The Meaning of “Amen”

Saying “Amen”

Genevan Institute for Reformed Studies
by Bob Burridge ©2011

Christians across all denominational boundaries use the biblical word “amen” to end their prayers or to express their agreement and enthusiasm to the wonderful promises and works of God. The word appears 78 times in the King James Version of the Bible. It’s an ancient custom that continues today.

When David had the recaptured Ark of the Covenant brought back to the Tabernacle in Jerusalem, he wrote a dedication Psalm which is recorded in 1 Chronicles 16:8-36. It ends this way, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel From everlasting to everlasting! And all the people said, “Amen!” and praised the Lord.”

When true and good things were said about God, his people showed their agreement by saying “Amen”. But what does the word mean? It’s one of the few Hebrew words that have survived into almost every language where the Bible has had an influence on it’s people.

“Amen” is the Hebrew word ahmaen (אםן). It means “to confirm, to support, to be firm, to be sure, to be true.” The Greek New Testament writings used the the same word but written in the Greek alphabet as, ahmaen (αμην). We’ve even brought this Hebrew word into English unchanged except for the pronunciation. People have Anglicized it to “aymen” or “ahmen”.

Since God is truth, “Amen” is often used as a name for God. Deuteronomy 7:9 uses a form of amaen (אםן) when it says the “Faithful God” hael ha-neahman (האל הנאמן). Isaiah 65:16 twice speaks of the “God of Truth”, “the God of Amen.” elohae ahmaen (אלהי אמן). In Revelation 3:14 Jesus Christ is called “the Amen” ho ahmaen (ο αμην).

When you put “Amen” at the end of your prayers, it keeps this same basic meaning. It’s not a required way to conclude our words addressed to God. Not all prayers in the Bible end with an “Amen.” When it’s there, it wraps up the prayer by saying the word “truth.”

When you close your prayer that way, you’re saying that everything in your prayer is offered sincerely and is true. It’s all spoken from the honest hope and desire of your heart. It means you’re confident that the promises your prayers rest upon are true. They must be because God’s word is a solid and certain foundation, and God cannot lie.

The model prayer our Lord gave us in Matthew 6:9-13 ends with the word “amen”. It places the exclamation of “truth!” after all seven petitions. It confirms that the God to whom you pray is the all powerful and eternal King, and that in Christ he loves you and redeemed you with an infinitely great price. What an amazing set of truths are set forth in that prayer. Our God can deliver on all the things for which you are told to pray.

(Note: The Bible quotations in this article are from the New King James Bible unless otherwise noted.)

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About Bob Burridge

I've taught Science, Bible, Math, Computer Programming and served 25 years as Pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Pinellas Park, Florida. I'm now Executive Director of the ministry of the Genevan Institute for Reformed Studies

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