There were periods of time. Wycliffe has laid down a formula that states "It shall greatly help you to understand Scripture if you mark...at what time..."
Each period of time is different from the one before it. Even Bible students divide the periods differently for diifferent types of Bible study.
There are the Dallas men who started out holding to a seven dispensatgion viewpooint. "Dispensation" is just a word that comes to us from the Greek meaning management of a household. It is used to denote a period of time in which men are tested in respect to obedience to some definite revelation of God's will (Unger's Bible Dictionary 
It was a view put forth by the Scofield Bible and taught in his systematic theology.
The seven periods are:
- The Dispensation of Innocence and the Edennic covenant-Man was to tend the garden and subdue the earth. All dominion was given to them (Adam and Eve) to control the animals. They had the herbs and fruits for food.They could eat of all the trees in the garden except for the one called the tree of the knowedge of good and evil.
- The Dispensation of Conscience and the Adamic Covenant.--There were now rules after the fall. These were to help them live in obedience to God. They now were expected to do good and abstain from evil. .The serpent was cursed. the woman had multriple sorrows in childbirth ( did she have pain before the fall?) The ground was cursed for man's sake. He could still work it but it now would be harder for produce to grow from his labor. Man is commanded to work for his livelihood. I believe that work helps keep us connected to God. It is not the curse.
- The Dispensation of Human Government and The Noahic Covenant.-- Capital Punishemnt was instituted. If you kill a man you die. God gave the government not the individual that right. He has not taken it back. God promised that the seasons would continue and day and night would not cease. He wanted Noah and his offsprings to repopulate the earth, Man was once again given dominion over the animals. Man was now allowed to eat meat.
- The Dispensation of Promise and the Abrahamic Covenet.-- God calls out one man to work through. This was Abraham. He told Abraham to leave Ur of the Chaldeans and go to a new land. He promised a large family. God told him that he would bless those whno blessed Abraham and his descendents and curse those who cursed his descendents. (His descendents are the Jews)
- The Dispensation of Law-- This period is from Moses being given the law to the birth of the church.
- The Dispensation of Grace-- The church is born at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit baptized the people in The Upper Room.
- The Dispensation of the Kingdom-- This is when Jesus shall rule on the earth in person.
are three groups in scripture. The Jew, The Gentile. And the Church.
The next posting will start in earnest our methods of Bible study
Please feel free to comment. Ask me to clarify. Be interactive as much as possible.