SPECIAL TOPIC: AMEN

I. OLD TESTAMENT

A. The term "Amen" is from a Hebrew word for

1. "truth" (emeth, BDB 49)

2. "truthfulness" (emun, emunah, BDB 53)

3. "faith" or "faithfulness"

4. "trust" (dmn, BDB 52)

B. Its etymology denoted a person's stable physical stance. The opposite would be one who is unstable, slipping (cf. Psalm 35:6; 40:2; 73:18; Jeremiah 23:12) or stumbling (cf. Ps. 73:2). From this literal usage developed the metaphorical extension of faithful, trustworthy, loyal, and dependable (cf. Hab. 2:4).

C. Special usages (see Special Topic: Believe, Trust, Faith, and Faithfulness in the OT)

1. a pillar, 2 Kgs. 18:16 (1 Tim. 3:15) 

2. assurance, Exod. 17:12 

3. steadiness, Exod. 17:12 

4. stability, Isa. 33:6

5. true, 1 Kgs. 10:6; 17:24; 22:16; Pro. 12:22

6. firm, 2 Chr. 20:20; Isa. 7:9

7. reliable (Torah), Ps. 119:43,142,151,160

D. In the OT two other Hebrew terms are used for active faith.

1. bathach (BDB 105), trust

2. yra (BDB 431), fear, respect, worship (cf. Gen. 22:12)

E. From the sense of trust or trustworthiness developed a liturgical usage which was used to affirm a true or trustworthy statement of another (cf. Num. 5:22; Deut. 27:15-26; 1 Kgs. 1:36; 1 Chr. 16:36; Neh. 5:13; 8:6; Ps. 41:13; 72:19; 89:52; 106:48; Jer. 11:5; 28:6).

F. The theological key to this term is not mankind's faithfulness, but YHWH's (cf. Exod. 34:6; Deut. 32:4; Ps. 108:4; 115:1; 117:2; 138:2). Fallen humanity's only hope is the merciful, faithful, covenant loyalty of YHWH and His promises. Those who know YHWH are to be like Him (cf. Hab. 2:4). The Bible is a history and a record of God restoring His image (cf. Gen. 1:26-27) in mankind. Salvation restores mankind's ability to have intimate fellowship with God. This is why we were created.

 

II. NEW TESTAMENT

A. The use of the word "amen" as a concluding liturgical affirmation of a statement's trustworthiness is common in the NT (cf. 1 Cor. 14:16; Rev. 1:7; 5:14; 7:12).

B. The use of the term as a close to a prayer is common in the NT (cf. Rom. 1:25; 9:5; 11:36; 16:27; Gal. 1:5; 6:18; Eph. 3:21; Phil. 4:20; 2 Thess. 3:18; 1 Tim. 1:17; 6:16; 2 Tim. 4:18).

C. Jesus is the only one who used the term (doubled in John 25 times, i.e., John 1:51; 3:3,5,11; etc.) to introduce significant statements (cf. Luke 4:24; 12:37; 18:17,29; 21:32; 23:43).

D. It is used as a title for Jesus in Rev. 3:14 (also note 2  Cor. 1:20, possibly a title of YHWH from Isa. 65:16).

E. The concept of faithfulness or faith, trustworthiness, or trust is expressed in the Greek term pistos or pistis, which is translated into English as "trust," "faith," "believe" (see Special Topic: Faith, Believe, or Trust).

 

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