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The Real Meaning of the Book of Job

Updated on November 11, 2017
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Rev. Margaret Minnicks is a licensed and ordained minister and Bible teacher.

Job: The Man

Job is the central character in the book bearing his name. Job lived over 4,000 years ago; yet we still study about his life and can apply what he learned to our own lives. Job was blameless and an upright man. He feared God and shunned evil. Job was healthy. He was wealthy. He had 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 1,000 oxen, and 500 donkeys. Job was a family man with a wife, seven sons and three daughters and a large household of servants.

Most people would think Job had it made. But the story isn’t about what Job had and what he lost. It is about what he learned through his suffering. While it is true that suffering is a major theme in the Book of Job, suffering is not the real meaning of Job. Rather, the focus is on what Job learns from his suffering. It is what Job learns about God through his suffering.

Job's Suffering and God's Sovereignty

You cannot talk about Job's suffering without talking about God's sovereignty.

The first part of the Book of Job outlines the cause of Job's suffering. Then in Chapter 3-37 there are many dialogues with Job and his three friends. Job questions God and rehearses in his mind what he is going to say to God. God did not intervene but let Job go and his friends go on and on. Then in Chapter 38, God speaks.

The message of the book of Job is God's sovereignty.

Job: The Message in the Book

Now that we know about Job, the man, here are some things learned from the book of Job.

  • Job’s suffering started when Satan suggested to God that Job would remain faithful only as long as he was prosperous. Then God permitted Satan to try Job’s faith. God allowed it, but He did oversee it and He set boundaries. He told Satan he could do what he wanted to do with Job except kill him.
  • Job lost all he had including his good health, his wealth, his sheep, donkeys, oxen, servants and all ten children. Job experienced more tragedy in just a few days than most people experience in a lifetime. Every area of Job’s being was tested.
  • Job did what was customary in times of mourning and suffering. In sackcloth and ashes, he sat for seven days without speaking. His three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar sat in silence with him.
  • When Job finally spoke, his friends one after another tried to convince him to admit that he had sinned against God and God was punishing him. But Job held on to his faith.
  • It was not until Job came to the end of himself that he could he see God for who He really was. Job had to lose it all before he could acknowledge the greatness of God, the majesty of God, and the sovereignty of God.
  • It was only after Job had acknowledged God's sovereignty and prayed for his friends that God restored everything Job had lost and doubled in every case except for his children because they would marry and give Job grandchildren.

There was something Job needed to know. There was something God wanted to teach Job, and it could be done only through his suffering. God wanted to point Job to a new way to interpret life. God wanted Job to recognize that God was the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.

What is the REAL Meaning of the Book of Job?

What, then, is the real message in the book of Job? The REAL Message of Job is NOT Job's suffering because God would never end the story with suffering. Instead, God ended the book on a much more positive note.

The ending of the book of Job illustrates God's sovereignty that we should focus on long after we have closed the Bible.


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      Donald John 4 years ago

      "There was something God wanted to teach Job, and it could be done only through his suffering. God wanted to point Job to a new way to interpret life." I have to disagree with this. God wanted to teach Satan a lesson and Job was the text book. Job had nothing to learn Job knew it already, he was righteous in the start of the story. he knew the game, he knew the score, and he was playing by the rules. head had nothing to learn.

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      Alpha 5 years ago

      This book is not close to what I am dealing with but there are some similarities

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      Betty Bolden 6 years ago from Bucyrus Ohio

      This is amazing this

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      mwr 6 years ago

      Maybe the meaning is that there is NO punishment for bad deeds and rewards for good deeds. If so we would be coerced into doing good because of fear of punishment. This would negate free will itself. Hence G-D rejects this view of Job's three friends who argue that JOB must have sinned and is being punished for the sin. G-D says this is not the case and is upset with the three friends. In the face of no reward we are still to have faith in G-D. With not interest in reward we are still to have faith in G-D. In light of all that happens we are still to have faith in G-D. This too is the meaning of Ecclesiastes.

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      Betty Johansen 6 years ago

      You're right, we need to walk away from the book of Job with a renewed sense of the sovereignty of God. In the future, I'm going to try to remember SOVEREIGNTY, not suffering, is the central theme of this fascinating book.

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      Margaret Minnicks 6 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Dee aka Nonna, thanks for reading and for your comment.