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Bible study: Book of Job

(73 Posts)
niminypiminy Tue 18-Nov-14 16:03:50

Inspired by a discussion elsewhere on MN, I thought I would ask is there anybody who'd like to do a Bible study thread on the Book of Job? I thought we could do it chapter by chapter.

All would be welcome -- Christians, Jews, Muslims and people of any other faith, and those of none.

cheapskatemum Wed 19-Nov-14 23:15:44

Hi niminy! I don't suppose it will surprise you to know that I'm up for this smile. Hope it lasts longer than our Psalms one!

Tuo Thu 20-Nov-14 00:45:35

I'm up for this, too.

livelablove Fri 21-Nov-14 20:44:14

I love the book of Job, I mentioned it on a thread recently. I think of it as a very Jewish book somehow. I just imagine Job as this little old Jewish guy who would probably say "oy vey" when yet another thing went wrong for him. But this book does have a very important message for Christians, actually there is a lot to learn from it, so I will look forward to what you all have to say.

FaithLoveandGrace Sat 22-Nov-14 00:08:00

Can I join you please? I've been meaning to read Job properly for a while. This seems like the perfect opportunity smile

livelablove Sat 22-Nov-14 00:08:05

What do you think is the best bible version to read? I know it is a very poetic book, but I must admit I dont understand the old language of KJV properly.

FaithLoveandGrace Sat 22-Nov-14 00:14:06

livelablove I agree about the KJV. Lovely but hard to understand. I'm currently reading through the NIV New Testament but sometimes switch to NLT too, mostly to check translations and see how much certain things vary. Have not read Job much in any version so can't comment on that particular book. Would be interested to hear what others think about the best translation.

QofF Sat 22-Nov-14 08:03:49

Also up for this

niminypiminy Sat 22-Nov-14 12:31:56


I wrote a long post last night but was really tired and lost it before I posted...

How about we look at one chapter at a time, and when discussion seems to have finished on that chapter, we can move on to the next one. If there are no new posts for a day or two, I'll move us on. Does that seem like a good idea?

I will post a link to the chapter using the Bible Gateway site. I'll link to the New Standard Revised Version, which is acceptable to most denominations, but people can use their favourite translation -- it's great to see the difference between translations and how that shapes our interpretation.

Everyone is welcome to post, whether they are Christian, Jewish, Muslim or of another faith, or of none. Please can we be respectful of other people's views?

Hoping this all seems like a good way to proceed, here is the first link:

Book of Job Chapter 1

FaithLoveandGrace Sat 22-Nov-14 12:45:10

Sounds great. Thanks niminipininyfor facilitating this! Will read later and post properly then.

madhairday Sat 22-Nov-14 12:48:27

I'm in smile

Not well atm so may not have stunning insights to offer but will read and join as I can. Thanks niminy, great idea.

livelablove Sat 22-Nov-14 13:18:44

I have read this interesting article It points out that it is important to consider the message of the whole book and not take parts of it out of context, as some of the things people in the story say contradict the overall message.

niminypiminy Sat 22-Nov-14 13:36:41

That's a really helpful resource, thank you!

I feel that the Bible gets more profound the more I learn about it, not the other way around.

livelablove Sat 22-Nov-14 22:21:35

Well I have read chapter 1 now and it ends with one of the well known sayings of the bible "The Lord gave and The Lord has taken away, Blessed be the Name of The Lord"

niminypiminy Sat 22-Nov-14 23:10:32

The thing I was struck by was the opening: 'There was once a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job.' (NRSV). The NIV has 'In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job', The Message has 'Job was a man who lived in UZ', and ESV has 'There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job'. The differences are quite subtle, but I think they are significant.

It seems to me that NIV, Message and ESV are written as if they are talking about a real personage, someone who existed in history (eg 'In the city of Paris there lived a young man called Robespierre...). NRSV uses the words that you might use at the beginning of a folktale (eg 'There was once an old miller with three sons...').

Some scholars think that the Book of Job was adapted from a folk tale; some think Job really existed. I wonder if the translators are making a choice between these two views in the very first line of the book?

livelablove Sun 23-Nov-14 09:22:34

That is very interesting Niminy. You can certainly see why people might think it was a story or parable, rather than a real historical person. All that stuff about Satan and so on, and the different speeches later in the book kind of remind me of Plato, using a story to show different philosophies via the characters speeches. This is very different to many of the other books of the Bible. On the other hand there is something very real about Job, you can believe these things could happen to someone, and emphathise with how Job felt.

SetPhasersTaeMalkie Sun 23-Nov-14 09:38:54

When Job is described as blameless and upright does that mean he is without sin? That's what my first reading of chapter 1 suggests.

What do other people think?

SetPhasersTaeMalkie Sun 23-Nov-14 09:42:14

Sorry I meant to add I have always thought of it as a parable.

FaithLoveandGrace Sun 23-Nov-14 11:21:40

That's really interesting Niminy.
Livelablove I agree that you can very well believe these things could happen. I'm not sure whether I think this actually happened or not because of the references to Satan etc. but I think for me the main point is that throughout it all, Job still has faith in God. I wonder if perhaps the references to Satan are a human way of explaining suffering, often it's easy to blame God when things are going wrong but Job doesn't even when his family are killed. I'm not feeling very articulate this morning so I'm not sure my point is coming across properly.

QofF Sun 23-Nov-14 20:14:01

I think it does read more as a folk tale, especially in the NRSV version as niminy says. Its not a book where it matters if it is rooted in historical fact or not in my opinion, whether Job existed or not has no effect on the message of the reality of human suffering and how to deal with it with faith. Personally I don't think referring to him as blameless and upright means he was without sin (as Jesus is the only one this could be said of), rather that he lived a good life, with faith in God.

livelablove Sun 23-Nov-14 21:23:07

I'm not sure if it means he was so less but Job was considered by God to be the best man of his day. It is hard to say if he was supposed to be without any sin, or maybe he may have sinned in small ways but had already repented and made the correct offerings as was supposed to be done at that time. Certainly he was so good that he made offerings for his children, just in case they had sinned in their thoughts about God.
I think Job is not what we think of as a an extremely good man nowadays because he was so rich. Jesus tells us if you want to be perfect you must give up material possessions. But at this time they clearly believed wealth was a blessing from God, provided you got it honestly and helped the needy.

innerstrength100 Sun 23-Nov-14 21:23:21

I am so happy to have come across this discussion. I am currently in the middle of a huge horrible trial in my life and struggling more than I have ever struggled. Am trying hard to trust in God's master plan but I am deeply deeply sad right now. A wise friend suggested I read Job, which I have done this week, for the first time.

livelablove Sun 23-Nov-14 21:25:06


livelablove Sun 23-Nov-14 23:00:34

Sorry to hear that innerstrength I hope you do find this study helpful. Even though we are just talking about it in a theoretical sort of way its different when you are going through something yourself. Are you finding your reading helpful at all so far?

innerstrength100 Mon 24-Nov-14 14:47:14

Yes, it has helped a little in terms of needing to trust in the master plan, as we don't know how or why we may have been put in the middle of something horrible. It only makes sense when it is passed. I am in the middle of it right now and trying anything to try and feel better. I have shouted at God like Job did, questioned it, asked for forgiveness, asked for help and felt alone etc etc.

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