What Do We Know about the Book of Job?
The Book of Job is ultimately about the value of God in the midst of pain and suffering. The first two chapters present a series of descriptions and dialogue about a man named Job through the lens of God and Satan. Their dialogue, and the suffering that follows, give light to how humanity experiences suffering, how we should respond to suffering, and how God is sovereign over all suffering.
Who Is Job and Did He Write the Book?
Set in Uz, far away from Israel (1:1), comes a story about a man named Job. Job was not an Israelite, yet somehow came to know the God of Israel (1:21). He is found as righteous before God, although God grants Satan permission to attack Job, stripping him of his family, possessions, and health. The events seem to be set in the time of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the unknown author is believed to be a Hebrew who speaks great wisdom (due to his quotes from Proverbs).
What Genre Is the Book of Job?
The Book of Job is considered to be one of the three books of wisdom literature found within the Bible. It is broken into three main parts: The prologue, which provides context in the heavenly realm of Job's character and the circumstances of his suffering (1:1-2:13). The Dialogue, which consists of dense Hebrew poetry, and includes the conversations between Job, his 4 friends, and his suffering and standing with God (3:1-42:6). The book concludes in the epilogue, which provides the rebuke of Job’s friends and restoration and answer to Job (42:7-17).
What Is the Main Theme of the Book of Job?
The Book of Job seeks to speak into humanity’s suffering and it’s relation to a sovereign God. The book cues questions such as: Is God just, and does He run the world according to justice? Is God better than the loss of our possessions? Our health? Is God better than life itself?
Ultimately, the main theme and purpose of this book is to reveal that the value of God is supreme over all things (Psalm 66:3). God is just (Isaiah 30:18), but the purpose of this book reveals that our limited view of the world makes God’s justice incomprehensible. Rather, the book probes readers to consider that God is more satisfying than anything on earth. We see that God is not to be cursed, but rather to be feared, worshipped, and reverenced in the midst of suffering (Job 1:20-22). Throughout Job, and scripture as a whole, the book provides context for James 5:10-11 which says:
“Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”
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