One of the benefits of doing street evangelism is that it’s a continuing education.  You can always learn new ways to approach people with the gospel and how to respond to various objections.   Individuals will occasionally ask questions that should inspire the soul winner to dig deeper into the word of God.

I remember one time when I ministered to three boys playing near a school.  After I led them all to the Lord, one of the boys asked if it was necessary to say “amen” at the end of every prayer.  I told him I didn’t think so but advised him to always pray to the Father in Jesus’ name.  As I pondered the boy’s question, I wanted to learn more about the origin of the word “amen.”

Amen is a Hebrew word meaning, “so be it” or “let it be.”  It’s something many Christians say when they agree with what’s being said by the preacher.  “Amen” is sung at the end of some traditional hymns.  It’s also a word found at the end of every book in the New Testament except for Acts, James, and 3 John.  Some ministers preach that “amen” is not the closing word in the Book of Acts because God wants His present-day saints to continue doing the work of the ministry like the early apostles until Jesus returns.

I learned from a Christian software program that “amen” has much more significance than merely being the last word in a prayer.  In fact, there is not evidence of this practice in the Bible.  For example, in Deuteronomy 27:15-26 (where “amen” appears twelve times) the people responded with “amen” after each statement of a curse directed toward those who disobey God.  Similarly, “amen” is used as a response after statements of promise (Jeremiah 11:5) or of praise and thanksgiving (1 Chronicles 16:36), and as a conclusion to the first four of the five “books” of Psalms (Psalms 41:13; 72:19; 89:52; 106:48).  The only exceptions in the Old Testament are two occurrences in Isaiah 65:16.  There, the phrase “the God of amen” (or “the God of truth”) stresses that God is the one who is “firm”; that is, He is completely trustworthy and faithfully fulfills his promises.

The use of “amen” as a response to a preceding statement is continued in the New Testament epistles and the book of Revelation.  It appears after doxologies (Ephesians 3:21), benedictions (Galatians 6:18), the giving of thanks (1 Corinthians 14:16), prophecy (Revelation 1:7), and statements of praise (Revelation 7:12).  From 1 Corinthians 14:16 it is clear that a response of “amen” after a statement of thanks was a means for worshipers to participate by showing agreement with what had been said.

So be it.

“Dear brothers and sisters, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.  Amen.” 
- Galatians 6:18


Popular posts from this blog

Teacher of the Ear

Toking the Ghost Revisited

A Eulogy for My Mom