The title character of the book of Job suffers terribly, but we should not mistakenly think that this book is just about Job. It is about all of us, and ultimately about God.
Many have thought that the book simply restates the perennial questions that plague humankind in a world full of suffering. But often our questions are too limited, and we must learn to ask better questions so that we might find more significant answers. The book of Job answers our original questions obliquely, letting these answers prompt deeper questions, and leading us to discover the wealth that the book has to offer.
Most people assume that the book of Job deals with the question of why righteous people suffer. Instead, John Walton suggests that the book is about the nature of righteousness, not the nature of suffering. As we learn to deepen our questions, God will transform how we think about his work in the world and about our responses in times of suffering.
John H. Walton (PhD, Hebrew Union College) is professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College Graduate School. He is the author or coauthor of several books, including Chronological and Background Charts of the Old Testament; Ancient Israelite Literature in Its Cultural Context; Covenant: God’s Purpose, God’s Plan; The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament; and A Survey of the Old Testament.