Michael McAfee and Lauren Green McAfee: Is the Bible worth reading?

The Bible is seen by many contemporary readers as intolerant, outdated, out of step with societal norms at best, and a tool of oppression at worst.

No matter where you stand in relationship to the Bible, we want to suggest that it’s not what you think, yet everything you (and we) need.

There are fair reasons to be skeptical that the Bible applies to your own life. It can be a difficult book to read.


We are talking about a book that is not just vintage, but ancient. People have been studying it for centuries and still struggle to understand some of its meaning. It was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic by various authors, from diverse contexts and backgrounds, over hundreds of years. It is a sacred text to many, and a dangerous text to some.

The Bible does not point us to a rulebook or inspiration we might have expected. It provides the grace we most desperately need. 

But both of us have witnessed firsthand its impact for good and firmly believe that when the Bible has been properly applied to life, it makes the world a better place. Not only has it changed the world in the past; this ancient text, the Bible, has the power to transform our modern world as well.

Here are two reasons we think the Bible is worth reading.

Reading the Bible gives us the opportunity to see God through the lives of others. While times, people, languages, and cultures may change, the God whom people interact with does not.

There are two constants that you will encounter in reading the Bible: the first is the human tendency to fail; the second is God’s steadfast love and patience.

It is true that God’s love is never changing. It is also true that God is just, and therefore God judges people for rebelling against him and hurting others. But that judgment doesn’t discount his love; it actually makes it more real, for he loves people so much that he is willing to make things right in the world by punishing those who perpetuate injustice. The interplay between these two constants is what makes the Bible relevant to our lives today. People still fail — on that we think we can all agree. We also hope you are increasingly open to the idea that God is still faithful.

The Bible is a fascinating narrative that reveals these two constants, and in the end, points to one story. If there is only one message you remember about the Bible, it should be this: the Bible is about Jesus. It’s not all about you and me. It’s not about all the individual stories that are turned into Hollywood blockbusters. It is about the life, death and resurrection of God’s Son Jesus, and how our story collides with that narrative.

The Bible is more than a book of rules. The Bible is a classic, because it is never finished saying what it has to say. Perhaps before rejecting its meaning, you could try to understand its message.

We believe our millennial generation is remarkably gifted to identify timeless beauty when they see it. When you catch a glimpse of the Bible’s message firsthand, you may wonder how you didn’t see it before.


When you come to it on its level and accept the rules of the text, when you are open to seeing Jesus as the source of the Bible’s inspiration, the center of its narrative, and when you recognize how God displays his grace toward us, then and only then will the Bible begin to open up to you.

The Bible does not point us to a rulebook or inspiration we might have expected. It provides the grace we most desperately need.

Taken from "Not What You Think" by Michael & Lauren McAfee. Copyright © 2019 by Michael & Lauren McAfee. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com.