Guide to the Book of Job

Key Information and Helpful Resources

The Story of Job

The author introduces Job as an upstanding man from the land of Uz who honors God. We read about his large family and prosperous estate, and it becomes clear that Job is wealthy—a man with everything to lose.

The author then transports readers to a heavenly courtroom where God is meeting with spiritual beings. Among them is a figure called the satan, which in Hebrew means “the one opposed.” God presents Job as an admirable and righteous man. But the satan dismisses this, saying that Job only serves God because of his blessings and protection over Job. The opposer is sure that if God stopped treating Job so generously, Job would curse God. God knows that Job’s faithfulness is not based on circumstance, so he allows the satan to inflict suffering on Job’s life, affecting his family, riches, and health.

At this point, many of us are wondering why God would allow a good person to suffer this injustice. It’s an important question, and the prologue helps us get to the root: Does God’s justice mean he rewards and punishes people based on their behavior? And if good people suffer, does that mean God isn’t just? The book of Job explores this question and offers a surprising answer in the conclusion. But before we get to that, we’ll see how Job’s friends try to make sense of his suffering and God’s role in it.

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Job is ______________.
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Job was from Uz, an obscure land far from Israel. While Job followed the God of Israel, he was not himself an Israelite.

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The Big Idea

God’s wisdom, goodness, and justice transcend our assumptions about fairness and push beyond the limitations of human reasoning.

Conclusion

Job humbly admits his narrow thinking that led him to accuse God of injustice. Job does not have sufficient knowledge to comprehend or pass judgment on God’s reasoning. But even without full knowledge of how God orders the universe, he can still choose to trust God’s wisdom and good character.

The book concludes with a short epilogue, showing how God restores Job’s losses and defends his character to his friends. God says their explanations of justice were inaccurate and clarifies that Job spoke truthfully about him. While Job was wrong to accuse God of injustice, he was right to eventually turn away from his friends’ accusations and trust God. Admitting his struggle and continuing to bring his questions to God in prayer was a faithful act from Job, and God is pleased with Job’s humility, honesty, and commitment to receive answers from him.

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The book of Job implies that suffering is God's punishment for human sin.
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The book of Job dismantles this idea. The whole story suggests that God's justice is more holistic, complex, and wise than any single human perspective can measure.

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