Thursday, January 22, 2009

Notes on the Bible January 22

Job 1-3

First, I want to recommend a quick study book on Job that does a marvelous job of putting the book together. That is Conflict and Triumph: The Argument of the Book of Job Unfolded by William Henry Green. Green taught Old Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary in the late 19th century. This work is a real help at guiding the Job novice through the book without getting lost in the details.

As far as the general outline of the book goes, this is my variation on the theme.
I. Prologue, chs 1-2, setting up Job's situation
II. Dialogues, chs 3-26, in which Job and his friends debate the theology of his situation
III. Monologues, 27:1-42:6, in which Job, Elihu, and God address Job's situation
IV. Epilogue, 42:7-17, in which Job is restored

It is often said that the purpose of the Book of Job is to answer the question, "Why do the innocent suffer?" That is probably too simplistic, especially because the book doesn't explain why God offers Job as an example in the first place. The book is complex, and we will see some of its purposes over the next several days as we read through the book.

The prologue gives us the man Job as an example of integrity. Job is described in four terms, three positive and one negative. He is first a man of integrity ("perfect" in the KJV). That means he is not a hypocrite. He is the same inside as outside. Second, he is upright. That means that his conduct is correct "in regard to ethical norms and religious values" (see New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis, vol 2, pp 564-5). Third, he feared God, or. more correctly, was a God-fearer. That is a term used throughout the Old Testament to identify men of faith. Finally, he turned away from evil, that is, from acting in an evil way.

This man then loses first his property and his children. Then he loses his health. That sets the terms of the debate. Interestingly, though the Satan's cynicism seems to be the provocation for the events. he disappears from the book after chapter 2. Job begins the dialogues by expressing the wish that he had never been born. Had he not been born, then he would not have been exposed to the trouble he now experiences (3:25-26).

Matthew 14:22-36

Jesus walking on the water provokes the disciples' statement, "Of a truth, thou art the Son of God." This anticipates Peter's confession in chapter 16. As well, looking to Jesus for calm in the storm sets the stage for the faith the disciples will need as Jesus faces increasing opposition. The fact is that the disciples never quite get it, but the message was there for them. Lest we look down on the disciples, let us reflect on the number of times we haven't quite gotten what Jesus says to us in His Word, and we have been as much Little-faiths as the disciples.

1 comment:

Adam said...

you have to check "pisseth against the wall" on you tube. It's a sermon by a KJV Baptist minister.