Bible ConcordanceMystery (31 Occurrences)
Mark 4:11 He said to them, "To you is given the mystery of the Kingdom of God, but to those who are outside, all things are done in parables, (WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS NAS)
Luke 18:34 Nothing of this did they understand. The words were a mystery to them, nor could they see what He meant. (WEY)
Romans 11:25 For I don't desire you to be ignorant, brothers, of this mystery, so that you won't be wise in your own conceits, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, (WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV)
Romans 14:23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because it isn't of faith; and whatever is not of faith is sin. (24) Now to him who is able to establish you according to my Good News and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret through long ages, (25) but now is revealed, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, is made known for obedience of faith to all the nations; (26) to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever! Amen. (WEB)
Romans 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish 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, (KJV ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV)
1 Corinthians 2:7 But we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the wisdom that has been hidden, which God foreordained before the worlds for our glory, (WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS NAS)
1 Corinthians 15:51 Behold, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, (WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV)
Ephesians 1:9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him (WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV)
Ephesians 3:3 how that by revelation the mystery was made known to me, as I wrote before in few words, (WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV)
Ephesians 3:4 by which, when you read, you can perceive my understanding in the mystery of Christ; (WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV)
Ephesians 3:9 and to make all men see what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things through Jesus Christ; (WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV)
Ephesians 5:32 This mystery is great, but I speak concerning Christ and of the assembly. (WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV)
Ephesians 6:19 on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in opening my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the Good News, (WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV)
Colossians 1:26 the mystery which has been hidden for ages and generations. But now it has been revealed to his saints, Paul's Second Letter to the Thessalonians (WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV)
Colossians 1:27 to whom God was pleased to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory; (WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV)
Colossians 2:2 that their hearts may be comforted, they being knit together in love, and gaining all riches of the full assurance of understanding, that they may know the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, (WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV)
Colossians 4:3 praying together for us also, that God may open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds; (WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV)
2 Thessalonians 2:7 For the mystery of lawlessness already works. Only there is one who restrains now, until he is taken out of the way. (WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV)
1 Timothy 3:9 holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. (WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV)
1 Timothy 3:16 Without controversy, the mystery of godliness is great: God was revealed in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, and received up in glory. (WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV)
Revelation 1:20 the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands. The seven stars are the angels of the seven assemblies. The seven lampstands are seven assemblies. (WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV)
Revelation 10:7 but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as he declared to his servants, the prophets. (WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV)
Revelation 17:5 And on her forehead a name was written, "MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF THE PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH." (WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV)
Revelation 17:7 The angel said to me, "Why do you wonder? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. (WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV)
Job 11:7 "Can you fathom the mystery of God? Or can you probe the limits of the Almighty? (WEB)
Daniel 2:18 that they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his companions should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. (See NAS RSV NIV)
Daniel 2:19 Then was the secret revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. (See NAS RSV NIV)
Daniel 2:27 Daniel answered before the king, and said, The secret which the king has demanded can neither wise men, enchanters, magicians, nor soothsayers, show to the king; (See NAS RSV NIV)
Daniel 2:30 But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but to the intent that the interpretation may be made known to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your heart. (See NAS RSV NIV)
Daniel 2:47 The king answered to Daniel, and said, Of a truth your God is the God of gods, and the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing you have been able to reveal this secret. (See NAS RSV NIV)
Daniel 4:9 Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you, and no secret troubles you, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and its interpretation. (See NAS RSV NIV)
ThesaurusMystery (31 Occurrences)...
The anti-Christian power working in his day is called by the apostle (2 Thessalonians
2:7) the "mystery
of iniquity.". Noah Webster's Dictionary. ...MYSTERY
. .../m/mystery.htm - 42k
Mysterious (2 Occurrences)
... a.) Of or pertaining to mystery; containing a mystery; difficult or impossible to
understand; obscure not revealed or explained; enigmatical; incomprehensible. ...
