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.
probably the reason why they are designated as "holy" (v.5)41. The antithesis is to "sons of men"42, which is a Hebraism for human beings (Mark 3,28). That suggests that the apostles are seen asholy, not in contradistinction to Christians in general, but in contradistinction to human beings in general. The mystery is not an exclusive prerogative of the apostles and prophets. When the divine wisdom, intimately related to the mystery, is made known to the powers and authorities (v. 10), the instrument is not the apostles and prophets, but the church. The reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles and their coexistence in unity as the body of Christ (1,22-23) are the first visible result of Christ’s reconciliatory work. This fact serves as a proclamation to the heavenly powers and authorities that the universal summing up of all things in Christ will become manifest in that they also will be subordinated to the headship of Christ43. The saints are also the recipients to whom the mystery is made known in 1,9, as it is in the parallel, Col 1,26.
This interpretation would be in line with the understanding of the apostolic and prophetic offices in the epistle to the Ephesians, as described in 4,11-12, where they are integrated into the function that is given to each individual in the church. The last of the two purpose clauses in v. 12 — "so that the body of Christ may be built up" — should probably not be taken as dependent on what has just been said about the offices, but on the previous purpose clause only: "to equip the saints for the work of ministry". Thus, the building up of the body of Christ is the function of each believer. That the emphasis in the context is on the individual believer is confirmed by the fact that the section vv. 7-16 is marked out by an inclusio with "each one" (‘Eni_ de_ e(ka/stw|, v. 7, and e(no_j e(ka/stou, v. 16)44.