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Job An Inductive Study

Posted by adventbiblestudy on February 26, 2014


I’ve been reading through the Bible this year in the KJ2000 version on E-Sword highlighting repeated key words as I go along. It’s amazing how God’s Spirit opens up a new view in the texts once you see the theme established by the author. Like all writers, God’s prophets repeat important words to draw attention to the main theme. Today this is known as an Inductive Bible Study where words that are the same, similar, or related are highlighted and studied.

 

Context is another feature of Bible Study largely ignored today. Context is found in the introduction, the first few verses in a chapter and the summaries, the last few verses. Like any important letter, context or the main theme is summarized at the beginning and to drive home the point, summarized at the end.

 

This example looks at only the main words in the two chapters of Job we’ll look at here. Job seems to be a book many people are familiar with and know a rough outline of the main theme. This study will show you how to use a few simple techniques so you can do your own Inductive Studies. It will also show a few details you may have missed.

 

Job 1:1-22 KJ2000

(1) There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one that feared God, and turned away from evil.

(2) And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters.

(3) His possessions also were seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred female donkeys, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.

(4) And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one on his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.

(5) And it was so, when the days of their feasting were finished, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.

(6) Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.

(7) And the LORD said unto Satan, From where come you? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.

(8) And the LORD said unto Satan, Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a blameless and an upright man, one that fearsGod, and turns away from evil?

(9) Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Does Job fear God for nothing?

(10) Have not you made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he has on every side? you have blessed the work of his hands, and hispossessions are increased in the land.

(11) But put forth your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.

(12) And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he has is in your power; only upon himself put not forth your hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of theLORD.

(13) And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house:

(14) And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the donkeys feeding beside them:

(15) And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone am escaped to tell you.

(16) While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God has fallen from heaven, and has burned up the sheep, and the servants, andconsumed them; and I alone am escaped to tell you.

(17) While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone am escaped to tell you.

(18) While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house:

(19) And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I alone am escaped to tell you.

(20) Then Job arose, and tore his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshiped,

(21) And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there: the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of theLORD.

(22) In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God with wrong.

 

The first detail we see is an emphasis on the words man, sons, and daughters. This draws our attention to one of the main features of Job’s book. Much of the theme deals with men. Another repeated word is God. The author established an early contrast between man and God. This is a contrast and relationship to consider. Will Job find comfort from his friends and wife or from God? Job is facing a decision which is the main trial he faced. While studying the entire book of Job, keep in mind the main theme teaches a lesson about men. Most people know this story about Job dwells on man’s ideas and concepts of God. At this point we’re learning how the texts point out the main theme and lessons in this book. It’s a simple process you can use for the entire Bible.

 

Another word the author repeated is possessions which is related to feasts and work. Now we can see how the theme evolves. Men can rely on God or his worldly possessions. This is another main themes in Job’s book. It’s a theme established early in the introduction of the book. There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one that feared God, and turned away from evilAnd there were born unto him seven sons and threedaughtersHis possessions also were seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred female donkeys, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east. The author makes a detailed list of Job’s possessions not only to show how much he lost, but to show Job’s reaction to the loss. How did Job handle the situation? Before he lost everything, Job was blameless and upright, he gave credit and thanks to God for everything he had. This explains Job’s reaction to his loss we will see later.

 

When we see Job was blameless and upright, and one that feared God, and turned away from evil, it shows Job was special in God’s eyes. This of course upset Satan. When he appeared in front of God’s throne, Satan had to ask permission to test Job. Instead of simply asking permission to test Job, Satan did what he does best, he accused God of building a hedge around Job. That’s when we’re led back to a series of key words associated with possessions. This draws attention to the theme. Possessions can be a blessing and a curse. People who know Job’s story will agree, he was blessed when he had possessions and felt cursed when he lost them. Satan didn’t stop at taking Job’s wealth, he also went after his family. Once again we see key words associated with Job’s sons and daughters repeated. What upset Job more, loosing his wealth or family?

