Being a Detective of God’s Word
My husband and I like detective mystery shows. I was realizing the other day that just about everything we watch is a detective mystery! I also began pondering that despite all the detective show watching we do, it has probably done very little towards making us better detectives! If we are better detectives of anything, it is of the shows themselves. We "detect" that each show has to solve the mystery by the end of the hour. We "detect" that, regardless of how it looks, the most obvious person is rarely the culprit; the main characters rarely die; if there's a big guest star, he's the bad guy. We're pretty smart, huh?
One of the most obvious detections we've made is that if there is a random detail, it will work its way into being the lynchpin to solving the crime. There is limited time in a detective show so they rarely tell you things that are not essential to the plot line (or the sub plot).
In many ways, this is also true of the Bible. Limited space necessitates only the inclusion of the essential. Our task is to become detectives in figuring out why certain things are included. Even genealogies can give insight when read with the Holy Spirit invited to reveal the mysteries therein. "The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple" (Psalm 119:130).
BIG FAT CAVEAT! This is something that calls for wisdom and caution. Just about any Scripture can be twisted to mean what we want it to mean. We need to be careful that we are pulling meaning out of Scripture (exegesis), not putting our own meaning into Scripture (eisegesis). Perhaps you've heard people doing the latter - a very dangerous and borderline heretical practice. They say something completely off the wall like: "The 7th book in the Bible is Judges and the 7th verse of the 7th chapter says, 'Let all the other men go, each to his own place' so I believe God is telling me that I can divorce my husband." Uh, hmm. I don't think so. What the Holy Spirit truly reveals will always be in keeping with the whole counsel of Scripture. We need to treat the Word of God reverently, not as our tool to find license to do our own thing.
"It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out" (Proverbs 25:2). And while God does delight in creating a treasure hunt for us and watching us eagerly dig these things out, He does not do this for just a few. His mysteries are for all who want them enough to search for them. He is quite unlike the gods of those esoteric mystery religions whose creators fashion a religion of barriers and steps and feats you must accomplish in order to go to the next level and obtain the higher knowledge. Our Abba is not like that at all. He gives freely. His Word reveals mysteries, it doesn't create them. Daniel, writer of one of the most interesting and "mysterious" prophetic books in the Bible even calls God a Revealer of mysteries (Daniel 2:28).
To me, one of the most profound proofs of the authenticity of the Bible is the fact that although it was written over some 1600 years and by about 40 authors, it is a uniform work. It has a plot that begins in the first verse and that plot is traceable throughout and wrapped up with such a meticulous perfection that even the best writer of the best detective mystery should envy. There is nothing superfluous, nothing glossed over, nothing that calls the whole thing into question. It is a marvel that we often take for granted. Every part is useful; every part is essential. And we get to search out its treasures!
"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17