Interview on Job
In our correspondence you mentioned the theme of de-creation in Job, particularly in chapter 3. Could you elaborate on this?
I read about it first in Now My Eyes Have Seen You by Robert Fyall. As Job breaks his silence and begins to lament in chapter 3, he is wishing for death as an escape from his suffering.
If you compare his lament with Genesis 1 and 2, you can see parallels with the imagery of Creation, in which God overcame chaos and formed an ordered world that was suited to his plan and purpose. God the Creator took what was “without form and void”, with darkness “over the face of the deep” (Gen. 1:2) and turned it into something “very good” (Gen. 1:31). But Job is reversing that ordering process, calling for the form and order to dissolve into chaos. It’s not a perfect, exact parallel to the days of Creation in Genesis, but not far from it.
How do you see the suffering of Job relating to Christ and His people?
Once we know Jesus as He is revealed in the Gospels, we can read the Old Testament with new eyes. In Jesus we can see the ultimate innocent, righteous sufferer who entrusts himself to the Father while doing what is right (see 1 Pt 4:19). Jesus is what Job’s central theme, (Wisdom: the fear of the LORD) looks like when God the Son comes into our world and lives it out in the face of evil and undeserved suffering.
Suffering is a part of the experience of God’s people in this life, but it is comforting to know that God the Son is not immune to suffering, for “surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows” (Is 53:4).
In our correspondence, you mentioned that the whole book of Job may be in a chiastic structure, could you elaborate on this please?
The concept is based on the form of the Greek letter chi (which looks like an X). I think it is fascinating—and probably not coincidental—that chi is the first letter of Christos (Christ). Often, early Christians simply wrote a chi to stand for the name of our Lord (think Xmas!).
I am still experimenting with the best way to diagram the book of Job in a way that shows this. I think this is a great way to remember the content and central message of the book. I don’t know if I read something that mentioned the chiastic structure of Job, but I hadn’t seen it outlined this way before. It felt like a very exciting discovery, and it really helped me get a better grasp on the book as a whole.
Chiastic Structure of Job
With Joel’s direction, I’ve put together three diagrams that may help show the chiastic structure of Job.
A. Prologue: Job blessed and righteous
B. Prologue: Job accused by Satan and destroyed
C. Dialogue: Job Laments (de-creation, order to chaos)
D. Dialogue: Preventative chastening (Eliphaz’s first speech)
E. Dialogue: Sin & retribution (three friends)
F. CENTRE: Wisdom is with God, not men (Job ch. 28)
E’. Dialogue: Sin & retribution (Job)
D’. Dialogue: Preventative chastening (Elihu)
C’. Dialogue: The LORD speaks (creation, chaos to order)
B’. Epilogue: Job vindicated by the LORD and restored
A’. Epilogue: Job blessed and righteous
Check back soon for part 3 of my interview on Job with Joel Wingo. In the final part Joel recommends resources and gives some concluding thoughts.