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THE DISPENSATIONAL VIEW

A dispensational view of the bible is demanded for proper understanding of God's word.

MEMORY VERSE

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."  2Timothy 2:15

The word of truth is the Bible.  There is a right way and wrong ways to interpret the Bible.  Ephesians 2:10 tells us that ". . . we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."  If you are born again of the Spirit of God, then you are Christ's workman and this verse applies to you.  It tells us to rightly divide or rightly interpret it.  So let's see what this "rightly dividing" is all about.
 

RIGHTLY DIVIDING

orthotomeo or-thot-om-eh'-o - to make a straight cut, i.e. (figuratively) to dissect (expound) correctly (the divine message):--rightly divide.

Nothing mysterious here.  Rightly dividing is correctly interpreting.  But if we are told to rightly divide God's word, then we need to avoid pitfalls which will have us wrongly divide and misinterpret it.  
 

WHAT IS A DISPENSATION?

oikonomia oy-kon-om-ee'-ah  - administration (of a household or estate); specially, a (religious) "economy":--dispensation, stewardship.

A big word, with a simple meaning.  Simply stated, people being dealt with or tested differently at different times.  When we were colonies under British rule, the king and the parliament told the colonist what they could do and not do.  After the war for independence, a different type of government, with different people in positions of authority set and enforced a new set of rules.  Thus we have examples of two dispensations.  Note that the people under these different governments had responsibilities as well as the rulers, that is they had a stewardship.  No one can deny that things were different in the Garden of Eden before and after the fall.  Sin changed everything. 

REFERENCES

Like other words in language, "dispensation" can have a slightly different meaning depending on the context.  Note these examples below where three of the four examples refer to stewardships given to Paul and the fourth, a period of time (the fullness of times).

1Corinthians 9:17  "For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation <oikonomia> of the gospel is committed unto me."

Ephesians 1:10  "That in the dispensation <oikonomia> of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:"

Ephesians3:2  "If ye have heard of the dispensation <oikonomia> of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

Colossians 1:25  "Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation <oikonomia> of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God;"

Some Definitions

  •  A dispensation is a period of time during which God deals in a particular way with man in respect to sin and to man's responsibility.  See:  Ephesians 1:10; 3:5

  • A dispensation is a  stewardship or administration.

  • A dispensation is a period of specific testing of man by God.

A Misrepresentation

Nowhere in the Bible does the use of the word or concept of "dispensation" suggest or imply that men were saved in different ways at different times.
  • What a dispensation is not is a different way of salvation.
  • Salvation has always been by God's grace through faith.

Agreement Among The Brethren?

Do all Christians agree that dispensations exist in God's revealed Word?
The answer is NO!          Why?

The Reason!

All Christians do not interpret the Bible in the same way and this leads to differing understandings of God's plan, especially for today and the future.  How does that happen?   Inconsistency - interpreting some passages of Scripture one way and others differently. 

 

The Interpretation Options

  • Grammatical/Historical - Literal, allowing for obvious figurative passages where they are clearly indicated (Jesus said, "I am the door . . .". John 10:7, 9).

  • Allegorical - spiritualizing - attributing some other meaning to a passage other than what the language would allow.  For example, Hell and the Lake of Fire are not real places prepared by God for the devil, but rather a state of mind.   Get the idea.   Can you see what this can lead to?

  • Combination of the above

The Correct Approach

Only this approach takes sinful man's hands off the Word and allows it to speak for itself as God intended.  God is not the author of confusion, but man certainly is.  "2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."  God superintended over the writing of the Word so that it would be without error.  And if it is without error, it says what it means, and means what it says. 

Grammatical/Historical - Literal

The Scriptures were taught at every level of society in the early days of the Church.  It wasn't only the Pharisees, Scribes and Sadducees that read the Scriptures, but common folk like you and me.  Timothy had the Word taught to him by his mother and grandmother.  It was intended for the common folk, to be understood in the common sense.  Therefore, every word should be understood at its common usage unless the context clearly shows otherwise.  If the plain sense makes common sense, seek no other sense.  This does not mean that we reject figurative language, parables and other elements of language that are understood by common folk like you and me.  Jesus interpreted the Scriptures literally when He referred to Adam, Noah and Jonah.

 

True Revelation

A literal interpretation reveals:

  • Israel distinct from the Church

  • Literal 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth

  • Pre-tribulation catching up of the Church into Glory

How Many Dispensations?

Not all dispensationalist agree on the number of dispensations.

Some see 6, some 7, some 8.

The most commonly accepted number today is 7.

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Monthly Devotion

THE RESURRECTION OF THE
LORD JESUS CHRIST

“MOREOVER, brethren, I
declare unto you the
gospel which I preached
unto you, which also ye
have received, and
wherein ye stand;

For I delivered unto you
first of all that which I
also received, how that
Christ died for our sins
according to the
scriptures; And that he
was buried, and that he
rose again the third day
according to the
scriptures.” I
Cor.15:1,3,4

“Jesus answered and said
unto them, Destroy this
temple, and in three days
I will raise it up. Then
said the Jews, Forty and
six years was this temple
in building, and wilt
thou rear it up in three
days? But he spake of the
temple of his body.”
John 2:19-21

“But if there be no
resurrection of the dead,
then is Christ not risen;

“And if Christ be not
risen, then is our
preaching vain, and your
faith is also vain.

“And if Christ be not
raised, your faith is
vain; ye are yet in your
sins.

“Then they also which are
fallen asleep in Christ
are perished.

“But now is Christ risen
from the dead, and become
the first fruits of them
that slept.”
I Corinthians
15:13,14,17,18,20

“...he was seen of
Cephas, then of the
twelve: After that, he
was seen of above five
hundred brethren at once;
of whom the greater part
remain unto this present,
but some are fallen
asleep.

After that, he was seen
of James; then of all the
apostles. And last of
all, he was seen of me
also, as one born out of
due time.
I Corinthians 15:5-8

WE HAVE A LIVING SAVIOUR.
PRAISE GOD!


Missionary of the Month

Patrick & Lisa McCoy
Church Planting
Alaska