/m/mysterious.htm - 7k
Hidden (181 Occurrences)
... American) "of shame"); of apokrupto, "to hide away," trop., not to reveal or make
known (1 Corinthians 2:7, "But we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, even the ...
/h/hidden.htm - 39k
Election (6 Occurrences)
... fellowship. II. The Mysterious Element. Such impressions of depth and mystery
in the word are confirmed by the other, passages. In ...
/e/election.htm - 26k
Ages (114 Occurrences)
... (24) Now to him who is able to establish you according to my Good News and the
preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has ...
/a/ages.htm - 36k
... was the fact that in the Old Latin versions (as afterward in the Vulgate) it had
been employed to translate the Greek musterion, "a mystery" (eg Ephesians 5:32 ...
/s/sacraments.htm - 19k
Secret (341 Occurrences)
... or not to be revealed. 6. (n.) A thing not discovered; what is unknown
or unexplained; a mystery. 7. (n.) The parts which modesty ...
/s/secret.htm - 39k
Utterance (21 Occurrences)
... Ephesians 6:19 on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in opening my mouth,
to make known with boldness the mystery of the Good News, (WEB KJV ASV DBY ...
/u/utterance.htm - 12k
Godliness (16 Occurrences)
... Epistles. The incarnation is "the mystery of godliness" (1 Timothy 3:16). James
Orr. Multi-Version Concordance Godliness (16 Occurrences). ...
/g/godliness.htm - 12k
Establish (133 Occurrences)
... (24) Now to him who is able to establish you according to my Good News and the
preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has ...
/e/establish.htm - 39k
Greek3466. musterion -- a mystery or secret doctrine ...
or secret doctrine. Part of Speech: Noun, Neuter Transliteration: musterion
Phonetic Spelling: (moos-tay'-ree-on) Short Definition: anything hidden, a ... /greek/3466.htm - 7k
3453. mueo -- to initiate into the mysteries, hence to instruct
... 3453 (akin to 3466 , "mystery") -- properly, shutting the eyes and mouth to ;
(figuratively) the wonderful "mystery revelation" of learning to in every scene ...
/greek/3453.htm - 7k
899. bathos -- depth
... deepness, depth. From the same as bathus; profundity, ie (by implication) extent;
(figuratively) mystery -- deep(-ness, things), depth. see GREEK bathus. ...
/greek/899.htm - 6k
ATS Bible DictionaryMystery
Means strictly a secret, and is so used when spoken of the heathen "mysteries" or secret rites, which were full of all manner of abominations. In the Scriptures the word "mystery" denotes those truths of religions which, without a revelation from God, would have remained unknown to man. Our Savior says to his disciples, that they are peculiarly happy, because God has revealed to them "the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven," Matthew 16:17 11:25 Luke 10:21-24. Paul explains the word in Ephesians 3:1-9; and often speaks of the mystery of the gospel, of the mystery of the cross of Christ, of the mystery of Christ which was unknown to former ages, of the mystery of the incarnation, the resurrection, etc., Romans 11:25 1 1 Corinthians 2:7-10 4:1:13:2:15:51 1 Timothy 3:9,16. These, then, were called mysteries, not only because they included some things which stretch beyond all human thought, and others which would never have been known if the Son of God and his Holy Spirit had not revealed them, but also because they were not opened indifferently to everyone; according to the advice of Christ to his apostles, "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine," 1 1 Corinthians 2:14. In one place "mystery" seems to denote the whole cycle of God's secret plan in the administration of the gospel, gradually unfolded even to the end, Revelation 10:7 11:15.
Mystery signifies also an allegory, that is, a mode of information under which partial instruction is given, a partial discovery is made, but there is still a cover of some kind, which the persons who desires to know the whole must endeavor to remove. So the mystery of the seven star, Revelation 1:20, is an allegory representing the seven Asiatic churches under the symbol of seven burning lamps. So the mystery "Babylon the Great," is an allegorical representation of the spiritual Babylon, idolatry, spiritual fornication, etc., "I will tell thee the mystery of the woman;" that is, I will explain to thee the allegory of this figure, Revelation 17:5,7.
