Avoiding Abuses While Preaching Christ in All of Scripture

Assuming that we do believe that Christ is on every page of Scripture and that every sermon should proclaim Him, we still however must wrestle with the challenge of doing just that.

Most preachers are aware of the dangers of allegory and its abuse in preaching, especially in certain eras of church history. But we must not allow an abuse deter us from a proper usage. While allegory should be eschewed, typology should be employed in biblical, Christ-centered preaching. A type is a person, place, thing, or event that God ordained to prefigure or represent Christ’s work of redemption.

How do we differentiate between the two? Primarily, we use the original author’s intent as discovered in faithful and solid exegesis of the text. Allegory gives symbolic meaning to details in the text which would have been foreign to the original author. As the saying goes, sometimes in Scripture a piece of wood is simply a piece of wood, not a prefigurement of the cross.

Typology, on the other hand, takes seriously the original meaning of the text while allowing for the fact that the original hearers did not experience the object in its fullness. While they were not able to see the future and the ultimate fulfillment, they did have the benefit of the revelation of God up to that point. Animal sacrifices never brought the remission of sin to a Hebrew offering them. However, their obedience to God ideally represented faith and trust that someday He would make the ultimate provision for their sin.

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