Interview on Job
Which resources would you recommend to someone wanting to get a grasp of the book of Job?
Although I can’t endorse everything these authors have written, the following books are very helpful for studying Job:
- John Walton and Andrew Hill – A Survey of the Old Testament (3rd ed.).
- John Walton and Andrew Hill – Old Testament Today.
- Bruce Waltke – An Old Testament Theology.
- Tremper Longman III and Peter Enns – The section ‘Job’ from The IVP Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry, and Writings.
For commentaries, I like:
- Daniel Estes – Handbook on the Wisdom Books and Psalms.
- William Henry Green – The Argument of the Book Unfolded.
- Edgar Gibson – The Book of Job.
- August Konkel – Job (Cornerstone Biblical Commentary).
- John Hartley – The Book of Job (NICOT)
- Gerald Wilson – Job (NIBC)
Other interesting books on Job:
- S. Foster Damon – Blake’s Job: William Blake’s Illustrations of the Book of Job
- Nahum Glatzer – Dimensions of Job (includes many other author’s essays on Job)
Lastly, what can we take away from studying the book of Job?
There are so many great “takeaways”. Here are a few essentials (I could keep going for days!):
- I need to be very careful not to give simplistic answers to suffering. Suffering is not proof of a person’s sinfulness, and prosperity is not proof of a person’s righteousness. There is such a thing as undeserved suffering. (The LORD Himself says Job was blameless in Job 1:8)
- God is worthy of my trust and worship (the fear of the LORD) whether He blesses me or not (Job 1:9; 1:21; 2:10).
- I always need to remember that I am not all-knowing and all-wise, but the LORD is. I am not all-powerful and all-sovereign, but the LORD is. I never will be sufficient for my needs, but He always has been, is, and always will be (Job 38-41).
- I need to recognize that even though for now God allows chaos (e.g. Leviathan), evil, and injustice in His world, we can be sure that He is in control of these terrifying things, and He will accomplish His good purpose for His world and His people, which “cannot be withheld” from Him (Job 42:2).
- As a created, finite, and contingent being, I am not in a position to judge whether or not the LORD is just (Job 40:8).
- Job was never given a satisfying answer to his “Why me?” questions. The book’s narrator tells us that the cause of the whole thing was Satan’s accusation that Job’s worship of God was merely veiled self-interest. But Job wasn’t even told about that. Sometimes (usually when we can look back from a much later vantage point) we can understand a part of why we experience suffering. But more often we can’t know why, and we simply have to trust, pray, and obey in spite of our uncertainty.
- Life cannot be reduced to any formula that makes God predictable and tame, such as the “retribution principle”. Instead I need to live in a way that recognizes his immensity, wisdom and power, and entrust myself to His loving-kindess (Job 26:14; 42:12a).
I’d like to thank Joel Wingo again for taking so much time to do this interview with me! I hope it was a blessing.