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The Proof is in the Patterns: How Typology Demonstrates the Trustworthiness of the Bible

The Proof is in the Patterns: How Typology Demonstrates the Trustworthiness of the Bible

One aspect of Scripture that has repeatedly born witness to its reliability, unity, and even its divine authorship is typology—namely, the way that types and shadows, patterns and persons (in their public actions and offices) are repeated and fulfilled throughout the Bible.

In a few weeks, I will be teaching a class on Scripture at my church, followed by teaching Systematic Theology at Indianapolis Theological Seminary. In preparation for those classes, I have begun thinking through many of the facets related to the doctrine of Scripture, especially as it pertains to Scripture’s trustworthiness.

For those who question Scripture and its veracity, they often make claims regarding errors in the manuscripts, discrepancies in the text, or immoral teachings in the Law or Paul. Each of these must be and can be answered by a careful reading of the text. But one aspect of Scripture that has repeatedly born witness to its reliability, unity, and even its divine authorship is typology—namely, the way that types and shadows, patterns and persons (in their public actions and offices) are repeated and fulfilled throughout the Bible.

Most recently, I encountered this in the book of 1–2 Kings, where Solomon is presented as a new Joshua. Previously, I had seen Solomon as a new Adam, but in reading again from Peter Leithart’s commentary on 1 and 2 Kings, I found his observations compelling, in that the author of 1–2 Kings presents Solomon as a new Joshua. Here’s what Leithart observes from 1 Kings 2,

David’s charge to Solomon is one of several key farewell speeches in Scripture (e.g., John 13-17), but the closest analogy is Moses’s speeches to Joshua, Moses encouraged Israel, Joshua especially, to be “strong and courageous” as it entered the land (Deut. 31:1-8), and Yahweh repeated this exhortation (Josh. 1:7-8). David says the same to Solomon. Hence: Moses is to Joshua as David is to Solomon. Solomon is a “new Joshua,” who spends the early part of his reign wiping out the “Canaanites” that remain in David’s kingdom, bringing rest” to the land, and building a sanctuary for Yahweh, recapitulating the sequence of events in Joshua (which climax in Josh. 18:1). Because building the temple completes the conquest, replacing the Canaanite shrines with the house of Yahweh, that project in particular demands a Joshua-like strength, and determination. (p. 36)

So, if Leithart is correct, we should see Solomon as a better David, just as Joshua was a better Moses. Indeed, Joshua fulfilled what Moses began (leading Israel into the Promised Land), and so too Solomon fulfilled what David longed to begin (the building of God’s house). Similarly, 1 Kings 4 shows in Solomon other Joshua-type attributes.

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