In his book After You Believe, N.T. Wright recommends Bible-reading as the primary means by which we are formed in the Christian virtues of faith, hope, and love. As if to challenge William Faulkner himself, Wright composes this doozy of sentence, of which I am very fond. If you could summarize within a sentence what the Bible is, it might sound something like this:
No matter how many smaller stories there may be within scripture, and how many million edifying stories there may be outside it, the overall drama of scripture, as it stands, forms a single plot whose many twists and turns nonetheless converge remarkably on a main theme, which is the reconciliation of heaven and earth as God the creator deals with all that frustrates his purpose for his world and, through his Son and his Spirit, creates a new people through whom his purpose—filling the world with his glory—is at last to be realized.
To be formed by this capital-S Story is to be formed as a Christian. To take the thousand, and ten thousand, decisions to open the Bible today and read more of this story, even if we can’t yet join it all up in our own heads, is to take the next small step toward being the sort of person who, by second nature, will think, pray, act and even feel in the way appropriate for someone charged with taking that narrative forward.†
† N.T. Wright, After You Believe (New York: HarperOne, 2010), 261-2.