Realizing There is a Reason for Types Beyond the Types Themselves

While discovering types is interesting & mentally stimulating, the fact that some historical figures (Adam, Hagar & Sarah, etc.) or a structure (the tabernacle) or an event (the flood) are types in and of themselves without a reason for why they are a type, the type becomes nothing more than just a mental exercise.

The typological arguments exist to support and instruct the audience in dealing with all the warnings! So the writer is showing, by example, the importance of how and why to use types.

What can we learn from a type, anti-type relationship?

They are deliberate, planned

Hebrews 8:4-5 (NIV)

4 If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. 5 They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern (Grk: τύπος typos) shown you on the mountain.”

They can be obeyed

You were obedient to the type teaching

  • Romans 6:16-18 (ESV Strong’s) 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard [typos] of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

Baptism - the type taught that we obeyed

  • Romans 6:3-8 (NIV) 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin — 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

Why Does Paul tell us the Husband and Wife, Parent and Children, and Slave and Master relationships are types?

The immediate context is about unity, compassion, forgiveness, and submission

Ephesians 4:3 (NIV)

3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:32 - 5:2 (NIV)

32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. 1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God

Ephesians 5:21 (NIV)

5:22–6:9pp — Col 3:18–4:1 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Some background

The Law of Marriage

Because Paul references the law of marriage in our passage in Ephesians, let’s refresh our memories:

Genesis 2:18-20 (NIV)

18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” 19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found.

Evidently, it was necessary for man to come to the realization that he was alone and that he needed a helper. He also learned that he could not find a suitable helper on his own.

Only God can solve Adam’s problem of loneliness and He makes woman from man. In Gen 2:24,25, God institutes the law of marriage.

Now to the Text

Ephesians 5:22-33 (cf. Colossians 3:18,19)

  • As the church submits to Christ, so a wife should submit to her husband

    • Wives submit because the church should submit
      Type: wives submit to husbands,
      Anti-type: The church submit to Christ, our husband
      A type models, shows, points to the anti-type.
      The wife typifies the church (ie worshipper)

    • husband is the head of the wife AS Christ is the head of the church

    • AS church submits to Christ SO also wives should submit to husbands

    • husbands love your wives AS Christ loved the church
      Type: husband love your wife
      Anti-type: As Christ loved the church
      The husband typifies Christ (ie deity)

      • And gave Himself up for her

        • To present her to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle

        • That she might be holy and without blemish

    • husbands should love their wives AS their own bodies

      • he who loves his wife loves himself

      • no one hated his own flesh but nourishes & cherishes it

      • AS Christ does the church

    • Ephesians 5:31 (ESV) “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

      • The law of marriage here is used to show in the words "Therefore" other translations "For this reason," that marriage was instituted for the purpose of showing, through a type, anti-type relationship, Christ’s relationship with the church (is like the husband with his wife).

    • Ephesians 5:32 (ESV) 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.

Ephesians 6:1-4 (cf. Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16; Colossians 3:20,21)

  • Children obey your parents
    Type: our children should obey us, their parents.
    Anti-type: We are His children, we need to obey God, our Father, Jesus said, if you love Me, keep my commandments.

Ephesians 6:5-9 (cf. Colossians 3:22-25)

  • Slaves & Masters

    • Slaves obey your masters
      Type: Slaves should obey their masters (Slaves typify the Christian individual)
      Anti-type: We (Christians) are God’s slaves, He has bought us for a price (1 Corinthians 6:19,20), therefore, obey God, our Master

    • Masters

      Type: Masters are slave owners (they typify God)
      Anti-type: God Himself

      Ephesians 6:9 (NASB)

      "And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him."

Slavery shows our individual relationship to God

A type, anti-type relationship shows that any other behavior than the one authorized is wrong behavior BECAUSE it doesn’t show the type/anti-type relationship.

More Scripture Concerning Slavery

Romans 6:7-23 (NIV)

7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. Slaves to Righteousness

15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey —whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Slavery as a topic today in America is a hot button issue. Our understanding of slavery (for most of us) comes from our culture, not from the Bible. When we find out that slavery is mentioned (can it be? favorably) in the Bible, Christians have dismissed it, apologized for it without having any idea what the Bible teaches about slavery.

Note here in Ephesians 6 (And also in Colossians 3:18-4:1, but the typological association is not mentioned) that slavery is listed as a type ALONG with the husband/wife and parent/children relationship, the family relationships. In Romans 6 slavery is mentioned informing us we are either slaves of sin or slaves of righteousness. And as Bob Dylan correctly sings, You…​

"gotta SERVE somebody,…​ well it may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody…​"

But Romans goes on in chapter eight and tells us that God adopts His slaves and makes them His children and more than that He allows them to share in the inheritance and makes them fellow heirs, co-heirs with their Brother Jesus! God’s plan for slavery is to make them family! So He groups slavery, when it’s listed, with the family relationships!

I had a brother in Christ once tell me that slavery is intrinsically EVIL


belonging naturally; essential: access to the arts is intrinsic to a high quality of life.

Slavery is naturally, essentially evil?

Really? Types are designed, Heb 8:5 tells Moses when making the tabernacle, which we learn in Hebrews is a type of heaven, God tells him, make sure to build it according to the pattern shown you. God designed types.

So God designed something that is naturally, essentially evil, when he designed slavery? When He made Himself our Master?

Ephesians 5 & 6 show God designed marriage, families, and slavery.

Everything God makes is "very good." Slavery is intrinsically very good. It is man who has corrupted slavery, the family (there are bad family relationships), and marriages (there are bad marriage relationships). Are these ALL INTRINSICALLY EVIL?

Are we able to move beyond our culture and be transformed in the renewing of our minds to conform to the image of Jesus Christ? Then we’ll need to learn to submit to Jesus, our Lord (and master), won’t we? "As the church submits to the Lord…​"

Other Ideas

Why Does God Teach with Types?

The types learned through experience

  • Adam naming the animals learned he was alone without a suitable helper

  • Abraham believed God could bring his son back to life if he sacrificed him

  • The world went about its business at the time of the flood

They Produce Faith

  • They Show the Types of the Past are not Accidents but Deliberate

  • Historical types are separated by long periods of time

  • Adam & Christ (THE two Sons of God), Romans 5:12-21

  • Hagar & Sarah types of the Old & New Covenants, Galatians 4:21-31

  • The flood and Baptism, 1 Pet 3:21

  • The Passover Lamb & Jesus our sacrifice


the Standard, Form, Type of Teaching, Doctrine

Standard, Form, Type (Greek: Tupos)

g5179. τύπος typos; from 5180; a die (as struck), i.e. (by implication) a stamp or scar; by analogy, a shape, i.e. a statue, (figuratively) style or resemblance; specially, a sampler (“type”), i.e. a model (for imitation) or instance (for warning): — en-(ex-)ample, fashion, figure, form, manner, pattern, print.

2 Timothy 1:11-14 (ESV Strong’s) 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, 12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. 13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.


g5296. ὑποτύπωσις hypotypōsis; from a compound of 5259 and a derivative of 5179; typification under (after), i.e. (concretely) a sketch (figuratively) for imitation: — form, pattern.