The Case Against Saying 'Amen' to Everything

Updated on December 18, 2017
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Rev. Margaret Minnicks writes for three different websites: Blasting News, HubPages, and Vocal. She loves sharing interesting things.

Saying "Amen"

Some people have gotten into the habit of saying, "Amen" to everything. Therefore, nothing stands out. Sometimes people say it without even thinking about what they are agreeing to.

"Amen" means "it is so" or "so be it."

About Amen

"Amen" in its truest form comes at the end of a prayer, creed, or a statement that is absolutely true. It is used to express solemn ratification or agreement.

"Amen" comes at the end of the model prayer known as "Our Father" found in Matthew 6:13. "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen."

"Amen" Means the Same Thing in Hebrew and Greek

Amen in the Bible means just about the same thing in Hebrew in the Old Testament as it does in Greek in the New Testament.

In both sections of the Bible, it means "so be it," or "it is so." It is the personal affirmation of the person who says the word. That's why is not good to say "amen" to a statement that you do not agree with just because others are saying it. The statement said that comes before your "amen" might not be your personal affirmation or ratification at that particular time.

Jesus Used "Amen" a Different Way

Jesus frequently used the word “amen,” but He used it at the beginning of His sentences. That's because He was agreeing with His Father. before He said it to His audience. He often said, "Verily, verily" or "truly, truly." For example, in John 5:24 He said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life.” In other words, He was saying "Amen, Amen" before He made His statement.

When Jesus said "Amen" twice or repeats it, He was emphasizing whatever He was about to say. He did that to indicate that what He was about to say was the absolute truth.

Jesus introduced His teaching by saying "amen" on nearly seventy occasions in the Gospels. Thirty of those times are in Matthew, thirteen in Mark, six in Luke, and twenty in John, where the "amen" is always doubled.

Double and Triple "Amens"

In Psalm 41:13 the psalmist says “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen.” What David concludes in this psalm about the graciousness of God is not only one amen but he repeats it. In the Jewish literature, this is the greatest emphasis possible.

The only greater emphasis that is possible in Jewish literature is to say it or write it three times and that is only reserved when referring to God where it is said that He is “holy, holy, holy” in Isaiah 6 and some other places.

More Amens on Facebook Than in the Bible

There are more "Amens" on Facebook than in the Bible. There is a space for people to comment. However, instead of commenting, too many people simply type "Amen" and agree to things they haven't given much thought to. They simply follow what others are doing. Needless to say, some things people say "Amen" too many things that they really shouldn't.

Sometimes, there are 99 amens out of 100 posts when a personal comment would have been better. A good example of that is if someone posts that a groom kills his new wife on their wedding day, instead of stating an opinion about the situation, some people take a shortcut and simply type "Amen." In that case, the word "Amen" is out of order.

People should not ask others to type "Amen" to something they have posted. It is manipulation when they do that. An "Amen" should come freely and not after a request has been made.

Warning About Saying "Amen"

A person should never say "Amen" to something he does not agree to and believe. Whenever someone says the word, he becomes an accessory to what he is agreeing to.

No one should ever say "Amen" just because others are saying it. Instead, it is very appropriate if someone is in personal agreement with something that has just been stated. Saying "Amen" after a statement that has been said is acknowledging the statement is true.

Everything the preacher says in the pulpit should be true. Does that mean an "Amen" should be shouted throughout the entire sermon?

Saying "Amen" to everything is like highlighting an entire page of text. Attention is called to EVERYTHING. Therefore, NOTHING stands out.

Saying "Amen" in Church

People say "Amen" in some churches, especially in the traditional black churches. They say it unnecessarily after everything the preacher says. Whenever they do so, nothing stands out. It is better to wait until something very profound is said.

Sometimes people say the word out of habit, and sometimes they say it just because others are saying it. That should not be.

Some preachers have a habit of making a statement and then questions the congregation such "God is good, Amen?" This is getting the congregation to respond. That should not be. Some preachers go so far as to ask, "Can I get an Amen? Amens should not be requested. They should be freely given.

Once a pastor asked his associate ministers to meet with him after he had preached a morning service. He reprimanded them for not saying "Amen" while he was preaching. That should not have been. It doesn't speak too highly of a preacher who gets upset when people in the congregation don't say, "Amen." Perhaps he didn't say anything worthy of them saying "Amen" to.

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    • revmjm profile image
      Author

      Margaret Minnicks 7 weeks ago from Richmond, VA

      Happy New Year, Ronald! Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E Franklin 8 weeks ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      I think you're right about churchgoers too often responding "amen" without really thinking about what was said. On the other hand, when "amen" signifies agreement with a significant statement of truth, it's very much in order.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 2 months ago from U.S.A.

      You are right. Thanks.

    • revmjm profile image
      Author

      Margaret Minnicks 2 months ago from Richmond, VA

      I belong to a Black church and sometimes there are just too many "Amens." The pastor walks to the pulpit and says, "Good Morning," and the response is "Amen."

      Thanks for getting the point of my article. I did not say to never say "Amen." I wanted to express that it is not necessary to respond to EVERYTHING that way.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 2 months ago from U.S.A.

      Wonderful article. I've also read that in Black churches, saying "amen" has something to do with keeping the rhythm of the service alive by engaging in the traditional "call and response" pattern of music, extending from the dead and gone African religions.

      I agree with you completely. This article was informative because the word "amen" has a special meaning in the Christian faith. We don't want to forget that when we attend our churches or respond, even in church, to each other. Thank you, my Hub Pages friend.

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