WAS THE STORY OF JOB about a real human being in history?
Or was Job a fictional character in something like a really long parable—a bit like the guy who got beat up in Jesus’ story about a Good Samaritan?
I think most of us have grown up assuming he was a real guy. So we’ve speculated about when and where he lived, though the anonymous writer doesn’t give us many clues to go on.
In recent years, some Christians have started to question their old presumptions.
For many folks, the point of the story seems obvious: suffering isn’t necessarily linked to sin. Jews often presumed people suffered because God was punishing them. That’s why the disciples pointed out a man born blind and asked Jesus,” Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” (John 9:2 NLT).
Job’s story seems to argue against that kind of thinking.
But there are several reasons some Bible experts suspect the story was fictional.
- Reporting from heaven. How did the writer get info on the meeting between Job’s Accuser and God in heaven?
- God’s bet with the devil. Assuming Job’s Accuser was Satan, as many do, what was he doing on God’s turf and why did God make a deal with the devil?
- Before audio recording. The debate between Job and his supposed friends is reported in astonishing detail. Who could take notes like that—especially if the story played out around the time of Abraham—as many guess it did? That was centuries before the Jews invented their alphabet?
Do you think Job’s story may have been a parable kind of a thing?
Would it diminish your view of the Bible if, in fact, Job turned out to be a fictional character crafted by a novelist/theologian trying to teach people a lesson about God?