Posted by: thaishin | February 17, 2017

What’s the difference between Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology?

Question on openline program on Feb 11, 2017: What’s the difference between Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology:

Answer from Dr Michael  Rydelnik:

Those are in house discussions. It’s not between the good guys and the back guys, people wearing white hats and black hats, it’s not a conflict between those who are in and those who are out, rather it’s sort of an internal disagreement. It’s sort of what believers deal with when they disagree about things. In my opinion, it’s sort of an interpretive issue. It’s a methodical issue, how we interpret the bible. It’s more of a difference in interpretive method rather than a theological issue. It leads to theological issues based on how we interpret but it’s primarily an interpretive issue. Here’s what dispenationalism believes. First of all, dispensationalism believes in the normal interpretation of the bible consistently. I say normal rather than literal because I don’t think there’s any one that’s a wooden literal interpretor of the bible, for example, when Jesus called Herod the ‘old fox’, no one thought that Herod has a tail that was bushy. We understand that there’s figure of speech but dispensationalism believes that we read the scriptures, we should read them as you read any literature and things are literal, they are literal and so, there’s the first aspect of it. We take things literally in the bible, the other thing you will find is God has promises for Israel, literal promises for the Jewish people that he’s going to fulfil. So, there’s consistent view of that and so it leads to a second view which is the difference between Israel and the Church. So, you have normal interpretation and then the difference between Israel and the Church and God is going to fulfil His promises for Israel and fulfil His promises for the Church and then there’s another part. Dispensationalist read the new testament through the old, covenant reads the old testament through the new. In other words, they read backwards into the old testament, not what the authors meant,but on what they think the authors are changing in the old testament. Dispenationalist says no, we should be informed by the old testament but still read the new testament through the old testament. It’s a matter of direction when you read. Do you read the new testament back into the old or do you read the old testament as background for the new as it was written. So that’s the difference dispensationalism and covenant. Covenant theology believes in normal hermeneutics too but they don’t apply it consistently when it comes to prophecy. When they say Israel, they mean the church and they believe Israel and the church are one thing and lastly they read the new testament back into the old, so it leads to different views in the church and especially to the end of days of what the bible says about Israel.



  1. No comment for this Bible Interpretation. I am not worried about how some people interpret the Bible. My entire life I have d believed what the Bible States. If I do not totally understand a topic or portion I do not ponder what else the scripture says. There is much in the Bible I don’t totally understand. Since I am not in a college class required to explain or argue scripture I am not worried. My makeup is not being a Bible Scholar so I will trust my God for the Holy Scripture trying to understand what I may.

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