A.T... God With A Capital “G”

God With A Capital “G”
By Allan Turner

This study is about God with a capital “G,” that one state of being God (Deuteronomy 6:4), consisting of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (as we now know them), that is like no other state of being: self-existent, eternal, infinite, and immutable. As created beings, we need to know our Creator in order to be pleasing to Him. In fact, salvation and true worship are not possible without a proper knowledge of who and what God is.

Salvation Is Not Possible Without Knowing God
Salvation is not possible without a knowledge of God. I know this is true because when Jesus prayed for His disciples, He said, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3). In other words, one's eternal destiny depends upon knowing God, the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ. This means that the study of God and the study of Christ are absolutely essential pursuits for the one who wants to go to heaven. Furthermore, in addition to knowing the Father and the Son, there are other passages that inform us that the Holy Spirit is to be included in this intimate, knowledgeable relationship (cf. Acts 5:32). In fact, upon a confession of one's faith in Christ Jesus, a penitent believer is baptized into a relationship with the Godhead, namely, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). All in this saving relationship “Know the Lord,...from the least to the greatest” (Hebrews 8:11). Finally, and it is not without great significance, “when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire,” He will be “taking vengeance on those who do not know God” (II Thessalonians 1:7,8).

True Worship Is Not Possible Without Knowing God
True worship, which is the only kind of worship that is pleasing to God, must be in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). This means that true worship must not just be with the right attitude or spirit, but it must be intelligent and knowledgeable as well. For example, although there were many reasons why the Samaritan woman's worship was not acceptable to God, the primary reason was stated by Jesus, when He said, “You worship that which you do not know” (John 4:22). In the same manner, the Athenians vainly worshipped at the altar “TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.” The Bible makes it clear that this kind of worship is unacceptable because it is “worship without knowing” (Acts 17:23b).

Ignorance Of God Is ACurrent Problem
It is sad that modern society knows very little about the true God. According to Langdon Gilkey, in his book, Maker of Heaven and Earth, the prevailing picture of God, among those in our culture who still believe in Him, is that of “a large, powerful, kindly elder statesman who treats us much as a doting grandfather might do, with occasional moods of needed judgment but with a balance of indulgence” (p. 81). Add to this the fact that many Christians today, reflecting the ignorance of God so prevalent in this age, are, like the ancient Athenians, attempting to worship an “UNKNOWN GOD,” and you have the potential for a major apostasy brewing in our midst.
If what I am reading in the religious papers can be trusted, if preachers and elders I have spoken with have a sense of what is happening in their midst, then few Christians today study their Bibles on a daily basis. It would be my guess that fewer still have ever engaged in a private study of the nature and person of God. If this is truly indicative of what is going on in the church of Christ, then many Christians actually know very little about God's attributes and characteristics. Such ignorance is, according to an inspired apostle, a “shame” (cf. I Corinthians 15:34). Just as a lack of knowledge about God made the Corinthians susceptible to false teaching about the resurrection, many Christians today, knowing little about the nature of God, are vulnerable to vain philosophy and empty deceit (Colossians 2:8).
Having placed this study in its proper perspective, it is now time to turn our attention to a study of God the Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer of the world.

God Is
The Psalmist said, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (Psalm 19:1), and the apostle Paul declared, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).
With these passages in mind, it is interesting to note that, down through the ages, men who were not even associated with the Bible have looked at God's magnificent creation and have understood there must be a Creator. This realization is called “the teleological argument for God,” and is the argument from design, inferring an intelligent designer of the universe, just like one infers that a product (a watch) has a producer (a watchmaker). Incidentally, if someone were to show us a watch, telling us that no one made it, but that it was the result of an explosion that had taken place accidentally in a scrap metal factory, we would think that person was either “pulling our leg” or mighty foolish. Why, then, should it be any different when we think about the greatest product ever created? In fact, the Bible says, “The fool has said in his heart, `There is no God'” (Psalm 14:1).
According to Plato, one of the things that makes one believe in the Creator is the argument “from the order of the motion of the stars, and of all things under the dominion of the mind that ordered the universe” (Plato, Laws). According to Plato, there had to be a “maker and father of all.” In addition, Aristotle, based upon his observation of the creation, concluded there had to be a First Unmoved Mover who is God, a living, intelligent, incorporeal, eternal, and most good being who is the source of the order in the universe (Aristotle, Metaphysica and On Philosophy).
In making note of the observations of these two men, I am not advocating the philosophies of either. Instead, I am simply pointing out that the greatest minds of antiquity understood the force of the teleological argument. As the Bible so plainly says, man is “without excuse” for not knowing that God is (Romans 1:20).

God Is Self-Existent
The God who has revealed Himself in nature and gradually, verse by verse, step by step, makes Himself known in His special revelation, the Bible, is a necessary being who depends on nothing else or anyone else for His existence. In fact, everything else depends on Him. This means that God, ontologically speaking (i.e. having to do with the being of God), is self-existent. This is the meaning of the name “I AM THAT I AM” (Exodus 3:14). It derives from the Hebrew verb “to be” and means “He who is.” It is this self-existence that is the primary point of difference between God and His creation. Therefore, in calling Himself “I AM,” God is arguing ontologically that His being is uncaused. He is saying that He is; always has been; and always will be. In other words, God's being is not derived from anything and is not dependent upon anything; He just exists.
There are three New Testament passages that convey this same idea. In Romans 1:23, God is identified as being “incorruptible.” In I Timothy 6:16, it is said that God “alone possesses immortality.” And in John 5:26 it is taught that only God “has life in Himself.” When God's self-existent nature begins to be comprehended by finite creatures, they feel the need to humble themselves before the totally independent and incorruptible I AM.

God Is Eternal
If God is self-existent, and this is what the Bible says, then He must also be eternal. In fact, belief in the Eternal is an essential part of the Christian's faith (Hebrews 11:6). And although it is true that the creature will one day put on immortality and live forever (I Corinthians 15:53,54), this is not the immortality that God possesses. God, contrary to His creation, is immortal by nature. In other words, only God has always existed and will always exist. How can this be? How can a being have no beginning and no end? How can it be that a being always was and always will be? Because, as we have already pointed out, God, and God alone, is self-existent, and a logical consequence of this self-existence is eternalness.
For the creature, immortality is a gift; for God, immortality is the essence of His nature. As finite creatures, our minds are controlled and limited by time. Consequently, it is impossible for us to fully understand the eternalness of God's nature. Therefore, as we stand before Him in awe, we reverently say, along with the apostle Paul: “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” And surely we join with Moses in saying that the “eternal God” is our refuge, “and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27).
As we’ve pointed out, God has a unique existence. In addition to being self-existent and eternal, God is not limited by anything outside of Himself.

God Is Infinite
This kind of existence is referred to as being infinite, which means subject to no limitation or external determination, i.e., unbounded. But one needs to be careful with this word. As Jack Cottrell points out in his book, God The Creator, when referring to God as infinite, this term is not to be understood in its physical or mathematical sense, as if God were infinitely large, or as if He extended infinitely into space (p. 241). To say that God is infinite, is to say that He is not subject to the built-in limitations of a created being.

