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Recognizing Biblical Types

01. December 2013

Columns, Learn & Live,


Remember these basic definitions and rules regarding similes and parables? Similes are formal comparisons. Parables are extended similes. If a parable does not begin with a simile, you should be able to reduce the parable to a simile. Parables are also stories that can actually take place. Because parables are extended similes, formal comparisons, they have one main point. Interpretation requires you to determine the central comparison of the parable. Pursuing all the details of a parable leads to trouble. It is the central comparison that counts.

With this brief review, we turn to another figure frequently used in the Bible: types. Similes, parables, and types are analogous; they belong to the same family. There is a formal comparison in each of them. Just as parables (extended similes) are stories that can actually take place, types are real persons, events, institutions, or offices. For example, Romans 5:14 speaks of “Adam who is a type of Him who was to come.” Adam, a real person, is a type of Christ, another real person. Adam is the type. Christ is the anti-type, or answer to the type.

Scripture formally compares types and anti-types. These comparisons are often made by way of simile. Moses says, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you” (Deut. 18:15). Did you catch the simile? Acts 3:19-22 indicates that Christ is the predicted prophet. Moses is a type of Christ. Moses is the type; Christ is the ...

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