Our culture is drastically different then the culture that produced the Bible, which makes it difficult to understand many of the passages of the Bible.
For example, today salt is something that we keep in the kitchen to season our food, and help us make ice cream. When the Bible calls us the salt of the earth, is it talking about dinner? No, in ancient days salt was extremely important, It preserved meat. it was used as currency, used in making pottery, keeping both humans and animals alive during times of great heat, in many cultures it symbolized immutable, incorruptible purity, and hospitality. Salt was far more important to the people of the Bible, then it is to the average person today. Some view it as poison, but used properly it can mean saving lives, and actually make them more worthwhile.
There are many more cases in the Bible where knowing a bit of History can make the text more understandable, and more enriching.