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Keeping a Secret in Bible Study

By Justin Johnson

Once you know a secret, it is hard to forget it, but we must when we study the older scriptures.

Here’s an illustration. I was trying to solve a puzzle and spent all my mental effort to reach the solution. Minutes turned to hours, and day after day, I would think about the puzzle and could not figure it out.

Then I discovered the secret and the fog of confusion cleared. The puzzle worked! When I reviewed my thought process I found that the secret fit every thought. It was as if my mind was circling the answer, but could not point it out.

When others were challenged by the puzzle, I thought, “It is so clear!” Yet, they could not see it. It was not that others were unintelligent, but they did not yet know the secret. I could not remove what I knew from my mind, but it had not yet entered theirs.

It is the same when studying the Bible.

They Did Not Know the Mystery

Now that we have the mystery of Christ revealed we can find God’s eternal purpose throughout all of scripture. We can read it on every page and see it in every step. The law and the prophets encircled the cross, yet not a single prophet understood it.

It seems so obvious to us that Christ dying for sins was pictured back in the temple sacrifices. Yet, Christ having not yet been revealed, God told the priests that the animals’ blood forgave sins.

When God promised forgiveness and blessing to Israel, it is obvious to us that he could not fulfill this promise without Christ. Yet, Abram did not have a clue about the meaning of the Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection.

When Jesus first told his chosen twelve apostles that he would die, they were ignorant of what he meant and even tried to prevent it (Mat 16:22).

“And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.” – Luke 18:34

Even when the event of the cross occurred and the disciples saw him resurrected, the mystery of Christ had not yet been revealed. How God could justify ungodly men remained a puzzle and they taught required works (James 2:24).

The Secret is Not Found Before it Was Revealed

It is easy for us to read the accounts of Matthew-John and insert what we know as the preaching of the cross in between the lines, but we would be wrong. It is not there. When we are reading the past we must remember that they were ignorant of the mystery and still puzzled.

When we consider what they did not know, the reason they walked in circles around the cross becomes apparent. When we wrongly try to follow their ministry example then our preaching hides the cross and becomes a puzzle to those who hear us.

When we study we must respect that the mystery was hid throughout the law, prophets, and Jesus’ apostolic ministry to Israel, but now we must communicate the gospel of the mystery of Christ revealed.

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Published: May 28, 2011
Last Modified: November 29, 2016
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