Why Read the Bible?

Why Read the Bible?

Even non-religious people read the Bible for many different reasons. Knowledge of the Bible can help you in many ways besides the obvious implications for religion.
If you live in the Western world, you are familiar with Christianity and the Bible. Even if you are not Christian - or not religious at all - Christianity pervades our daily activities. From Christmas decorations starting in November to Sunday as a day of rest, many of our traditions and practices stem from early American Christianity. If you are not a religious person, you may have noticed this but not read the Bible itself. Sure, you're probably well versed in specific quotations and the general idea, but you probably haven't picked up a Bible and read it cover to cover. While it may not be necessary to read every page of the Bible from front to back, it is a beneficial book to read pieces of for yourself. Even non-religious people can benefit from reading the Bible. After all, it is the number one bestselling book in the world.

Social Literacy

As a non-religious person, you might wonder what you could possibly get from reading the Bible. The fact of the matter is, though, that many people around you that you interact with every day are religious and have read the Bible. They may make references to the Bible without saying that's where they got their ideas and you would have no idea if you hadn't read any of it. Similarly, there are countless movies, television shows, books, news articles, poems, songs, etc., that make use of passages, verses, or allusions from the Bible. Knowing the rich history of Christianity can help you understand the equally rich history of Western literature. For many authors and poets from the beginning of Christianity and on, the Bible was the quintessential piece of literature that everyone not only knew and understood, but also memorized. To try to separate authors like Shakespeare from his knowledge of the Bible is like trying to split an atom: it can be done, but it's very difficult to do. Knowing what is in the Bible can help you understand great works of literature - historical and contemporary - and the great minds that wrote them.

Form Your Own Opinions

Anyone who has encountered a religious person knows that people who believe strongly in their religion have incredibly powerful opinions regarding their beliefs. When someone has powerful opinions and the education to back them up, that makes it easier for them to try to sway the opinions of other people. If you go through your life forming your opinions based on the opinions of others, you may never have an original thought about anything. Reading the Bible for yourself, rather than depending on others' interpretations of it, can help you come to your own conclusions and form your own opinions. Reading the Bible, like reading any other classic book, can also make you more eloquent and increase your vocabulary.

Read for Pleasure

The Bible has a very unique style and is filled with interesting twists and turns, suspense, and stories of love and danger, commitment and sacrifice. The Bible is arguably the origin of every great story you've ever read in your life. Almost every plot line in every major book, movie, or television show can be traced back to stories in the Bible. Who knows - you might find yourself on the edge of your seat, unable to put it down!

It's One Philosophy

For students of philosophy, Christianity is one philosophy. Some might argue it is one of the very first philosophies. This means most Western thought started with the Bible at some point, and is either a reaction to or an offshoot of Christian religious thought. If you study philosophy at all, you would definitely benefit from reading the Bible. Just like with the study of literature, knowing where philosophy comes from is incredibly empowering when it comes to understanding all philosophical thoughts.
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