Hidden But Now Revealed: A Biblical Theology of Mystery                                                 A review by Jack Kettler

Hidden But Now Revealed: A Biblical Theology of Mystery
by G. K. Beale and Benjamin L. Gladd
Publisher: IVP Academic, Downers Grove, Illinois, (2014)

The Authors:

G. K. Beale (PhD, University of Cambridge) holds the J. Gresham Machen Chair of New Testament and is professor of New Testament and biblical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary. His books include The Book of Revelation (New International Greek Testament Commentary), 1-2 Thessalonians (The IVP New Testament Commentary Series), The Right Doctrine from the Wrong Texts? Essays on the Use of the Old Testament in the New, John's Use of the Old Testament in Revelation, The Temple and the Church's Mission and We Become What We Worship.

Benjamin L. Gladd received a PhD in Biblical and Theological studies from Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL. He currently serves as Assistant Professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi, and has served as an adjunct faculty member at Wheaton College, teaching New Testament exegesis and interpretation, Greek, and introductory courses on the Old and New Testaments. Gladd is the author of Revealing the Mysterion.

Significant comments:

“In the realm of lay readers, I can hardly think of an area that is more misunderstood than the area of prophecy; in the realm of biblical scholars, I can hardly think of a topic more controverted than the relationship between the Old and the New. At the crosshairs of both discussions is Daniel's term 'mystery.' For the sake of both readerships, I'm grateful that we finally now have a book that reduces the mystery behind 'mystery.' Many others will be grateful as well, and will want a copy for their own library.” - Nicholas Perrin, Franklin S. Dyrness Chair of Biblical Studies, Wheaton College Graduate School

“An intriguing theological and exegetical exploration of a key New Testament theme, especially in Paul. As the book's authors argue, the early Christian use of 'mysteries' surely reflects the strong influence of Daniel.” - raig Keener, professor of New Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary

“Comprehensive and accessible, this book is a model of intertextual exegesis and hermeneutics for the sake of biblical theology. . . . Serious Bible students will find in Hidden But Now Revealed helpful detailed intertextual analysis of the way in which mystery in the book of Daniel is interpreted, adapted, and revealed in the New Testament.” - Sherif Gendy, Ordained Servant

“Beale and Gladd have ably demonstrated the viability of the claim that the New Testament writers understood and respected the context of the Old Testament passages to which they alluded and cited. Chapter 11, the conclusion, and the appendix provide a masterful synthesis with hermeneutical implications extending far beyond the narrow topic of mystery. Beale and Gladd express the hope that 'pastors and students will benefit from this project because of its emphasis on how the two Testaments relate.' Pastors, students, and academics alike will indeed find it beneficial to familiarize themselves with the contents and conclusions of this excellent volume.” - R. Andrew Compton, Calvin Theological Journal

Why get this important book?

The book is brilliant and original! The authors make the case why the study of the term mystery is warranted, but needed. The term mystery is found in the New Testament 28 times. It is found 9 times in the Old Testament. Interestingly, the word mystery only appears in the book of Daniel.

In its most basic meaning; mystery conveys the idea of hiddenness or partial hiddeness and then subsequent fuller revelation.

The authors stress the importance of how Daniel uses the term and how it informs the New Testament writers understanding of the relationship between the Old and New Testaments. The authors point out: “The initial revelation was not entirely hidden but only partially, and the subsequent revelation discloses the fuller meaning of the end-times events” (43).

The book supplies background into the New Testament’s use of mystery by examining the use of mystery in early Judaism, in key texts in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the practice of mystery religions in the early centuries of church history.

The authors look at the use of the term mystery throughout the whole of Scripture. The authors thoroughly work through Matthew, Romans, 1st Corinthians, Ephesians, Colossians, 2nd Thessalonians, 1st Timothy, and Revelation. Beale and Gladd discover most importantly that the term mystery is linked to Christ, the crucifixion and Christ's heavenly reign in the cosmos. Beale and Gladd do justice to the biblical concepts of continuity and discontinuity between the Old and New Covenants in this important work.

Summery of some significant examples of Mystery and fulfillment in the Bible:

  • The conversion of the gentiles

  • Israel set aside and the gentiles graphed in

  • The restoration of Israel, (Romans chapter 11)

  • The marital mystery of Christ and His Church

  • The suffering Messiah and crucified King

  • Christ ruling the cosmos, both in the heavenly and earthly realms

One can say, the authors do an extraordinary job of taking away the mystery from the use of the term mystery in Scripture. Every serious student of Scripture should have this book in their library.

Mr. Kettler is the owner of http://www.Undergroundnotes.com web site where his theological, philosophical and political articles can be read.

Jack Kettler