God Is Omnipresent
God's infinitude is to be defined by His self-existence, eternalness, and omni-characteristics, which are omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence. The God who is eternal, and therefore not limited by time, is omnipresent, and not limited by space (Psalm 139:7-10; Proverbs 15:3; Jeremiah 23:23,24). He is universally present to all of space at all times. Even so, this does not mean that He is dispersed throughout the infinite reaches of space, so that every part of space has at least a little part of God. In other words, God is not present in all space; he is, instead, present to all of space. This means that the unlimited God in His whole being is present at every point of our space. Perhaps a better way to express God's omnipresence is to say that all space is immediately present before Him.
God's omnipresence does not prevent Him from manifesting Himself in a localized place. In fact, although His ontological being is present to all of space equally, He has, on occasion, entered space at specific points and become present in it for a specific purpose. These “theophanies,” as they are called, most often involved redemption. For example, the pillar of cloud bearing the glory of God that appeared before the Israelites (Exodus 33:9; 40:34; I Kings 8:10ff) is but one example of such a case. Of course, the most dramatic incident of God entering time and space was the incarnation itself (John 1:14; I Timothy 3:16). Consequently, Jesus was called Immanuel, or “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). But, in entering time and space, God, in His self-existent, eternal, and infinite Being, did not cease to be omnipresent. He was, in fact, still present to every point of space, holding everything together by the word of His power (Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3). In fact, it is evident that the omnipresence of “God with us” is the subject of John 3:13, which says, “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of God who is in heaven.” If omnipresence is not under discussion, then pray tell me what is? Remember, these words were being spoken by God Himself while enfleshed here on this earth. Another example of God interjecting Himself into time and space would be the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4), as well as His indwelling of the body of every Christian (I Corinthians 6:19). “Mind-boggling,” you say? Yes, but such is the magnificent nature of the great I AM.

God Is Omniscient
When one considers passages like Isaiah 46:9,10; Psalm 147:5; Romans 11:33; and I John 3:20, one comes to appreciate the fact that there never was a time when the self-existent, eternal, and infinite God of all creation knew less or more than He does right now. God, because of who He is, never learns and never forgets. This characteristic is called omniscience. Omniscience is not anything like the knowledge man possesses. Man, by his very nature, cannot know some things. God, on the other hand, knows all things, and does so because He is “He who is” (Exodus 3:14).
Nevertheless, some are willing to argue that there are things that even an all-knowing God cannot know. These argue that the future free will acts of men and women cannot be known by God because they have not yet happened. God, according to this position, cannot know what cannot be known, and the future, contigent, free will choices of men and women cannot be known. But, can this be true? What is it that the self-existent, eternal, and infinite God cannot know? There is, of course, absolutely nothing that such a being could not know, for He transcends the flow of time and sees the past, present, and future in a kind of eternal now. (For an in-depth study of the contrast between these two positions, see the Green-Turner debate that took place in Gospel Anchor mag-azine a few years back [Discussion On The Foreknowledge Of God, Vol. XVI, Nos. 3,4,5,6].)
Only a being with the infinite characteristics and attributes of God could be all-knowing. Consequently, it is omniscience that God uses to challenge those who claim to be gods, but who are, in fact, no gods (Isaiah 42:8,9; 43:3-7; 44:7,8; 45:20,21; 48:3-7). Surely, praise, honor, and eternal glory belong to the one and only true God, who said, “I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done” (Isaiah 46:9,10).

God Is Omnipotent
Since God is self-existent, eternal, omnipresent, and omniscient, it comes to us as no surprise that He is also omnipotent or all-powerful. In fact, if God is infinite in His relationship to time, space, and knowledge, it only follows that He is omnipotent as well. In the New Testament, this truth is taught in Matthew 19:26 and Revelation 19:6. In the Old Testament, when God appeared to Abraham, He said, “I am God Almighty” (Genesis 17:1). In Jeremiah 32:27, God says: “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?” For God, of course, “nothing is impossible” (Luke 1:37). Finally, God's omnipotence is grounded in the fact of creation: “Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You” (Jeremiah 32:17).

God Is Immutable
Given the nature of God, there is no chance that He can ever be anything other that what He is. This can be inferred from His self-existent, eternal, and infinite nature. His nature or essence cannot change, but is eternally the same, incorruptible (Romans 1:23) and immortal (I Timothy 6:16). In other words, He is unchangeable or immutable (Psalm 102:25-27; Malachi 3:6; James 1:17). What does this mean? It means that the Self-Existent One cannot be not self-existent; it means that the Eternal One cannot be not eternal; it means that the Infinite One cannot be not infinite; etc. God, ontologically speaking (i.e., by the nature of His being), cannot be anything else; if He were, He would not be God!
Included in God's unchangeable or immutable nature are His moral attributes, for His moral character is no less a part of His essence than are His power and wisdom. What this means is that God has always been, and always will be, the holy, righteous, and gracious God that He is right this moment. His goodness has not been developed, and will never be altered. From everlasting to everlasting, He is the same in character, infallible and immutable (Numbers 23:19).
Of course, it must be kept in mind that the immutability of God's nature does not mean that He cannot interact with His creation. In fact, the Bible teaches that the Almighty has agreed to, and does, interact with His creation in time. Such interaction is genuine and not pretended. God has agreed to be influenced by His creation. Whether or not I can explain this in view of God's immutable nature is not the point. I cannot even understand it; how, then, can I explain it? In truth, it is not my responsibility to explain it; it is, instead, my responsibility to believe, teach, and defend it. If I had to be able to understand and explain everything about God, especially those things He has not chosen to reveal to me, before I could believe in Him, I and every other finite creature could have no choice but to remain in unbelief. The Aristotelian or classical view of God as “the Unmoved Mover,” who is, in turn, unrelated to the world, impassive, and unconcerned, is, in my opinion, as ridiculous and it is un-Biblical.
As we’ve said, it is not possible that the essence of God could be anything other than what it has been, is, and always will be. If this essence were to change, then God would no longer be God. As a matter of fact, it is impossible to make distinctions between God, His essence, and His attributes. “I AM THAT I AM” or “He who is” (Exodus 3:14) exists as a self-existent (Romans 1:23; I Timothy 6:16; John 5:26), eternal (Deuteronomy 33:27),infinite (Psalm 139:7-10; Isaiah 46:9,10; Jeremiah 32:27), immutable (Psalm 102:25-27; Malachi 3:6; James 1:17) Spirit (John 4:24). If He ceased to be any of these, He could not be God. In other words, God's essence (i.e., that which makes Him what He is) could not be anything other than what it is; and that which makes God what He is, of course, is His attributes. Therefore, it is never correct to think of God apart from His essence or attributes. In other words, God does not have an essence; He is His essence, and He does not have attributes; He is His attributes.