 

Job closes chapter one with a strange summation. Then Job arose, and tore his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshiped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there: the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God with wrong. The word naked is repeated to emphasize Job’s lack of possessions. We’re also shown how Job is giving up hope for this world. He’s ready to go home to God. I wonder how many people have been in that position.

 

Notice how the introduction and summation compliment one another. In the introduction Job is described as blameless and upright. In the summary Job blessed God after loosing all his possessions. Now that we’ve seen how to study key words, introductions and summations, we can look at chapter two.

 

Job 2:1-13 KJ2000

(1) Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before theLORD.

(2) And the LORD said unto Satan, From where come you? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.

(3) And the LORD said unto Satan, Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a blameless and an upright man, one that fearsGod, and turns away from evil? and still he holds fast his integrity, although you moved me against him, to destroy him without cause.

(4) And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man has will he give for his life.

(5) But put forth your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.

(6) And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in your hand; but spare his life.

(7) So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot unto the crown of his head.

(8) And he took himself a potsherd to scrape himself with; and he sat down among the ashes.

(9) Then said his wife unto him, Do you still retain your integritycurse God, and die.

(10) But he said unto her, You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

(11) Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him.

(12) And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they tore every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven.

(13) So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spoke a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.

 

Another important rule of Bible Study is to look back to see how the author led into the chapter. It’s a simple process of comparing the introduction of one chapter with the summary of the previous chapter.

 

Then Job arose, and tore his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshiped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, andnaked shall I return there: the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God with wrong.

 

Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. And the LORD said unto Satan, From where come you? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it. And the LORD said unto Satan, Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a blameless and an upright man, one that fears God, and turns away from evil? and still he holds fast his integrity, although you moved me against him, to destroy him without cause.

 

Notice how we’re shown the main theme of Job’s book in a few verses? Satan took everything away from Job. When Job didn’t break, Satan wanted more. We also see a few terms repeated. From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it. Satan says this with more than a bit of confidence. Satan is bragging as if he owns the earth, like he has a right to walk all over it and do what he likes. Satan is trying to give God the impression he is surveying his kingdom, but he knows better than make that claim in front of God. We also see the location where these conferences took place. By contrast we can see Satan’s confidence at God’s throne when we compare it to Satan and Jesus’ confrontation in the wilderness. Again, the devil took him up into an exceedingly high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And said unto him, All these things will I give you, if you will fall down and worship me. (Matthew 4:8-9 KJ2000). See how repeated words lead from one lesson to another while keeping the same theme. Satan tempted Job and he also tempted Jesus. This opens a whole new door to future studies. Satan knew his boundaries with God, but when he saw Jesus as a man, Satan thought it was safe to go a step further. At God’s throne Satan would never claim the world as his kingdom, but in this world where he thinks there is safety in distance, Satan is all too quick to brag and lay claim on what was never his.

 

When we consider the two settings we see why Satan has a sort of split personality. If Satan claimed he was king of this world in front of God’s throne, thousands of angels would be quick to point out God as the Creator. But on earth, Satan knows how quickly man forgets which is one of the lessons Job’s story brings out.

 

So far we’ve been shown how Job learned he cannot rely on his possessions. Job also had another important reason for living taken away from him, his sons and daughters. In chapter 2 we see the author repeated the words wife and friends, which is one of the main themes seen in chapter 1. This keeps our attention on the main theme, how to distinguish the difference between support from a spouse and friends in contrast to God. What do we learn from the introduction and summation in chapter two?

 

Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. And the LORD said unto Satan, From where come you? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it. And the LORD said unto Satan, Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a blameless and an upright man, one that fears God, and turns away from evil? and still he holds fast his integrity, although you moved me against him, to destroy him without cause.

 

Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him. And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they tore every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven. So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spoke a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.

