but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, even the wisdom that hath been hidden, which God foreordained before the worlds unto our glory1 Corinthians 2:7 ASV
The mystery of the Christian religion far surpasses anything affected in the mysteries of the Greeks, and notably in the fact of its having been foreordained in God’s purpose even before the creation of the world.
The usual definition of mystery, to the effect of its being something once unknown now revealed, while true enough, is inadequate.
The mystery in the scriptures denotes:
(a) something above the ordinary human understanding (Mark 4:11);
(b) something formerly hidden in the counsel of God, but afterward revealed as a plan understood by its own fulfillment; and
(c) as something always accompanied by vastness depth and power.
However, it is not to any of these, specifically, that reference is made here.
There is a greater and more comprehensive mystery containing all of these and exceeding them.
It is this mystery which dominates the sixty-six books of the Bible.
God announced the mystery in Eden; Satan’s part in it was revealed; the mystery deepened in the death of Abel; the mystery was progressively unfolded verbally in the Old Testament prophecies.
These were systematically prefigured in the types and shadows of the Mosaic dispensation, explicitly heralded in the lives of great typical men of the old covenant, and came to crisis on the cross of Christ, where in its great essentials, it was fully unveiled.
There are many corollaries of the central mystery; and the ultimate goals of it are projected into the future. A six-line summary of this “great mystery” is in 1 Timothy 3:16.