Job: Facing the Tests of Life

Introduction to the Book of Job

The Mysteries of the Book of Job

We often wonder what the future will be like. But do we even know what is happening with our present lives? The Book of Job completely turns around our perspectives of our lives. What we felt so confident about has now become something very unsettling. The Book of Job with its special heavenly scenes sends strong and clear signals to its readers. God pulls back these heavenly curtains in order to make an indelible impression upon our minds. He is telling us to look at life from heaven's perspective. It will change your life.

The Book of Job is unusual not only in its style but also our inability to trace its place in history. We only can say that it is associated to the times of Genesis. But who Job is and how he knows about God or has become so influenced by God’s ways has and will keep its readers guessing for many years to come. Because of the mention of ‘men of the east’ and dinosaurs, we believe it was written soon before or after the flood. The only reason to think that he is not connected to the other genealogies is to enhance the picture of Job as a type for Jesus. The scriptures do not speak of Job as such except that he endured much what Jesus would suffer. More important for us is to see that the truths stored in this book help us rightly apprehend the glories of God’s redemptive plan.

The Purpose of the Book of Job

Job was embedded early into the scriptures in order to explain why the righteous might suffer. We see this through the clear emphasis of the theme by its placing, Job is clearly divided into five sections. The length and center placing of the core of this book commands us to pay attention to it. Like a egg nestled in its nest we find the heart idea of this book neatly placed in the middle of Job. This third section (Job 3-37) is so long and elaborate that no one can escape its impact even if it is merely to stop reading it.

The reader is enticed into its web through a very engaging introduction. Before one realizes it, he is caught unaware in a deep and heavy set of dialogues between Job and his friends. Was Job healed? What happened to Satan? The story just skips right into this heavy dialogue. Only the disciplined reader can read through all the conversations. Only the keenest of mind can keep track of the similar arguments. Usually the reader will skip over many chapters and still being pulled at the initial scenes look for a conclusion in the last few chapters. And with this he will not be disappointed.

The Literary Arrangement of the Book of Job

Let’s look at the Book of Job as a whole from its poetical aspect. We will note the five sections below.

    • God’s design for man’s life: blessing (Job 1:1-5).

        •• God’s careful care under which the righteous man suffers (Job 1:6-2:13).

                ••• The danger of holding incomplete concepts on why man suffers (Job 3-37).

        •• God’s full wisdom and power in controlling every aspect of life (Job 38-42:9).

    • God’s purpose for man’s suffering: more blessing (Job 42:10-17).

From the above sentence diagram we see how the outside (•) sections are parallel to each other. Each shows God’s real desire to bless mankind. Life is not simple though. Man is challenged in his thinking about the Creator's good intention by the suffering that takes place. His problem is not the suffering among the wicked (which is right and proper) so much but by the suffering of the righteous.

The Book of Job's poetical emphasis.Sections 2 and 4 (••) for the next set of parallel sections. They show and explain how we can trust God with His infinite wisdom, love and power even during this time of suffering. Man is able to see the problem from perspectives. In chapters 1 and 2 we find that Satan has not tricked God as if he has semi divine powers. The Lord instead carefully monitors every aspect to the evil that Satan can do. At no time is man allowed to question God and His wisdom for any aspect of life including Job. This same judgment is again stated in a much repeated way in the fourth section. God is wise and we should never think that He makes any foolish or unwise decision.

Section 3 (•••) clearly highlights how tragic partial understanding of the world is. We are shown that even the brightest of those around us cannot trust their limited judgments even when they are careful at seeking the 'truth of God.' And of course this is the challenge set before each one of us. Are we rightly seeking and understand God and His ways? We are to trust God’s good intentions for our lives. Whenever we start from the premise that questions God’s ultimate goodness, we end up hurting others. God has displayed some of His greatest wisdom and love through the suffering of the wholly Righteous One (Jesus Christ) for the sake of the unrighteous. If God does these things with Job and Jesus, then certainly He might choose to do it with us. We know what He might do and that it why he would do it. But we like Job will be rather ignorant of God's whole great plan and purpose until everything is revealed to us. In this we will simply need to trust Him.

Application of the Book of Job

The intricacies of the book will be mentioned later in more detail. It is suffice for us to slow down in this world of our acquiring of knowledge, confidence and degrees. We are wise if we plant the theme of Job deep into our hearts and minds. Without it we will miss the greatest things God is doing in this world. Without it we will get cynical and prideful. With it we are able to open our lives to our part in God’s great redemptive plan.

Summary of the Book of Job

The Book of Job at once clears God of any charge of injustice and instead establishes the goodness of the righteous man's faith especially when he suffers. The truth is that the eternal God has bound Himself to work through the circumstances of the righteous man no matter what suffering and pain might come about. God assures us as He showed Job that He will bring about some great and more glorious aspect of life that would otherwise never have come about.

Stand back when the righteous suffers. A whole series of miracles are in the making. God is overseeing His marvelous work with the care of a new mother and the wisdom shown forth in His marvelous creation. 


We will continue discussing each of the five sections of the Book of Job as seen in the chart to the right. Even though we look at each section sequentially, please remember the Hebrew parallelism that we have looked at above. Sections #1 and 5 are parallel in thought. Sections #2 and 4 are also parallel. This of course leaves us with the emphasis in the middle.


1. Thoughts on Life's Goals (1:1-5)

2. Endurance for Serious Troubles (1:6-2:13)

3. Search for Right Perspectives (3-37)

4. Time before a Holy God (38-42:9)

5. Satisfaction with Life's Reward (42:10-17)

Overview of Articles on the Book of Job

Introduction to Job Overview of Job Purpose of Job
Living Commentary: Job 1:1-5 Job 1:6-2:13 Job 3-37 Job 8_Counseling Job 38-42:9 Job 42:10-17

Other articles on suffering:
Finding Peace in Tragic Times Explanation of Judgment Isaiah53 & Development of Character

Biblical Foundations for Freedom

Rev. Paul J. Bucknell