By Reuben Archer Torrey
A fourth method of study is the Study of Types. We have illustrations of this in the Bible itself, as for example in the Epistle to the Hebrews. It is both an interesting and instructive method of study. It shows us the most precious truths buried away in what once seemed to us a very dry and meaningless portion of the Bible. It need scarcely be said that this method of study is greatly abused and overdone in some quarters. But that is no reason why we should neglect it altogether, especially when we remember that not only Paul but Jesus were fond of this method of study. The following may serve as principles to govern us in this method of study:
Be sure you have Bible warrant for your supposed type. If one gives free rein to his fancy in this matter, he can imagine types everywhere, even in places that neither the human or divine author of the book had any intention of a typical sense. Never say this is a type unless you can point to some clear passage of Scripture where the truth said to be typified is definitely taught.
2. Begin with the more simple and evident types, e.g., the Passover (comp. Ex. 12 with I Cor. 5: 7 etc.), the High Priest, the Tabernacle.
3. Be on your guard against the fanciful and overstrained. Fancy is almost sure to run away with any man who is blessed with any imagination and quickness of typical discernment, unless he holds it in check. Our typical sensitiveness and sensibleness will become both quickened and chastened by careful and circumspect exercise.
4. In studying any passage of possible typical suggestion, look up all the Scripture references. The best collection of references is that given in "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge."
5. Study carefully the meaning of the names of persons and places mentioned. Bible names often have a very deep and far reaching suggestiveness. Thus, for example, Hebron, which means "joining together," "union" or "fellowship," is deeply significant when taken in connection with its history, as are all the names of the Cities of Refuge, and indeed very many Scripture names. Was it accidential that Bethlehem, the name of the place where the Bread of Life was born, means "House of bread"?
C. H. M.'s notes on Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are suggestive to one who has had little experience in the study of types.