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Ask the Pastor 106

What is a dispensationalist?

A dispensationalist is a person who believes that the Bible is divided into a certain number of dispensations. This is seen as a doctrine but it is more a hermeneutic which is a manner of how we interpret the Scriptures. The word dispensation means a stewardship or an economy. The Apostle Paul spoke of the dispensation of grace that was given to him for the Gentiles (Ephesians 3:1-2). In the newer translations the word is often translated stewardship. Dispensationalists usually interpret the Bible literally and this is the major difference between them and non-dispensationalists who usually interpret the Bible allegorically. The traditional dispensationalists sees 8 dispensations which are marked out with major events in the Bible, they are seen as follows: 1. Innocence – from the creation to the fall of man; 2. Conscience – from the fall to the flood; 3. Human Government – from the flood to the tower of Babel and the call of Abraham; 4. Family or Promise – From Abraham to the Law at Mt. Sinai; 5. The Law – from Mt. Sinai to the cross of our Lord; 6. Grace – from the cross to the rapture and the tribulation; 7. Kingdom – from the tribulation to the end of the Millennial kingdom of our Lord; 8. The final judgement and the eternal state. This hermeneutic serves at least 3 purposes: 1. It helps us to see the Bible more clearly as it is marked into these dispensations. 2. We see the Lord God working in a progressive manner with mankind throughout the ages, so that as His revelation unfolds, we can see how mankind has been given every opportunity to measure up to His righteous standard and has failed each time. 3. We see a marked difference in how the Lord works with mankind and particularly the difference between Israel and the Church. As it concludes, the Church is the bride of Christ and holds a unique and privileged place because of the grace of God appropriated by faith. For anyone to have this special place, one must simply believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Have questions about the Bible? Send them to Dr. Greg Koehn at and read the answer here in this article.

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