Somebody recently asked me about the Bible and it's intended audience. Knowing this is something others might be wondering too, I've shared some of my response below.
"Who was/is the Bible written for, and is the Bible for everybody?"
It depends what part of the Bible you’re talking about. The Bible is made up of 66 separate books, made up of letters, poetry, history books etc. On a natural level, depending on which part of the Bible, there were specific people who the writers were writing to (for examples, see Paul’s letter addressed to the people of God in a place that was called Galatia (see Galatians 1v1-5) or his letter to the people of God in a place called Philippi (see Philippians 1v1-2). Compare that with something like Genesis which is a historical book. Since it’s mainly a record of history, it wasn’t necessarily written with a particular person/group in mind, other than anybody interested in learning about the history of mankind and how things developed since creation took place.
But looking beyond the surface, there’s a wider context too on who the Bible is written for. Even though men wrote each of these books, they were humans used by God like a pen in God’s hands. Look at the following verses:
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” - 2 Timothy 3:16-17
So even though in context, some parts of the bible were addressed to specific people in specific places, all of the content in the 66 books is ultimately from God. And in light of 2 Timothy 3v16-17, it’s beneficial for those who want God’s teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness. Those who want to be complete and equipped, functioning the way our Creator designed us to function effectively.
Having said all that, the content in the scriptures isn’t exclusively only helpful for those interested in God and His ways. There is content that can still benefit unbelievers too. For example, Proverbs has wisdom on money management (see Proverbs 13v11 for example) and the law of God written through scripture also shows the unbeliever how they’ve fallen short before God (see Romans 3v20 and Romans 7v7). You don’t have to already be a follower of God to be able to benefit from things like this.
So ultimately, there were some parts written with primary readers in mind, but overall, it’s all authored by God and full of content we can all learn from if we approach it with an open attitude, rather than just looking at it with purely academic motives or closed agendas.
Is the Bible for everyone? It’s available to all, but not all are interested in it. Some even read it with their own perspectives in mind which closes their minds from the start (so it might not benefit them at all). After all, if we’re reading it with the openness and desire to hear from God and get teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness, it’s because we acknowledge two main things: firstly, that He is God: the standard of Truth, the One who created us and therefore the One who knows best on how to make His creation function most effectively (just like BMW know how to make their cars work better than anybody else). And secondly, that we’re broken creations who have tried to figure it out by ourselves, made a big mess and now need fixing by our Creator. So we run to Him as we read His Word, refuse to let our thinking be informed by the broken culture around us, and learn from His Word so that our minds are renewed and we’re ultimately transformed to operate effectively, the way we were designed to (see Romans 12v2).