God Is His Attributes
For example, the Bible tells us that God is love (I John 4:8,16). It informs us that God's love is great (Ephesians 2:4), eternal (Jeremiah 31:3; Ephesians 1:4,5), infinite (Ephesians 3:18,19), and dependable (Romans 8:35-39). If the theme of the Bible is man's redemption, then the central word of the Bible is love. In fact, the Bible tells us that the motivation for the scheme of redemption is God's love for His creation. How much did God love His creation? He loved it so much that He was willing to give His only begotten Son so that it could be redeemed (John 3:16; I John 4:9). But, what kind of love would do such a thing? To understand this, we must realize that God's love for mankind is a distinctive kind of love called agape (pronounced ah-gah-pay). And what is agape? Primarily, agape is good will toward others. It is deep, tender, and warm concern for the happiness and well-being of another; it is charity toward those in need.
When the Bible says, “God loves us,” it means that He really cares about us and always does what is best for us. God's love is different from other kinds of love in that it seeks to give and not to get; it seeks to satisfy not some need of the lover, but rather the need of the one who is loved. This is what God is, i.e., this is His nature! Strip from God His love and we no longer have the God who has revealed Himself to His creatures. Strip from Him His love and what remains is something similar to the gods of the pagans, which are idols for their own destruction (Hosea 8:4).
Nevertheless, what the Bible does not say about the essence or nature of God is just as important as what it does say. For instance, although the Bible teaches that God is His attributes and characteristics, it does not teach that any particular attribute of God is God; i.e., the Bible is not saying, and has never said, that “Love is God.” On the contrary, what the Bible teaches is that “God is love” (I John 4:8,16). Clearly, then, the Bible instructs us that God is His attributes and characteristics. Anyone who believes the Bible, believes this. Consequently, God is, has been, and always will be who and what He is at this exact moment.

God Is Triune
In the one state of being God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Romans 3:30; I Corinthians 8:4), there are three distinctly different personalities: the Father, the Son or Word, and the Holy Spirit. Each one of these personalities shares fully the one essence, nature, or state of being God. Everything involved in being Deity is possessed by each of these personalities. In other words, the Bible teaches there is one, and only one, God; but it just as plainly teaches that the Father is God (John 6:27; Galatians 1:1; Philippians 2:11), the Son is God (John 10:30; 20:28), and the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3,4). Even so, it must be understood that although the Bible says that God is three persons in one essence (cf. Matthew 28:19; II Corinthians 13:14), it does not teach “Tritheism” (i.e., three Gods). As Roy Lanier, Sr. wrote in his book, The Timeless Trinity: “We do not affirm that one God is three Gods; we affirm that there is but one infinite Spirit Being, but within that one Spirit essence there are three personal distinctions, each of which may be, and is, called God; each capable of loving and being loved by the others; each having a distinct, but not separate, part to play in the creation and salvation of man” (p. 46).
We think it prudent to caution that, when thinking of God, it is possible to use “person” or “personality” in a wrong sense. If we are not precise in our thinking, we might conclude that the three persons or personalities that are God are just like human persons or personalities, except more complex. This would be a serious mistake. Human personalities are totally different from each other, and their relationships are often inharmonious and completely external (i.e., they do not partake of the same essence). On the other hand, the three personalities that are God partake of one essence and are always harmonious. In other words, we must not try to think of divine personality within the limits of human personality, as if God were but a more complex image of the human person. To do so would be idolatry, pure and simple (cf. Romans 1:23). Consequently, one must not press too far the concept of personhood when applied to God. What, then, are we saying when we speak of God in three persons?

God In Three Persons
As we have already pointed out, divine personality is the archetype of human personality; it is not the other way around. If, of course, this is true, then there must be some similarities between divine personality and human personality. In fact, there are! As Paul taught the Athenians, “Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man's devising” (Acts 17:29). In other words, we are not lifeless, impersonal matter, and neither is God. The Bible teaches that God is Spirit, and we, who are His offspring, have a spiritual nature. The Bible teaches that God is personal, and we, who are His offspring, partake of personhood. In his excellent book, What The Bible Says About God The Creator, Jack Cottrell points out four elements that are characteristic of personhood: (1) rational consciousness, (2) self-consciousness, (3) self-determination, and (4) the capacity to have relationships with other persons (p. 237). These characteristics are, in fact, a very intricate part of the portrait God paints of Himself in the Bible, from beginning to end. Based on the Scripture alone, no one would ever doubt God's personhood.
Furthermore, if the self-existent, eternal, infinite, and immutable Spirit has three personalities, and this is what the Bible teaches, then the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit partake of personhood. As such, each enjoys rational consciousness, self-consciousness, self-determination, and relationships with other persons. This means that the Father is conscious of Himself as an individual person apart from the Son and the Holy Spirit and vice versa. It means that the Father, of His own free will, decided to send His Son into this world for the redemption of mankind. It means that the Son, of His own free will, responded positively to His Father's decision when He came to this earth and experienced death for fallen humanity. Finally, it means that the Holy Spirit, of His own volition, came to this earth to do the bidding of the Father and the Son. And although it must be understood that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were and are all involved in man's redemption, nevertheless, each person in the Godhead had work to do that was unique only to Him (cf. I Peter 1:1,2). When one reads the Bible, these truths are clear. (By clear, we do not mean that we think it is easy for finite creatures to understand how this threeness is rooted in the divine essence. On the contrary, by clear, we simply mean that the doctrine of the triune nature of God is explicitly taught in the Bible.)

