In the New Testament which was originally written in Greek, we find the Greek words gnôsis (knowledge) and sophia (wisdom) often written together and reoccurring many times in association with the words “treasure (Greek: thēsaurízō) and secret mysteries.”
St. Paul, who was then writing to the Greeks or Hellenistic Jews ie: Gnostics at the time would use phraseology that was familiar to the initiated such as when he calls the gospel “a mystery,” which is “hidden from the natural understanding and from the previous searchings of men” (1 Corinthians 2:6-16). He emphasizes the notion of secrecy in its proclamation (comp. 2 Corinthians 3:12-4:6); and “mystery is the correlate of revelation.”
Some of the early Christian Fathers who were collectively known as The Ante-Nicene Fathers had said that when Paul speaks of “treasures”, he is talking about knowledge (gnosis) and of hidden wisdom. In Volume 9, they proclaim;
“Apostles would have said this, too, as well as Paul. As for the text, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us,” we interpret it in this way.
By “treasures” we understand here, as in other passages, the treasure of knowledge (gnosis) and of hidden wisdom.”
The Ancient Gnostic mysteries were what can be called the Greek Athenian and Hellenistic Jewish mysteries that were secret religious doctrines and rites made known only to initiated persons, who formed various associations and schools. Some of the most sacred were the Gnostic mysteries near the city of Knossos on Crete and what is known as the Eleusis mysteries near Athens in Greece.
It was said that the mystical doctrines ascribed to Pythagoras were propagated by various secret societies, which were readily adopted by the Church of Alexandria whose goal was to expand Judaism using a secret symbolical and allegorizing method into a one world universal religious system.
The inner Gnostic mysteries would be veiled from the unenlightened (or uninitiated) fellow believers.
The English word mystery is derived from the Greek word μυστήριον, which means a “secret”, or knowledge (gnosis) kept hidden or covered ie: the unrevealed. Paul would have used the term to describe the secret doctrines of Gnosis that were to remain hidden until the apocalypse in order to uncover them.
In Colossians 1:26, Paul had said, “the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people.” In his Epistles, he uses the term “mystery” 21 times such as “The mystery which hath been hidden away from the ages and from the generations (Ephesians 2:2, 3; Ephesians 3:5, 9; Romans 16:25, 26; Romans 11:25, 26, 33).
The word “mystery” plays a large part in Colossians and Ephesians and it occurs in 1 Corinthians, and twice in the Roman Epistle, written from Corinth. Its use in Romans 16:25 is identical with that of the passage before us. ”
“In whom (not as Alford, ‘in which’) mystery; Christ is Himself the ‘mystery’ (Col 2:2; 1Ti 3:16), and to Christ the relative refers) are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Gnosis) hidden.
This is the wisdom of God in a mystery, a wisdom which is hidden.
This wisdom refers to how man’s redemption is truly accomplished which is through the secret doctrine of Gnosis.
In his Epistles to the Corinthians, Paul calls himself an idiot — a person unskilful in the Word, but not in the gnosis. Paul says, “We speak wisdom among the perfect or initiated. Not the wisdom of this world, nor of the archons of this world, but divine wisdom in a mystery, secret—which none of the Archons of this world knew.”
By revelation, Paul received the secret (μυστήριον) Gnosis.
Moe is the founder of GnosticWarrior.com. A website dedicated to both the ancient and modern teachings of Gnosticism.