We contend that a proper reading of any passage of scripture will necessarily include interpreting it in light of the whole of scripture as centered in the Christ-event. But what is the basis for this position? And what are the errors involved in failing to read all of scripture in view of Christ on the one hand, or, on the other hand, spiritualizing the text and bypassing its original meaning as we get to Christ?
On Sunday, January 24th, 2016, I began a Core Seminar on Redemptive History & Biblical Theology at my church, Lake Drive Baptist Church. During the course of this series I’ll be sending out emails recapping lessons and directing recipients to resources for further study.
Rather than just share these recaps with my church family, I’ve decided to share them here on the blog for anyone else who might be interested. I will be posting them occasionally over the next couple of months on a weekly basis or so.
See previous posts:
- Introducing Biblical Theology and Redemptive History (LDBC Recap 1/24/16)
- The Significance and Relevance of Biblical Theology and Redemptive History (LDBC Recap 1/31/16)
- Foundational Principles and Basic Frameworks for Redemptive History and Biblical Theology (LDBC Recap 2/7/16)
This past week we did two things:
- First, we finished up our section on foundational matters by laying out some principles of interpretation (hermeneutics) that are particularly relevant for studying and understanding redemptive history and Biblical theology.
- Second, we began our survey of redemptive history itself.
I’ve decided to break up our recap/review this week into two segments. The first one (this one), will cover the principles of interpretation we discussed. The second one will review our initial embark into redemptive history.
In a lecture on Biblical theology, Dr. Edmund Clowney states the following,
Now…I was taught that…you can’t find any type in the New Testament that’s not identified as a type in the New Testament. But…that’s certainly safe. You know, it’s like you got a book of math or something; and you can’t solve any problem if it’s not given in the back of the book. I mean, you know the answer’s right ’cause it’s in the back of the book; but you say [conclude], “you can’t work any of the problems yourself; you can only look in the back of the book.” It’s kind of a confession of hermeneutical bankruptcy from one perspective. It’s saying, “the New Testament writers can interpret these things; but we don’t have a clue on how they did it. If we knew how they did it, we could do it. But we don’t know how they did it, so we can’t do it. So to play safe, we won’t identify anything as a type if it’s not already identified as a type.” And see, my argument is that they [the New Testament authors] have taught us a lot by the way they identify types.
You may have read my previous post entitled, Are “Authorial Intent” and “Christ-Centered” Mutually Exclusive? (if not, you may want to do so before continuing, although it’s not necessary).
But this post prompts the question, if we are to preach Christ in all of Scripture (that is, preach Christotelically; see my previous post Christ in the Old Testament: Christocentric or Christotelic Hermeneutic?), are we allegorizing? If Christ is not at all present in a text, then are we spiritualizing the text by preaching Christ?
I have had enough experience with a certain school of interpretation to realize that many people answer this question in the affirmative–unfortunately. It has appeared to me, however, that part of their reason for doing so was a fundamental misunderstanding, a confusion of typology and allegory. So, let me try to spell out some of the basic, introductory differences between typology and allegory.