International Standard Bible EncyclopediaMYSTERY
mis'-ter-i (musterion; from mustes, "one initiated into mysteries"; mueo "to initiate," muo, "to close" the lips or the eyes; stem mu-, a sound produced with closed lips; compare Latin mutus, "dumb"): Its usual modern meaning (equals something in itself obscure or incomprehensible, difficult or impossible to understand) does not convey the exact sense of the Greek musterion, which means a secret imparted only to the initiated, what is unknown until it is revealed, whether it be easy or hard to understand. The idea of incomprehensibility if implied at all, is purely accidental. The history of the word in ancient paganism is important, and must be considered before we examine its Biblical usage.
1. In Ancient Pagan Religions:
In the extant classics, the singular is found once only (Menander, "Do not tell thy secret (musterion) to thy friend"). But it is frequently found in the plural ta musteria, "the Mysteries," the technical term for the secret rites and celebrations in ancient religions only known to, and practiced by, those who had been initiated. These are among the most interesting, significant, and yet baffling religious phenomena in the Greek-Roman world, especially from the 6th century B.C. onward. In proportion as the public cults of the civic and national deities fell into disrepute, their place came more and more to be filled by secret cults open only to those who voluntarily underwent elaborate preliminary preparations. There was scarcely one of the ancient deities in connection with whose worship there was not some subsidiary cult of this kind. The most famous were the Mysteries celebrated in Eleusis, under the patronage and control of the Athenian state, and associated with the worship of Demeter and her daughter Persephone. But there were many others of a more private character than the Eleusinian, e.g. the Orphic Mysteries, associated with the name of Dionysus. Besides the Greek Mysteries, mention should be made of the Egyptian cults of Isis and Serapis, and of Persian Mithraism, which in the 3rd century A.D. was widely diffused over the whole empire.
It is difficult in a brief paragraph to characterize the Mysteries, so elaborate and varied were they, and so completely foreign to the modern mind. The following are some of their main features:
(1) Their appeal was to the emotions rather than to the intellect. Lobeck in his famous Aglaophamus destroyed the once prevalent view that the Mysteries enshrined some profound religious truth or esoteric doctrine. They were rather an attempt to find a more emotional and ecstatic expression to religious aspiration than the public ceremonies provided. Aristotle (as quoted by Synesius) declared that the initiated did not receive definite instruction, but were put in a certain frame of mind (ou mathein ti dein alla pathein). This does not mean that there was no teaching, but that the teaching was vague, suggestive and symbolic, rather than didactic or dogmatic.
(2) The chief purpose of the rites seems to have been to secure for the rotaries mystic union with some deity and a guaranty of a blissful immortality. The initiated was made to partake mystically in the passing of the deity through death to life, and this union with his saviour-god (theos soter) became the pledge of his own passage through death to a happy life beyond. This was not taught as an esoteric doctrine; it was well known to outsiders that the Mysteries taught the greater blessedness of the initiated in the under-world; but in the actual ceremony the truth was vividly presented and emotionally realized.
(3) The celebrations were marked by profuse symbolism of word and action. They were preceded by rites of purification through which all the mystae had to pass. The celebrations themselves were in the main a kind of religious drama, consisting of scenic representations illustrating the story of some deity or deities, on the basis of the old mythologies regarded as allegories of Nature's productive forces and of human immortality; combined with the recital of certain mystic formulas by the hierophant (the priest). The culminating point was the epopteia, or full vision, when the hierophant revealed certain holy objects to the assembly.
(4) The cults were marked by a strict exclusiveness and secrecy. None but the initiated could be present at the services, and the knowledge of what was said and done was scrupulously kept from outsiders. What they had seen and heard was so sacred that it was sacrilege to divulge it to the uninitiated.
