All right students, class is in session!
Before we can venture into finding Jesus, we must lay out the ground rules. Just like playing backyard baseball or Marco Polo in the pool with friends on a hot summer day, rules are a must.
When studying Scripture, whether it is for personal edification or the benefit of others, it is important to not get sucked into an easy, but wrong interpretation of Scripture. It is all God-breathed and useful, but the question is now asked, how is it useful?
There is a purpose for Scripture, but it must come from a correct way of thinking. The Bible should not mold to one's life, but rather, one should mold their life completely to the Bible. To do this, you should avoid what biblical theology calls moralism and allegory.
You still with me?!
Interpreting Scripture with moralism starts with the end in mind. Rather than see Scripture as the author intended it to be read, you instead look for meaning and life application before putting it through the lens of the Gospel. In other words, moralism is behavior modification. This is not the goal of the Gospel. Behaviors should change as you encounter Jesus, but it is because of your response to His Great love.
You cannot jump directly from reading the text to giving application to life.
The other side of the coin, you might say, is allegory. This idea finds hidden meaning in scripture where there is not any. Some times what the Bible says is what it means. Graeme Goldsworthy calls out those who interpret this way and says, "In the case of the Bible, the history of the Old Testament was seen as worthless for the Christian." What does history matter to us today? It matters a great deal! There is no context or culture without history. This can mess everything up for the reader.
In all reality, allegory puts the reader in the place of priority and authority. This Christian walk we are all on then becomes about us, and hardly about Jesus at all!
Think about how often we do this. Jesus is here for us, rather than us being here for him. Can I tell you that you are not the hero of this story? You are not even the main character, nor should you be. This is not about you. To interpret the Bible in such a way will skew your view and interpretation of Scripture and puts you in the seat of God.
It is essential for what we read to go through several lenses, the most important being the Gospel. If the goal is to read correctly so we can respond correctly, we must come to terms with what history looked like, what the authors said and intended in that culture and context, and then view it through the lens of Christ. Anything that is then read and seen, should ultimately find fulfillment through Christ.
In comes typology. Hang with me! I like how George P. Landow puts it, "Typology is a Christian form of biblical interpretation that proceeds on the assumption that God placed anticipations of Christ in the laws, events, and people in the Old Testament." There are 'types' that we see in Scripture such as Moses and David. It does not have to be people either. We will walk through Psalm 23 and the bronze serpent as well. These 'types' are truths that are revealed over time, not in the moment, then or now.
"Types are not arbitrary correspondences invented by the biblical authors, but genuine accounts of what really took place." - J.M. Hamilton
These 'types' are exactly what we will be looking at in the Old Testament. I am thankful that today we can look back and see Christ 'types' in these wonderful people and stories and not typos. We can see that God decided to make right what Adam made wrong through Jesus, the second Adam. He did not call Adam a typo, but rather finished the story. He did not erase history but made history. He did not even abolish the law, but rather fulfilled it. That is how good Jesus is!
He came to make wrong things right. He came to give sight to the blind and bring the lost home as found. This is who Jesus is. He allows these types to be foreshadows and forerunners, finding ultimate fulfillment in Jesus. He is the "author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross" (Hebrews 12:2, NKJV).
In the same way, today we can find fulfillment in Christ. He does not call you a typo either. If you are in a place of sin, discouragement, guilt, or heartache, He is not done with your story! If you would let Him, Jesus can finish it through the cross and make you a 'type' as well. You can be forgiven and then share that forgiveness with others!
Adam was not a typo and neither are you! You can be a type of Christ to this world. "A chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light" (1 Peter 2:9, NIV).
Now, let's begin our journey...