The word Amen (Hebrew: אמן, meaning "Firm" or "Verily," Arabic آمين ’Āmīn) is a declaration of positive affirmation found in the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, and in the Holy Qur'an. English translations of the word include, "So be it," "Truly," and "Let it be." Colloquially, it can also mean "I agree," or "Well said."
The word is widely used in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Muslims say "Amen" (or, more correctly, Āmīn) as the standard ending to the Dua (Supplication). For Jews and Christians of different denominations, the term "Amen" is often adopted in worship and hymns as a conclusion to prayers, or as a jubilant response to a sermon.
For billions of people around the world, the word "Amen" affirms their connection with God. It therefore brings comfort, peace and solace. Just as there are different types and forms of prayer (for example; petitionary prayer and prayer of thanksgiving), the word "Amen" can be expressed internally or externally, in public or in private.
In English, the word "Amen" has two common pronunciations: Ahh-men or Ay-men. The Ahh-men pronunciation is the one that is used in performances of classical music, in churches with more formalized rituals and liturgy and liberal Evangelical Protestant denominations. The ay-men pronunciation, a product of the Great Vowel Shift dating to the fifteenth century, is associated with Irish Protestantism and conservative Evangelical Protestant denominations generally, and the pronunciation that is typically sung in gospel music. Increasingly, anglophone Roman Catholics are adopting the "ay-men" pronunciation.
Jews usually pronounce the word as it is pronounced in Hebrew: "ah-MAIN."
Amen in Judaism
Amen is derived from the Hebrew word emuna or "faith" with the same linguistic root, implying that one is affirming with, and of, "the faith" of Judaism (and its belief in Monotheism). Some Judaism have seen in the word Amen acronym for אל (’El) מלך (melek) נאמן (ne’eman), meaning "God, King [who is] Trustworthy."
In traditional and modern Jewish liturgy, "Amen" is often used by a congregation as a way to affirm and subscribe to the words uttered previously by whomever leads the prayer.
Amen in Christianity
In the Book of Revelation, Jesus calls himself "the Amen, the faithful and true witness" (Revelation 3:14). The uses of amen in the Gospels is notable because Jesus used the word to affirm his own utterances, not those of another person, and this usage was adopted by the church :
- "The liturgical use of the word in apostolic times is attested by the passage from 1 Corinthians.... Justin Martyr (c. 150) describes the congregation as responding "amen," to the benediction after the celebration of the Eucharist. Its introduction into the baptismal formula (in the Greek Orthodox Church it is pronounced after the name of each person of the Trinity) is probably later. Among certain Gnostic sects Amen became the name of an angel and in post-biblical Jewish works exaggerated statements are multiplied as to the right method and the bliss of pronouncing it."
In the King James Bible, the word amen is preserved in a number of contexts. Notable ones include:
- The catechism of curses of the Law found in Deuteronomy 27:15.
- A double amen ("amen and amen") occurs in Psalm 89.
- The custom of closing prayers with amen originates in the Lord's Prayer at Matthew 6:13
- Amen occurs in several doxology formulas in Romans 1:25, 9:5, 11:36, 15:33, and several times in Chapter 16.
- It concludes all of Paul's general epistles.
- Amen concludes the New Testament at Rev. 22:21.
Amen in Islam
- Classic Encyclopedia: Amen Retrieved July 23, 2007.
- Ansh, Tamar. Let's Say Amen! Feldheim, 2006. ISBN 978-1583309209
- Archibald, Chestina Mitchell. Say Amen: The African-American Family's Book of Prayers. Plume, 1998. ISBN 978-0452277298
- Bosman, Leonard. Amen: The Key to the Universe. Kessinger Publishing, 2003. ISBN 978-0766132696
- Gwathmey, Emily, Suzanne Slesin and Stafford Cliff. Amen: Prayers and Blessings from Around the World. Studio, 1995. ISBN 978-0670860456
- Hughes, Kathleen. Saying Amen: A Mystagogy of Sacrament. Liturgy Training Publications, 1999. ISBN 978-1568542393
- Sims, Patsy. Can Somebody Shout Amen!: Inside the Tents and Tabernacles of American Revivalists. University Press of Kentucky; Reprint, 1996. ISBN 978-0813108865
All links retrieved March 10, 2016.
- Catholic Encyclopedia: Amen
- The Laws of Responding Amen in Judaism
- Strong's Concordance H543
- Strong's Concordance G281
- Amen: a Pagan Word?
- Ancient Egypt and Biblical Similarities
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