Posts tagged hebrew
There are quite a few words that you’ll only ever hear in church. For instance, you’ll often hear invitations to a ‘fellowship’ activity announced on a Sunday morning, but the chances are you won’t use the word fellowship to invite your friend over for a BBQ or to watch the Super Bowl. One word that is used today, in churches all around the world, is the word Amen. Although many people use it in the right context, some may not actually know what it means. So what does the word Amen actually mean?
Amen is an ancient Hebrew word and is primarily used in three ways in the scriptures:
At the beginning of a discourse/statement/sermon. In these cases Amen would often mean (and be translated) as verily, or truly.
- Matthew 5:18 is an example of this:
“For truly [Amen], I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”
In the Old Testament it’s also used as a descriptor of the character of God being true and/or faithful.
- Deuteronomy 7:9 says, “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful [Amen]God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.”
See also: Isa. 49:7, 65:16.
The most common placement of Amen is at the end of a prayer, sermon, or statement - as an agreement. It could then be translated as ‘so be it’, ‘so it is’, or ‘may it be fulfilled’. These still have the similar ideas of truth, faith, or belief in.
- The Bible actually ends with this affirmation in Revelation 22:20-21: “He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.”
So, while many people haven’t researched the Hebrew roots, chances are, most have always had a basic understanding of what Amen means and have been using it in the right context. Hopefully this helps give you a bit larger picture of the meaning and you can shout, “Amen” with more authority the next time your Pastor is preaching.
If you’re interested in doing similar word studies on your own, consider buying a Bible with Strong’s or a Bible Dictionary like Vine’s that make word study as easy as a click or tap in The Bible Study App.
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The Bible – from Old to New Testament – was written over a span of 1500 years by forty different human authors in three different languages; Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.
With the exception of a few verses written in Aramaic the entire Old Testament was written in Hebrew. Isaiah 19:18 calls it the language of Canaan while other verses call it ‘Judean’ or the ‘language of the Jews. Ancient Hebrew dates back to before 1500 B.C.
Many people assume that the New Testament is also written in Hebrew but by the time Jesus was born many Jews actually didn’t speak it anymore. When Rome had conquered Greece the influence of Greek culture had spread throughout the empire and so the popular language during the time the New Testament is koine (common Greek).
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The Hebrew Bible: Westminster Leningrad Codex digital text is a project of the Groves Center based on the Leningrad Codex, Firkovich B19A, residing in the Russian National Library. The Leningrad Codex is the oldest, complete manuscript of the Hebrew Bible, dated to around 1008 AD. It serves as the basis for the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS), which has updated the Leningrad Codex text in several hundred places.
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