Guidelines for understanding Typology

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by canadyjd, Jul 12, 2006.

  1. canadyjd

    canadyjd
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    I have been struggling to understand some of the "typology" seen by some in various narrative stories of the Old Testament. I was wondering if we might try to find some consensus on when a "typology" is appropriate, and what limits might guide us as we consider these issues.

    For example, we know that Adam was a "type" of Christ from Rom. 5:14; but in what way? Some have likened Adam's marriage to Eve with the marriage of Christ to the Church (or God to Israel?). I would say that Paul tells us in the passages immediately around Rom.5:14 how Adam was a "type" of Christ: it is in the way "sin/death" and "grace/righteousness" are imputed respectively. I simply can't remember a passage that compares Adam and Eve's marriage to God and Israel.

    Let me suggest a few guidelines for applying "typology" in our understanding of scripture. I believe these guidelines are appropriate because:

    (a) they put the focus on what scripture specifically says or teaches
    (b) they constrain us from reading into the text things that are not there
    (c) they keep us from the theological error that comes from such thinking

    My guidelines are:

    1. Typology most certainly exists when scripture specifically refers to someone or something as a "type". Such typology must be constrained to emphasize only what is expressely stated in the context of the passage.

    2. Typology may have "warrant" in passages that deliberately use symbolism to compare and contrast, but do not specifically refer to someone or something as a "type". Such typology must be constrained to emphasize only what is expressely stated or implied in the context of the passage.

    3. As a general statement, if a passage is not using symbolism to compare or contrast, and it is not specifically referring to someone or something as a "type", then "typology" is not justified.

    Now, I fully understand and expect some/many/most? to disagree with me on these guidelines and the benefits I see in using them. I am asking that you give your own guidelines, and expressly state why yours are appropriate. Use examples (as I did with Rom 5) to illustrate why you believe as you do.

    If you think mine are too broad or narrow, then please tell me why.
    peace to you:praise:
     
  2. Hope of Glory

    Hope of Glory
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    I think these are pretty good overall. To use your example of Adam as a type of Christ, when a passage refers to the Bride of Christ, many people automatically assume that it's talking about everyone who's saved, which is reading into a text something that is not there (in the immediate context), just as much as saying that it's only a part of the body (which is also not in the immediate context).

    So, the types or pictures that we are given, with Adam and Isaac both being types of Christ, we go to the context that we do have, and we see that Adam's bride was taken from his body. Isaacs bride was part of the family, but not all of the family.

    The context is Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22:21. Unless there is something in the immediate context that indicates otherwise, or even something in the broader context that indicates otherwise, go with the text that is given.
     
  3. canadyjd

    canadyjd
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    Using the guidelines I listed above, can you show me where Issac is called a "type" of Christ? Can you show me where Isaac's bride is compared to Adam's bride?

    Thanks for your response.

    peace to you:praise:
     
  4. canadyjd

    canadyjd
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    Well, I have waited for a response for a couple of days. I admit to being surprised that those who are posting about the "types" found throughout the bible; "Types" that are so important in informing our understanding of scripture; haven't used this thread to explain the process they use to identify those types.

    Could it be there is no process? I am not trying to be combative. I am sincerely interested in learning more. Can anyone help?

    Hope of Glory....How did you come to the conclusion that Issac is a "type" of Christ?
    peace to you:praise:
     
  5. Hope of Glory

    Hope of Glory
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    Sorry, I simply forgot about this thread in replying to all the others.

    As far as Isaac goes, he's used as an example throughout the NT. He's the child of promise (but always remember that Ishmael was the child of the law, and he had an inheritance). By faith, Abraham offered Isaac in a picture or type of the sacrifice that Christ made. Look at the story of Isaac, and look at the pictures and types that are presented that are expounded upon in the NT.

    The Scriptures are given to us as types. The things that happened in the lives of those in the OT are more than just neat stories or history; they are given to us for ensamples.

    If you see an antitype given in the NT, look closely at the type that is given in the OT. (Personally, I think that you need to have a knowledge of the OT as a foundation for building upon, but you can always add the foundation later.)
     
  6. canadyjd

    canadyjd
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    Hope of Glory

    I don't think you are understanding what I am asking. I know you believe the "types" and "symbols" are there. I want to know the method you use when you study scripture to identify these "types". What keeps our imaginations in check so that we do not see things that are not meant to be there?

    The method I have stated above would exclude Isaac as being a "type" of Christ unless there is a "specific" mention of the word "type" in the text; or when there is the obvious use of symbolism in the text that would give warrant such an interpretation. The symbolism cannot be "implied" on a simple narrative, unless the author is deliberately using symbolism to convey the message (as in Rev., or Ezk., or Daniel, or the parables of Jesus, etc.).

    You can also have scripture interpret scripture, which would reveal symbolic meaning to an otherwise narrative text; (i.e. when Jesus says, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up...") Scripture reveals a "type" or "symbolic" understanding in that case; that of crucifixion, and belief.

