The Greek word, οικονομια (which is obviously the root for the English word, "economy"), appears 8 times in the New Testament. The translators chose "dispensation" 4 times, "steward" or "stewardship" 4 times, and "edifying" once as the English equivalents.

Consider the instances when "steward" or "stewardship" was chosen, all of which occur in the 16th chapter of Luke:

Luke 16:1 And he 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. Luke 16:2 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. Luke 16:3 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.

This man had held his position as steward long enough to enrich himself with his thievery. And, it is this element of time that the dispensationalist seizes upon to justify his understanding of a dispensation to be a period of time. But, time must then be a part of the existing definition of dispensation. That is, it must be a part of the definition when the teaching of dispensation...as a period of time...first began. This teaching originated with J.N. Darby and C.I. Scofield in the midst of the nineteenth century.

The basis for the certainty of my declaration is found in the 1828 Webster's definition for dispensation:

4. That which is dispensed or bestowed; a system of principles and rites enjoined; as the Mosaic dispensation; the gospel dispensation; including, the former the Levitical law and rites; the latter the scheme of redemption by Christ.

Note that the definition does not involve time. Yes, the words "former" and "latter" are used, but these are not defining words. They merely tell you when the dispensing occurred. Dispensation, itself, merely means the act of dispensing or that which is dispensed.

First Corinthians 9:17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.

In this case, the gospel message and the responsibilities of its delivery are given to Paul.

Ephesians3:2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

The grace of God is given to Paul and he, in turn, is to make that grace known to others.

Colossians1:25 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;

Here, Paul receives his ministerial commission.

Ephesians 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

Don't be fooled by this one! Yes, there is a mention of time, but it is that time which is to be dispensed away (apparently a reference to that which is taught by John in Revelation 10:6). This is to be dispensed AWAY, rather than TO. This is similar to when the chairman of a meeting might say, "We'll dispense with the reading of the minutes."

So, we see that, in every case when the King James translators chose the word "dispensation," it was intended in the sense of the act of dispensing or that which is dispensed. This is exactly in agreement with the definition supplied in the 1828 Webster's Dictionary.

This means, then, that the King James translators chose the word "dispensation" for reasons other than time. Such a definition simply did not exist. We can only speculate as to the Darby/Scofield agenda. We can say, however, that these men chose to set aside the efforts of those King James scholars and, instead, insert their own thoughts. They are equivalent, then, to those who stand in their pulpits and say, "A better translation would be...." This, then, identifies them...and those who today continue their teaching...as enemies of the KJV Bible.