Lessons in Reading Scripture from the Stories of Sherlock Holmes

Image result for sherlock holmesIn anticipation of the release of new BBC Sherlock Holmes episodes, Jessie and I read a collection of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s short stories. The collection includes the first twelve of Doyle’s “Sherlock Holmes” stories, originally published in Strand Magazine. While reading these stories, I began to recall an essay by David C. Steinmetz titled “Uncovering a Second Narrative” (in The Art of Reading Scripture edited by E. Davis & R. Hays). In that essay, Steinmetz uses detective novels to explain what he calls the “second narrative” at work beneath the story of Scripture. The second narrative, he says, can only be explained at the revelation of a detail previously unknown to the reader. Upon discovering that detail, the reader is able to fill in the blanks in the narrative, finally culminating in the mystery being solved. For Steinmetz, Christ is the detail that helped to reveal the second narrative that underlies the entire biblical drama.

What I found in Sherlock was perhaps less profound but no less helpful in our quest for learning to read the Scriptures well. So, let us ask, What may we learn from Sherlock Holmes about reading the Bible?

Continue reading