G.K. Beale is known for his unique ability to examine and synthesize biblical themes across canonical lines. He has published numerous volumes focused on biblical theology and the use of the Old Testament in the New. However, the present volume co-authored with Benjamin L. Gladd, Hidden But Now Revealed: A Biblical Theology of Mystery rightly positions itself as one of the more unique works in the growing corpus of Beale’s thematic explorations.
Hidden But Now Revealed opens with an imperative first chapter. It is here that Beale and Gladd firmly establish the roots of the theme of mystery in the book of Daniel—specifically Daniel 2 and 4, although, as the reader will see, the theme is found elsewhere in Daniel as well (Daniel 5, 7-12). Thus, Daniel becomes a type of thematic launchpad with which Beale and Gladd inaugurate nearly all subsequent usages or allusions of the biblical theme of mystery.
Beale and Gladd describe a revelation of a mystery as, “God fully disclosing wisdom about end-times events that are mostly hitherto unknown . . . [it] signals the hidden nature of revelation and its subsequent interpretation” (p. 46). In other words, a mystery was once partially hidden in one form or another but has now been more fully revealed. Consequently, while there may be cases of revealed mystery in the Old Testament, the majority of the investigation inevitably rests in the New.
As the book unfolds, Beale and Gladd guide the reader through early Judaism and into the writings of the New Testament. The reader is accompanied in a carefully and detailed investigation of every occurrence of mystery from Matthew to Revelation, and then challenged to see the whole picture in light of that established in the first chapter. Apart from the content of each of the chapters, Beale and Gladd provide a number of related excursus materials to launch further insight.
I opened this review alluding to the fact that this was one of the more unique works that I have read by Beale. This is not because there is anything uncharacteristic about the book that one would not expect from Beale, quite the opposite. Rather, it displays Beale’s unique ability to observe the whole of Scripture in relation to the various parts more than some of his other works. Beale has taken a seemingly mysterious (pun intended) biblical theme, displayed the interconnectedness between the Old Testament and the New, and carefully guided the reader to the practical end of understanding and application.
The usefulness of biblical theology to the ongoing interdisciplinary interaction between the fields of biblical studies, theology, and hermeneutics is undeniable. While there is certainly a number of difficulties that will inevitably arise when trying to synthesize a single theme across the biblical canon, the profit of such pursuit will always outweigh the loss. Still, the insights to be unearthed from this book are numerous, and Beale and Gladd provide unparalleled guidance therein.
If you are in the market for a comprehensive journey into the biblical theme of mystery and its implications on the Christian life, you will not find anything better on the shelf than Hidden But Now Revealed: A Biblical Theology of Mystery by G. K. Beale and Benjamin L. Gladd. It is rich with interpretive insight and deep in practical significance, and thus comes highly recommended!
I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.