Hippolytus on Typological Interpretation of Scripture

I am willing to bet reader that you have already experienced topological interpretation of the scripture.  This is a fancy (Sean, read: universal) term for interpreting scriptures in such way that events, places, people & things are linked by topic from the Old to the New Testament.  More often than not, pastors will take this a step further by moving into the realm of allegory.  A very simple example would be using the story of David & Goliath to illustrate how we can overcome adversity.

What I find fascinating about today’s reading was that we have a late 2nd Century text that uses the same method of interpretation to make the scripture relevant to their time period. Hippolytus took a scripture from Isaiah 18:2 and expands on every aspect of the ship:

The oars of the ships are the churches. The sea is the universe, in which the church, like a boat on the open sea, is shaken but does not sink…Her prow points towards the east, and her stern to the west…Her white sail receives the breath of the Spirit, by which believers are sealed.

Keep in mind that this is around 1800 years old. A old text with a modern spin. It breathes life into the characters from our history. They were very real people, who had very real jobs, who dealt with very real issues.