Dispensationalism is an approach to biblical interpretation which states that God uses different means of administering his will to people during different periods of history, usually seven chronologically successive periods. It attempts a literal interpretation of scripture with a premillennial and pre-tribulation rapture view. It sees Israel and the church as distinct bodies.
The seven main dispensation are:
- Innocence (Genesis 1 -3)
- Conscience (Genesis 3-8)
- Civil Government (Genesis 9-11)
- Promise (Genesis 12-Ex. 19)
- Law (Exodus 20 - Acts 2:4)
- Grace (Acts 2:4 - Revelation 20:3)
- Millennial Kingdom (Rev. 20:4-6)
Compare to the Covenant Theology's understanding of God's administration of his will and grace.
See the article "What is dispensationalism?"