(5) Yet the Mysteries were not secret societies, but were open to all who chose to be initiated (except barbarians and criminals). They thus stood in marked contrast to the old civic and national cults, which were confined to states or cities. They substituted the principle of initiation for the more exclusive principle of birthright or nationality; and so foreshadowed the disintegration of old barriers, and prepared the way for the universal religion. Thus the mystery-religions strangely combined a strict exclusiveness with a kind of incipient catholicity. This brief account will show that the Mysteries were not devoid of noble elements. They formed "the serious part of pagan religion" (Renan). But it must also be remembered that they lent themselves to grave extravagances and abuses. Especially did they suffer from the fact that they were withheld from the light of healthy publicity.
2. In the Old Testament and the Apocrypha:
The religion of the Old Testament has no Mysteries of the above type. The ritual of Israel was one in which the whole people partook, through their representatives the priests. There was no system of ceremonial initiation by which the few had privileges denied to the many. God has His secrets, but such things as He revealed belonged to all (Deuteronomy 29:29); so far from silence being enjoined concerning them, they were openly proclaimed (Deuteronomy 6:7 Nehemiah 8:1). True piety alone initiated men into confidential intercourse with Yahweh (Psalm 25:14 Proverbs 3:32). The term "mystery" never occurs in the English Old Testament. The Greek word musterion occurs in the Septuagint of the Old Testament. Only in Daniel, where it is found several times as the translation of raza', "a secret," in reference to the king's dream, the meaning of which was revealed to Daniel (2:18, 19, 27-30, 47).
In the Apocrypha, musterion is still used in the sense of "a secret" (a meaning practically confined to the Septuagint in extant Greek); of the secrets of private life, especially between friends (Sirach 22:22; 27:16, 17, 21), and of the secret plans of a king or a state (Tobit 12:7, 11; Judith 2:2; 2 Maccabees 13:21). The term is also used of the hidden purpose or counsel of God or of Divine wisdom. The wicked "knew not the mysteries of God," i.e. the secret counsels that govern God's dealings with the godly (The Wisdom of Solomon 2:22); wisdom "is initiated [mustis] into the knowledge of God" (The Wisdom of Solomon 8:4), but (unlike the pagan mystagogues) the writer declares he "will not hide mysteries," but will "bring the knowledge of her (wisdom) into clear light" (The Wisdom of Solomon 6:22). Hatch maintains that the analogy here is that of an oriental king's secrets, known only to himself and his trusted friends (Essays in Biblical Greek, 58); but it is more likely that the writer here betrays the influence of the phraseology of the Greek Mysteries (without acquiescing in their teaching). In another passage, at any rate, he shows acquaintance with the secret rites of the Gentiles, namely, in The Wisdom of Solomon 14:15, 23, where the "solemn rites" and "secret mysteries" of idolaters are referred to with abhorrence. The term "mystery" is not used in reference to the special ritual of Israel.
3. In the New Testament:
In the New Testament the word occurs 27 or (if we include the doubtful reading in 1 Corinthians 2:1) 28 times; chiefly in Paul (20 or 21 times), but also in one passage reported by each of the synoptists, and 4 times in Revelation. It bears its ancient sense of a revealed secret, not its modern sense of that which cannot be fathomed or comprehended.
(1) In a few passages, it has reference to a symbol, allegory or parable, which conceals its meaning from those who look only at the literal sense, but is the medium of revelation to those who have the key to its interpretation (compare the rabbinic use of raza', and codh, "the hidden or mystic sense"). This meaning appears in Revelation 1:20; Revelation 17:5, 7; probably also in Ephesians 5:32, where marriage is called "a mystery," i.e. a symbol to be allegorically interpreted of Christ and His church. It also seems implied in the only passage in which the word is attributed to our Lord, "Unto you is given the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all things are done in parables" (Mark 4:11; compare parallel Matthew 13:11 Luke 8:10). Here parables are spoken of as a veiled or symbolic form of utterance which concealed the truth from those without the kingdom, but revealed it to those who had the key to its inner meaning (compare Matthew 13:35 John 16:29 margin).
(2) By far the most common meaning in the New Testament is that which is so characteristic of Paul, namely, a Divine truth once hidden, but now revealed in the gospels. Romans 16:25 might almost be taken as a definition of it, "According to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which hath been kept in silence through times eternal, but now is manifested" (compare Colossians 1:26 Ephesians 3:3;).
