I am intrigued by Sherlock Holmes. Watching the 2009 movie twice in the past month probably did it. Listening to the audio version of The Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes certainly contributed to my interest. What strikes me as the secret to his success is not his intellect or his ability to tie loose ends together. What stands out is his ability to observe and see things that others miss.
In the opening scene of the 2009 movie, Holmes prevents Dr. Watson from charging Lord Blackwood and impaling himself on a glass blade. Watson asks, “How did you see that?” To which Sherlock Holmes replies matter-of-factly, “Because I was looking for it.”
When Holmes meets Mary Morstan for the first time, she comments that seeing little details are not that important. Holmes replies that the little details make all the difference in the world.
What is true for crime fighters is also true for Bible study. During Dr. Howard Hendricks’ course on Bible Study Methods and his book, Living by the Book: The art and science of reading the Bible, Prof Hendricks emphasized the importance of observing the Bible passage to see what it says. “The more time you spend in observation, the less you will need in interpretation, and the more accurate your interpretation will be,” he said over and over again.
Instead of merely reading a chapter a day to keep the devil away, spending seven minutes with God, or rushing through our devotions to check it off our list, we need to slow down, open our eyes, and really read the Scriptures. It takes time, effort, and diligent study to really learn. We need to ask questions–Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How? in order to discover the meaning of the text.
The same thing is true for getting to know God better. In his book and study, Experiencing God, author Henry Blackaby makes the point that we need to look for where God is already at work. His point is that God is active in our world. If we want to know him better, then we only need to open our eyes and look for him.
Like Sherlock Holmes, the only way we will see the meaning of the Scriptures, the only way we will see where God is at work, is if we are looking for it.