Old Testament Poetic Books, 3

Job 2

With our last two class sessions in OT Poetic Books, we covered most of the book of Job. As far as books, which I cover in our entry level courses, go, Job is my favorite book to cover. While one may get lost in the disputation between Job and his friends, if one can step past the repetitive, vitriolic exchange, the book’s overall argument is discernible and I enjoy developing its arguments (I have an interest in Job because of my study of Job; more significantly, my dissertation was on the Elihu Speeches; I wrote a condensed form of it for the Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal: “Elihu’s Contribution to the Thought of the Book of Job.”

After looking at some introductory issues, such as title, authorship and dating, location, literary composition, I developed the message of Job. Many interpreters have understood that the message of the book of Job is primarily dealing with the subject of the righteous suffering. However, this approach is myopic for the suffering Job is never told either who was immediately responsible for his suffering or the reason for his suffering. In dealing with the book’s message, it would be more precise to view Job’s suffering as a catalyst to explore the central concern of the book, viz., God’s administration of justice. To read more fully on my understanding of the message of Job, you can read five posts that I did on this subject. Click here, here, here, here, and here. When classes resume after our winter recess, I will finish Job’s message and then begin covering Psalms.

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Old Testament Poetic Books, 2

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With our second and third class sessions on Old Testament Poetic Books, we covered our introduction to this material on pp. 14–31 of our syllabus. With this presentation, we looked at five introductory issues for this class: (1) characteristics of the Poetic Books, (2) general information about the Poetic Books, (3) Wisdom in the Old Testament, (4) the Poetic Books & Wisdom, and (5) theology in the Poetic Books.

I will briefly expand on the last two subjects. In examining the Poetic Books & Wisdom, we looked at the books covered in our class as they relate to poetry and wisdom literature (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon and Lamentations). Only three of the books treated in this class as well as a few psalms can be classified as wisdom: Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and a few psalms (1, 15, 36, 37, 49, 73, 112, 119, 127, 128, 133). The wisdom literature is only a portion of the material that we cover in OT Poetic Books. The rest of the material we cover is the majority of the Psalms that are not wisdom, Song of Solomon, and Lamentations.

As far as the wisdom material goes, there are two broad categories of wisdom: contemplative and practical. Contemplative wisdom focuses on the seeming inequities of life, like Job, and the solution to the enigmas of life, like Ecclesiastes. Practical wisdom, as in Proverbs and a few psalms, is down-to-earth, how to succeed living under the terms of the Mosaic Covenant.

In dealing with theology in the Poetic Books, we initially looked at a brief introduction to biblical theology. This was followed by looking at what the Poetic Books present about God and man. In examining God, we looked at God’s attributes (such as infinity, wisdom, freedom, incomprehensibility, holiness), his relationship to the universe (such as his plan for the universe, creation, preservation, and providence), his sovereign control of the universe. To mention one of God’s attributes, Job and Ecclesiastes strongly affirm his freedom. This attribute means that God’s will is not bound by anything outside of Himself. God is only limited by His nature and will.

The poetic books presents man as being finite and sinful. They also deal with man’s death and immortality. Finally, they stress a number of man’s responsibilities. We noted three of man’s duties: his obligation to fear God, to be diligent in his work, and to judiciously enjoy life.

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Fifty Years since the Publication of the Genesis Flood

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Though I did not become familiar with The Genesis Flood until the early 1970s when Dr. John Whitcomb lectured at Temple Baptist Theological Seminary (the above picture of Dr. Whitcomb, on the left, and Dr. Morris is taken from Acts & Facts), it is hard to believe that it has been almost forty years since his lecture and fifty years since the original publication of this profound book. I am thankful for the effect that this book has had upon me as well as many others. Further, I consider it a privilege to consider Dr. Whitcomb not only as a former mentor but also as a friend. As a result, I attempt to keep track of his ministry and publications by him and about him.

As it turns out, last night I read an intriguing article about Dr. Whitcomb and Dr. Henry Morris, co-authors of The Genesis Flood. This article appears in the latest issue of Acts & Facts, published by the Institute for Creation Research. The article, “The Creation Movement’s Firm Foundation,” is written by Dr. John Morris, son of Dr. Henry Morris. In this article Dr. Morris, a teen ager in 1961, recounts some of the details surrounding the publication of this book as well as the impact that the book had on the lives of Drs. Whitcomb and Morris and the evangelical world. In the words of Dr. John Morris, “The 50th anniversary of the publication of The Genesis Flood, co-authored by Dr. John Whitcomb and my father, Dr. Henry Morris, brings back poignant memories. A teenager when it was being written, I can testify to the concerted effort that went into it, from focused study to diligent prayer. God blessed that effort and answered those prayers with lasting fruit. Almost every day’s mail and every public meeting bring unsolicited testimonies from individuals who read the book. Many say the information within removed roadblocks in their path to salvation. God used this rather technical book on science and theology in numerous ways, not just to catalyze the creation movement, but to launch a new era of concern for biblical inerrancy and authority.” To continue reading, go here.

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