The Economic And Ontological Trinities
Theologians speak of the “economic Trinity” and the “ontological Trinity.” These are constructs that attempt to define God. The so-called economic Trinity refers to the “division of labor” that exists between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and concerns itself principally with the different works done by the three persons of the Godhead in relation to the scheme of redemption. For example, the Bible depicts God the Father as foreknowing and choosing the plan whereby man could be redeemed (cf. Romans 8:29). In His role or work, the Father is never portrayed as being the One sent. On the contrary, the Father sends the Son and the Spirit (John 5:37; 14:26; 20:21). In turn, the Holy Spirit is involved in the work of sanctification (I Peter 1:1,2), and He is also the agent of inspiration (John 16:13; II Peter 1:21). In this connection, it is interesting to note that it is only blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, and not against the Father or Son, that is unforgivable (Matthew 12:31,32). (Surely, one can see from this that the three persons of the Godhead are truly distinct.) Of course, it is the works of Jesus, the Son of God, which receive most of the attention in the New Testament. This is because it is He who “became flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). It was only the Son who experienced death for us. It was only the Son who was resurrected from the dead, taken bodily into heaven, and seated at the Father's right hand. It is only the Son who is the High Priest and Mediator between God and man (I Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 4:14).
Therefore, the Bible teaches that, when it comes to the scheme of redemption, there are works done by the Father that are not done by the Son or the Spirit; there are works done by the Son that are not done by the Father or the Spirit; and there are works done by the Spirit that are not done by the Father or the Son. It is this Bible-based division of labor or economic Trinity that sheds some light on the so-called ontological Trinity (i.e., how the three persons of the Godhead are related within their own being, totally apart from any manifestations or works directed outside themselves). Discerning a threeness in the external manifestations and works of God is not too taxing, but when one turns his attention to the ontological Trinity, things begin to get a lot harder. For instance, are the appellations of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit eternal distinctions within the Trinity or are they derived from the various works of God in the scheme of redemption? Particularly, from the standpoint of the Scriptures, is the doctrine of the eternal Sonship of Christ authentic? Alexander Campbell, for example, taught that Jesus Christ pre-existed as the Divine Logos or Word of God (cf. John 1:1), but that His Sonship began with the incarnation. According to Campbell, the entire “relation of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit began to be” during the days of Augustus Caesar (The Christian System, pp. 9,10). Personally, I am not certain that the eternal Sonship of Christ is Biblical, and, furthermore, I do not really see what difference it makes. There are several explicit references to the Deity of Christ in the Bible; consequently, His Deity or equality with God does not depend on an eternal Sonship relation.
How, then, do we explain the ontological Trinity? Personally, I do not think we can with any large degree of specificity. When we do try, we seem to fail, and fail miserably. Furthermore, many attempts to explain or depict the ontological Trinity (i.e., three in One) actually incline toward idolatry (cf. Romans 1:22,23). We must always remember that God is not a man; therefore, He cannot ultimately be explained or understood by trying to compare Him with finite creatures. And although it is absolutely impossible for three finite creatures to consist of the same essence, nevertheless, God, who is three Divine persons, and Who is identified in the economy of redemption as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is also, and at the same time, one self-existent, eternal, infinite, immutable Spirit Being.
There can be no doubt that the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity transcends the limits of our finite knowledge. By reason alone, unaided by divine revelation, we cannot figure out the ontological Trinity. But, by concentrating on the economic Trinity revealed to us in the Bible, we can know what the Triune God wants us to know about Himself. Consequently, I agree with professor B.B. Warfield, who concluded, “When we have said these three things, then—that there is but one God, that the Father and the Son and the Spirit is each God, that the Father and the Son and the Spirit is each a distinct person—we have enunciated the doctrine of the Trinity in its completeness” (“The Biblical Doctrine Of The Trinity,” in B.B. Warfield, ed.,Biblical And Theological Studies, pp. 22-59).
Mythology is filled with numerous triads, but there is only one Triune God. And if it had not been for the scheme of redemption, we would know very little of His threeness. In fact, although there are allusions in the Old Testament that the Godhead consists of more than one person, if Scripture had not depicted Jesus of Nazareth as God incarnate, and the Holy Spirit as Deity, the question of the Trinity would have never arisen. This means that Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are the fundamental proof of the doctrine of the Trinity. This means that if the pre-existent Jesus (i.e., the Word or Divine Logos of John 1:1) actually divested Himself of His Godhood and Divinity, so that the “fullness of the Godhead” did not dwell in His earthly body (Colossians 2:9), as some are currently teaching, then the Triune God, who has identified Himself as a self-existent, eternal, infinite, immutable Spirit, ceased to exist as He had existed, at least for a period of time. Therefore, one can readily see that the current controversy over the Deity of Christ is not a “tempest in a teapot” issue; but is, instead, an issue that strikes at the very core of the gospel. We now turn our attention to the Biblical truth that there never was a time when the Divine Logos was not God with a capital “G.”

“Jesus Christ Is The Same Yesterday,
Today, And Forever”
Jesus is God. This is the basic meaning of the incarnation. In John 1:1, the Holy Spirit teaches that not only was the Word (i.e., the Logos) in the beginning with God, but the Word was God. In verses 14-34, we learn that the Logos became flesh in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. And in a book written so that men would believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and believing might have life in His name, Thomas, speaking of Jesus, exclaims, after seeing Him in His resurrected body, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). There are, of course, other passages that directly speak of Jesus as God, but since they are all disputed by some, we have not mentioned them. Nevertheless, the cited passages serve to demonstrate, to those who are willing to believe the Bible, that Jesus is, in fact, God.
Furthermore, the writer of Hebrews, telling us what God had prophesied about Jesus, writes, “But to the Son He says: 'Your throne, O God, is forever and ever'” (Hebrews 1:8). Also, He clearly identifies Jesus as the Jehovah and Elohim of Psalm 102:25-27, who eternally existed before He created the heavens and earth (Hebrews 1:10) and who remains eternally the same (Hebrews 1:11,12), and, therefore, in the person of Jesus Christ is “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). To see in Hebrews 13:8 only a reference to the faithfulness of Jesus, and not a reference to His immutability, is, I think, a serious mistake. In fact, Jesus Christ's faithfulness is grounded in His changelessness. In other words, because He does not change ontologically (i.e., because He has always been the fullness of God that He is at this very moment), He has been, is, and always will be, completely and totally reliable. It is only in this sense that Jesus could identify Himself as the “I AM THAT I AM” or “He who is” of Exodus 3:14 (cf. John 8:58). When Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM,” He used the aorist tense to describe Abraham's existence and the timeless present tense to describe His own existence, and thereby identified Himself as the self-existent, eternal, infinite, immutable God with a capital “G.” Well has it been said: “Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God” (Psalm 90:1,2).
As difficult as it may be for finite creatures to even begin to comprehend, when the Divine Logos, or Son of God, became flesh (John 1:14), or, as the Bible says elsewhere, came in the likeness of man (Philippians 2:8), or was manifested in the flesh (I Timothy 3:16), He did not divest, give up, or have stripped from Him, His Deity. Within the man Jesus of Nazareth dwelt, and continues to dwell (for such is the meaning of the present tense), all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9). In fact, from a Biblical standpoint, the historical Jesus is never understood apart from His embodiment as the self-existent, eternal, infinite, immutable God in time and space. And although it is true that a God divested of His Deity would still continue to exist, in truth, He would no longer be what He had been and, therefore, could not call Himself “I AM THAT I AM.”

M.C... "THE BOOK OF JOB" The Great Debate: Second Cycle Of Speeches (15-21)

                           "THE BOOK OF JOB"

           The Great Debate: Second Cycle Of Speeches (15-21)


1) To observe the progress of the "great debate", in which Job's
   friends are unable to convince Job that he is some great sinner who
   deserves his suffering

2) To note how Job continues to vent his complaint, and while losing
   hope for anything in this life, he does reveal his faith in a 
   Redeemer and in seeing God after death


The second cycle of speeches continue in the same format, with the
three friends speaking and Job responding to each one in turn.  The
speeches are shorter, and it appears their tempers are becoming short
as well.  Eliphaz begins with an attack on Job, ridiculing his wisdom.
Like Bildad, he too appeals to the wisdom of others as he repeats his
main thesis:  suffering comes to the wicked, therefore Job must be 
wicked (15:1-35).  Job's response to Eliphaz begins with a reproach of
his friends as "miserable comforters".  Job continues to view his
suffering as an attack by God for reasons unknown to him.  Wishing
there was someone who could plead for him, he cries out for relief as
he resumes his complaint.  With no wisdom from his friends, he is 
losing hope for anything in this life but death (16:1-17:16).

