Amen in the Bible
In forty-nine instances, over 90% of the time, the Bible uses “Amen” to conclude a prayer.
Once, in Revelation 3:14, Amen appears as a proper noun, an intriguing reference to God.
Another time, in Nehemiah 8:5-6, 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. And 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.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.