First Timothy 1:3-4 says, “I exhorted you…to remain in Ephesus in order that you might charge certain ones not to teach different things…which produce questionings rather than God’s economy, which is in faith.” The word economy here occupies an important place in the New Testament, and its use in this verse indicates that any teaching among the believers should produce God’s economy. In other words, any teaching among Christians should be a teaching of God’s economy. In Ephesians 3:8-9, the apostle Paul speaks concerning his unique commission related to God’s economy: “to me, less than the least of all saints, was this grace given to announce to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel and to enlighten all that they may see what the economy of the mystery is, which throughout the ages has been hidden in God, who created all things.” These verses show that Paul’s commission was to enlighten all so that they would see “the economy of the mystery” which had been hidden in God.
The Greek word translated economy in the New Testament is composed of two Greek words: the first is oikos (meaning house) and the second, nomos (meaning law). Economy therefore refers to a household arrangement or a household administration. This word—economy—was used in ancient times in relation to large households that required a special arrangement to ensure that food, clothing, and other necessities were adequately distributed to every person in the household. Contrary to the common use of the word today, God’s economy has nothing to do with material riches or business; rather, God’s economy is God’s arrangement to dispense or distribute Christ with and in all His riches to His chosen people (Eph. 3:8). In His dispensing, God gives us Christ not as a one-time experience but as a constant, moment-by-moment supply (Rom. 10:12; cf. Phil 1:19). God intends that we contact, receive, and enjoy this wonderful Christ day by day so that He would be everything to us (Col. 1:27; 2:6, 3:3-4, 11). Such a rich and continuous experience of Christ brings in the fulfillment of God’s purpose to have a group of people who express God and represent Him (Gen. 1:26). In order to be those who express God and represent Him, we need to be filled in our spirit day by day (Eph. 5:18; 2 Tim. 4:22; cf. Rom. 12:11). That is, we need Christ dispensed into us for our full salvation and growth in life.
(Most references in the Further Reading can also be viewed on www.ministrybooks.org.)