Who wrote it?
The book of Job doesn’t specifically name its author. The most likely candidates are Job, Elihu, Moses, and Solomon.
When(ish) was it written?
The date of the authorship of Job would be determined by the author of the book of Job. If Moses was the author, the date would be around 1440 BC. If Solomon was the author, the date would be around 950 BC. Because we don’t know the author, we can’t know the date of writing.
Why was it written?
Job helps us understand the following: Satan can’t bring financial and physical destruction upon us unless it’s by God’s permission. God has power over what Satan can and can’t do. It is beyond our human ability to understand the “why’s” behind all the suffering in the world. The wicked will receive their just dues. We cannot always blame suffering and sin on our lifestyles. Suffering may sometimes be allowed in our lives to purify, test, teach, or strengthen the soul. God remains enough and He deserves and requests our love and praise in all circumstances of life.
Some Key Verses
There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.
– Job 1:1
And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
– Job 1:21
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?”
– Job 38:1-2
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
– Job 42:5-6
A Quick Summary
Job opens with a scene in heaven where Satan comes to accuse Job before God. He insists Job only serves God because God protects him and seeks God’s permission to test Job’s faith and loyalty. God grants his permission within certain boundaries. Why do the righteous suffer? This is the question raised after Job loses his family, his wealth, and his health. Job’s three friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, come to “comfort” him and to discuss his crushing series of tragedies. They insist his suffering is punishment for sin in his life. Job, however, remains devoted to God through all of this and contends that his life has not been one of sin. A fourth man, Elihu, tells Job he needs to humble himself and submit to God’s use of trials to purify his life. Finally, Job questions God and learns valuable lessons about the sovereignty of God and his need to totally trust in the Lord. Job is then restored to health, happiness and prosperity beyond his earlier state.
As Job was pondering the cause of his misery, three questions came to his mind, all of which are answered only in our Lord Jesus Christ. These questions occur in chapter 14. First Job asks “who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? There is not one” (Job 14:4). Job’s question comes from a heart that recognizes it can’t possibly please God or become justified in His sight. God is holy; we are not. Therefore, a great gulf exists between man and God, caused by sin. But the answer to Job’s anguished question is found in Jesus Christ. He has paid the penalty for our sin and has exchanged it for His righteousness, thereby making us acceptable in God’s sight (Hebrews 10:14; Colossians 1:21-23; 2 Corinthians 5:17).
Job’s second question, “but a man dies and is laid low; man breathes his last, and where is he?” (Job 14:10), is another question about eternity and life and death that is answered only in Christ. With Christ, the answer to ‘where is he?’ is eternal life in heaven. Without Christ, the answer is an eternity in “outer darkness” where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:30).
Job’s third question, is “if a man dies, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14). Once again, the answer is found in Christ. We do indeed live again if we are in Him. “When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55).
What does this mean?
The book of Job reminds us that there is a “cosmic conflict” going on the behind the scenes that we usually know nothing about. We often wonder why God allows something to happen, and we question or doubt God’s goodness, without seeing the full picture. Job teaches us to trust God in all circumstances. We must trust God, not only when we do not understand, but because we do not understand. The psalmist tells us, “this God—his way is perfect” (Psalm 18:30). If God’s ways are “perfect,” then we can trust that whatever He does—and whatever He allows—is also perfect. This may not seem possible to us, but our minds are not God’s mind. It’s true that we can’t expect to understand His mind perfectly, as He reminds us, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). Nevertheless, our responsibility to God is to obey Him, to trust Him, and to submit to His will, whether we understand it or not.
Take a few minutes to read aloud the Scripture from Job 1-2, 32:11-13, 33:8-12, 38:103, 40:1-5, 42:1-12. What verses or ideas stand out to you from these passages? What questions do you have? What would you like to remember and apply to your life?
Have you suffered? Describe the circumstances. How have you handled this suffering? Are there specific truths from the Bible that you’ve found relevant during your season of suffering?
Read Job 2:11-13. Job’s friends wept with him, sat with him for seven days, and said nothing. Have you known others who have suffered? How have you handled their suffering?
Read Romans 8:18-19, and then consider how God used the suffering of Jesus Himself to bring to salvation to the entire world. What perspective would you like to bring to your suffering? Take a few minutes to pray for one another, that through Jesus we would find peace and purpose in the midst of our sufferings.