Why Should You Read The Bible?

Why Should You Read The Bible? June 6, 2024

People have found many reasons to read the Bible. Here, we will explore some of these reasons and we will examine what the reader can take from a study of the Bible.

Holy Bible Pixabay Image by StockSnap
People find many reasons to read the Holy Bible                                                             Pixabay Image by StockSnap

Why should I concern myself with a collection of books as old as the Bible?

There can be a multitude of reasons to read the Bible, some spiritual, some academic, some cultural.  Here, we will take a look at some of the reasons people have read the Bible through history and today.

In general, the reasons we will consider are:

  • Spiritual guidance and a handbook for living.
  • History, culture and literature.
  • Personal growth and individual wisdom.
  • Fellowship and group wisdom.
  • Comfort and hope.

Spiritual guidance and a handbook for living

Many people, whether fundamentalist or skeptic, can find spiritual guidance in the pages of the Bible.  There are many passages which can give the reader a greater understanding of the spiritual world as seen by Bible authors.

There will never be just one view of these matters. One can find many theological interpretations in a set of books whose authorship spans some 300 years and depicts events far, far older.

Among the books of the Bible, one can find both general and very specific guidelines for living as well as an understanding of spiritual matters as seen by the Bible authors.

History, culture and literature


The Holy Bible, as we have it today, is a treasure trove of history, culture and literature.

The Bible tells a story of the creation of the world until some 100 years following the death and resurrection of the Christian Messiah, Jesus the Christ, or alternately, Yeshua bin Joseph of Galilee.

Unless the reader is a fundamentalist/literalist, the actual history recounted by the Bible’s authors must be viewed through the lens of ancient peoples’ context and understanding regarding nature, human history and anthropology and spirituality.

The history of mankind and the evolution of the Jewish and Christian religions recounted in the Bible must be viewed as legendary or mythological up until after the hypothesized split of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah in around 922 BCE.  The history of this period and later periods begin to be corroborated by non-Biblical sources around this time.

Keep in mind, however, that even throughout the latest-written books, there are many discrepancies and contradictions.


If the reader is interested in the various cultures discussed in the books of the Bible, there is much to see here.  Of course, the Bible focuses on the cultures of the ancient Israelites and later, the Christians but there is much to be learned about the many peoples of the Levant and surrounding areas in ancient times.

We learn of farming practices, food customs, religious traditions, marriage customs, medical care, concerns of cities, towns, and rural areas.  We see how people interacted with the world in which they found themselves.


The American Bible Society lists six general genres of literature found in the Bible.

  • Laws and rules
  • History
  • Poetry and songs
  • Wisdom sayings and proverbs
  • Gospels
  • Letters

Many of the books of the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) contain laws and rules.  Many of the epistles in the New Testament discuss these as well. The interpretation of these laws and rules has been a source of both unity and division among people since the authors wrote the books and the priests compiled them.

We have seen that the Bible is full of historical accounts.  Our task is to determine which of nthese accounts might be accurate.

There are several Hebrew Bible books containing poetry and songs.  The books of Psalms and the Song of Songs are examples.  There are other poems and songs scattered throughout.  I do not recommend the King James Bible for most purposes but for the beauty of the language in these books, no other English translation can compare.

Many books, such as Job and Proverbs contain many wisdom sayings and proverbs.  Here, again, the beauty of the language in the King James Bible is unsurpassed in its grandeur.

There are four gospels or recounts of the Good News of the birth, death and resurrection of the Christian Savior.  Each gospel tells the story in a different way.  Together, they paint a vivid, but not lucid portrait of that figure.

Finally, there is a collection of letters by Paul, the self-appointed Apostle, another collection attributed to him but known by scholars to have been written by others.  A final collection is a set of letters written by an author named John, but this author has been conflated with John the Apostle, the son of Zebedee.

John Lennon Give Peace a Chance
John Lennon Give Peace a Chance                  Pixabay Image by stuart hampton

Personal growth and individual wisdom

Among the pages of the Bible, there are many verses which can bring the reader a greater understanding of what God’s purpose in his life might be.  There are ideas that can be adopted by the Orthodox Jew, the Reform Jew, the Fundamentalist Christian, the Progressive Christian, the agnostic and even the atheist.

The reader should find things that reinforce as well as challenge beliefs.  It is all in there, waiting to be discovered.

Fellowship and group wisdom

As the reader begins her study, she might feel that discussing their reading with others can increase understanding and wisdom for the individual but also for a group or community.  We believe that most worship outside the Temple in Jerusalem or outside the Christian churches  was conducted by small family and community groups within homes.  Small and large communities developed around understanding of scripture.

Today, we find Bible study groups, missionary societies and men’s and women’s clubs, as well as less formal groups who benefit from studying the Bible together.  A very positive by-product is the formation of friendships and much fellowship among readers.

Personally, when the schedule permits, I take part in a weekly Bible study group consisting of an Episcopalian priest and lay people, none of whom share my theology.  It is an excellent learning opportunity.

Comfort and Hope

Man thinking about the Bible Image by Pexels from Pixabay
Reading the Bible can bring hope                                                  Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Many people read the Bible to find comfort in their lives and hope for their future.  The Bible can show these things to the reader who seeks them out.  There are passages that can help people deal with fear, loss, confusion and most any other occasion when help is needed or when the reader wants to be grateful.

My recommendation here, is not to just pick a passage at random, but to consult one of the many helpful guides which people have compiled to help the reader find his way through the many ideas contained in the books.

What can we conclude?

We have seen that there are many reasons to read the Bible.  Different people will take many different approaches.  If you are interested in starting to read the Bible, I hope you can find a way to study its books that holds your interest and provides you with the many benefits to be had.

I know that many readers will have thoughts, opinions, insights and criticisms regarding these topics.  I invite and request that you tell me what you think.  Please leave a comment.

About William T. Orr, Jr.
William T. Orr, Jr. is a retired educator, most recently the principal of a high school named in the Top 10 in the nation by Newsweek magazine. His school was also named to the Newsweek Top 100 each year while he was principal. Orr has been a teacher, a counselor, and a school administrator. He was influential in working in the district and state to lobby for more equitable pay for educators, and has long been a vocal advocate for more academic freedom for educators. Orr has a B.A. in English Language and Literature, a M.Ed. in Education Administration and Supervision, and an Ed.D. in Education leadership. He’s also completed Postdoctoral study at Yale Divinity School and Dallas Theological Seminary. You can read more about the author here.
"Raise a Glass ©William T. Orr, Jr. 12 5 2023Born in Kent in EnglandBut a ..."

“If I Should Fall From Grace ..."
"McGowan’s Wake (River Run) ©William T. Orr, Jr. 12 10 2023They came up from France ..."

“If I Should Fall From Grace ..."
"Thank you for reading and for your comments. There are many reasons and I hope ..."

Why Should You Read The Bible?
"" . . . many discrepancies and contradictions" and some very unacceptable stories, verses that ..."

Why Should You Read The Bible?

Browse Our Archives