Sherlock Holmes Is At It Again: Now Solving the Mysteries of the Christian Life
Devotional reading for everyone curious about God
by: Madeline Taylor
As I read through the Bible, I frequently encounter passages that downright confuse me. I puzzle at the words on the page and become frustrated that God’s truth eludes me. Many mornings, I long for someone to come alongside me, lean over my shoulder, and say, “It’s elementary my dear friend!” as he proceeds to explain that which I cannot see.
My longings have met their satisfaction in Trisha Priebe’s A Sherlock Holmes Devotional: Uncovering the Mysteries of God.
Regardless of whether you have grown up reading Sir Arthur Conan’s stories, or have recently become addicted to the BBC Sherlock sensation, you will fall in love with this timeless hero all over again. In her devotional, Priebe captures the detective in all of his “brusque, stubborn, messy, arrogant” glory. His unsavory personality, far from disqualifying him, truly makes Sherlock Holmes the perfect guide for equally messy people in the pursuit of God.
Although this seems unconventional, you should not underestimate the power of fiction to communicate truth. Jesus himself embraces story as his primary means of teaching. The Bible records numerous parables where Jesus chooses to paint a picture rather than making direct statements. Priebe takes His example as motivation to incarnate Biblical principles in the person and life of Sherlock Holmes.
The detective and his companion Dr. Watson spend their days investigating and solving the mysterious crimes of London. The tales of their trials and triumphs serve as material for understanding the spiritual life. For Example, Priebe lifts a scene from The Man with the Twisted Lip where the duo is investigating undercover. In the excerpt, Sherlock pays Watson a distinct compliment, “You have a grand gift for silence, Watson. It makes you invaluable as a companion.” From this interaction the author illustrates the wisdom and righteousness of silence.
In the Bible, Christians are commanded to guard their mouths and tongues. Watson’s gift of well-timed speech is a great example of the benefit of heeding this word from Scripture. What is more, we also have the counterexample in the character of Sherlock. The detective is arrogant and his quick tongue can get him into trouble. These examples are presented alongside Biblical passages from Job, James, and the Gospels where Jesus is presented as the model of holy silence. While I can read these accounts in the Bible, it is indispensable for me to have a more tangible example of what to do and what not to do.
If you are searching for a devotional that is both fun and relatable, Trisha Priebe’s, A Sherlock Holmes Devotional cracks the case. The devotional succeeds in maintaining scriptural integrity while also lending the sense of familiarity and disarmament created by interacting with these well-known characters. Priebe has provided an eccentric back door entrance to Biblical passages that at once felt overwhelming or incomprehensible.
A Sherlock Holmes Devotional is available wherever books are sold, including Amazon.com.