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THE MYSTERY

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                                 THE MYSTERY
                                         (Ephesians 3:3-6)

“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 the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same
body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel”.

                           The basic attitude for Bible study
                                   (Acts 17:11; II Timothy 2:15)

The need for an honest study (free from bias or prejudice) of any Bible subject is mandatory to
come to the proper understanding of the teaching Christ has given to us (John 12:48; 8:32). That
not all approach the scriptures with the proper attitude is a sad reality (II Thessalonians 2:10-12;
Matthew 13:10-15; II Timothy 3:13). For example, if one wants to believe that “once saved
always saved” is true, that bias will prevent such a person from acknowledging plain truth that
proves that to be untrue (Philippians 2:12; I Corinthians 10:12; II Peter 2:20-22; II Timothy 4:3-
4; I Timothy 4:1-3; James 5:19-20; Hebrews 3:12; 19; Galatians 5:4; Revelation 3:1-5).

Just so, if one wants to believe that Christ will reign literally on earth for a thousand years, the
scripture will be bent to support that view. Such is the case in the text of our study. There are
those who suggest that the “mystery” was revealed only to the apostle Paul, and that his writings
(Romans through Philemon) are the only ones that apply to men today.

Why do they believe and teach that? Because they hold that the apostles went preaching the
gospel of the kingdom (to prepare the Jewish people for a literal reign of Christ on earth), but
alas, the Jews proved to be unwilling to receive such a message. Therefore, at the close of the
book of Acts, God ceased that effort, and gave Paul a new message to preach (the gospel of
grace) until the time the Jews proved to be more receptive. Is that true?

To help us arrive at the truth concerning this beautiful text, we need to ask and answer a few
simple questions:
   1. Did Paul say that the mystery was revealed only to him? _________________
   2. Who was the mystery revealed to? _________________
   3. What is the mystery? ____________________________
   4. Was the mystery completely unrevealed in the Old Testament? ________________
   5. Did Paul obey one gospel and preach another? ________________________
   6. Who was the first apostle to preach the mystery? ______________________

                                            Answers
   1. No. Not a single time did Paul ever suggest that God gave him a gospel unknown or
      untaught by others. Now, was Paul an apostle to the Gentiles? Yes (Romans 11:13), just
      as Peter was referred to as an apostle to the Jews (Galatians 2:7). However, neither
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   apostle was restricted to a single audience, as both taught Jew and Gentile alike (Acts
   10:19-48; 14:1-2)
2. The holy apostles [plural] and prophets [plural] (Ephesians 3:5).

3. The Gentiles would be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in
   Christ by the gospel (Ephesians 3:6).
4. No, nor did Paul state such. He said that in times past it was “not made known unto the
   sons of men, as it is now revealed”. In the Old Testament the truth was revealed in bits
   and pieces (Isaiah 28:10; 13); therefore, the Old Testament prophets searched what was
   given them in part (I Peter 1:9-12) to understand what is fully revealed on the pages of
   the New Testament.
       a. Paul never claimed to teach a message that originated with him; “Having
           therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to
           small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and
           Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be
           first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and
           to the Gentiles” (Acts 26:21-22). See Hosea 2:23; Romans 9:24-25 – Amos 9:11-
           12; Acts 15:13-17 – Isaiah 11:10; Romans 15:12 – Isaiah 49:6; Acts 13:47.
5. No! Paul preached the same gospel he once tried so desperately to destroy (Acts 9:2;
   19:23; 22:4; Galatians 1:23).
6. Peter (Acts 15:7).

				
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