The Pauline Mystery
By |   January 13, 2011 |   in Scripture, Spiritual Practices

My recommended practice is meditating on passages of scripture in relation to the movement of God in history. A surprising fruitful practice for me, I learned from early Christian writers, is to mediate on scripture in light of the Pauline mystery.

Let me explain. Peter in his Pentecost address speaks of the “definite plan” of God. Later Paul stated his vocation as to make fully known “the mystery that had been hidden throughout the ages” which is, “Christ in you the hope of glory.” (Col 1:25-27) The “definite plan” of Peter and the “hidden mystery” of Paul are one and same movement of God through history.

I would summarize the Pauline mystery this way: Humanity was created to be intimately related to God but rebelled. In the fullness of time and in accordance with his eternal purpose, God demonstrated his love for us in that Christ died for the ungodly. Therefore we now are justified by faith, have peace with God through our Lord Jesus, and our life is hid in Christ. This divine love, the love with which he loved us in Christ has now been pour forth into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given us. This Spirit, the Spirit of adoption, has been poured out in order that we might become children and heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Intimately related to God through his Spirit, we become capable of this same love and thereby image God to his creation.

(Originally published in The Kingdom Life: A Practical Theology of Discipleship and Spiritual Formation)

Join the Conversation

Do you find meditating on scripture a fruitful spiritual practice for you? Why or why not?

What springs to heart and mind when you meditate, as Michael suggests, on the Pauline mystery?

Michael Glerup:
Michael Glerup, Ph.D., serves as Research and Acquisitions editor for the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (ACCS), a twenty-eight volume patristic commentary on Scripture. ACCS, published by InterVarsity Press, is an ecumenical project promoting a vital link of communication between the varied Christian traditions of today and their common ancestors in the faith. Read more at http://www.ancientchristian.com

1 Comment


  1. It is one of my favorite things to do. I read until something catches my attention and then meditate on it until I feel I understand well what God was meaning.