Amen Versus Oh My

For years I have been talking about the difference between Amen! and an Oh my! in response to a spiritual message. Every time I have described what the phrases mean to me, I say, “I need to write that for the blog.” Well, today I am sitting down to do exactly that. Because there is a very distinct difference between a person who responds with Amen! and one who says Oh my!

Amen Corner

Amen Corner
We all know the folks I’m talking about. It’s the amen corner found in every church. Even if the words aren’t said, there’s always a portion of the people who hear truly spiritual words and say, Amen! Well, what I’ve learned is that those who usually say Amen! believe they possess the truths presented in its entirety. “Oh, I got that one, AMEN!” But this is a frightening place to be, because the depths of God’s truths usually go far beyond our mere understanding. I might have a grasp or comprehension of a truth, but the multifaceted nature of God’s truths are that there is always more to see.

To proclaim Amen! rings in my ear with a finality of dealing. “Yep, got that one checked off!” Or worse, this is directly pointed towards someone else. “Amen, did you hear that, George? That’s clearly for you.” Either way, Amen” says, “I have this one in the bag!” A dangerous position indeed.

Amen or Oh My
I can say that most things coming out of Martha’s mouth or from her pen gains my Oh MY! rather than any amen. I might have even been dealing with the issue she’s addressing for an extended period of time. But when a word with authority comes, Amen! is not my response. Quite the contrary, “Oh my! is my reaction.

Having the Amen! as opposed to an Oh my! is ultimately independence. Humans innately have a need to know and once we believe we have it, we make a law out of it. Every word that comes from God requires an explanation. I must always ask God what He means by what He says. Even if I have heard it before, I must inquire rather than assume I know. Thinking “I know” is very adult! As a child of God, I have to ask my Father constantly what He means.

Behold, I make all things new.
Revelation 21:5

Revelations and Words and the Spirit, Oh My!

Oh MY!
Oh my!
 is a quickening of my spirit and a shoring up of my attention. “Oh my! says, “Lord Jesus, take me further.” It shows my respect for the fact that God is my only strength and Life. I’m a frail human, living the spiritual life by the grace of God. I have nothing in the bag on my own merit or strength. I haven’t mastered any truth, from the simplicity of “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know” to the eschatology of the Bible. I’m held and indwelt of the Most High who keeps me. I don’t know anything He doesn’t infuse into me Himself.

My main issue with Amenin this context, is that it’s not an agreement, as it was intended to be. In this application, it’s a proclamation of pride. The unfortunate reality is that most of these proclaimers only skim the surface of any truth. They’re getting it cerebrally rather than diving in to go to the bottom. Mental assent does not equate spiritual reality.

Revelations and Words and the Spirit, Oh My!
I always feel more secure when I hear an Oh my! response. It shows that there’s at least a basic grasp of the weightiness and magnitude of God’s revelations. God’s powerful truths should trigger the intake of our gasp, not the wind of our airy presumption.

God is powerful and dreadful. He enforces peace in the heavens. Who is able to count His heavenly army? Doesn’t His light shine on all the earth? How can a mortal be innocent before God? Can anyone born of a woman be pure? God is more glorious than the moon; He shines brighter than the stars. In comparison, people are maggots; we mortals are mere worms.
Job 25:1-6 NLT

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    • tammy


      Talk about not knowing which comment to begin with ;-$. I think I’ll list them numerically as they came to me.

      The following is close to,how it went in my head…

      1) What! What!? I say Amen, sometimes pretty often – and I don’t think I know it all! Oh great…Lord it appears I might have a developing negative attitude about Johns post – just great :-/. Guess we’ll be looking at that smelly fruit once I finish reading.

      2) Talk about fueling a fire…today’s blog should bring some interesting comments from readers…

      3) Well, actually my Amens aren’t that! “believe they possess the truths presented in its entirety.” They are an agreement to what’s been spoken…no underlying tones of knowing-it-all. (Still toting a questionable attitude tammy)

      And finally…

      4) Amen! (if I’d have responded only with #4 it would have come from a sometimes warped sense of humor and intended only to pick at you John – out of love of course 😉

      I have to tell you that by the time I got to your statement of, “My main issue with Amen! in this context, is that it’s not an agreement, as it was intended to be.” the back and forth in my head could have been viewed as quite entertaining had I not been on the edge of my chair waiting for the next ball to drop! I was definitely experiencing a great deal of “Oh my!”

      As soon as I read that last quote I breathed a sigh of relief which was immediately met with “Not so fast there girly.” Can I get an Oh my! And I was so close! (I only THOUGHT I was off of the perverbial hook).

      I will be sitting and praying and as you’ve pointed out, “I must always ask God what He means by what He says.” It never ceases to amaze me at the new unexpected opportunities to grow!

      Thank you John! ( I think ;-))

      “The LORD bless you and keep you;
      The LORD make His face shine upon you,
      And be gracious to you,
      The LORD lift up His countenance upon you,
      And give you peace.”


      • LA

        Some of my own sentiments expressed far better than I could have, Tammy, thank you.

        Precious shepherd and brother, I read this msg today and checked myself. The ‘amens’ have always grated on my nerves; I assumed that was because the church I was raised in were very quiet/silent folk.

        The big point I’m taking away–please correct me if I’m wrong–is that we need to hear the Spirit before injecting an ‘amen’ into the discourse. That it is a weighty thing, not to be a soulish part of what can become entertainment in a Bible study, worship service, etc.

        I just this week said ‘amen’ in church. It may be the second time in my life! Still, I will be on my guard to hear the Spirit say ‘amen’ before I throw a frivolous one out there.

        Ephesians 5:15-17

        15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
        17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

        Love to you!

        • Alex

          Yep, I am comfortable with the quiet, perhaps for the same reason. The amens seem affected and makes me distrust them. I’ve even thought it must be bc I am jealous bc they are more holy than me, and therefore it’s my problem.
          LeAnn, “waiting to hear” -I agree! I don’t know how many oh mys I have, but I definitely have some hmms and oh dears! And “thank yous” for sure, bc truth is always a gift. God, in His infinite mercy, is good. Lifting up Martha and this team, who present us with His truths daily! Oh my, I am blessed! Thank you, Lord!

    • Deborah

      Your so right John. I can definitely now Identify more with those times when I my soul screams Amen and when it is suddenly peaked up in attention that wants to listen and understand more. Thanks once again and be blessed!!

    • Pauline

      Thanks, John . . . what do we do with: “All of God’s promises are Yes and Amen?”
      Well, now that I ‘hear’ what you’re saying and read what I just keyed, you’re right: “I might have a grasp or comprehension of a truth, but the multifaceted nature of God’s truths are that there is always more to see.”

      Thank you for this — I too, will be checking myself.

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