1 Corinthians 4:1
"Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.
'Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'
"Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, 26 but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ"! Amen
Defining a "Biblical "Mystery
The word "mystery" means "that which is "hidden" or "concealed."" A "Biblical mystery" then can applies to any doctrine, (prophetic or otherwise) which was not previously before known to man. until God, through the Holy Spirit chose to make it known through His Prophet or teacher. This does not mean that the mystery necessarily wasn't "unintelligible;" but simply what God chose not to reveal beforehand, but which is now being made manifest. The word "revelation" refers to the "publication" of the plan by the gospel. That which was once a "mystery" (plan of salvation) now has become a "revelation".
The Great Mysteries of the Bible primarily refer to the "principal doctrines" of the Gospel; its "main truths", which had been concealed, not just from the Jews, but especially from the entire "Gentile world", doctrines which were now in the "fulness" of time was made known. In Romans 16:25, the Apostle Paul echoes the existence of these "hidden truths" and why God sent the Apostles and Various teachers to the churches to reveal those things in the fulness of time.
These Apostles refered to the "principal doctrines" of the gospel, and in particular its "main truths", which had been concealed, especially from the entire Gentile world, but to which in their due time God wanted pubicly now to be made known. Thus the "mysteries of the kingdom" reveals those doctrines about the preaching of the gospel and the establishment of the new kingdom of the Messiah, which "had not" been understood, and which were as yet even concealed from the great body of the Jews.
For an example , one of the greatest mysteries according to the Prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 43:19 was: that God was to do a "new thing"; something that HE had not done before. That "new thing" when it was revealed in part was the gospel would be preached to the Gentiles; that the Jewish "polity" was to cease; and Jesus the Messiah was to die (crucified on the a Roman cross) to satisfy God's "plan of redemption" for man. To every disciple of Jesus, they would be given the privlege to know these truths. This was important for them, because according to the "Great Commission" of Matthew 28:19, each one would be commissioned to spread the gospel to every part of the world.
To the "heathen unbelievers", and the "religious leaders" of that day (Pharisees and Sadducees and scribes) these mysteries were not given. The reason was their lifestyles were too gross and too earthly. They had a form of godliness but denied the real power in the Word of God. In their rejection of Jesus, they had grovelling misconceptions of the Messiah's Kingdom and failed to understand the truths concerning it, even ithough Jesus attempted to communicate the kingdom to them. They were not to preach the gospel, and hence our Saviour went to great lengths to instruct his Apostles in the system (Gospel) which they were to preach. The Pharisees, and Jews for the most part were not prepared to receive the Gospel. They would not have and did not believed it, Because of their hardheartedness, Jesus purposely employed a kind of teaching which was intended for his Apostles only.
Dr. Clarence Larkin in his book entitled "Dispensational Truth" makes the following statement: "A "mystery" in the New Testament sense is not something that cannot be understood, but is some concealed plan or purpose God had in mind that has been known to Him from the beginning, but which He has withheld from the knowledge of men until the time came for Him to reveal it".
The 11 Great Mysteries of the Bible:
There are 11 known "Mysteries" in the Sacred Scriptures. Out of them, eight of these mysteries were revealed to the Apostle Paul at various times throughout his ministry. Two of the other three were revealed to the Apostle John and one was revealed to us by Jesus Christ. Let us examine each one of them in detail:
A. The "Incarnation" of Jesus Christ (God manifested in the flesh)
As hard as it is for many people to grasp the belief that God (Yahweh, Jehovah, Elohim) who is "Spirit" and is to be worshipped "in spirit" and "in truth" and "with reverence" became a man. That is, to believe that God "wrapped" Himself in human flesh (fashioned Himself as a man) and lived among us here on earth. that's exactly what God did.
John 1:1 reveals him to us as "THE ETERNAL WORD" ! The Apostle John under the unction of the Holy Spirit writes the following concerning the manifestation of Jesus Christ (God in human flesh)
" In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend* it. (John 1:1-5) KJV
Jesus is the "Incarnate God" wrapped in human flesh, not just the "babe" born in Bethlehem wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. ( feeding troth)
The Apostle John further states in John 1: 14-18 " And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, "This was He of whom I said, 'He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.'" And* of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son,* who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him".
Think about it! it's not a mystery when God reveled Himself as He spoke directly to Moses to the Israelites from Heaven. or Mt Sinai. but it is "a mystery" and was mysterious done when God who created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1) ( in order to redeem fallen and sinful man), personally fulfull the 1st prophecy of "redemption" in the Bible (Genesis 3:15) and took on human form and dwelled (lived) among us. This is why Jesus said in John 14:9: "He that has seen me has also seen the Father."
Paul the Apostle gives us a concise explanation of this Mystery in 1 Timothy 3:16:
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. That is:
The "mystery" doctrine in respect of "the incarnation" and the "work of the Messiah, which had been so long "kept hidden" from the world, was a subject of the deepest importance. This "mystery, was the "great doctrine" on which "true religion" everywhere depends on, and this fact constituted the "basis and the foundation" of the "Christian religion".
God appeared in human form, or with human nature.This is that "great" truth so long concealed from human view. But now being revealed constitutes the "fundamental doctrine" of the gospel. This verse simply says God one day in the fulness of time (when He was ready to complete the redemption process) came physically to this earth as a "human being" for the "sole purpose" to redeem man from sin because no human being was qualified to do so because all human beings had sin and all had because of sin come short of the Glory of God. As our "Savior", God (Jesus) appeared on earth, and is regarded as both a divine and human being.