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.
the Scriptures for the justification of the Gentiles Paul seems to avoid the prophecies about the pilgrimage of the nations59. Perhaps the reason is that Paul did not want to see the Gentiles’ new status being understood in the light of the Jewish expectations of the fulfillment of these pilgrimage passages. These expectations were often associated with ideas of Jewish supremacy (Tob 13,11; 1 En. 90.30; 2 Bar. 72.4-6). Since Paul’s concept of the fulfillment of these prophecies was incompatible with these expectations, it is possible that he wanted to avoid these connotations.
In 3,10 "the manifold wisdom of God" is used as a synonym for the mystery. Since the church is the instrument for making this wisdom known, some commentators identify the church with the mystery60. This is probably to go beyond the most natural meaning of the text, however61. Eph 3,10 says that the church is the instrument for making known the manifold wisdom of God. The church itself is not revealed or made known, but it is the instrument through which the wisdom is proclaimed. The concept of mystery as a previously unrevealed secret does not naturally lend itself to an identification with the church. That would imply that prior to its revelation, the church would be hidden in God’s counsel. A more straightforward reading of Eph 3,9-10 is allowed for when the mystery is understood as the fact that God would bring Jew and Gentile together in a new body, disregarding the conditions imposed by the Mosaic law. The existence of the church proclaims this fact to the powers, thus making known the manifold wisdom of God.
6. Un-Pauline Terminology?
Our discussion of the "mystery" in Ephesians 3 has shown that the term has a distinctively ecclesiological focus. This is a novelty of the epistle to the Ephesians. True, the inclusion of the Gentiles is a major concern to Paul and in Rom 16,25-26; Col 1,27 it is said that a purpose of the mystery is the inclusion of the Gentiles. Eph 3,6 goes even further, however, and identifies the mystery with this inclusion 62. It is often maintained, therefore, that it is indisputable that we have here a