God has now revealed to us His mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfil His own good pleasure. And this is the plan: At the right time He will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth.Ephesians 1:9-10
in the administration (dispensation, plan) [a prepositional phrase referring to the magnitude of scope of the plan is unfolding IN CHRIST]
at the right time (in the fullness of time) [a temporal prepositional phrase setting the time frame for the action]
to bring everything under the headship (authority) of Christ [an infinitive clause of purpose or intent; the end point]
Notice this element in the layers of the propositional analysis I laid out for you. [Gem 605] The NLT picks up on the nuance and focuses attention on the plan to accomplish this being fulfilled at the right time. The word “plan” is mentioned three times in the translation although it only appears once in the Greek original. In Greek, the word “oikonomia” is only mentioned once at the beginning of verse 10. But the translators of the NLT want to make sure the magnitude of this plan that is unfolding in Christ is given its due emphasis. This is all according to His plan! It’s all going according to plan.
Some have translated this word in the past as “dispensation”. Other times it is translated as “administration”. For me it loses something of the magnitude of the word if it is translated merely as administration. Let’s face it, for many of us these days, if its just “admin stuff” then we let it go by without even blinking an eye. No this word is far more than that. Yes it is the Lord’s plan for accomplishing His stated will. But His will is “working like clockwork” and “on track”; the word dispensation is a good one.
- a. The act of dispensing.
- b. Something dispensed.
- c. A specific arrangement or system by which something is dispensed.
- d. An exemption or release from an obligation or rule, granted by or as if by an authority.
- e. An exemption from a church law, a vow, or another similar obligation granted in a particular case by an ecclesiastical authority.
- f. The document containing this exemption.
- The divine ordering of worldly affairs.
- A religious system or code of commands considered to have been divinely revealed or appointed
- Dispensation – The system by which anything is administered. Referring to particular periods in history whereby God dealt with man in a specific way. (Conscience, Law, Grace)
- Dispensationalism – A system of theology that sees God working with man in different ways during different dispensations. While ‘Dispensations’ are not ages, but stewardships, or administrations, we tend to see them now as ages since we look back on specific time periods when they were in force.
Don’t misunderstand my choice of the word dispensation for translating the word “oikonomia”. I am not a dispensationalist but I do agree with the use of the word to describe the way in which God is moving according to a plan which is being revealed in stages. God is moving to a plan and that plan is inexorably moving toward the fulfilment of His intentions. Thus “dispensation” is a good word to use, but without the baggage some would like to attach to it.
I trust I have made myself clear. Hence the reason I like the way the NLT has laid emphasis on “the plan”.
He can only keep those who have handed themselves over to Him.Watchman Nee
The question in salvation is not whether Jesus is Lord, but whether we are submissive to His lordship.John MacArthur
It is not a question of who you are, or of what you are, but whether God controls you.Henrietta C Mears
Lord, whatever you want, wherever you want it, and whenever you want it, that’s what I want.Richard Baxter