What is the Origin of “Amen”

The word “Amen” makes its first appearance in the Bible under the most solemn circumstances. When a husband accused his wife of adultery, and she protested her innocence, and she had not been caught in the act, the matter was settled by God under the test of bitter water (Num 5:12-31). The woman was taken to the priest, and the priest put her under oath. She submitted to a ceremony in which she drank some water containing dust from the tabernacle floor. If she had committed adultery, she was cursed with a wasting disease, but if she did not get sick, then she was proven innocent and her husband was proven wrong.

During the ceremony, when the priest pronounced the curse, the woman was required by God to say, “Amen, Amen”. (Num 5:22). That is the first occurrence of the word in scripture. The woman was saying, “So be it!” Or “That’s the truth!”

Some scholars think that he word “Amen” goes back a long way. Some think it is of pagan origin (there was an Egyptian god called Amen-Ra). Nevertheless, we see its first use in the Bible when we read it in Numbers 5:22.

Why do we say “Amen”?

The word “Amen” is almost always the last word of a solemn statement. In the first example, it was said by the woman at the end of the priest’s pronouncement of the curse and of her taking the oath. We find the word “Amen” as the last word in several instances in the Bible.

  • The word is found in the last verses of the Bible (Rev 22:20-21).
  • The first three books of Psalms end with Amen (Psalm 41:13, Psalm 72:19, Psalm 89:52).
  • Most books of the New Testament end with it.
  • In the land of Israel, when a prayer or prophecy was made, or a law of God was read, “All the people said, “Amen”” (Nehemiah 5:13, 8:6).
  • The Lord’s example prayer ends with “Amen” (Matthew 6:13).
  • Paul uses the word seven times in his letter to the Romans at the end of doxologies or benedictions (Romans 1:25, Romans 9:5, Romans 11:36, Romans 15:33, Romans 16:20,24,27)
  • Paul implies that people should say “Amen” at the end of a prayer in church (1Corinthians14:16).

The word “Amen” is to agree with what has just been said. It means, ‘yes,’ ‘so be it,’  ‘right on,’ ‘I agree!”

Jesus and the Word “Amen”  

More often than not the word ‘Amen’ was used at the end of a statement. But we see occasions where Jesus used it at the beginning of a statement.  In John 3:3 Jesus used  the word twice in succession, at the beginning of a statement.  “Truly, Truly, I say to you…”. Other translations like the New King James use the phrase, ‘Most assuredly.’ These phrases are all saying the same thing, “Amen”.

The underlying meaning of the word “Amen” is truth and verity. It is a solemn affirmation. When we say, “Amen” we are saying, “Yes before God I agree with that, I believe that to be true, I want that to be so”.

Different Ways of Saying The Same Thing

Instead saying, “Amen and Amen” in Jeremiah 28:6, the prophet Jeremiah paraphrased the second Amen by saying, ‘The Lord do so,”

In Isaiah 65:16 we see that one of the titles of God is The God of Truth. If we left out the last word ‘truth,’ the title would read, “The God of Amen” (Isaiah 65:16).

In 2 Corinthians 1:20 Paul uses the word ‘Amen’ as an affirmation of what he just said about Christ, ” For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen.”

One of the names of Jesus is “The Amen, the Faithful and True Witness (Rev 3:14).

These passages show us that the word “Amen” is a solemn affirmation of truth, a special word that we can use whenever we have said (or heard) something that is true before God.

Throughout the remainder of this year you can rest the destiny of your soul on the promises of God, for they are assuredly true and all together lovely.

“The Lord Do So!”                                                                                                                                  “So Be It! “                                                                                                                                             “Right On! “                                                                                                                                         “That’s a Fact! “                                                                                                                                       “I Agree!”                                                                                                                                             “You Can Depend on It!”                                                                                                            “That’s The Truth!”                                                                                                                           “Let it Be.”                                                                                                                                         “God said it, I Believe it, That Settles It!”                                                                             “Awesome!” “Amen!”

The Best Is Yet To Be.

Pastor Bob