I recently blogged about the use and meaning of amen. Although its use in modern circles is a bit perplexing – especially from preachers – amen does occur in the Bible. The NIV uses amen fifty-two times.
In forty-nine instances, over 90% of the time, the Bible uses “Amen” to conclude a prayer.
Once, in Revelation, Amen appears as a proper noun, an intriguing reference to God.
Another time, in Nehemiah, Ezra praises God and the people respond with “Amen, Amen,” as if saying, “We agree, we agree.” They repeat it for added emphasis.
Paul, in his second letter to the people in Corinth, uses amen in a perplexing way but which seems to simply mean “yes!”
In none of these examples do I see any biblical reason for preachers to use “amen” as an interjection (“Amen!”) or a question (“Amen?”) seeking a response.
Aside from the single use in Nehemiah, there’s no other biblical example of “Amen” being offered as a response by the congregation. Plus, in this case, it was offered as praise to God, not feedback for a preacher.
So, let’s follow the Bible and keep our “amens” at the ends of prayers and out of preaching.
A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.