(a) It should be noted how closely "mystery" is associated with "revelation" (apokalupsis), as well as with words of similar import, e.g. "to make known" (Ephesians 1:9; Ephesians 3:3, 5, 10; Ephesians 6:19), "to manifest" (Colossians 4:3, 4 Romans 16:26 1 Timothy 3:16). "Mystery" and "revelation" are in fact correlative and almost synonymous terms. The mysteries of Christianity are its revealed doctrines, in contrast to the wisdom of worldly philosophy (see especially 1 Corinthians 2:1-16; compare Matthew 11:25); the point of contrast being, not that the latter is comprehensible while the former are obscure, but that the latter is the product of intellectual research, while the former are the result of Divine revelation and are spiritually discerned. (b) From this it follows that Christianity has no secret doctrines, for what was once hidden has now been revealed. But here arises a seeming contradiction. On the one hand, there are passages which seem to imply a doctrine of reserve. The mystery revealed to some would seem to be still concealed from others. The doctrines of Christ and of His Kingdom are hidden from the worldly wise and the prudent (Matthew 11:25 1 Corinthians 2:6), and from all who are outside the kingdom (Matthew 13:11 and parallel), and there are truths withheld even from Christians while in an elementary stage of development (1 Corinthians 3:1 Hebrews 5:11-14). On the other hand, there are many passages in which the truths of revelation are said to be freely and unreservedly communicated to all (e.g. Matthew 10:27; Matthew 28:19 Acts 20:20, 27 2 Corinthians 3:12; Ephesians 3:9, "all men"; 6:19; Colossians 1:28 1 Timothy 2:4). The explanation is that the communication is limited, not by any secrecy in the gospel message itself or any reserve on the part of the speaker, but by the receptive capacity of the hearer. In the case of the carnally-minded, moral obtuseness or worldliness makes them blind to the light which shines on them (2 Corinthians 4:2-4). In the case of the "babe in Christ," the apparent reserve is due merely to the pedagogical principle of adapting the teaching to the progressive receptivity of the disciple (John 16:12 f). There is no esoteric doctrine or intentional reserve in the New Testament. The strong language in Matthew 13:11-15 is due to the Hebrew mode of speech by which an actual result is stated as if it were purposive.
(c) What, then, is the content of the Christian "mystery"? In a wide sense it is the whole gospel, God's world-embracing purpose of redemption through Christ (e.g. Romans 16:25 Ephesians 6:19 Colossians 2:2 1 Timothy 3:9). In a special sense it is applied to some specific doctrine or aspect of the gospel, such as the doctrine of the Cross (1 Corinthians 2:1, 7), of the Incarnation (1 Timothy 3:16), of the indwelling of Christ as the pledge of immortality (Colossians 1:27), of the temporary unbelief of the Jews to be followed by their final restoration (Romans 11:25), of the transformation of the saints who will live to see the Second Advent (1 Corinthians 15:51), and of the inclusion of the Gentiles in the gospel salvation (Ephesians 3:3-6). These are the Divine secrets now at last disclosed. In direct antithesis to the Divine mystery is the "mystery of lawlessness" (2 Thessalonians 2:7) culminating in the coming of the Antichrist. Here, too, the word means a revealed secret, only in this case the revelation belongs to the future (2 Thessalonians 2:8), though the evil forces which are to bring about its consummation are already silently operative. (Besides the references in this paragraph, the word occurs in 1 Corinthians 4:1; 1 Corinthians 13:2; 1 Corinthians 14:2 Revelation 10:7. It is interesting to note that the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) sometimes renders musterion by Latin sacramentum, namely, in Ephesians 1:9; Ephesians 3:3, 9; 5:32 1 Timothy 3:16; Revelation 1:20. This rendering in Ephesians 5:32 led to the ecclesiastical doctrine that marriage is a "sacrament.")
