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In the Greek text for Matthew 5:18, the word “amēn” is used at the beginning of the sentence. From my understanding, this was used to express that the following statement was true or held in high regard. The same word, “amēn,” was used to end a prayer. In most English translations, amēn is translated to “truly” or “verily.” Is there a reason why it could not be left at the English “amen?” If amen in English means “so be it,” then why can’t it be used before the sentence in the same way it was in the Greek?

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According to BDAG, the word ἀμήν is transliterated from the Hebrew and has two basic meanings:

  1. strong affirmation of what is being said
  • (a) as expression of faith, let it be so, truly, amen, eg, 1 Cor 4:16, Rev 5:14, Matt 5:13, Rom 1:25, 9:5, 11:36, etc
  • (b) assertive particle, truly, always with λέγω beginning a solemn declaration; but only used by Jesus (I assure you that, I solemnly tell you) Matt 5:18, 26, 6:2, 5, 16, 8:10, Mark 3:28, etc.
  1. Christ as the ultimate affirmation, the Amen, eg, Rev 3:14.

Thus, Matt 5:18 is as listed above - a solemn declaration; but only used by Jesus (I assure you that, I solemnly tell you).

The practice ending a prayer with "amen" dates at least from NT times.

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  • Ah, thanks! So it wouldn’t be incorrect for it to be translated as “Amen, I tell you…?” Commented Nov 17, 2022 at 2:12
  • But it wouldn’t follow guidelines? Commented Nov 17, 2022 at 2:12
  • @awholegnuworld - we must distinguish between a title of Jesus and the assertive particle. In the presence of the verb "lego" (Isay) it is always the latter.
    – Dottard
    Commented Nov 17, 2022 at 6:53
  • Ah, I get it. Thanks! Commented Nov 18, 2022 at 13:09

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