Thursday, January 5, 2017
“Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God” (Colossians 1:25 KJV).
And, just what is this “dispensation of God which is given to [Paul] for [us]?”
The word “dispensation” appears four times in a King James Bible—regrettably, it is nearly absent, or entirely omitted, from modern English versions. Why? Dispensational Bible study is a very detested system in theology, so theologians are quite eager to expunge “dispensation” from the English Bible text as much as possible! (We will flesh this out as we move along in future studies.)
Our 1611 translators took the Greek word oikonomia and rendered it four times in our “New Testament” Scriptures as “dispensation” (1 Corinthians 9:17; Ephesians 1:10; Ephesians 3:2; Colossians 1:25—today’s Scripture). On the three other occasions oikonomia appears, they translated it “stewardship” (Luke 16:2-4). The word oikos means “house, temple, household;” nomos is “law, rule;” the suffix –ia makes the noun nomos plural. Thus, oikonomia (pronounced oy-ko-no-me-ah) literally means “household rules.” What we want to do in our upcoming studies is let the Bible explain what all of this means. Just how does this affect us? And, how does it all relate to today’s Scripture?
Oikonomia first appears in the Bible in Luke chapter 16, so we should look at that passage first: “ And he [Jesus] said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.  And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward.  Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.  I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.” (Notice the references to a “steward,” and the three occurrences of “stewardship,” oikonomia.)
Let us proceed to explaining this passage so it can help us better grasp today’s Scripture….