Aug 16, 2010
Typology is a helpful way of acknowledging divinely-intended revelatory patterns in Scripture. Typology is also a legitimate way to read the Old Testament in light of the New. However, sometimes Christian interpreters can become so focused on a New Testament antitype that the meaning of the Old Testament passage on which the type is based is ignored or neglected. This is a fundamental error. Indeed, one could argue that in the progress of revelation, the contextual meaning of an Old Testament passage would have been recognized prior to its significance as a type. Furthermore, failure to interpret the Old Testament type in its original context will likely mean that the full significance of the New Testament antitype will be missed as well. As John Feinberg notes,
“The matter of typology can be summarized as follows: (1) a type must have meaning in its own context; (2) the meaning of the type in its own context is essential for a type/antitype relationship (otherwise we have an example of a parable or perhaps an allegory, but not an example of typology); and (3) ignoring items 1 and 2 threatens the very integrity of the Old Testament.”
John S. Feinberg, “Salvation in the Old Testament,” in Tradition and Testament: Essays in Honor of Charles Lee Feinberg (Chicago: Moody, 1981), 47.