Saying “Amen” During the Sermon. Bible Question.
“We have a new member at our congregation who is constantly saying, ‘Amen’, during the sermon. I have no problem with this, but some in the congregation have expressed concern, saying it seems denominational. I have not been able to find a scriptural reference for or against this practice. Can you shed some light on it?”
To say, “Amen”, is to agree. The word simply means, “let it be so”. It is a simple method of expressing agreement. We finish our prayers with “amen” as a way of expressing confidence that God will hear our prayers and act on it as we have requested. “Amen” simply means “I agree”. Can we say “Amen” during an assembly? Notice what Moses told the children of Israel do . . .
“‘Cursed is the man who makes an idol or a molten image, an abomination to the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’ And all the people shall answer and say, ‘Amen.’” – Deuteronomy 27:15 (New American Standard Bible)
Moses goes on to describe another 11 things that the entire congregation was to say “Amen” to. That is, the body of believers in the Old Testament were encouraged to respond verbally with agreement when the words of the law were read or spoken. A similar pattern is revealed in Paul’s discussion of worship in 1 Corinthians 14 . . .
“So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding. Otherwise when you are praising God in the Spirit, how can someone else, who is now put in the position of an inquirer,say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since they do not know what you are saying? You are giving thanks well enough, but no one else is edified.” – 1 Corinthians 14:15 – 17
Paul says that our worship should be understood by others. If they cannot understand our words, our songs, our prayers, how can they say the “Amen”? That is, the people who assembled to worship were expected to respond to prayers of the worshipers with some sort of verbal agreement.
From this I believe it is a good thing to say you agree with the sermon, or the prayer, or a particular song. Discretion must be used that your response not be rude or disruptive. Our worship should be conducted “properly and in an orderly manner” (1 Corinthians 14:40). . .
“What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.” – 1 Corinthians 14:26
Whatever is done in the assembly of the church for worship should be done to build up the body of believers. That would include saying, “amen”. I believe it is a good thing, but discretion should be used that it not interfere with the worship, but edify the body.