4. The Pagan Mysteries and the New Testament:
The question is now frequently discussed, how far the New Testament (and especially Paul) betrays the influence of the heathen mystery-cults. Hatch maintains that the Pauline usage of the word musterion is dependent on the Septuagint, especially on the Apocrypha (op. cit.), and in this he is followed by Anrich, who declares that the attempt to trace an allusion to the Mysteries in the New Testament is wholly unsuccessful; but Lightfoot admits a verbal dependence on the pagan Mysteries (Commentary on Colossians 1:26).
At present there is a strong tendency to attribute to Paul far more dependence than one of phraseology only, and to find in the Mysteries the key to the non-Jewish side of Paulinism. A. Loisy finds affinity to the mystery-religions in Paul's conception of Jesus as a Saviour-God, holding a place analogous to the deities Mithra, Osiris, and Attis; in the place Paul assigns to baptism as the rite of initiation; and in his transformation of the Lord's Supper into a symbol of mystic participation in the flesh and blood of a celestial being and a guaranty of a share in the blissful immortality of the risen Saviour. "In its worship as in its belief, Christianity is a religion of mystery" (article in Hibbert Journal, October, 1911). Percy Gardner traces similar analogies to the Mysteries in Paul, though he finds in these analogies, not conscious plagiarism, but "the parallel working of similar forces" (Religious Experience of Paul, chapters iv, v). Kirsopp Lake writes, "Christianity has not borrowed from the mystery-religions, because it was always, at least in Europe, mystery-religion itself" (The Earlier Epistles of Paul, 215). On the other hand, Schweitzer wholly denies the hypothesis of the direct or indirect influence of the Mysteries on Paul's thought (Geschichte der Paulinischen Forschung).
The whole question is sub judice among scholars, and until more evidence be forthcoming from inscriptions, etc., we shall perhaps vainly expect unanimous verdict. It can hardly be doubted that at least the language of Paul, and perhaps to some extent his thought, is colored by the phraseology current among the cults. Paul had a remarkably sympathetic and receptive mind, by no means closed to influences from the Greek-Roman environment of his day.
Witness his use of illustrations drawn from the athletic festivals, the Greek theater (1 Corinthians 4:9) and the Roman camp. He must have been constantly exposed to the contagion of the mystic societies. Tarsus was a seat of the Mithra religion; and the chief centers of Paul's activities, e.g. Corinth, Antioch and Ephesus, were headquarters of mystic religion. We are not surprised that he should have borrowed from the vocabulary of the Mysteries, not only the word musterion, but memuemai, "I learned the secret," literally, "I have been initiated" (Philippians 4:12); sphragizesthai, "to be sealed" (Ephesians 1:13, etc.); teleios, "perfect," term applied in the Mysteries to the fully instructed as opposed to novices (1 Corinthians 2:6, 7 Colossians 1:28, etc.) (note, outside of Paul, epoptai, "eye-witnesses," 2 Peter 1:16).
Further, the secret of Paul's gospel among the Gentiles lay, humanly speaking, in the fact that it contained elements that appealed to what was best and most vital in contemporary thought; and doubtless the Mysteries, by transcending all lines of mere citizenship, prepared the way for the universal religion. On the other hand, we must beware of a too facile acceptance of this hypothesis in its extreme form. Christianity can be adequately explained only by reference, not to what it had in common with other religions, but to what was distinctive and original in it. Paul was after all a Jew (though a broad one), who always retained traces of his Pharisaic training, and who viewed idolatry with abhorrence; and the chief formative factor of his thinking was his own profound religious experience. It is inconceivable that such a man should so assimilate Gentile modes of thought as to be completely colored by them. The characteristics which his teaching has in common with the pagan religions are simply a witness to the common religious wants of mankind, and not to his indebtedness to them. What turned these religions into Mysteries was the secrecy of their rites; but in the New Testament there are no secret rites. The gospel "mystery" (as we have seen) is not a secret deliberately withheld from the multitude and revealed only to a privileged religious aristocracy, but something which was once a secret and is so no longer. The perfect openness of Christ and His apostles sets them in a world apart from the mystic schools. It is true that later the Mysteries exercised a great influence on ecclesiastical doctrine and practice, especially on baptism and the Eucharist (see Hatch, Hibbert Lectures, chapter x). But in the New Testament, acts of worship are not as yet regarded as mystic rites. The most we can say is that some New Testament writers (especially Paul) make use of expressions and analogies derived from the mystery-religions; but, so far as our present evidence goes, we cannot agree that the pagan cults exercised a central or formative influence on them.