Bildad angrily wonders "how long" will Job keep speaking this way, and
why does he regard his friends as beasts and stupid?  In what appears 
as an attempt to get Job to confess he is a sinner, Bildad provides a 
lengthy description of the suffering of the wicked (18:1-21).  Job
responds by asking "how long" would they continue to torment him?  
While they accuse him of being a great sinner, they have yet to point
out his errors.  As Job resumes directing his complaint to God, he 
bewails his loneliness and abandonment by friends and family.  And yet,
while Job feels God is treating him as an enemy, he affirms his faith
in a Redeemer who would one day stand on the earth and in seeing God 
after his death (19:1-29).

Zophar speaks in what will be his last contribution to this "great
debate".  While he offers little that is really new to the discussion,
he does describe the short-lived triumph of the wicked, to whom the 
sweetness of sin becomes a bitter curse and whom God will sweep away 
into darkness.  The only problem is that like his friends, he assumes 
that such is always the case in this life (20:1-29).  Job's rebuttal
provides examples in which some wicked do prosper in this life, and die
an easy death.  Therefore his friends' words have proven to be empty
and without comfort (21:1-34).



   A. ELIPHAZ'S REBUTTAL (15:1-35)
      1. Eliphaz attacks Job, rebuking his behavior and ridiculing his
         wisdom (15:1-16)
         a. Job is reasoning with unprofitable talk, his own mouth 
            condemns him
         b. Job attempts to limit wisdom to himself, disregarding the 
            wisdom of others
         c. Job cannot be as pure and righteous as he claims; if angels
            and the heavens are not pure in God's sight, how much less
            one who "drinks iniquity like water"?
      2. Eliphaz repeats his main thesis: suffering comes to the wicked
         a. Appealing to what he has seen, and what wise men have said
         b. He then offers a lengthy description of how the wicked one
            suffers (is he trying to describe Job?)

   B. JOB'S REPLY (16:1-17:16)
      1. He reproaches his friends (16:1-5)
         a. They are "miserable comforters"
         b. He could do what they do, but would offer true comfort if
            they were in his place
      2. He describes God's treatment of him (16:6-17)
         a. Whether he speaks or remain silent, there is no relief
         b. God is wearing him out, shriveling him up, gnashing at him
         c. God has turned him over to the ungodly, who gape at him and
            strike him reproachfully
         d. God has shattered him, shaken him, and broken him with 
            wound upon wound
      3. He hopes his cry will be heard (16:18-22)
         a. That it not be buried in the dust of the earth, that it be
            seen in heaven
         b. Scorned by his friends, his eyes pour out tears to God
         c. He wished there was one who would plead for him with God,
            for he knows his time is short
      4. Job asks for relief (17:1-5)
         a. He is broken, the grave is ready for him, and mockers are
            with him
         b. His friends have no understanding, can't God help him?
      5. He resumes his complaint (17:6-9)
         a. He is despised by others, even as he grows weaker
         b. Upright men are astonished by him, the innocent are stirred
            up against the hypocrite (is Job saying that is how they 
            view him?)
         c. The righteous holds to his way, and those with clean hands
            become stronger and stronger (perhaps Job is referring here
            to his friends, and speaking with sarcasm)
      6. With no wisdom from his friends, he is losing hope (17:10-16)
         a. His days are past, his plans are broken, and all his
            friends can do is say "the light is near" when all is dark
         b. If death and the grave is all that lies ahead, where is his


   A. BILDAD'S REBUTTAL (18:1-21)
      1. He is incensed at Job (18:1-4)
         a. "How long" will Job keep speaking? - cf. 8:2
         b. Why does he consider his friends as beasts and stupid?
         c. Should the earth be moved because he is angry?
      2. He too provides a lengthy description of the suffering of the
         wicked (18:5-21)
         a. The light of the wicked will go out
         b. He is cast down, ensnared
         c. Terrors frighten him on every side
         d. Destruction comes his way, others will take what is his
         e. The memory of the wicked will perish from the earth, there
            will be no posterity
         f. Such will happen to the wicked, to those who know not God

   B. JOB'S REPLY (19:1-29)
      1. He responds to his critics (19:1-6)
         a. "How long" will you torment my soul? - cf. 18:2
         b. They continue to reproach him, but have not pointed out his
         c. While they magnify themselves against him, he feels God has
            wronged him!
      2. Job again directs his complaint to God (19:7-12)
         a. God does not seem to hear his cry for justice
         b. God has broken him down, uprooted any hope that he had
         c. God treats him as an enemy
      3. He bewails his loneliness (19:13-22)
         a. Abandoned by relatives, close friends, even his servants
         b. He is repulsive to both wife and children, those he loves
            have turned against him
         c. He cries for pity from his friends
      4. He affirms his faith (19:23-29)
         a. In his Redeemer who lives, and who shall stand at last on
            the earth
         b. In that after death, in the flesh, he shall yet see God
            (i.e., the resurrection?)
         c. In the judgment, in view of which he warns his friends


   A. ZOPHAR'S REBUTTAL (20:1-29)
      1. He describes the short-lived triumph of the wicked (20:1-11)
         a. Irritated by Job's reproof, Zophar responds
         b. What joy or triumph the wicked experience is only momentary
         c. The wicked will soon be no more, their children dependent
            upon the poor
      2. The sweetness of sin will become a bitter curse (20:12-19)
         a. It will be like the poison of cobras, making him vomit
         b. What he has gained through oppression, he will not be able
            to enjoy
      3. God will sweep away the wicked into darkness (20:20-29)
         a. The wicked will not be at peace, his well-being will not
         b. God's anger will come upon him, like an iron weapon
         c. Losing all, terror and darkness is the portion God has
            appointed for the wicked

   B. JOB'S REPLY (21:1-34)
      1. The wicked don't always suffer, but often prosper in this life
         a. Job asks that they listen carefully, and then continue
            their mocking
         b. Some wicked do prosper in this life, even though they 
            reject God and His ways
      2. The wicked often die in comfort (21:17-26)
         a. They don't always experience God's wrath in this life
         b. Some even say that God lays up the iniquity of the wicked
            for his children (though Job wishes God would recompense
            the wicked one directly)
         c. The fact is, some people die at ease, while others die in
      3. He rejects their answers as false (21:27-34)
         a. They've asked him "Where is the dwelling place of the 
         b. He asks them "Have you not asked those who travel?"
            (implying that the wicked are everywhere)
         c. Job understands that the wicked are reserved for the day of
            doom and wrath (i.e., the day of Judgment)
         d. So his friends' words have proved to be empty and without


1) How does Eliphaz view Job's attempts to justify himself? (15:2-3)
   - Empty knowledge, unprofitable talk

2) In rebuking Job, what does Eliphaz ask of him? (15:9)
   - What do you know that we do not know?

