First of all, at the ordinary level, these folks are your family as a Christian, and it really is terrific to get to know them.
The second thing is that the more we know about the past, the more we are preserved from repeating the mistakes of the past.
The third thing is that we learn that even our heroes had feet of clay. That’s a very important lesson for us to learn so that we don’t engage in a kind of guru idolatry in our time.
Then, speaking personally, I think ordinary Christians can best learn about the history of the church by reading about different figures in church history. That’s always a challenge. It always involves instruction, and I think also it does two things: one is it helps us to see that the gospel works in any culture, and to read a variety of biographies really encourages you to believe that. It also shows you how Christians have negotiated an anti-Christian world in a way that has born much fruit.
So it’s of tremendous value, really, and it’s also very enjoyable.