Shelf Life Book Review: How to Read Job

Peter Krol

How to Read Job
Intervarsity Press, 2015

Today’s readers struggle with the book of Job for the same reasons they struggle with Shakespeare: It’s old, it’s poetry, and it progresses chiefly through long and theatrical monologues. In How to Read Job, John H. Walton joins Tremper Longman III to make this ancient drama accessible.

While many come to Job to explain suffering, Walton and Longman argue that Job was written to explain righteousness. In particular, is it worthwhile to be righteous—to know God—if we don’t get anything from it? Is it fair for God to bless the righteous, knowing they might love his gifts more than they love him? Is it fair for God to curse the righteous, if they’re the ones who are on his side? And how are the righteous to think of God when disaster strikes?

Walton and Longman address these issues by comparing Job with similar ancient Near Eastern texts and by examining the book’s rhetorical strategy. They explore both Job’s theological message to the original audience and our duty to read Job in light of Christ. Although dealing with weighty matters, they make sparing use of theological jargon and Hebrew terminology. This book will stimulate readers willing to reevaluate their assumptions about how to read Job.

This review also appears in the July–August '16 issue of Bible Study Magazine.