3) In responding to Job's claim of innocence, how does Eliphaz describe
   man? (15:16)
   - Abominable and filthy, who drinks iniquity like water (possibly 
     directed at Job)

4) In his description of how the wicked suffer, what point is Eliphaz
   making? (15:17-35)
   - That suffering comes to wicked; i.e., if you are suffering, you 
     must be wicked

5) As Job responds to Eliphaz, how does he describe his three friends?
   - Miserable comforters

6) What does Job say he would do if they were in his place? (16:4-5)
   - Strengthen them with his mouth, relieve their grief with 
     comforting words

7) How does Job feel God has treated him? (16:7-14)
   - Worn him out, shriveled him up, tears him in His wrath, gnashes him
     with His teeth
   - Delivered him up to the ungodly, shattered and shaken him to pieces

8) For what does Job cry out? (16:21)
   - That one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleads for his

9) What does Job say God has made him? (17:6)
   - A byword of the people, one in whose face men spit

10) While Job has not lost his faith, what has he lost? (17:11,15)
   - Any purpose or hope pertaining to this life

11) When Bildad responds, how does he feel Job has regarded them?
   - As beasts and stupid in his sight

12) In his second speech, what does Bildad provide? (18:5-21)
   - A lengthy description of the suffering of the wicked, similar to 
     what Eliphaz has done

13) In response to Bildad's second speech, what does Job ask him?
   - How long will you torment my soul, and break me in pieces with 

14) As Job resumes his complaint to God, what does he say God has done?
   - God has stripped him of his glory, broken him down on every side,
     uprooted his hope like a tree, kindled His wrath against him

15) Who else does he feel has now forsaken him? (19:13-19)
   - His brothers, relatives, close friends, servants, even his wife 
     and young children

16) What does Job ask of his friends?  Why? (19:21)
   - Have pity on him.  For the hand of God has struck him.

17) While suffering, in what three things does Job affirm his faith?
   - That his Redeemer lives and will one day stand on the earth (i.e.,
     the Messiah)
   - That after death he will in his flesh see God (i.e., the 
   - That there will be a judgment (i.e., the Judgment Day)

18) As Zophar begins his second speech, what troubles him? (20:2-3)
   - Having heard the reproof (of Job) that reproaches him

19) What does Zophar then describe? (20:1-11)
   - The short-lived triumph of the wicked

20) What does Zophar believe concerning the wicked? (20:12-29)
   - The sweetness of evil will become like a bitter curse, like cobra
   - He will not be able to enjoy what he has accumulated

21) In response to Zophar, what does Job say about the wicked? 
   - The wicked don't always suffer
   - The wicked often die of old age and have an easy death

22) While they may prosper in this life, what does Job know concerning
    the wicked? (21:30)
   - They are reserved for the day of doom, they shall be brought out
     on the day of wrath (i.e., the Judgment Day)

23) As the second cycle of speeches ends, what does he say concerning
    his friends? (21:34)
   - How can you comfort me with empty words, since falsehood remains
     in your answers?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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M.C.... "THE BOOK OF JOB" The Great Debate: First Cycle Of Speeches (4-14)

                           "THE BOOK OF JOB"

            The Great Debate: First Cycle Of Speeches (4-14)


1) To examine the counsel of Job's friends, what their observations
   were, and upon what they based their conclusions regarding Job's

2) To consider Job's response to his friends, how he took their 
   "advice", and how he continued to vent his complaint over his 


Following Job's outburst in which he cursed the day of his birth and
wondered why those who long for death continue to live, his three 
friends begin offering their counsel.  Eliphaz the Temanite starts with
expressing his view that the innocent don't suffer, the wicked do.  As
support for his position, he refers to a vision that he had.
Chastening Job, Eliphaz then directs Job to seek God's forgiveness,
reminding him of the blessings that would come if Job repented
(4:1-5:22).  Job defends his rash words as being prompted by his grief,
and again expresses his desire for death.  Reproaching his friends as
being a "deceitful brook", he challenges them to show him where he has
sinned.  He then resumes his complaint, asking God a multitude of 
questions (6:1-7:21).

Bildad the Shuhite now steps in and rebukes Job for his strong words.  
Maintaining that God is just, he implies that Job's sons died because
of their own transgressions, and if Job were only pure and upright he
would be blessed by God.  Appealing to wisdom of the ancients, he 
contends the wicked are without support, and that God will not cast 
away the blameless.  If Job would only repent, God would fill him once
again with laughter and rejoicing (8:1-22).  Job basically agrees, but
wonders who can really be righteous in God's sight in view of His 
wisdom and strength.  He then complains of God's inaccessibility, and 
maintains his own integrity while concluding that God destroys the 
blameless along with the wicked.  Feeling hopeless, Job bemoans the 
lack of a mediator between him and God.  Once again, he gives free 
course to his complaint as he lashes out with more questions directed
toward God (9:1-10:22).

Finally, Zophar the Naamathite enters the dialogue with his own rebuke
of Job for his rash words.  Indicating that Job has actually received
less suffering than he deserves, he reproaches Job trying to search out
the deep things of God.  Instead, Job should be putting away iniquity 
and wickedness, for then he would abide in brightness, security and 
hope (11:1-20).  In response, Job chides his friends for their attempt
to impart wisdom but succeeding only in mocking him.  Affirming the
wisdom of God, Job says the advice of his friends has been of little
help.  He calls them "forgers of lies" and "worthless physicians" who
have only given him "proverbs of ashes" and "defenses of clay".
Confident of his own integrity, Job again expresses his desire to speak
with God to ask Him what he has done to deserve such suffering.  Once 
again despairing of hope, he longs for death (12:1-14:22).



      1. Introductory remarks (4:1-6)
         a. Though he does not wish to weary Job, he cannot refrain 
            from speaking
         b. Job has strengthened others in the past, now he needs 
         c. Is Job not trusting in his own confidence and integrity?
      2. Eliphaz's view:  The innocent don't suffer, the wicked do
         a. When have the innocent ever perished?
         b. But I have seen the wicked perish by the blast of God, just
            like the lions
      3. In support of his view:  Eliphaz appeals to a vision (4:12-21)
         a. A terrifying vision, in which he heard a voice
         b. A revelation that man cannot be more righteous than God
         c. If angels can be charged with error, how much more so men 
            of clay?
         d. Note:  Eliphaz is appealing to "subjective revelation"
            1) His example shows the error of appealing to such to 
               determine truth
            2) "Nothing is more essential than testing experience by an
               objective standard of reality. When God has spoken 
               concerning a matter, that is decisive for all the issues
               involved. His word must be the court of appeal for all
               thoughts, impressions, and views." (Newton Wray)
      4. Eliphaz warns Job (5:1-7)
         a. There is danger in the anger of a foolish man
         b. Such a one will see his sons crushed and his harvest 
         c. Affliction comes because man is born to trouble
      5. Eliphaz directs Job (5:8-16)
         a. Seek God and commit your cause to Him
         b. For God does great things, catching the wise in their own 
            craftiness, saving the needy and giving hope to the poor
      6. Job reminded of God's blessings on those who accept His 
         chastening (5:17-26)
         a. Happy is the man God corrects; don't despise His chastening
         b. God will make him whole, and protect him in times of
         c. God will give him peace, many descendants, and long life
      -- Eliphaz's conclusion:  "This we have searched out; it is true.
         Hear it and know for yourself." (5:27)

