(December 14, 2019) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share Christmas and beyond-centred thoughts…
Had interesting phone calls last week from Israel – very early in the morning(!) being evening up there – from a Bible college in Jerusalem inviting me (Robert) to be involved in one of its language programs.
That’s timely, I thought, especially as a Middle-Eastern church had recently suggested I take on the deanship of a proposed Bible college and I was aware that language knowledge/interpretation would be involved there too. In both cases understanding and explaining certain words would be important; especially as some countries’ grammar is limited whereas English is so expansive!
That affirmative ‘Amen’
Now Hebrew is the language most commonly used in everyday life in Israel and this Israeli lady (let’s just call her Sarah) asked me if I knew what certain biblical words really meant in modern everyday Hebrew language. I didn’t have a chance to say anything for she promptly reeled off ‘Do you know what “Amen” really means, Dr Robert?’ And before I could say that I did, ‘Sarah’ went into an in-depth explanation… to which I quickly got in an ‘Amen’ indicating my agreement.
Some people have wrongly considered the word to indicate a soft, quiet ‘Selah-type pause’ or merely the right thing to say after prayers… but it’s actually quite a strong word, meaning ‘to agree.’
It’s a declaration of affirmation, used colloquially to express strong agreement, thus affirming that we firmly believe in what has just been said.
For example the ’Amen’ of the great commission of Matthew 28:19-20 indicates vigorously agreeing with Jesus to get the gospel ‘out there.
That popular ‘Noel’
Of course one thing leads to another! Later we were tinkering with our new versatile Google Home musical unit and heard the most beautiful rendition of that well-loved The First Noel Christmas carol. (more…)