What does Amen mean? And why do we use it? Most Christians use a certain word almost every day—every time we pray—without even thinking. We know it’s the right word to use. But, if we’re honest, we don’t really know what it means or why we say it. The word is Amen. Know what I mean?
I use the word Amen at the end of every prayer. When someone else prays at the front of church, I know I’m supposed to join in with a hearty “Amen!” at the end. But exactly what does Amen mean? And why do we use it?
What Does Amen Mean in the Bible?
In 2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV), Paul writes, “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.” This verse is written in the context of God’s faithfulness, especially when it comes to sending Jesus as the answer to his promises.
When God makes promises, he doesn’t include any “maybes.” Instead, he speaks with certainty and decisiveness. When it comes to saving us from sin, God doesn’t say “maybe” or “I’ll think about it.” Rather, he says yes. And because of God’s faithfulness, all of God’s people can shout out “Amen!”
In this Bible passage, there’s a sense of agreement about the use of the word Amen. When we use this word, we’re saying we agree with what someone is saying. If we go back to the original Greek, the word Amen means “truly.”
So what does Amen mean? Basically, it means, “I hear what you’re saying, and I think it’s true, and I want in on it. I want to publicly declare that I agree with what’s being said.”
In the Old Testament, God’s people use Amen when they, as a big group, accept that something is true and also accept the consequences of saying it. The same is true today.
Amen to that!
What does Amen mean in public? When you say Amen in church after someone has prayed, you’re saying, “I agree.” You’re saying, “God, that prayer that the person up the front just prayed? I want those things too. I think they are true and right and proper, and I want to say those things to you as well.”
So be careful when you use the word Amen. Don’t say it just because the prayer has finished. Don’t say it just because everyone else is saying it. Instead, listen carefully to what someone is saying and praying. Recognize that by saying Amen, you are praying as well. And God is listening!
Amen is better than applause
When I’m attending a big Christian event and someone finishes preaching God’s Word, I dislike it when people sometimes applaud. Have you ever come across this? I’m sure their hearts are in the right place. They want to acknowledge that what the speaker has said has been heard and that they appreciate what has been said. I get that. I think the intention is good.