Biblical Typology -- By: Charles T. Fritsch

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 103:411 (Jul 1946)
Article: Biblical Typology
Author: Charles T. Fritsch


Biblical Typology

Charles T. Fritsch

[Editor’s Note: The annual W. H. Griffith Thomas Memorial Lectures of Dallas Theological Seminary were delivered April 23–26, 1946, by Dr. Fritsch, a member of the Princeton Seminary faculty. All four lectures will appear in Bibliotheca Sacra one by one, the first one being reproduced herewith.]

New Trends in Old Testament Theology

The general theme of these lectures, Biblical Typology, lies in the realm of Biblical Theology. Although our main interest is in the Old Testament, the study of typology is related to both Old and New Testament Theology, for the Old Testament type can be understood only in the light of its fulfillment in the New Testament antitype. With these words we are immediately brought face to face with the thesis which underlies this series of lectures, namely, that in the Bible we see a divinely ordered, progressive, historical process which inextricably links the Old with the New Testament and unites them into one organic whole. This, we hold, is the Bible’s own view of itself, and therefore must be taken seriously if a fair and genuine interpretation of Scripture is desired. The relation of type to antitype is just one of the many signs which point to this conclusion.

In this first lecture we trace the history of Biblical Theology, i.e., Old Testament Biblical Theology, as a recognized discipline among the theological sciences from its origin in the 18th century to the present day. Only in the light of such an historical survey can the significance of the thesis we are defending in these lectures be fully appreciated.

With the Reformation there came a renewed interest in the study of the Bible, spurred on by the revival of the study of the original languages, and by the doctrinal disputations of the various sects who avidly sought out prooftexts from Scripture to prove their particular theological points of view. To the Protestant reformers we can ever be thankful for the two great principles of Biblical interpretation that they promulgated, namely, that of the

sensus literalis, i.e., the literal sense of Scripture, and that of the analogia scripturae, i.e., Scripture must be expounded by Scripture. Because this latter principle was taken in the sense of full doctrinal agreement between the two Testaments, the unity of the Old and New Testaments was conceived of as doctrinal harmony, rather than as the result of a gradual process of divine revelation down through the ages. The historical meaning and significance of the Old Testament was therefore lost, since the external conditions and changes described in the Biblical record did not affect the underlying doctrin...

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