This excerpt is taken from the chapter The Fate of the Book in which Allison discusses our culture's growing illiteracy, especially in regards to religion:
"But of course the Bible is so much more than a great puzzle book whose secrets can sometimes be unearthed by the reductionistic historical criticism with which, for good or ill, I was indoctrinated in my youth. The inexplicable divine mystery still speaks through the old pages and through my hermeneutical confusion; and in the end I must pursue the book because it has always pursued me. It has made me sing the song of Simeon. It has made known my transgressions so that they are ever before me, and it has freed me from my past so that I am free indeed. It has so shaped my intellect that, even when I do not end with it, I always begin with it. And what little good deed doing I have done has come from memory of the Good Samaritan and the Son of Man's words to the sheep and the goats.
I have come to live and move and have my being in the Bible, as also in the Jewish Halakha and Haggadah that illuminate it, and in the history of its interpretation, and in the Christian traditions it has brought forth. I want this book read to me on my deathbed. Despite my modernity and my cynical nature, despite my dissection of it and my quarrels with it, the Bible remains profitable for teaching, for correction, and for training in righteousness. It comforts. It inspires. It commands. When I push its pages apart, I lay my finger on God's heart. I hate to see people not reading it."