The Bible is intensely present in societal lore, providing everything from a symbolic understanding of virtue through parables to the title of The Grapes of Wrath. This depth of presence shows how much of the Bible exists within the zeitgeist of Western civilization; furthermore, the fact so many thinkers, artists, and masters of crafts have found and continue to find relevance in the Bible to their lives and work indicates the potential for analysis of the Bible.
Most people strike a strong division between the Old and New Testaments, or promises. The New Testament marks the updating of God's promise with His people upon His bestowal of his only son, Jesus Christ, to the world. Much of the popular difficulty with concepts such as the redemption of those who lived before Jesus can be resolved by a focus on God's time. He does not exist within the constraints of space and time. His choice to present Jesus as a human meant that He wanted to give Jesus as a gift to the humans who live life as a linear narrative.
The very structure of the Bible substantiates this claim. Some editions of the Bible format Jesus's words in red. These sentences, which are in the New Testament, indicate the only times Jesus speaks directly to the reader. To believers, the verity of the Bible as the Holy Text is evident in the staying power of the text. Many books of the New Testament are written by human authors who include their names at the beginning of their letters or histories; many books of the Old Testament are written by human authors in the form of poetry, proverbs, dictates, or histories of others. These histories are grounded by an initial outline of lineage.
The Bible spends time on things which the reader who wants to know what happens after death or how to deal with the fear of and concept of God may perceive as a waste of space. However, the Bible has small pieces of information which stand out to different readers at different times. The formatting of its name is not in italics; it exists as a unit, even though so much is contained within its covers. The Bible can be read in many ways. One can select stories or verses. One can find answers to questions. However, the importance of the Bible as an entire text to be read linearly, in the way one would read another book, is suggested by the title "The Grapes of Wrath." Someone could flip through the Bible to find one phrase, but a phrase which makes sense in context has a deeper meaning.