Learning Hermeneutics from Holmes

I love Eric McKiddie’s post, “10 Tips on Solving Mysterious Bible Passages from Sherlock Holmes”—possibly because I love hermeneutics and I love Sherlock Holmes.

Here’s the first tip:

1. The number one mistake to avoid.

Holmes: “I have no data yet. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

Far too often students of the Bible twist verses to suit interpretations instead of formulating interpretations to suit what the verses say.

Don’t approach your passage assuming you know what it means. Rather, use the data in the passage – the words that are used and how they fit together – to point you toward the correct interpretation.

Analyzing a passage to solve a hermeneutical puzzle is something I love to do—not just for the intellectual satisfaction of seeing clearly how the argument of the author has been crafted, but even more so because of the reward of what is revealed to me about God, and the pleasure of having the Holy Spirit use that knowledge to increase my love for Him. McKiddie concludes this way:

The Joy of Knowing God Through His Word

Gaining insight into hard passages of the Bible is often an exciting adventure.

But don’t forget that the Bible is less about a mystery to solve and more about an Author to know. As you tackle some of the tougher texts, don’t glory in your knowledge. Glory in God, who graciously reveals Himself through His Word.

Read all 10 tips here.

Amy K. Hall