Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April Bible Study: Job, part 1

Resuming our "Bible Study on the Road" in this Easter season, we begin with the book of JOB, which we will take in two parts. In April, chapters 1-21, in May, chapters 22-42.

Job is a teaching myth in Hebrew tradition, a grand story that raises significant theological questions with which we still struggle today. In a very poetic and poignant way, Job wrestles with the question of undeserved suffering: where does suffering come from? how are we to respond when we suffer, and in supporting others who suffer? what does God think or do in the midst of human suffering?

In the opening scenes, there is a gathering of the heavenly "court", with a character called The Satan serving as "prosecuting attorney"--his role is to be on the watch for things going awry and for treason--serious offenses to be brought to the Judge (God). The Satan in Hebrew understanding is, therefore, very different from the Devil of the New Testament, who does not relate to God as an equal but tried to undermine God secretly by targeting faithful believers. The scene in Job is set up as an agreement between God and the Satan; not an evil deed of a devil that God has to undo.

As you read, consider:
Who does Job understand God to be?
How do the friends think of God?
How do you think of God?

In his suffering, Job is visited by friends, who come from some distance to sit with him, then to try to figure out why Job is enduring this suffering. Job has a reply for all their accusations; his replies become more vehement through the story (so much for "patience"!).

Consider: think of a time you were suffering over a period of time. How did friends respond to you? What part of their response was helpful? What was not helpful? Did the response make you feel God was closer to you, or more distant?

In the first 3/4 of the book, God is the object of many conversations and conjectures; in the last 1/4 God becomes subject. Join us for the conversation and see what God will have to say!

April 11 6:45 pm Helen's (Austin)
April 18 10:00 am Living Word (Buda) [WELCA]
April 18 6:30 pm Bailey's (Buda)
April 25 6:30 pm Ruge-Jones's (San Marcos)

May 2 6:30 pm Schlortt's (Kyle)
May 9 7:00 pm Helen's (Austin)
May 16 10:00 am Living Word (Buda)
May 16 6:30 pm Bailey's (Buda)
May 23 6:30 pm Ruge-Jones's (San Marcos)