Series in Christology Part 3: The Incarnation of the Son of God -- By: John F. Walvoord

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 105:419 (Jul 1948)
Article: Series in Christology Part 3: The Incarnation of the Son of God
Author: John F. Walvoord

Series in Christology
Part 3:
The Incarnation of the Son of God

John F. Walvoord

{Editor’s note: Footnotes in the original printed edition were numbered 4–11, but in this electronic edition are numbered 1–8 respectively.}

II. Christological Typology

Latent in the Scriptures of the Old Testament is a rich treasury of Christological truth in the form of Biblical types. Typology has always suffered certain disabilities and unbelief which other branches of theological instruction have been spared. For this reason and others it has been largely neglected, and that unjustly, in theological discussion. As Patrick Fairbairn states in opening his classic work on the subject, “The Typology of Scripture has been one of the most neglected departments of theological science. It has never altogether escaped from the region of doubt and uncertainty; and some still regard it as a field incapable, from its very nature, of being satisfactorily explored, or cultivated so as to yield any sure and appreciable results.”1

The difficulty has been that typology by its nature is more subject to personal opinion of the interpreter than ordinary exegesis. It is often confused with allegorical interpretation and is not as subject to the corroborating teachings of other Scripture. Typology is primarily concerned with application of an historical fact as an illustration of a spiritual truth. As Webster puts it, a type is “a figure or representation of something to come.”2 It is therefore prophetic by its character, and we may expect a considerable contribution from it to the doctrine of Christ. A study of Christological typology includes about fifty important types of Christ—about one half of the recognized total in the entire field of typology.3

In the New Testament two Greek words are used to

express the thought of a type: τύπος and ὑπόδειγμα. As Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer has stated: “Τύπος means an imprint which may serve as a mold or pattern, and that which is typical in the Old Testament is a mold or pattern of that which is antitypical in the New Testament. The root τύπος is translated by five English words (‘ensample,’ 1 Cor 10:11; Phil 3:17; 1 Thess 1:7; 2 Thess 3:9;

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