What does it mean to hold to the mystery of the faith?


What does the apostle Paul refer to when he writes to Timothy in the first epistle that “the deacons have to hold to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience”?

Let’s see the whole context firstly:

Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain, but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. These men must also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach. (1 Timothy 3:8-10)(NASB)

The context warns us that when choosing deacons we have to look after people with pure motivation.

Christ in us is the mystery of the faith

The word “mystery” is often used in the Bible with reference to the work that God has done in us through faith in Christ:

The mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:26-27)(NASB)

A mystery to be shared with everyone 

Let it not be understood wrong that to hold the mystery of the faith means not to tell anyone about the faith you have in the Lord Jesus. No! No way! In the Epistle to the Christians of Ephesus, Paul wrote from prison the following:

With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. (Ephesians 6:18-20)(NASB)

Let us proclaim the Gospel to all people, this mystery of salvation, which was kept hidden for centuries, but was discovered at the end of this age in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Translated by Felicia Rotaru