before God confounded the language of the earth about 2300 B.C. It is noteworthy that this Hebrew word is transplanted in other languages but is seldom translated. Some of the modern translations translate the word into English words because people don't know what the Hebrews word amen means. There is such regard for the word that it is transplanted in many languages in its original Hebrews form, and it still flourishes today. This remarkable word has two different pronunciations. Some pronounce it a(A)men and others a(ah)men. But when used in hymns, it is always pronounced ahmen.
First of all, let's examine this word and ascertain its meaning. You have heard men say this word many times at the public worship. When you hear it said, what do you understand it to mean? It's literal meaning is, “So be it, so it is.” It signifies the idea of truthfulness, faithfulness and certainty. This amazing word is used in two different senses. The first meaning of this uttered word conveyed the thought that the thing said was most assuredly and most certainly true. The word was frequently used by religious teachers. To use this word before you said something conveyed the thought that the thing said was most assuredly and most certainly true. In addition, to use this word after you said something gave a sense of importance to the statement. This word, therefore was used to emphasize
important truth. This word means what I am about to say or have said is specially and exceedingly important. It is true and faithful and commands your special attention.. The word was used to assert and affirm truthfulness. It was used to affirm exceedingly important truths. We have no word like that in the English language. The closest English words to it are “Listen.”
“Attention,” or “Take Heed.”
Jesus used this word more than any other teacher in the Bible. Whenever Jesus said something specially solemn or important, into which He would throw the full weight of His authority, he asserted it by the doubling of the word, “Amen, Amen.” Some translators use the words, Verily, verily or Most Assuredly. Whenever you see these words, you should know know that He is saying Amen, Amen, and you are to give very close attention and study as to what He said. For example in John 3:3 Jesus said, “Amen, Amen, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” When Nicodemus questioned His meaning, Jesus answered, “Amen, Amen, I say unto you, Unless one be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God To see the kingdom and enter the kingdom means the same thing. By this amen amen statement Jesus taught the entire world that unless they are immersed in the water of baptism and are brought to faith and repentance by the Holy Spirit, they cannot enter into the kingdom of God. and be saved. To let the world understand that baptism is absolutely essential to salvation, He began the statement with Amen, amen. Most of the religious world does see the significance of these words of Jesus, for most churches teach that baptism is not essential to salvation. It is believed you are saved before baptism, and if that be true baptism is only for saved people. But this is not the teaching of Christ.
In addition to emphasizing important truths, it is also used express agreement with religious truth. or prayers. In this sense we use it at the close of prayers. It was customary in the early church when a man led the congregation in prayer, the entire congregation would say, “ Amen” which means “So be it.” When used like this it means, “I agree to what is said and this is my prayer too.” It was forbidden to offer a prayer in a foreign language in the assemblies because the people could not participate in it and make it their prayer too. There was no way to say Amen, for they did not know what he said.
Another impressive thing about this word is that it is an Old Testament term and a New Testament term. It is equally precious to both Jews and Christians. The Holy Spirit chose to use this word. 180 times in the Bible–27 times in the Old Testament and 150 times in the New.
One example of its use in the Old Testament is Psalm 106:48
which says, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting! And let all the people say Amen.” This was their way of saying, “That is our prayer too. We agree with it; So be it.” Thus it came to be used at the end of a prayer, a sentence, some important truth or a hymn. We are indebted to Israel, God's Old Testament people, for coining this word to use at the end of prayers and thanksgivings. That little word takes the place of a long sentence. It carries a lot of meeaning.
The custom of using this word passed from the Jewish synogogues into the worship assemblies of Christians. When solemn prayers were offered in Christian worship assemblies, the others responded with an amen. For some reason some congregations have seen fit to drop this custom. There is no command to do it. Perhaps the custom was discontinued by misuse in the assemblies. Over-zealous Christians are tempted to say amen when there is nothing to say Amen too, and putting an Amen in the wrong place. Too much of this sort of thing could be very distracting in worship. Some preachers think they say something so important that they say, “Someone give me an Amen out there.” It must not have been very important or they would have said Amen without being asked. . But whether we use it or not, it is a great word, this word, Amen.
Finally, the greatest thing about this word is that it one of the titles or names of Jesus Christ. In Revelation 3:14 Jesus said, “These things say The Amen, the faithful and true witness.” Jesus took this word as a personal title to Himself. We have already learned the word is a synonym for truth and faithfulness. So be it, so it is. This word applied to Jesus as a title means that Jesus is “The Truth.” The Absolute Truth. He is truth personified. When He speaks to us, let us say, “So be it.” Let us all say, “Amen” to him who is The Amen. God says yes to everything Jesus says; He is God's Amen.