Tuesday’s Column: Dale Mail
The Bible is not a mysterious book of codes that can’t be cracked, though some might try and lead you to believe that.
We know that the water can be metaphorically muddied rather quickly when there are countless faulty interpretations of books like Revelation, Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and other prophetic or apocalyptic literature. Typology is another misunderstood, and often misapplied, method of Bible study. I’m convinced that if we can spend some time studying the different “types” found in scripture, we can see God’s message for mankind more clearly and have a more profound grasp of His Word. This also happens to be a great way to grow our knowledge of scripture more quickly!
So first, let’s try to clarify exactly what Typology is.
Summed up in one sentence it’s referring to Old Testament things which are prefigured or symbolized by events and characters of the New Testament.
This may sound a little confusing, but let’s look at a few examples.
- John 3:14 says that just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of man must be lifted up (Num. 21:9). The Christ “type” is the bronze serpent. We know because of a specific New Testament reference.
- 1 Peter 3:20: “…God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built, only a few people, 8 in all were saved through water,” This illustrates how in the same way baptismal water saves those who submit to Christ today.
Typology is not some mystic Bible code where we are free to translate events and characters in scripture as we please because God tells us exactly what He intended to say.
1 Cor. 14:33 says that God is NOT the “author of confusion.” He has a message for us all— and it’s a message of hope.
Are you interested in learning more about typology? The perfect book for you to study would be the book of Hebrews as it makes more Old Testament references than any other New Testament book. By diving into Hebrews you will appreciate and understand both the Old Testament, and the Bible as a whole.