There is a large and growing literature on this subject. Its modern scientific study began with C.A. Lobeck's Aglaophamus (1829). The following recent works may be specially mentioned: Gustav Anrich, Das antike Mysterienwesen (1894); G. Wobbermin, Religiongeschichtliche Studien zur Frage, etc. (1896); E. Hatch, Essays in Biblical Greek (1889) and Hibbert Lectures, 1888 (published 1890); F.B. Jevons, An Introduction to the History of Religion (1896); S. Cheethara, The Mysteries, Pagan and Christian (1897); R. Reitzenstein, Die hellenistischen Mysterienreligionen (1910); P. Gardner, The Religious Experience of Paul (1911); K. Lake, The Earlier Epistles of Paul (1911); articles on "Mystery" in Encyclopedia Britannica (11th edition), edition 9 (W.M. Ramsay), and edition 11 (L.R. Farnell), Encyclopedia Biblica (A. Julicher), Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible (five volumes) (A. Stewart); 1-volume Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible; (G.G. Findlay); Hastings, Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels (R.W. Bacon); articles on musterion in Cremer and Grimm-Thayer New Testament Lexicons; the commentaries, including J.B. Lightfoot on Colossians, J. Armitage Robinson on Ephesians, H. Lietzmann on 1 Corinthians; 9 articles in The Expositor on "St. Paul and the Mystery Religions" by Professor H.A.A. Kennedy (April, 1912, to February, 1913).
D. Miall Edwards
Easton's Bible Dictionary
The calling of the Gentiles into the Christian Church, so designated (Ephesians 1:9
, 10; 3:8
-11; Colossians 1:25
-27); a truth undiscoverable except by revelation, long hid, now made manifest. The resurrection of the dead (1 Corinthians 15:51
), and other doctrines which need to be explained but which cannot be fully understood by finite intelligence (Matthew 13:11
; Romans 11:25
; 1 Corinthians 13:2
); the union between Christ and his people symbolized by the marriage union (Ephesians 5:31
, 32; Comp. 6:19
); the seven stars and the seven candlesticks (Revelation 1:20
); and the woman clothed in scarlet (17:7
), are also in this sense mysteries. The anti-Christian power working in his day is called by the apostle (2 Thessalonians 2:7
) the "mystery of iniquity."
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
) A profound secret; something wholly unknown, or something kept cautiously concealed, and therefore exciting curiosity or wonder; something which has not been or can not be explained; hence, specifically, that which is beyond human comprehension.
2. (n.) A kind of secret religious celebration, to which none were admitted except those who had been initiated by certain preparatory ceremonies; -- usually plural; as, the Eleusinian mysteries.
3. (n.) The consecrated elements in the Eucharist.
4. (a.) Anything artfully made difficult; an enigma.
5. (n.) A trade; a handicraft; hence, any business with which one is usually occupied.
6. (n.) A dramatic representation of a Scriptural subject, often some event in the life of Christ; a dramatic composition of this character; as, the Chester Mysteries, consisting of dramas acted by various craft associations in that city in the early part of the 14th century.
Strong's Hebrew3909. lat -- secrecy, mystery...
<< 3908, 3909. lat. 3910 >>. secrecy, mystery
. Transliteration: lat Phonetic
Spelling: (lawt) Short Definition: arts. Word Origin from ... /hebrew/3909.htm - 6k
7328. raz -- a secret
... << 7327, 7328. raz. 7329 >>. a secret. Transliteration: raz Phonetic Spelling:
(rawz) Short Definition: mystery. Word Origin (Aramaic ...
/hebrew/7328.htm - 5k