It has gratuitous sex, intense violence, intrigue, and drama. It includes life changing wisdom, inspirational songs, and erotic poetry. It contains a moral code that ranges from turn the other cheek to stabbing a dude in the crotch with a tent peg. Yes, I’m talking about the Bible.
Today biblical illiteracy is at an all time low. And, that’s a shame. I don’t say this as a Christian, but as a man. Sure, a lot of people have unrealistic expectations and negative opinions about the Bible. They think it has to be perfect to be valid. Or, they have family members who badger them about religion, so they take it out on this great piece of literature.
But, I believe every guy needs to have at least a working knowledge of the Bible. And, to do that you have to open it up. Here’s why every man should read the Bible.
It’s The Foundation For Western Civilization
In college, my Greek class read a story about thieves aboard a ship. When they discovered their thievery, the crew just threw them overboard. When we expressed shock, the professor explained that this was pre-Christian and Christianity gave us our modern system of justice.
Without the Bible, there would not have been Western civilization. All of our great institutions and accomplishments were crafted by people who read, studied, and at least respected the Christian tradition and the Bible. They might not have been religious zealots, but the Bible influenced them because everyone knew its greatest stories.
It’s impossible to understand and participate in our current systems without knowing at least a little bit about their roots.
It’s the Key To Understanding Western Culture
Reading Shakespeare or any other great work of literature written before the 1950s? What about any art before the modern period? Poetry? Philosophy? Government documents? Good luck making sense of them without some knowledge of the Bible.
Almost all classic plays, novels, treatises, poems, and works of art, either found inspiration from the Bible or reference it. Even those works which argue against the validity of the Bible have intimate knowledge of it.
No man can truly understand any other cultural element of Western civilization without at least a cursory understanding of the Bible.
The Stories Reflect Humanity
Anything a guy is going through, he can find a role model or example in the Bible. The books of the Bible were written over a one thousand year span. It reflects the most basic experiences of human nature, including the good, the bad, and the ugly.
And, it has wisdom and advice that is timeless. That’s not to say we haven’t moved beyond some of the Bible’s more primitive advice (like stoning people). But, even in the Old Testament, there is timeless wisdom and beauty that speaks to the human condition even today.
It Tells How To Be A Man
The Bible has great advice on how to be a man. Many of the major characters are flawed, yet confident men and we can learn from them. Abraham showed perseverance and created a great nation. Moses delivered an entire people from bondage. King David brought together nation states into a coherent whole. Jesus spoke truth to rigid authority figures and attracted an incredible following.
You can find the very success principles of manhood right in the pages of the Scriptures. The Bible is filled with successful alpha males. Although the Bible isn’t concerned much with romantic advice, it does include one of the world’s first “players” in King Solomon who had over seven hundred wives and three hundred mistresses. He did it by a combination of wealth, power, and wisdom. All of those attract the ladies today too.
This is why the Bible is the first of our book reviews for men. Every guy should read The Bible for cultural literacy and to understand other classic works of literature. Of course, all parts of the Bible aren’t created equal. I recommend reading the Gospel of Mark for a basic understanding of Jesus, Job to understand suffering, and a compilation of the most famous stories for a cursory knowledge of biblical heroes.