"Amen, Amen" Sayings in the Fourth Gospel compiled by Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.
In the Hebrew Bible, the word "Amen" connotes agreement, certainty, faithfulness.
It was simply transliterated amhn in Greek and
thus also "amen" in most modern languages. It is used at the end
of some psalms, curses, blessings, prayers, and prophecies to allow the
hearers/readers to say, "So be it!" or "Yes, I agree!" (Deut
27:15-26; 1Kings 1:36; 1Chron 16:36; Neh 5:13; Ps 106:48; Jer 28:6).
Sometimes it is repeated twice for emphasis (Num 5:22; Neh
8:6; Ps 41:13; 72:19; 89:52).
Similarly in the NT, "Amen" is used 28 times at the end of doxologies,
blessings, and other prayers (Rom 1:25; 9:5; 11:36; 15:33;
16:27; 1Cor 14:16; 2Cor 1:20; Gal 1:5; 6:18; Eph
3:21; Phil 4:20; 1Thess 3:13; 1Tim 1:17; 6:16;
2Tim 4:18; Heb 13:21; 1Peter 4:11; 5:11; 2Peter 3:18;
Jude 1:25; Rev 1:6, 7; 3:14; 5:14; 7:12 [twice]; 19:4; 22:20).
It is also used 101 times in the four Gospels, but with some major differences:
The only person who says "Amen" in the Gospels is Jesushimself
(with the exception of the "shorter ending" of Mark--usually added just
in Matt 25:12, 40, 45, the characters in the parables who use this expression
clearly represent Jesus.
Jesus uses the phrase, "Amen, I say to you...," at the beginningof his own statements, rather than in response to what someone else
thus, it is not an expression of agreement, but a literary device for emphasizing
what he says subsequently.
In the Synoptic Gospels, this expression is used a total
of fifty times by Jesus and the parabolic characters (13 in Mk; 31 in Mt;
only 6 in Lk);
it is translated "Verily I say unto you... (KJV); "Truly, I say to you..."
(RSV); "Truly, I tell you" (NRSV); etc.
In the Fourth Gospel, the expression is used 25 times, again
only by Jesus, but always with a doubled "Amen, Amen" for extra
this is like saying "Hear Ye, Hear Ye" - as used by royal messengers or
town criers in medieval England.
It is sometimes translated literally: "Verily, verily, I say unto you." (KJV); "Truly, truly,
I say to you" (RSV); "Amen, Amen, I say
to you..." (NAB);
but other English Bibles render it more colloquially: "Very truly, I tell
you" (NRSV); "I tell you the truth" (NIV), etc.
These twenty-five "Amen, Amen" sayings contain some of the most important
things said and claims made by Jesus in the Fourth Gospel:
Sayings of the Johannine Jesus that begin,
"Amen, Amen, I Say to You..." (RSV translation below):
To Nathanael in Galilee:
1:51 And he said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you,
you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending
upon the Son of man."
To Nicodemus in Jerusalem:
3:3 Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you,
unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
3:5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless
one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God."
3:11 "Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what
we know, and bear witness to what we have seen; but you do not receive
To the Jews in Jerusalem after a Sabbath Healing:
5:19 Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you,
the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father
doing; for whatever he does, that the Son does likewise.
5:24 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my
word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into
judgment, but has passed from death to life."
5:25 "Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming,
and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those
who hear will live."
To the Crowds in Galilee after the Multiplication of the
6:26 Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you,
you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of
6:32 Jesus then said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to
you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven; my Father
gives you the true bread from heaven."
6:47 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes
has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life."
6:53 So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you,
unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have
no life in you; 54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal
life, and I will raise him up at the last day."
To the Jews in Jerusalem at the Feast of Tebernacles:
8:34 Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you,
every one who commits sin is a slave to sin."
8:51 "Truly, truly, I say to you, if any one keeps
my word, he will never see death."
8:58 Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you,
before Abraham was, I am."
To the Pharisees in Jerusalem after the Healing of the
Man Born Blind:
10:1 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not
enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man
is a thief and a robber; 2 but he who enters by the door is the shepherd
of the sheep."
10:7 So Jesus again said to them, "Truly, truly, I say
to you, I am the door of the sheep."
To the Disciples after the Entry into Jerusalem:
12:24 "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain
of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies,
it bears much fruit."
To the Disciples after the Washing of the Feet:
13:16 "Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not
greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent
13:20 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives
any one whom I send receives me; and he who receives me receives him who
13:21 When Jesus had thus spoken, he was troubled in spirit,
and testified, "Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray
To Simon Peter at the Last Supper:
13:38 "Truly, truly, I say to you, the cock will not
crow, till you have denied me three times."
To all the Disciples at the Last Supper:
14:12 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes
in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will
he do, because I go to the Father."
16:20 "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and
lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow
will turn into joy."
16:23 "Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask anything
of the Father, he will give it to you in my name."
To Simon Peter after the Resurrection:
21:18 "Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young,
you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you
will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where
you do not wish to go."