Can you be a real Christian without ever having cracked open the Bible? Of course you can! Consider the Bible didn’t even exist as such until the fourth century. It was then that the final canon was settled upon. The Christian church was doing okay up until this point.
The Gospel of Mark didn’t even exist until about 70 AD and the rest came later. The only thing before this was some letters of Paul. Christianity still spread and thrived through word of mouth. The apostles got their teaching through word of mouth and apparently continued on with the tradition.
Let’s face it, according to recent polls, today only about 26% of Christians read their Bibles on a regular basis. So word of mouth must still be pretty much a big deal. There are probably plenty of people who identify as Christian without ever having read a word of scripture. On the other hand, it would seem very strange to hear someone say that they ‘believe the Bible literally 100%’ without them having read it. 😉
The Bible is an anchor for the Christian tradition. It is authoritative and keeps us from going too far off track. I’m glad we have it. But is it absolutely necessary? I think history proves otherwise. After all, the Bible is not the Word of God, that would be Jesus Christ [John 1:1]