The Armor of God

We pause for a brief NT interlude...mostly because I had to speak at a fireside last night. The year-long theme of the group has been the armor of God pericope from Eph 6:10-20. My part of the operation was v. 17, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit.But as a Bible Dork, I simply cannot confine myself to one verse. Text without context is pretext, or something like that. So here, for what it might be worth, are my notes. … [Read more...]

The God From Within the Whirlwind: Job VI

The Book of Job closes as it opened, with two speeches by Yahweh. In his first two speeches, Yahweh effectively gave the Satan permission to strip Job of everything except his life. By virtue of his response to these disasters, Job also retained his integrity.1st Point: Integrity. It can be given up but never taken.Three of Job’s sage-friends appeared to mourn with Job. After seven days, Job explodes in a curse against his nativity. As good sages do, his three friends apply their w … [Read more...]

The Text of Job 38:1-42:6

Here's Norm Habel's translation of the text of the speeches from the whirlwind. You'll see that there are two distinct speeches, each responding to something Job said, but never speaking to Job's innocence or explaining the prologue. So the question is, in what sense is this a response?If I might make a suggestion, you may find that you'll enjoy this more if you lift it into a word processor and print out a copy. Then read it a couple of times just for the flow of the words and the impact … [Read more...]

The God of Elihu: Job V

Let’s cut to the chase. Here’s what Elihu thinks about God:Therefore hear me, intelligent people: Far be it from El to be in the wrong! Or Shaddai to be guilty of injustice, For he pays humans for their work And requites mortals for their conduct. (34:10-11)Behold the heavens and see; Look at the clouds high above you. If you sin, what are you doing to him? If your transgressions are legion, how do you affect him? If you are righteous, what do you render him? Or what does he receive from you … [Read more...]

The God of Job: Job IV

The thing to understand about Job is that he, like his three friends, assumes that God ought to react to human actions, to reward the righteous and punish the wicked. The three friends used this approach to God to argue that Job’s pitiful condition demonstrated his guilt. Job, on the other hand, knows his own innocence and so concludes that God is a criminal. And since God is a criminal, what is needed is a trial.Aye yi yi. Most heroic stories display a hero with the moral fiber who stands … [Read more...]

The God of the Friends: Job III

Things change dramatically at the conclusion of the prologue. God, the Satan, and Job’s wife all disappear and the latter two never re-appear. Their places are taken by three friends who have come to comfort Job: Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. The action then, is built around two conflicts: one between Job and the absent God, the other between Job and his three nearby friends.But the effects of the prologue remain, for the prologue has created a near-omniscient reader. This reader knows that … [Read more...]

The God of the Prologue: Job II

The first two chapters of Job, called the prologue, are quite shocking for modern Christian readers because of the picture they paint of God. Without a doubt, this is a god that you are not inclined to either worship or even know. It’s a long, long way from Job’s prologue to the Sermon on the Mount. … [Read more...]

The Gods of Job

Job’s got some real problems. The book I mean, not the guy. He has problems, too, but that’s another story – the story, in fact.You know that list of things you’d like to know about biblical literature before you actually try to read it? Things like author(s), date, and place? Well, we don’t know any of that. … [Read more...]