 

Following general rules of Bible Study, we know the introduction and summation follow the same theme. When we follow that rule, we begin to see a new side of Job’s book reveal itself. The introduction uses the phrase, sons of God. Look at the original Hebrew. The author used the same Hebrew word to describe the sons of God as he did to describe Job’s sons. In trying to explain who the sons of God are, many writers and preachers insist the two sons have different meanings. Since they have the same meaning, why does the author of Job use the same definition for God’s sons and Job’s sons? This shows God’s view of Job as well as the rest of us. It teaches us, God has the same feelings for His creation that men and women have for their sons and daughters.

 

A lot is written in the Bible about God’s love, but I doubt many people feel they can understand it. Based on how the author repeated sons in Job, we’re shown God loves us like a earthly father loves his son and God loves us as much as His sinless creation is Heaven. God had a plan to restore us to the same level as sinless angels in Heaven. I wonder how much God loved Satan when this story was written. We can be assured God did everything to draw Lucifer back.

 

Satan is one of the key words in the introduction to chapter 2. Job’s friends are the main focus in the summary. This draws comparisons between Satan and Job’s friends, some in similarities and contrasts later in the book. This also draws attention to how Satan was allowed to influence Job’s friends. Satan didn’t give up on destroying Job after taking his possessions and family away. One of the themes we have to keep in mind while studying Job is how Satan was able to continue his trials in the conversations between Job and his friends.

 

Job is one of the most difficult books to study based on the fact few of the texts have a direct relationship with other books in the Bible. When texts are compared between different books in the Bible, you have to pay particular attention to context established by key words, introductions, and summations in related chapters. You have to be careful when comparing texts in Job to scripture in other books. Much of what is written in Job is actually a misconception about God. We have to be careful about applying those misconceptions.

 

When we consider the introduction in Job’s book and see the emphasis on man, we’re told the following chapters are the opinions of a few people on who God is. We’re also shown how Satan plays a role in establishing that conception. Much of Job can be compared to the Gospels when your ready and able to study the Bible with an understanding of contrasts. Then your ready to see the contrast between man’s conception of God and the life Jesus led – which is a direct reflection of God.

 

People have their own conceptions on serving and what service is. The city worker may be a servant of the people, but who is he serving when he buys the latest big screen for his computer? Is he more efficient if he buys a larger more comfortable chair? Do tax payers really care if they heat the office up to 78 degrees on cold January days and leave the heat on during the 16 hours the office is empty and on weekends? What about a larger company, or in this case city car that doesn’t get the best gas mileage? Who really cares if he uses the car to take multiple family trips?

 

As political careers develop the spending increases to larger offices and fully paid family vacations. After all who is going to notice when it only costs each tax payer a few dollars? It’s not that big of a deal. The point is, people don’t realize as a public servant they establish a vision of a servant to the public. The general public perceives a servant as arrogant, greedy, mistrusted, and above the public they are paid to serve. People take that image and conscientiously transfer it to God. The image any servant portrays is perceived to be the life style and mannerism of all servants.

 

Unfortunately, people take this perceived conception of a leader or servant and apply it to God. Their perception of God is distorted. Some people know Jesus as a servant, but still think of God as one who requires offerings and sacrifices. We’ve seen how Job offered sacrifices to God for his sons. This is the first clue in his story. Later in the book we see what his friends as well as Job thought about God. As you go through the book, highlighting keys words that are the same, similar, and related, you’ll see patterns form in each chapter. Some you’ll agree with, others you won’t. Some of the patterns will bring other scripture and stories to mind for comparison. Some will have similarities, others will be noticeable contrasts. You’ll learn to listen to God’s Spirit as he guides your mind and teaches you to separate views and traditions established in this world, from the real gifts formed in Heaven. You’ll be able to see how Job and his friends put in a small part of God and mixed it in with their preconceived ideas. You’ll see how key words show if those ideas come from the world, or Heaven. Finally you’ll see how God steps in to defend himself. Key words will show how God’s Words and thoughts differ from man’s and how you can pick up these patterns throughout the Bible. The main goal is to get you into a real relationship with God and let Him speak for Himself. All you need to do is dedicate a little time and be willing to listen. 

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