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Verse 7. But we speak. We who have preached the gospel.

The wisdom of God. We teach or proclaim the wise plan of God for the salvation of men; we make known the Divine wisdom in regard to the scheme of human redemption. This plan was of God, in opposition to other plans which were of men.

In a mystery, even the hidden wisdom. en musthriw thn apokekrummenhn. The words "even" and "wisdom" in this translation have been supplied by our translators; and the sense would be more perspicuous if they were omitted, and the translation should be literally made— "We proclaim the Divine wisdom hidden in a mystery." The apostle does not say that their preaching was mysterious, nor that their doctrine was unintelligible; but he refers to the fact that this wisdom had been hidden in a mystery from men until that time, but was then revealed by the gospel. In other words, he does not say that what they then declared was hidden in a mystery, but that they made known the Divine wisdom which had been concealed from the minds of men. The word mystery with us is commonly used in the sense of that which is beyond comprehension; and it is often applied to such doctrines as exhibit difficulties which we are not able to explain. But this is not the sense in which it is commonly used in the Scriptures. See Barnes "Mt 13:11".

Comp. Campbell on the gospels, Diss. ix. part i. The word properly denotes that which is concealed or hidden; that which has not yet been known; and is applied to those truths which, until the revelation of Jesus Christ, were concealed from men, which were either hidden under obscure types and shadows or prophecies, or which had been altogether unrevealed, and unknown to the world. The word stands opposed to that which and unknown to the world. The word stand opposed to that which is revealed, not to that which is in itself plain. The doctrines to which the word relates may in themselves clear and simple, but they are hidden in mystery until they are revealed. From this radical idea in the word mystery, however, it came also to be applied not only to those doctrines which had not been made known, but to those also which were in themselves deep and difficult; to that which is enigmatical and obscure, 1 Co 14:2; 1 Ti 3:16. It is applied also to the secret designs and purposes of God, Re 10:7.

The word is most commonly applied by Paul to the secret and long concealed design of God to make known his gospel to the Gentiles; to break down the wall between them and the Jews; and to spread the blessings of the true religion everywhere, Ro 11:25; 16:25; Eph 1:9; 3:9; 6:19.

19. Here it evidently means the beauty and excellency of the person and plans of Jesus Christ, but which were in fact unknown to the princes of this world. It does not imply, of necessity, that they could not have understood them, nor that they were unintelligible; but that, in fact, whatever was the cause, they were concealed from them. Paul says, 1 Co 2:8, that had they known his wisdom, they would not have crucified him—which implies at least that it was not in itself unintelligible; and he further says, that this mystery had been revealed to Christians by the Spirit of God, which proves that he does not here refer to that which is in itself unintelligible, 1 Co 2:10. "The apostle has here especially in view the all-wise counsel of God for the salvation of men by Jesus Christ, in the writings of the Old Testament only obscurely signified, and to the generality of men utterly unknown.", Bloomfield.

Which God ordained. Which plan, so full of wisdom, God appointed in his own purpose before the foundation of the world; that is, it was a plan which from eternity he determined to execute. It was not a new device; it had not been got up to serve an occasion; but it was a plan laid deep in the eternal counsel of God, and on which he had his eye for ever fixed. This passage proves that God had a plan, and that this plan was eternal. This is all that is involved in the doctrine of eternal decrees or purposes. And if God had a plan about this, there is the same reason to think that he had a plan in regard to all things.

Unto our glory. In order that we might be honoured or glorified. This may refer either to the honour which was put upon Christians in this life, in being admitted to the privileges of the sons of God; or, more probably, to that "eternal weight of glory" which remains for them in heaven, 2 Co 4:17. One design of that plan was to raise the redeemed to "glory, and honour, and immortality." It should greatly increase our gratitude to God, that it was a subject of eternal design; that he always has cherished this purpose; and that he has loved us with such love, and sought our happiness and salvation with such intensity, that in order to accomplish it he was willing to give his own Son to die on a cross.

{+} "mystery" "Which is unknown" {b} "hidden wisdom" Eph 3:5,9

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