Though I didn't plan it this way, I thought it was kind of appropriate that I just happened to have finished reading the four Gospels, or to be more accurate, the four Testimonies of, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I read the last two chapters of John this morning - the chapters that speak of the empty tomb, the resurrection, and Christ's appearances to many of his disciples. It was so cool. And it was made additionally so, to me, because of another book I've recently read which added immensely to my understanding and appreciation of the New Testament.
About a week ago I finished reading the three volumes of the Kingdom and the Crown series, by Gerald Lund. (I generally read at least one chapter from the scriptures every day, but am often reading another book at the same time.) Lund's novel centers around a fictitious family, but is staged against the historical background of Christ's ministry on earth. Lund doesn't change any of the known facts; only fills in the 'blanks' with real life possibilities in terms of the story and accurate information regarding the geography and culture at the time of Christ. He does all of this in the form of a most intriguing novel which is really enjoyable to read and at the same time, a tremendous help in understanding better the teachings and life of Christ.
The value of any good book is what you learn from it and/or how it makes you feel. To me, the biggest 'pay-off' when reading the scriptures is being able to feel the spirit as I read, which helps me to keep other things in perspective. Learning and understanding follow that. I once heard someone say they prefer to do their daily scripture reading early in the morning because it sets the mood for their day. I've found that to be true, so I try to fit it in as early as I can, often while eating a meal.
I had similar experiences when reading The Kingdom and the Crown. Many times I was reading through my tears because I felt the spirit so strongly. The book greatly increased my understanding of the scriptures and therefore increases my enjoyment of reading the scriptures. In addition, the novel is really enjoyable and intriguing reading. I would strongly recommend it to anyone interested in learning about the Savior's life, regardless of religious orientation - or even if only interested from a historical perspective.
I'm anxious now to continue on with my reading of the New Testament.