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.
be members of the same body. In the Old Testament they had to become circumcised (Gen 17,13; Exod 12,48), that is, they had to become Jews, in order to be fully incorporated into the people of God. But now, the Gentiles, as Gentiles, are fellow heirs and members of the same body.
This understanding of the mystery is confirmed when we notethat there are some literary affinities between Eph 3,2-13 and 2 Cor 3,5 – 4,1:
|2 Cor 3||Eph 3|
|ka/lumma (vv. 13, 14)||musth/rion (v. 3)|
|mh_ a)nakalupto/menon (v. 14)||ou)k e)gnwri/sqh (v. 5)|
|a)pokekrumme/nou (v. 9)|
|periairei=tai ta_ ka/lumma (v. 16)||a)poka/luyin (v. 3)|
|a)nakekalumme/nw| (v. 18)||a)pekalu/fqh (v. 5)|
|pneu=ma (v. 6)||e)n pneu/mati (v. 5)|
|diako/nouj (v. 6; 4,1)||dia/konoj (v. 7)|
|i(kano/thj h(mw=n e)k tou= qeou= (v. 5)||dwrea/n ... xa/ritoj ... dwqei/shj (v. 7)|
|parrhsi/a (v. 12)||parrhsi/an (v. 12)|
|Dia_ tou=to ... ou)k e)gkakou=men (4,1)||dio/ ... mh_ e)gkakei=n (v. 13)52.|
In 2 Cor 3 it is pointed out that the new covenant has superseded the old (3,9-11) and that the old covenant has been abolished (3,11.13.14)53. Furthermore, in 2 Cor 3,2-3.6-7 Paul applies the promises of Jer 31,31; Ezek 11,19-20; 36,26-28 to the Gentiles. By doing so, Paul effectively states that the re-creation of Israel has taken place through his own ministry, resulting in Christ-believers from the Gentiles. The Gentiles have experienced the fulfilment of the promises to Israel in the messianic age54. Although there are significant differences between these passages, the resemblances in terminology seem to be prompted by the same motifs: the development in redemptive history characterized by the abrogation of the Mosaic law and the identification of the church and re-created Israel.