Job introduction

job.jpgGreetings!  The book of Job is challenging to read.  There are some heavy and timeless themes about why we suffer and how that relateds to God.  And personally I find some of the middle chapters to be long and repetitive, which means I’m probably not studying them hard enough.

Some people think the books of Job and Jonah are fictional.  I tend to think they were real, especially in the case of Jonah.  I base this on the way Jesus mentioned Jonah plus a reference in 2 Kings, as well as how the whole book of Jonah reads (the big fish is actually a small part of the story).  The case for the book of Job is more mixed.

However, I don’t think it is essential that people share my views.  I would rather someone disagree on whether the books are historical than to insist that someone must hold one view or the other to be considered a Christian.  The main thing is that God inspired the original texts and that they turned out exactly as He wanted them to.

The book of Job is considered to be the oldest book of the Bible. 

Job is an upright man who has been blessed with a large family and lots of possessions.  Satan tells God that Job only trusts God because of his prosperity, so God lets Satan test job. 

Job loses everything – family, possession and his health.  His wife tells him to curse God.  His friends start off well enough and just sit and listen, but eventually they tell him that his suffering is due to sin.  But suffering can come from many things: The consequences of our own sin, the sin of others and natural disasters and such.

I won’t give away the ending, but it answers a lot of questions about God and how we relate to him.

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3 Responses

  1. You might be interested in this online commentary “Putting God on Trial: The Biblical Book of Job” (http://www.bookofjob.org) as supplementary or background material for your study of the Book of Job. It is not a sin to question God, to demand answers from God. There is a time and a place for such things. It is written by a Canadian criminal defense lawyer, now a Crown prosecutor, and it explores the legal and moral dynamics of the Book of Job with particular emphasis on the distinction between causal responsibility and moral blameworthiness embedded in Job’s Oath of Innocence. It is highly praised by Job scholars (Clines, Janzen, Habel) and the Review of Biblical Literature, all of whose reviews are on the website. The author is an evangelical Christian, denominationally Anglican. He is also the Canadian Director for the Mortimer J. Adler Centre for the Study of the Great Ideas, a Chicago-based think tank.

  2. I find Job to be a very troubling book. If one accepts it as really happening, and discribing actual events then God is allowing the Devil to kill people just to see how Job will react. Not my idea of a loving God.

  3. Hi Tom,

    Thanks for visiting and commenting. The book of Job raises many difficult questions. Of course, whatever God is, He is, whether we like it or not and whether He conforms to our human definition of what we think He should be.

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