“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” — Joseph, Gen 50:20
The careful student of God’s word should always be careful not to assign typology or symbolism to things in Scripture which don’t specifically infer typology or symbolism is at play. In other words, we shouldn’t take just any story from Scripture and say it’s a picture of Jesus in this or that way.
The story of Joseph in Genesis 37-50 has often lent itself such typology or symbolism by some interpreters of Scripture, even when no Scripture in either Old or New Testaments says Joseph is a type of Christ. This has often led to reading into the text of Genesis (eisegesis) more than is actually there, and at the same time missing the point of what is actually there — getting out of the text what the author intended (exegesis).
That said, those words from the last chapter of Genesis, spoken by Joseph, hover over all this first book of the Bible says about his life. Apart from the account of his birth in chapter 30, the story of Joseph really begins in earnest in chapter 37, and while we must be careful about types and symbols, there are definitely some things we learn right away about Joseph which tell us not only about him and his family, but through New Testament lenses we can see how they point us to what God has done for all whom He saves in His Son. Continue reading “To preserve many people alive: The beginnings of the Joseph story and how it points us to Christ”