    Paul uses such symbolism when he refers to Isaac as a child of promise in Rom. 9; and the "two sons"; from a slave and a free woman (Gal. 4:21+). Both of these contexts are referring to "types" of believers, not to a type of Christ.

    Therefore, I limit Isaac as a "type" of believer (not a type of Christ) in those passages.
    peace to you:praise:
     
  7. Hope of Glory

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    "Tupos" is mentioned in 15 places in the NT, but the relevant passage to your statement does not contain the word "tupos".

    Hebrews 11:17: By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,

    In this passage, we see Isaac as a type of Christ.

    When we see statements about the Bride, we look to the examples in the OT, which were given to us as types so that we can understand.

    Adam was a type of Christ. Isaac was a type of Christ. What were their examples?

    See above.

    I'm glad that you see that. Many people see one as a type of unsaved and one as a type of saved, just as many see Jacob as a type of saved and Esau as a type of unsaved, even though both had an inheritance.

    Was Jesus not the child of promise as well?
     
  8. Jarthur001

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    A must have in any believer's library that loves to study the Bible is the book "Wilson's Dictionary Of Bible Types" by Walter Wilson, MD, DD, LHD

    My Mother sat under Wilson teachings (KC Bible College) and turned me on to his writings. My copy of this book made me love the OT and understand it more. Hardly a month goes by where I do not use it in some way.



    In Christ...James
     
    #8 Jarthur001, Jul 15, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 15, 2006
  9. canadyjd

    canadyjd
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    Thanks Jarthur001; I'll keep an eye out for that book.

    Hope of Glory; I stand corrected. Let me apply my standards to this passage.

    Hebrews 11:19 "He considered that God is able to raise men even from the dead; from which he also received him back as a type."

    In what way is Isaac a type of Christ? Was it his "resurrection" (Abraham receiving him back) just as God received His "only begotten" back after His resurrection? I can see that based on this passage.

    I don't see anything about Isaac's marriage being a "type" of Christ's marriage to the church. Is there a passage that says that?

    peace to you:praise:
     
  10. J. Jump

    J. Jump
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    canadyjd the easiest method and the surest guard against error is if you find a type in the OT and it is not further explained or revealed in the NT then it is not a type. Just like you can guard against NT teachings in that if you find it in the NT you will also find it in the OT as a type or shadow.

    The Bible leaves us no room for our own interpretation. It interprets Itself and it explains Itself, so that all we have to do is believe what is there.

    To place any kind of limits on typology other than what God has placed on them is to study Scripture outside of the way God intended it to be studied.

    Christ said if you would have believed Moses you would have believed me, because he wrote of Me. So right there it tells us that we can see Christ at least in the first five books of the Bible.

    So we are to search the Scriptures to find Christ in the writings of Moses, becuase Moses wrote of Christ.

    The two disciples on the road to Emaus were sat down with Christ and He opened their eyes by going through all of the prophets of the OT and how they spoke of Jesus. There is another Scripture in the NT that says the Psalms spoke of Him.

    Basicially the Bible is just one giant Revelation of Christ and you have to take both to get the complete picture. To leave out one if favor of the other is to get an incomplete picture.

    Hope that helps! I have been reading through a book by Ada R. Habershon called the Study of the Types. Also Theodore Epp has some good books on particular types although I don't agree with some of his theology. I have been told that F.B. Meyer has some good works on OT typology, but I haven't read any of his material yet.

    I've got a couple of other resources if you would like me to PM you just let me know.
     
  11. richard n koustas

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    try Study of the Types by Ada Halbershon.

    Joseph (like Isaac) makes a facinating typical study. Pop quiz: who was place with two prisoners, one of the prisoners was saved and the other wasn't?

    there are a number of books about Joseph being a type of Christ. a recent one that is still in print is Joseph Makes Me Think of Jesus by William MacDonald. I also have a book by Richard DeHaan (?) i forget the name of the book, but it is full of picturest of Jesus in the book of Genesis.
     
  12. FERRON BRIMSTONE

    FERRON BRIMSTONE
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    Right on!

    Canady, I think your guidelines are pretty much on target. Type casting should not go any further than scripture goes.
     
  13. Hope of Glory

    Hope of Glory
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    The thing about it is, you need to look at it the other direction. I've pointed out before the importance of a good foundation; you start at the beginning and build line upon line.

    The type is given first, then the anti-type.

    Now, just like any construction, you can add the foundation later, but you need both to have a solid construction.

    The house I live in was built backwards: The main floor was built as a cabin with a loft, then an arctic entry was added, then the entire thing was picked up and set aside, while a foundation was built, then put back on top of the foundation. (Then, the back two rooms were added; this is pretty standard here in Alaska, BTW.)

    We're given the types in the OT, and you are expected to understand them in the NT, instead of adding some completely new and extra-scriptural definition to things.
     
  14. richard n koustas

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    are you saying that it is only a type if it referenced in the NT? so, the high priest is a type, the veil is a type, the bread of God is a type, Jonah is a type, Solomon is a type, but....Joseph is not a type?
     

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