Immersed in Job as I am, one notices a number of questions that come up in “evangelical” literature. The discussion of these questions is lengthy! Some of these questions may make us mad – - and some should make us mad- – but be assured: these questions are repeatedly and increasingly discussed in evangelical circles. And, to one degree or another, they are important! How we come down on some of them will shape how we face the inevitable suffering of life.
These are not all of the questions – - these are just the ones that I can come up off the “top of my head” after studying Job in recent months. Remember – - this is a blog – - a working document where I jot down some of my thoughts when studying. I welcome your comments, though I may wait until the series begins in October to address them!
- Is Job historical? Did the events really take place or is the book a “thought experiment”? Is it important for those with a high view of Scripture to believe that the book is historical?
- Is “the Satan” Satan? Or is he a different adversary?
- Did God know how Job would respond in advance or was God also waiting to see what would happen?
- Is it important to identify the leviathan and behemoth as biological creatures? Or is it legitimate to allow that they resembled actual creatures with characteristics of ancient mythic creatures?
- Is the book of Job making the point that there are reasons for suffering though they may be beyond our comprehension? Or is the book making the point that sometimes there just aren’t reasons for suffering?
- Did the character Job say chapter 28? Or is this an interlude – - a comment by the author?
- How appropriate is it to immediately point to Christ from the text of Job? Is it responsible exposition of Scripture to proclaim Christ as the solution to Job’s longings (as in 9:32 ff, 19:25 ff) or was this merely Job’s unrighteous longing for someone to defend him?
- When preaching Job, how much time should be spent in presenting a theodicy?
- What is the place of Elihu? Should he be lumped together with the other “friends” or is it possible that he is a prophetic voice?
- How important is the dating of the book of Job?
- Did Job influence Isaiah’s prophecy of the Suffering Servant?
- Did Job believe at all in an after-life? Is he longing for “resurrection” at points? Or did he have absolutely no conception of the after-life?
Below is my current bibliography for Job. An * indicates those sources I have consulted the most in recent days, or am at least alluding to with the above questions.