Doesn’t this sound intriguing?
To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 3:8-9)
“The fellowship of the mystery.” That grabbed my attention. It especially bobbled my head in light of what the “mystery” actually is (that is for another day).
I was intrigued by the phrase. So much so that I went and looked up the terms.
- Fellowship — partnership, i.e. (literally) participation, or (social) intercourse, or (pecuniary) benefaction:–(to) communicate(-ation), communion, (contri-)distribution, fellowship.
- among the writings of the early Church Fathers, such as Justin Martyr and Clement, koinwnia (“fellowship”) carried the meaning of distribution and imparting
- the English word fellowship carries this same meaning which demonstrates a mutual sharing. So, the Greek and the English reflect the meaning of giving what we have experienced
- Mystery–from a derivative of muo (to shut the mouth); a secret or “mystery” (through the idea of silence imposed by initiation into religious rites):–mystery.
- The word “mystery,” in the ancient world, meant primary the secret teachings contained within the so-called “Mystery Cults” of Greek/Egyptian or Persian deities. Christian literature, in contrast, used the word to describe the secret thoughts or plans of God which have been hidden from human reason and must be revealed to special people in order to be clear to the rest of us.
Joe-ian intrepretation: “I’ve got a God-sized secret that will rock your world, want in on it?”
Anyone wanna be part of the fellowship of the mystery?
*Yes, I know that the Textus Receptus is the only primary manuscript that has “fellowship” (koinwnia) and that the majorityof manuscripts use “administration” (oikonomia). If that bothers you, a) you are missing the point, b) both koinwnia and oikonomia carry a similar meaning, and c) you need to be baptized into the “mystery!”