From: Bob Williams
Many “mysteries” are found in the Bible, but one is uniquely called “The Mystery,” the great body of truth revealed by God to and through the Apostle Paul. It is important to understand that while all Scriptures are for us, our edification and our admonition, the epistles Paul penned are written specifically to the Body of Christ, the church God is establishing today.
A definition of “mystery” is found in Romans 16:25-26, “Now to him [the Lord Jesus Christ] that is of power to establish you according to my gospel; and the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest ... ” This God-inspired passage indicates the importance of the “gospel” given by revelation to Paul, and to us, concerning “Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery” that had previously been hid in God “but now is made manifest.” Contrast this statement with what Peter said to Jewish believers about what was happening on Pentecost: “ ... which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” This is called “prophecy,” or what God has spoken since the world began, whereas, what God had kept secret since the world began is called “mystery.” Two programs of God for two groups of people for two specific purposes of God.
The word “mystery” appears 22 times in the New Testament: once in Mark, four times in the Book of the Revelation with the other 17 in Paul’s epistles. The word “mysteries” is found five times in the NT. Neither word is found in the Old Testament. A productive Bible study is to get a concordance and read each instance the word mystery is used to determine how the word is used and in what context. Note there is a difference between what is simply not known by someone, such as “it’s a mystery to me” and something that is hidden, or not disclosed. “The mystery” as revealed to Paul falls in the latter category, “How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by his Spirit,” (Ephesians 3:3-5).
Similarly, Paul writes to the Corinthian church: “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they know it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory,” (1 Cor. 2:7-8). Based on these three references alone, it is obvious that to ignore the mystery is detrimental to your spiritual growth and well-being.