   B. JOB'S REPLY (6:1-7:21)
      1. He justifies his rash words (6:1-7)
         a. They are prompted by his heavy grief
         b. He is experiencing the poisonous arrows and terrors of the
         c. Animals don't complain when well fed; but food has become
            loathsome to him
      2. He longs for death, while his integrity is still intact 
         a. He wishes that God would go ahead and crush him
         b. Then he would have some comfort in knowing that he had not
            concealed (or denied) the words of God
         c. How long can he hope to endure?
      3. Job reproaches his friends (6:14-23)
         a. They should have shown proper kindness
         b. They have been like a deceitful brook, that disappoints 
            those who come to it
         c. They have been afraid of what they have seen
         d. He had not asked for their assistance
      4. He challenges them to show him where he has sinned (6:24-30)
         a. Show him his error and he will be quiet
         b. Reproving him with no proof is of no benefit, it is like
            overwhelming the fatherless and undermining one's friend
         c. Look at him again and treat him justly, there is no
            injustice in him
      5. Job now resumes his complaint (7:1-10)
         a. His life is one of hard servitude, with months of futility
            and wearisome nights
         b. The condition of his flesh makes him toss all night
         c. His days swiftly go by with no hope of ever seeing good
         d. He expects to descend to the grave and soon forgotten
      6. Job speaks out in the anguish of his soul (7:11-21)
         a. Why does God terrify him with dreams and visions, so that
            he longs for death?
         b. Why is God testing him every moment?  How long will this go
         c. Why can't God just leave him alone?
         d. How has he sinned?  What has he done to become a target for
         e. If he has sinned, why doesn't God pardon his transgression?
         f. As it is, he will just go ahead and die, and then God won't
            have to bother with him anymore (the sort of foolish 
            statement for which Job later repents, 42:3,6)


      1. Introductory remarks (1-7)
         a. He rebukes Job for his words
         b. He maintains that God deals justly
         c. If Job's sons sinned, they were killed for their 
         d. Restoration would occur if Job would only seek God and 
      2. Bildad appeals to the wisdom of the ancients (8-18)
         a. Heed what others have already learned, for our time is 
         b. The wicked are like the papyrus with no support, for they
            soon wither
         c. God will not cast away the blameless, nor will He uphold
            the evildoers (the implication is "Job, you are not 
         d. God will yet restore Job (assuming he repents)
   B. JOB'S REPLY (9:1-10:22)
      1. He agrees with Bildad, but who can truly be righteous before 
         God? (9:1-13)
         a. No one can contend with God, He is too wise and strong
         b. Job provides numerous examples of God's power
      2. Because of such power, Job's complains of God's inaccessibility
         a. Even if he were righteous (perfect?), Job would be unable
            to answer God
         b. For even now God multiplies his wounds without cause
         c. His own mouth would condemn him under the weight of God's
      3. Maintaining his claim to innocence, he concludes that God 
         destroys the blameless along with the wicked (9:21-24)
         a. Job professes to be blameless, but has lost his will to 
         b. He knows of no other conclusion but that God looks lightly
            at the plight of the innocent
      4. Feeling hopeless, Job bemoans the lack of a mediator (9:25-35)
         a. His days go by, with no good to be seen
         b. Why even try, if God has chosen to condemn him?
         c. He knows there is no way to reason with God, and there is
            no one to mediate between them
         d. If God would only take His rod from him, but such is not 
            the case
      5. In pain, Job gives free course to his complaint (10:1-22)
         a. God, why do You condemn Me?  Tell me why!
         b. Does it seem good for You to despise the work of Your
         c. Are You having to search for my iniquity, like a mortal 
         d. Have You made me, just to destroy me?
         e. Whether I am wicked or righteous, Your indignation 
            increases toward me!
         f. Why then did You let me be born?  How I wish I had died at
         g. Can't You leave me alone so I can have a little comfort
            before I die and enter the "land of darkness"?


      1. Affirms that Job has received less than he deserves (11:1-6)
         a. The multitude of Job's words call for refutation
         b. Job claims innocence; if only God would speak and show his
            true guilt
         c. God has exacted less from Job than he deserves
      2. Reproaches Job for desiring to search out God's hidden ways
         a. Can Job find that which is beyond his ability to know?
         b. God cannot be hindered, and considers the wickedness of man
         c. A not-so-subtle rebuke of Job as a foolish empty-headed man
      3. Promises restoration upon repentance and confession of sin
         a. Seek the Lord and put away sin if you wish to be pure and
         b. You would forget your misery and abide in brightness,
            security and hope
         c. But the wicked will not escape, and their only hope is loss
            of life

   B. JOB'S REPLY (12:1-14:22)
      1. He chides his accusers (12:1-12)
         a. Mocking their wisdom, he also has wisdom
         b. Though just and blameless, he has been mocked; meanwhile
            the wicked prosper
         c. Wisdom is not limited to Job's friends; all nature 
            testifies of wisdom and it comes with age
      2. He affirms God's own wisdom and strength (12:13-25)
         a. God can do what He wants, and none can stop Him
         b. He can overpower the wise and mighty, even the nations
      3. The advice of his friends has been no help (13:1-12)
         a. He already knows what they know; he desires to reason with
         b. They claim to speak for God, but they are worthless 
            physicians and forgers of lies
         c. Their platitudes and defenses are worthless
      4. Confident of his own integrity, Job again wishes to speak with
         God (13:13-19)
         a. Let him speak, for he is willing to take what comes
         b. Even if God slays him, he will continue to trust Him
         c. He desires to defend himself before God, he cannot remain
      5. Job appeals to God for an audience (13:20-28)
         a. Upon the conditions of removing His hand and not 
            overwhelming him with dread, Job would speak with God
         b. He desires to know where he has sinned, and why God regards
            him as an enemy
         c. Why has God so punished him?
      6. He expresses hopelessness in this life (14:1-12)
         a. Life is brief and troublesome, his days are numbered
         b. Cut down a tree, and it will sprout again; but when man 
            dies, he is no longer here as long as the heavens last
      7. He longs for death (14:13-22)
         a. That God would so hide him from His wrath until it is past
         b. Man's hope is slowly eroded as he goes through life, until
            he knows no more of this life


1) Which of his three friends first responded to Job? (4:1)
   - Eliphaz the Temanite

2) What was his main argument? (4:7-8)
   - Who ever perished being innocent?
   - Those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same

3) To what did he appeal in support of his argument? (4:12-13)
   - A dream or vision

4) What does he encourage Job to do? (5:8)
   - To seek God and commit his cause to Him

5) What does he encourage Job not to do? (5:17)
   - Despise the chastening of the Almighty

6) How does Job justify his rash words? (6:2-3)
   - They were prompted by his troubles and heavy grief

7) For what does Job long? (6:8-9)
   - That God would go ahead and crush him (i.e., he longed for death)

8) How does Job describe his friends? (6:14-15)
   - Like a deceitful brook

9) What challenge does Job give his friends? (6:24)
   - Show him his error and he will be quiet

10) As Job resumes his complaint, what does he say has been given to
    him? (7:3,5)
   - Months of futility and wearisome nights
   - Flesh caked with worms and dust, skin which cracks and breaks

11) How does he describe his days? (7:6)
   - Swifter than a weaver's shuttle, spent without hope

12) In such anguish, what does Job say he will do? (7:11)
   - Complain in the bitterness of his soul

13) What does he ask of God? (7:20-21)
   - Have I sinned?  What have I done to You?
   - If so, why don't you pardon my transgression?

