The word in the original Greek is tupos, from which our word “type” derives. The word tupos comes from a verb that means “strike.” Tupos, however, did not take on the meaning “blow,” but rather the meaning of what is left by a blow, that is, “impression,” “imprint,” “statuette” (small work of sculpture). The word also takes on the meaning of the “mold” with which an impression, imprint, or statuette is made. Thus it can have the derivative sense of “pattern.”
The word tupos is found in the New Testament in these different senses. It is used to refer to the marks left in Jesus’ hands by the nails used at the crucifixion (John 20:25); to images of false gods (Acts 7:43); to the all-determining norm of the instruction that Paul gave (Rom. 6:17); to the pattern the church must follow and by which it is to be determined (Phil. 3:17; 1 Thess. 1:7; 2 Thess. 3:9; 1 Peter 5:3). When tupos is used in Romans 5:14 it has kept something of its original meaning. That Adam is called a tupos of Christ means that Adam and Christ are related as the mold in which a statuette is cast and the statuette itself. As a tupos of Christ, Adam is the “prefiguration” of Christ.