Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Reorganized Look into the Book of Job

Did you know that initially, the Bible didn't have chapters or verses? There were 66 books of the Bible, but these books didn't have chapters or verses originally. Don't get me wrong, I like having chapters and verses. It is a brilliant way to reference where you are, if other people want to follow along in their copy of scripture.

But if you're like me, you have been frustrated from time to time at the chapter breaks and verse breaks. I want you to know, that's okay. It's not heresy to dislike how humans sub-divided the Bible for easier reference. So if you've ever been frustrated that half of a sentence is a "verse" or that a chapter should have ended after a few more sentences, that's alright. It's your opinion and it might actually make more sense. Unfortunately, things are unlikely to change since the chapters and verses are standardized. To read more about the history of dividing the books of the Bible into chapters and verses, see here, here, here, and here. There are some slight disagreements between the sources.

When I was reading the book of Job, I kept getting frustrated with the chapters. I wanted one chapter to be one person's speech. I wanted to separate the book of Job into segments by the speaker. A two-chapter-a-day Bible plan might have me read the last third of one speech and the first fifth of another in my "two chapters."

I regrouped the 42 chapters into 25 parts. At minimum, I encourage you to read whole speeches in one sitting. Since the book of Job is essentially in a story-long conversations-conclusion format, ideally it would be read in 1 setting, but 42 chapters in a lot. I'd recommend 14 chapters a day: you'd finish in 3 days. The story should be a lot easier to follow when it's read like a story.

My dream is to record actors reciting the book of Job. Not in the wooden-this-is-Scripture-so-I-mustn't-smile-or-show-any-emotion voice, but in a realistic manner. I came up with 7 speaking part with different size roles.

  • Job 20.48 chapters
  • Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite 6 chapters
  • Eliphaz the Temanite 4 chapters
  • Lord 3.99 chapters
  • Narrator (Intro, Conclusion, Satan & God conversation, Job's Wife, Servants) 2.53 chapters
  • Bildad the Shuhite 3 chapters
  • Zophar the Naamathite 2 chapters

Reference in Job
Number of Chapters
Reading in 3 Days
1.     Narrator
Job 1:1-2:13

2.      Job
Job 3:1-26

3.      Eliphaz
Job 4:1-5:27

4.      Job
Job 6:1-7:21

5.      Bildad
Job 8:1-22

6.      Job
Job 9:1-10:22

7.      Zophar
Job 11:1-20

8.      Job
Job 12:1-14:22
End of Day 1: 8 speeches
9.      Eliphaz
Job 15:1-35

10.  Job
Job 16:1-17:16

11.  Bildad
Job 18:1-21

12.  Job
Job 19:1-29

13.  Zophar
Job 20:1-29

14.  Job
Job 21:1-34

15.  Eliphaz
Job 22:1-30

16.  Job
Job 23:1-24:25

17.  Bildad
Job 25:1-6

18.  Job
Job 26:1-31:40
End of Day 2: 10 speeches
19.  Elihu
Job 32:1-37:24

20.  Lord
Job 38:1-40:2

21.  Job
Job 40:3-5

22.  Lord
Job 40:6-41:34

23.  Job
Job 42:1-6

24.  Lord
Job 42:7-8

25.  Narrator
Job 42:9-17
End of Day 3: 7 speeches

Anyhow, this is how I prefer to view the book of Job. It's not 42 chapters, it's 23 speeches, plus an introduction and a conclusion.

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