“If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward” (Eph. 3:2).
God’s Word must be understood in the way God revealed His will to mankind. Therefore, it needs to be understood dispensationally. There is the broad division in Scripture between God’s two programs, Prophecy and Mystery, but then there are dispensations which must be broken down within it as well.
The term “dispensation” is the Greek word, oikonomia, which means “house law” or “house management.” At different times and stages in God’s Word, God dispensed to mankind a different and distinct rule of life.
Within each of our homes we have a certain set of rules that we expect our children to abide by. These are the house rules, the law of the household. Our house law may be different than your house law. For example, one time one of my kids came to me and said, “My friend’s family does it this way in their home, can’t we do this?” My response was “That’s their rules. We don’t do it that way in our house.” That’s the case in the dispensations of God. They each have their own set of house rules. We shouldn’t try to live by the house law belonging to another time and dispensation.
Within each dispensation of God, God dispensed a new set of “house laws or rules” that needed to be followed, and was the responsibility of those who lived under them to carry out and obey. God has given different commands to different people at different times throughout the Scripture.
It is also similar to presidential administrations. With the administration of our newly-elected president, there will be changes in how they govern and operate from the previous administration. It’s the same with the dispensations of God. God, according to His will, at different points of time in history, revealed a new administration in which there were changes in how man was to live and what was required to be saved.
Today we are under “the dispensation of the grace of God.” This current administration is an administration of grace. The house is managed by grace. Grace dominates everything about this dispensation under which we live. Our salvation is by grace, our walk is a grace walk, we are blessed by grace, our speech is with grace, and we sing with grace in our hearts, etc. There are countless principles to be applied throughout God’s Word, but the letters of Paul provide us with our “house rules” that we are to directly live by in this dispensation of Grace. source