Righteousness and Peace Kiss: The Reconciliation of Authorial Intent and Biblical Typology

Oct 15
Open Bible

While I was working on this article in my office, I received an urgent call from my wife and three young daughters. They were at the Louisville Zoo, and they had an important question: What is the plural form of “rhinoceros?” Of course, as a professional theologian, I am skilled in the art of appearing competent while at the same time sidestepping difficult questions. I suggested the obvious: “rhinos.” But, the question remains. To persons familiar with the English language, there are two likely answers: rhinoceroses and rhinoceri. If I were to take a poll of the readers of this essay, opinions would be divided. A quick look at the Merriam-Webster online dictionary confirms that both spellings are, in fact, permissible.

This short anecdote illustrates my objectives in this paper. As we approach some difficult Old Testament quotations in the New Testament, we can ask, “Is the use of this Old Testament text by a New Testament author best explained by author-oriented hermeneutics?” Many will answer yes. We can ask of the same text then, “Is this text best explained by typological interpretation?” And others will answer, “Yes, typology, is the best approach.” I am proposing that maybe we can answer yes to both of those questions and end up being more faithful interpreters in the process.


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