Biblical Exegesis and Typology
Biblical exegesis-the interpretation of the Bible-developed in different ways over the centuries as the Church came to terms with different problems, but ultimately it derives from the way the New Testament writers, particularly Paul, interpreted the Old Testament. Paul believed not only that the direct prophecies of the Messiah in the Old Testament were fulfilled in Christ, but that many of the events and persons and things of the Old Testament prefigure the life and teaching of Christ, even though this prefiguration was unknown to the characters of Old Testament history and the writers of the Old Testament books. Thus the Old Testament, though ostensibly a work of Jewish history and Jewish law, is really a Christian book, whose meaning is only revealed in the light of the events recorded in the New Testament. This idea is explained several times in Paul’s Epistles, perhaps the most important sources being I and II Corinthians. For Christians, because of the gift of the gospel, the word of God is no longer veiled, as it was when Moses gave the Tables of the Law to the Israelites (Ch. 12.1). In his mission to the gentiles Paul argued that Judaism was only a stepping-stone to Christianity, and that Jewish adherence to the letter of the law was blindness. The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life’ (II Cor. 3:6). ‘But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord the veil shall be taken away’ (II Cor. 3:15-16). The Epistle to the Hebrews (although not written by Paul) works out at length this relation between the two testaments.