Sigurd Grindheim, «What the OT Prophets Did Not Know: The Mystery of the Church in Eph 3,2-13», Vol. 84 (2003) 531-553
The purpose of this essay is two-fold. First, it argues that the inclusion of the Gentiles is referred to as a previously unrevealed mystery because it is based upon the abrogation of the Mosaic law and entails a degree of nearness to the Lord that exceeds the expectations of the old covenant. Second, it addresses the question of authorship. Assuming Pauline authorship as a working hypothesis, it shows that the use of the concept of mystery in Eph 3 is intimately linked with Paul’s terminology and thought world attested in the undisputed letters. It is unwarranted, therefore, to find proof of a post-Pauline development in the use of the term "mystery" in Ephesians.
letters (Rom 6,17-18; 7,5-6; 11,30; 1 Cor 6,9-11)18. In this context, this temporal contrast is combined with a redemptive historical contrast between the time before and after Christ19. This combination of these two "before" and "now" schemas is anticipated in the letter to the Galatians. In his discussion on the purpose of the law, Paul refers to an earlier time in redemptive history ("before faith came"; 3,23) and to the new era that is inaugurated with the coming of Christ ("now that faith has come"; 3,25). In 4,6 Paul applies the consequences of this new era to his Galatian audience: they are God’s children, having received the Spirit of God. This newfound state is then again contrasted, not to an earlier stage in redemptive history, but to the earlier condition of his Gentile audience, when they did not know God and they were enslaved to beings that by nature are not gods (4,8). This is the same perspective that Paul introduces in Eph 2. His audience was once without God (2,12), but they are now members of the household of God (2,19). This new status of the Gentiles, however, is also indicative of a new period in redemptive history. It is made possible through the work of Christ (2,14-16).
It is commonly observed that Eph 2,11-22 can be divided into three subsections. Vv. 11-13 describe the former situation of the Gentiles, vv. 14-18 describe the reconciliation in Christ, and vv. 19-22 serve as the positive counterpart to vv. 11-13, describing the new situation of the Gentiles20. Before, the Gentiles were excluded from God’s