The Dispensational Implications of Galatians 3:17-19 -- By: Steve Lewis

Journal: Conservative Theological Journal
Volume: CTJ 07:22 (Dec 2003)
Article: The Dispensational Implications of Galatians 3:17-19
Author: Steve Lewis

The Dispensational Implications of Galatians 3:17-19

Steve Lewis

Graduate studies, Tyndale Theological Seminary
High Peaks Bible Fellowship, Parker, CO


Although the biblical term for “dispensation” (οἰκονομία, economy, stewardship, administration) does not occur in the passage currently under study, the text does contain implications for dispensationalism in at least three areas: (1) the relationship between the covenants and the different administrations of God during various periods; (2) the role of the “Seed of Abraham” (Jesus Christ) in the fulfillment of the covenants and in marking off the dispensations; and (3) an important perspective on the progress of revelation, including the effect of later revelation on earlier promises.

Three separate dispensational arrangements are implicit in Galatians 3:17-19 - the dispensation of Patriarchal Rule or of Promise (from Abraham to the giving of the Law), the dispensation of the Mosaic Law (from the Law to the coming of Christ), and the dispensation of Grace (from Christ to the millennial kingdom). These dispensations are distinguished by distinct changes in God’s administration of mankind, and they were communicated through new revelation which God delivered at each point in human history to convey His will. Ryrie explains this concept in the following words:

God’s truth was obviously not given all at one time, and the varying stages of revelation show that He has worked in different ways at different times….It is the marking off of these stages in the revelation of the purpose of God that is the basis for the dispensational approach to the interpretation of the Scriptures…In this unfolding there are distinguishable

stages of revelation when God introduces new things for which man becomes responsible. These stages are economies, stewardships, or dispensations in the unfolding of His purpose. Dispensationalism, therefore, recognizes both the unity of His purpose and the diversity in the unfolding of it.1

A dispensation consists of a divinely established administration or stewardship which is set forth in God’s revelation of His will. Ryrie further elaborates:

In His world God is dispensing or administering its affairs according to His own will and in various stages of revelation in the passage of time….In its Biblical usage, a dispensation is a divinely established stewardship of a particular revelation of God’s mind and will which brings added responsibility to the whole race of men or that portion of the race to whom the revelation is particularly given by God…Thu...

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