What is God’s economy?
I have a question concerning something I've seen in Ephesians and I Timothy.
In Ephesians 1:10 it says, "Unto the economy of the fullness of the times, to head up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth, in Him."
Ephesians 3:9 says, "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."
And I Timothy 1:4 "Nor to give heed to myths and unending genealogies, which produce questionings rather than God's economy, which is through faith"
These verses all mention economy or God's economy. Are these three uses related and if so, what is God's economy?
Thanks for your help.
Your question puzzled me for a moment since I did not recognize the translation you quoted from. The translation of oikonomia as "economy" is a bit unusual, even though the English word "economy" does have its roots in this word. Most translations render the word as "dispensation," "administration," or "put into effect."
The translation you are using is called the Recovery Version. This is one of several "specialty" versions published by a denomination to promote its particular beliefs. This version is used to promote the teachings of a man called "Witness Lee." He started an organization called "Living Stream Ministry," the publisher of this version, and started a church called the "Local Church." The translation is more a platform for Witness Lee's teachings than anything else. For the most part, there is more commentary on the pages than there is actual Bible text. A great detailed review of this translation can be found at Bible Research - Recovery Version.
Some of Witness Lee's teachings are that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are just different names for the same being. He also teaches that God is both flesh and spirit and that humans are of the same nature as God. And it is here we see why Witness Lee's organization chose such an unusual word for these passages:
"My burden is to show you clearly that God's economy and plan is to make Himself man and to make us, His created beings, 'God,' so that He is 'man-ized' and we are 'God-ized.' In the end, He and we, we and He, all become God-men." [Witness Lee, A Deeper Study of the Divine Dispensing, (Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1990), p. 54].
The word selection is to give the appearance of legitimacy to Witness Lee's teachings.
The word oikonomia means stewardship, administration, or management. It is a compound word meaning "house" and "to administrate." It is interesting that it is translated as "stewardship" in the Recovery Version in Luke 16:2-4; I Corinthians 9:17; Ephesians 3:2; and Colossians 1:25, but as "economy" in the three verses you quoted.
In Ephesians 1:10 and 3:2,9, Paul is talking about the administration of God's plan for mankind that was summed up in Christ.
In I Timothy 1:4, Paul is referring to a proper usage or instruction in God's teaching, much the same as he used it in "For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship. What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel" (I Corinthians 9:16-18).
It is proper to state that in all these verses the stewardship was the job given to reveal God's plan (the gospel) to mankind.