I wonder how many people who are saying that you have to read and study the bible have actually read and studied the bible. There are some really messed up stories, especially in the old testament.
The bible, for the most part, is exactly to people what they want it to be. For the zealots, it is the word of god handed down through thousands of years. For skeptics, is it an esoteric collection of stories that are anything but cohesive. And all of these people can point to passages that 'prove' their points.
For me, the more I read the bible, the more I doubted god and religion. I would advise you to read it a few times, ALL the way through - no skipping books. Think about it critically, then make your own decision.