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.
of the Gentiles. In Galatians the role of the other apostles is that of acknowledging the gospel Paul is preaching, not that of receiving a similar revelation themselves38. It has been suggested that the best explanation for this is that we are dealing with a post-Pauline element in Eph 3,539.
The primary idea when Paul portrays himself as the apostle to the Gentiles, however, is that he is referring to his special commission to take the gospel to the Gentiles. The division mentioned in Gal 2,7 refers not to the reception of revelation, but to the sphere of missionary activity. With regard to the divine revelation that the gospel is offered to the Gentiles apart from the law, Paul stresses, especially in Galatians, that there is unity between him and the other apostles (2,2-3.6-9). The gospel he preaches is recognized by the leaders in Jerusalem40. Moreover, Paul underscores that he has received the same revelation of Christ as have the other apostles (1 Cor 9,1; 15,8).
Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that Paul’s unique position comes through more strongly in Galatians. In Ephesians, however, when Paul departs from describing the revelation as his personal prerogative and aligns himself with the apostles and prophets, this is not unmotivated; he recalls the expression from 2,20, where this group is called the foundation of the church. In 3,5, then, Paul is explaining his own role in the larger picture of the church as the temple of God. This ecclesiological focus in Ephesians is very different from the apologetical purpose of Galatians and explains the different emphasis.
That our understanding is correct is confirmed when we observe how the apostles here are described as a function of the church. This is