Congratulations on starting TODAY on a life-transforming journey! This reading plan will help you be successful in your commitment to read the whole Bible in a year. The unique order of the readings— together with the brief devotional notes, will help you see the various threads that unify the message of the Old and the New Testaments. I hope my daily devotional comments will help you remember what you have read the day before, and hint at the deep and incredibly rich treasures in God’s Word. But the most satisfying treasures that you find this year will be the ones you dig to discover for yourself!
The first five books of the Bible are the Jewish Torah, and the Bible refers to them collectively as ‘the Law’. Many other books in the Bible attribute the authorship of these five books to Moses. Genesis is the foundational book of the whole Bible. When we were in our first Bible translation project among the Orya in Papua, Indonesia, I witnessed how getting a little detail of the foundation wrong (such as, how the first sin happened) can wreck the whole building that is being constructed. This book of Genesis tells us what God wants us to know about the beginning of our world, the beginning of sin, mankind’s rebellion against God, and who God and Satan are.
The story of Job is set in the period of the patriarch Abraham, and it takes place in the land of the East. What I did not realize until recently is that signs indicate that this book was written at a later time and almost certainly by an Israelite. By the author writing that Job was “the richest man in the East,” it places the author in the West, in the land of Israel. The author frequently uses the name of ‘Yahweh’, which I think would not have been done in Abraham’s time— which was long before God’s name was revealed to Moses at the burning bush. The author was a highly educated man. All of the book— except the first two chapters, are in exquisite poetry. The author displays an in-depth knowledge of mythology, the constellations, and the current wisdom concerning the world— including the underworld and traits of exotic animals. I might as well say it: The philosophy of this book is worthy of Solomon.
Whoever he was, the author displays incredible wisdom. One would expect an ancient book that is didactic in nature to end with a neat answer that sums up the author’s opinion. Or one would expect an ancient author to create a debate where the hero is totally right and the other speakers are clearly wrong. Instead, all the human speakers in the book of Job mix truth and error. It is a mark of inspired wisdom that in the end, the book of Job leaves us still pondering and searching for some answers.
Due to space restrictions, the introduction to Mark’s Gospel will be in tomorrow’s Devotional Content.