I am a Christian and in order to follow Christ's teachings, I must know and understand them. Christianity is the practice of following the teachings of Christ. Knowing His written word is a means of knowing what He teaches and how to put those teachings into practice.
The Bible that we have today is not the infallible word of God. This Bible has come through a process of human copying. While copying, errors were made; in addition, errors of those copy errors were also copied and dispersed. Through the ages, many varying copies of the original texts of Scripture have come into being. Educated men had to exam these texts and pray over them in order to choose which ones were closest to the originals and which ones should be included in our Bibles today.
When one reads the Bible they need to consider both the content and the context. One needs to ask various questions of the text including: Who was the author? Who was the author writing to? Why was he writing this particular message? What were the political and cultural issues surrounding this letter/book? How do the surrounding passages apply and/or affect this passage? One needs to understand what the author was trying to convey to his intended audience. The purpose of reading Scripture is to find the original intent and then to look and see if and how it applies to us.