Types and Typology in the Bible
REVEALING GOD'S GLORY
The Holy Bible is inspired by God, a Divine Author.
Scripture scholar Scott Hahn, Ph.D., writes:
So when we read
the Bible, we need to read it on two levels at once. We read the
Bible in a literal sense ... But we read it also in a spiritual
sense, searching out what the Holy Spirit is trying to tell us
through the words (see Catechism, nos.
We do this in
imitation of Jesus, because this is the way He read the scriptures.
He referred to Jonah (Mt 12:39), Solomon (Mt 12:42), the temple (Jn
2:19), and the brazen serpent (Jn 3:14) as “signs” that prefigured
Him. We see in Luke’s gospel, as our Lord comforted the disciples
on the road to Emmaus, that “beginning with Moses and all the
prophets, He interpreted to them what referred to Him in all the
scriptures” (Lk 24:27). After this spiritual reading of the Old
Testament, we are told, the disciples’ hearts burned within them.
What ignited this
fire in their hearts ? Through the scriptures, Jesus had initiated
His disciples into a world that reached beyond their senses. A good
teacher, God introduced the unfamiliar in terms of the familiar.
Indeed, He had created the familiar with this end in mind,
fashioning the persons and institutions that would best prepare us
for the coming of Christ and the glories of His kingdom.
Learning to Type
Christians followed their Master in reading the Bible this way. In
the letter to the Hebrews, the Old Testament tabernacle and its
rituals are described as “types and shadows of heavenly realities”
(8:5), and the law as a “shadow of the good things to come”
(10:1). Saint Peter, in turn, noted that Noah and his family “were
saved through water,” and that “this prefigured baptism, which
saves you now” (1 Pt 3:20-21). Peter’s word translated as
“prefigured” is actually the Greed word for “typify,” or “make a
type.” The apostle Paul, for his part, described Adam as a
“type” of Jesus Christ (Rom 5:14).
So what is a type
? A type is a real person, place, thing, or event in the Old
Testament that foreshadows something greater in the New Testament.
From “type” we get the word “typology,” the study of Christ’s
foreshadowing in the Old Testament (see
[Hail, Holy Queen, pages 22-23.]
Each of these beautiful aspects points to something else that is
greater and beyond itself.
The Old Testament (O.T.) is filled with types that prefigure the
of God that is fully revealed in the New Covenant. These O.T. types find
their perfection and completion in Jesus Christ, either in Himself or in
someone or something that manifests His grace and glory in the New
Covenant that He established. So, it is in Jesus, who is God, that we
can find the ultimate fulfillment of all these good things.
“Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets,
he (Jesus) interpreted
to them what referred to him in all the scriptures.”
father of all mankind, prefigures Jesus Christ, the New Adam
(1 Corinthians 15:45-49, Romans 5:14-21
Noah and his
family were saved from the flood, and this prefigured how those who are
united to Jesus Christ would be saved from sin. 1 Peter 3:20-21.
Abraham and Isaac:
Because Abraham was willing to sacrifice his only
son Isaac, Genesis 22:16 God promised to make him the father of a great
nation, the Jewish people. Jesus is greater than Abraham John 8:58
beloved son of Abraham Genesis 22:2 prefigured Jesus the Son of God.
and Matthew 3:17
was going to be sacrificed. Genesis 22:2 This prefigured Jesus
who was sacrificed.
through whom the Law was given. Jesus refers to Moses’s law, but He
expounds upon it and modifies it. Matthew 5 John 5:45-46.
“Moses and Elijah, who appeared in
glory and spoke of his [Jesus’] exodus
that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.”
NAB [Jesus’] added by DTB for clarification.
Moses who represents the Law and
Elijah who represents the Prophets
were types of Christ. Moses led the Israelites from the bondage of
Egypt in the Exodus to the promised land of Canaan.
leads us in an
exodus from the bondage of slavery to sin to the promised land of
the greatest king in the Old Covenant, and to whom God
promised there would always be a descendant on the throne. Jesus is the
King of Kings. Revelation 17:14
been the wisest man to have been born because God blessed him with
special wisdom. He prefigure Christ who had infinite wisdom. Matthew
prefigured Christ. John 2:19
The great prophet who spent three days in the whale and through
whom God demonstrated his great mercy to those who repent and turn to
Him. Jonah prefigured Jesus who is the Prophet who rose on the third
day. Matthew 12:39-41
1. Mary In The Sacred Scriptures
2. Genesis 3:15
3. Types Of Christ In The Old Testament – Christ is
King, Son of David
4. Satan Verses The Woman Types of Mary in the Old Testament
Mary - The New Eve
6. A New Creation
7. Mary Honored
8. Ark Of The Covenant Short article
Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant
–Longer, and fuller explanation
The best book by far explaining what the Bible
teaches about typology and Mary is
Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God
by Scott Hahn, Ph.D