3-3-8 Paul and Job
Paul in Philippians appears to have read Job in a very positive
light (under inspiration), holding up his constant recognition that
God would be glorified through his sufferings as an example to himself
during a similar time of great physical trial. Whilst he wrote the
letter he was so ill that he had a choice of being able to "
depart, and to be with Christ" (Phil.1:23) or remain. One way
of understanding this is to read it as meaning that Paul was so
ill that he could give up his will to live if he chose, but struggled
for their sake to keep alive. No wonder his mind went to the afflicted
Job, under inspiration. The following are the connections Paul makes
with Job which apparent to me- doubtless there are many more:
1) Phil.1:19 is made a mess of in the A.V. Moffat does better
with " The outcome of all this, I know, will be my release"
. The Greek here is almost identical to Job 13:16 LXX: "
Though he slay me...even that is to me an omen of salvation"
. The context is of Job speaking of the good conscience he had
maintained with God; similarly Paul's good conscience made him
fearless of approaching death, as he also made clear when on trial
for his life (Acts 23:1; 24:16).
2) " Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be
by life, or by death" (Phil.1:20) seems to echo Job 13:13-15
(especially in RVmg.), where Job says he is willing to face every
trial, but knows that death will be his lot; yet he is certain
that God will still be glorified through this. All of this is
very apposite to Paul's situation.
3) " To die is gain" (Phil.1:21) was Job's attitude
too, particularly in Job 10:20-22, where whilst recognizing the
unpleasantness of death he is speaking, in the context, as if
he were willing to suffer it to maintain his integrity with God.
Paul is reasoning along similar lines.
4) The previous three allusions to Job in Phil.1 make a fourth
one not unlikely. " In nothing terrified by your
adversaries" (Phil.1:28) employs a word classically used
(although unique in the N.T.) to describe the startled shying
of horses, perhaps suggesting Job 39:22, where the horse is said
to mock at fear, " and is not affrighted; neither turneth
he back from the sword" . This would be as if Paul is saying
'Don't be terrified horses but like that one spoken of in Job,
which represented what, in the Lord's opinion, Job was potentially
By now it should be possible to read Job in a similar light to
Adam- striving for acceptance with God, and yet clearly a sinner.
Like so many of us, Job found it hard to accept the enormity of
the guilt we each personally have in the sight of God due to our
sinfulness. It needed severe mental and physical trials to make
Job come to terms with his true relationship to God, and yet those
trials in themselves made him a clear type of Christ. The Lord Jesus
learnt the lesson from Job, to accept the consequences of
being a member of a fallen race regardless of one's personal spiritual
status. By contrast Israel, whom Job also represented, trusted in
their own righteousness and through their mental stubbornness to
have their concept of God changed, suffered and still suffer the
prolonged mental and physical torture of God's displeasure with
them, as Job did in his suffering. May we in these last days avoid
the fatal mixture of legalism, human philosophy and spiritual pride
which Job and his friends gave way to, so that we may develop our
comprehension of God's ways to the point where we too can say "
I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear (cp. our theoretical
grasp of 'first principles'): but now mine eye seeth Thee"