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It’s the iconic hat made famous by the greatest detective of all time, the one and only Sherlock Holmes of 221B Baker Street. And yes, he is a fictional character, but to his millions of fans and readers, he’s as real as it gets. His formidable intellect, unbeatable powers of observation and dogged pursuit of the truth never failed to uncover the answers. Sherlock was the world’s greatest detective because he was always able to see what no one else could. During the finale of each story, he would inevitably put together pieces of information, no matter how seemingly disconnected, to unmask the villain and solve the case. The reason this was always so satisfying as a reader was because in some way, the answer was always in front of you the whole time.
Amazingly, the same thing can be true for us when we read the Bible. For those of us who’ve been Christians for a significant amount of time, we can start to forget the point of the whole thing. The truth is, the point of reading Scripture isn’t just to follow Scripture: it’s to follow Jesus. From the first words to the last, the Bible is the story of God and his love for humanity after their rejection of him in the Garden of Eden. Like any great mystery, the clues to “how’s it all going to end?” are scattered throughout — sometimes in the background, sometimes right there in front of us. Everything from the Mosaic Law, to Israel’s nationhood and longing for a King, to the Prophets’ promise of a coming Messiah — all of it, every detail, is answered in the person of Jesus Christ. And everything after — Acts, the Epistles, and Revelation — tells the story of how He changed it all, and where the story goes from there.
Of course the Bible provides essential principles for Godly living, the tenets of our theology, some amazing adventure stories, and beautiful poetry: but every page of it is scattered with clues that point to the fulfillment of God’s purposes and promises in Christ Jesus. When we read back through the Bible with this in mind, it can feel an awful lot like having reached the end of a Sherlock Holmes mystery that we now know the answer to: everything makes so much more sense!
So the next time you’re re-reading a verse, chapter or book and you realize you’re just reading Scripture to follow Scripture, remember — you’re reading it to follow Christ and living out of a trusting relationship with the Father and Spirit through him—now and for all eternity. And if you need a little reminder, maybe one of these will help.
I’m Joseph Tkach, Speaking of LIFE.