The chief theme of Job is salvation by grace alone, but this ‘patriarchal Bible’ reveals many other topics, including the attributes of God, especially His sovereignty, the errors of ‘works’ religion, the absolute need of revelation, the aims of Satan, the purpose of suffering, the vulnerabilities of the believer and his ultimate blessing from the everlasting God.
‘Was ever the being of God, His glorious attributes and perfections, His unsearchable wisdom, His irresistible power, His inconceivable glory, His inflexible justice, and His incontestable sovereignty spoken of with greater clarity, fulness, reverence, and divine eloquence, than in the Book of Job?
Matthew Henry (1662-1714)
‘One of the grandest portions of inspired Scripture…’
‘A Heaven-replenished storehouse of comfort and instruction..’
‘The patriarchal Bible, and a precious monument of early theology..’
‘It is to the Old Testament what the Epistle to the Romans is to the New..’
‘Acknowledged to surpass in sublimity and majesty every other book in the world..’
These are some of the phrases used in descriptions of the Book of Job by commentators of the past, and not surprisingly, for although these events took place about the time of Abraham (2000Bc) this book has such a powerful evangelical character and message that it can only add lustre to the phenomenon of divine inspiration. It presents man’s need of salvation by grace, a personal walk with the Redeemer, and his caring sovereignty, contrasted against the dismal rewards of justification-by-works theology.
Far from being in the least primitive, as one might expect of such early history, the Book of Job contains teaching unique in the Word of God for its profound spiritual sophistication. In no other book of the Bible do we find the confrontation between Satan and Almighty God over the temptation of men; a perfect summary of the views of ‘modernists’ and theological ‘liberals’ (of all ages) presented by themselves; an event of revelation coming upon a surprised and unready recipient, and a comprehensive biographical view of the discipline and sanctification of an individual believer. A basic decision has to be made in our interpretation over the status of Job’s comforters, for what we make of his comforters will very much affect the way we interpret the whole book.