Dusty Phrases

Hi! Welcome to “Dusty Phrases.” You will find below an ancient phrase in one language or another, along with its English translation. You may also find the power to inspire your friends or provoke dread among your enemies.

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μυστήριον τῆς πίστεως
Mystḗrion tês písteōs


Mystery of faith

Mystery of faith is a phrase with a specifically Christian meaning, originally in Greek, as Greek was the original language of Christians and the one in which the New Testament was written. It stems from 1 Timothy 3:9: They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.

From wiki:

The mystery of faith” and “a mystery of faith” are phrases found in different contexts and with a variety of meanings, either as translations of Greek τὸ μυστήριον τῆς πίστεως (tò mystérion tês písteos) or Latin mysterium fidei, or as independent English phrases.


In theology, an article of faith or doctrine which defies man’s ability to grasp it fully, something that transcends reason, is called “a mystery of the faith”. The Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks of the Trinity as “a mystery of faith in the strict sense, one of the ‘mysteries that are hidden in God, which can never be known unless they are revealed by God'”, and it declares: “The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them.” The Church itself is “a mystery of the faith”.

Ludwig Feuerbach applied the phrase “the mystery of faith” to belief in the power of prayer.

“The Mystery of Faith” is used in the title of some books as a reference to the totality of the doctrine of the Eastern Orthodox Church or of the Catholic Church. More frequent are books of that title that refer to Roman Catholic doctrine on the Eucharist, which was the subject also of a papal encyclical by Pope Paul VI, whose incipit was Mysterium fidei (Latin for “mystery of faith” or “mystery of the faith”).

The phrase “a mystery of faith”, rather than “the mystery of faith”, appears also with reference to the Eucharist, as in the title of a book by Joseph M. Champlin.

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