(Gr. oikonomia, "management," "economy"). (1.) The method or scheme according to which God carries out his purposes towards men is called a dispensation. There are usually reckoned three dispensations, the Patriarchal, the Mosaic or Jewish, and the Christian. (See COVENANT, Administration of.) These were so many stages in God's unfolding of his purpose of grace toward men. The word is not found with this meaning in Scripture.
(2.) A commission to preach the gospel (1 Cor. 9:17; Eph. 1:10; 3:2; Col. 1:25).
Dispensations of Providence are providential events which affect men either in the way of mercy or of judgement.
- dis-pen-sa'-shun: The Greek word (oikonomia) so translated signifies primarily, a stewardship, the management or disposition of affairs entrusted to one. Thus 1 Cor 9:17
, the King James Version "A dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me," the Revised Version (British and American) "I have stewardship entrusted to me." The idea is similar in Eph 3:2
parallel Col 1:25
(the Revised Version, margin "stewardship"). In Eph 1:10
God's own working is spoken of as "dispensation."