This semester at Lipscomb I am teaching an intensive Bible Major class on Job and Ecclesiastes. I am excited about the class and literally am sitting on the edge of my seat to see what God does every class period with myself and sixteen students. Over the semester, I hope to blog a bit about our journey as time permits.
As a beginning, I have provided below a structural outline for reading Job. If it does not seem helpful at the moment, perhaps after further posts through the book it may become so. At least, it helps me. Maybe it will you as well. Here it is. Read the book of Job with me over the coming weeks.
1. Narrative Prologue (Job 1-2): Yahweh, Satan and Job.
a. Introduction (Job 1:1-5): Righteous Job.
b. First Trial (Job 1:6-22): Blessed Be the Name of the Lord.
c. Second Trial (Job 2:1-10): Accepting Trouble with Integrity.
d. Silent Lament (Job 2:11-13): Meditating on Suffering.
2. Poetic Drama (Job 3:1-42:6): The Dialogues and Monologues
a. First Act: Dialogues (Job 3-27).
(1) Opening Lament (Job 3): “Why was I Born?”
(2) First Dialogue Cycle (Job 4-14): Repent!
Eliphaz (4-5): Offers hope in discipline (5:17-27).
Job (6-7): Friends are dry streams (6:15-21).
Bildad (8): God will yet deliver you if you repent (8:6-20).
Job (9-10): Who am I, even if I am blameless (9:20).
Zophar (11): Job is self-righteous (11:4-5), so repent (11:13).
Job (12-14): You are telling me nothing new; just listen (13:1-2, 13ff).
(3) Second Dialogue Cycle (Job 15-21): Attempt to Shut Up the Lament.
Eliphaz (15): Lament undermines piety and expresses sin (15:4).
Job (16-17): You are miserable comforters (16:2) and ignorant (17:12).
Bildad (18): Cease your lament; we know evil is punished (18:2,21).
Job (19): You attack me; please have pity (19:2, 21-22, 28).
Zophar (20): The joy of the wicked is brief (20:5-6).
Job (21): The counsel is false; the wicked do not always suffer (21:34).
(4) Third Dialogue Cycle (Job 22-27): Giving Up on Job’s Conceit.
Eliphaz (22): Even if you were righteous, so what (22:3)?
Job (23-24): God is listening; I will speak my lament (23:6,17; 24:1).
Bildad (25): No one can be righteous (25:4).
Job (26): You offer no insight, just futility (26:3).
[No speech by Zophar, but a literary break is indicated by 27:1]
Job (27): Job speaks to God with integrity (27:1-6).
b. Second Act: The Monologues (Job 28-42:6)
(1) Opening Wisdom Poem (Job 28) – Narrator or Job? Fearing Yahweh is Wisdom.
(2) First Monologue: Job (Job 29-31; speech renewed 29:1)
What it was like Then (29): Righteous and Respected.
What it is like Now (30): Lament.
Self-Imprecation (31): If I had sinned, then I should be judged; but I have not.
(3) Second Monologue: Elihu (Job 32-37)
First Speech (32-33): God disciplines (33:14,26-31); Job is self-righteous (33:9).
Second Speech (34): God is just (34:12); Job deserved suffering (34:5,9,11)
Third Speech (35): God is transcendent; Job is wicked (35:2-7).
Fourth Speech (36-37): God is active; listen Job (37:14).
(4) Third Monologue: Yahweh (Job 38-42:6)
First Speech (38:1-40:2): Don’t You See How I Care for My World?
Job’s First Response (40:3-5): I am unworthy.
Second Speech (40:6-41:34): Don’t You See How I Control Evil?
Job’s Second Response (42:1-6): I praise you.
3. Narrative Epilogue (Job 42:7-17)
a. Yahweh and the Friends (42:7-9).
b. Yahweh and Job (42:10-17).