14) Who is the second person to respond to Job? (8:1)
   - Bildad the Shuhite

15) For what does he rebuke Job? (8:2)
   - His strong words

16) What does he counsel Job to do? (8:5-7)
   - Earnestly seek God and be pure if he desires restoration

17) To what did he appeal in support of his argument? (8:8-10)
   - Things discovered by their ancestors (i.e., the wisdom of the 

18) What does Bildad conclude concerning God? (8:20)
   - God will not cast away the blameless, nor uphold the evildoers

19) How does Job initially respond to Bildad? (9:2)
   - He basically agrees, but how can one be righteous before God?

20) What does Job bemoan? (9:32-33)
   - The lack of a mediator between him and God

21) As Job gives continues his complaint, what does he ask of God? 
   - Show him why He contends with him
   - Why did God bring him out of the womb?
   - Why can't God just leave him alone and let him die?

22) Who is the third person to respond to Job? (11:1)
   - Zophar the Naamathite

23) What does he affirm concerning Job? (11:6)
   - He had received less than his iniquity deserved

24) For what does he reproach Job? (11:7)
   - Trying to search out the deep things of God

25) What does Zophar say would be true of Job if he repented? 
   - He would be pure, steadfast, free of fear and misery

26) How does Job mock his friends? (12:2)
   - By saying that wisdom will die with them

27) How did Job feel he was being treated by his friends? (12:4)
   - That they were mocking him

28) How does Job describe his friends? (13:4)
   - As forger of lies and worthless physicians

29) How does Job describe their speeches? (13:12)
   - As proverbs of ashes, and defenses of clay

30) What two things does Job request if God should grant him an 
    audience? (13:20-21)
   - For God to withdraw His hand far from him
   - For God not to make him afraid

31) What does Job wish God would reveal to him? (13:23-24)
   - How many are his iniquities and sins
   - Why God hides His face and regards Job as an enemy

32) How does Job view the life of man? (14:1-2)
   - Of few days and full of trouble
   - Like a flower that soon fades away, as a fleeting shadow that is
     quickly gone

33) From his earthly perspective, how does Job compare himself with a
     tree? (14:7-12)
   - There is more hope for a tree, for a tree cut down will rise again

34) What request does Job make again? (14:13)
   - That God would go ahead and allow him to die

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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M.C.... "THE BOOK OF JOB" Job's Soliloquy (3)

                           "THE BOOK OF JOB"

                          Job's Soliloquy (3)


1) To consider Job's soliloquy, which starts the "great controversy"
   between Job and his friends

2) To appreciate the depth of Job's complaint, why he wished that he
   had never been born

3) To note the questions he raised as he sought to understand the
   problem of suffering


Having sat in silence for seven days in the presence of his friends who
had come to comfort him, Job finally speaks.  In the form of a 
soliloquy, he begins by cursing the day of his birth and the night of
his conception for failing to prevent his sorrow (3:1-10).  He then
bemoans why he did not die at birth or even be stillborn, for then at
least he would be at rest, just like those who were great in their
lifetime, or like those who had been oppressed (3:11-19).  Job also
wonders why the suffering who long for death are allowed to linger.  He
concludes by stating that what he most greatly feared has now come upon
him:  trouble, from which there seems to be no rest (3:20-26).


I. JOB'S CURSE (3:1-10)

      1. Not just the day of his birth, but also the night of his 
      2. Because of the sorrow that has come his way
      -- I.e., he wished he had never been born

      1. Who had an unpopular ministry  - Jer 20:14-18
      2. Who experienced much suffering like Job

      1. Both expressed a desire never to have been born
      2. Yet neither Job or Jeremiah for a moment considered the 
         possibility of suicide
      3. They might have questioned the Lord's wisdom, but they did not
         dare take the precious gift of life with which He endowed them
         (Wayne Jackson)


      1. Then he would have been at rest
      2. He would be with those who were great and powerful in their

      1. Then he would have been at rest, free from those who trouble
      2. He would be like those at rest, who were troubled in their

      1. Job's view of death applies only to those who die in the Lord
         - cf. Re 14:13
      2. For the wicked, death is no rest! - cf. Lk 16:19-31


      1. Why is life given to those who linger in suffering?
      2. Even to those who long for death?

      1. He dreaded the suffering that has come to him
      2. And now he is troubled and no longer at ease


1) What are the three main points of this section?
   - Job's curse (3:1-10)
   - Job's questions (3:11-19)
   - Job ponders the problem of suffering (3:20-26)

2) As Job begins his soliloquy, what two things does he curse? (1-3)
   - The day of his birth
   - The night of his conception

3) Why did he did he curse the day of his birth? (10)
   - Because it did not keep him from experiencing sorrow

4) Why did he wish he had died at birth? (11-15)
   - Then he would be at rest, just like those who had been great in 
     their lifetime

5) Why did he wish he had been stillborn? (16-19)
   - Then he would be at rest, like those who had been oppressed in 
     their lifetime

6) As Job ponders the problem of suffering, what does he ask? (20-21)
   - Why is life given to those who suffer and long for death?

7) What had come upon Job? (25)
   - That which he greatly feared and dreaded (i.e.,  trouble and

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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M.C.... "THE BOOK OF JOB" Prologue - Job Is Tested (1-2)

                           "THE BOOK OF JOB"

                     Prologue - Job Is Tested (1-2)


1) To see the stage set for the "great controversy" that will occur
   between Job and his friends

2) To consider the challenge that Satan made concerning Job; would God
   have as much confidence in our faithfulness?

3) To appreciate the integrity of Job in the midst of his great


The first two chapters set the stage for the great controversy that
will take place between Job and his friends, which is precipitated by a
controversy between God and Satan.  We are first introduced to Job in
the land of Uz (likely Edom, SE of the Dead Sea, cf. Jer 25:20-21; Lam
4:21).  A man of remarkable character, he was blessed with a large
family and many possessions.  As an example of his piety, mention is
made of his sacrifices in behalf of his children (1:1-5).

We then learn of the controversy between God and Satan concerning Job.
On an occasion when Satan came before the Lord, God asked him whether 
he had considered His faithful servant, Job.  Satan responded with an 
attack on Job's character, that his fear of God was only because God
blessed him.  Satan then said that Job would curse God if everything he
had was taken away.  In response, God put all that Job had in Satan's
power, with the exception of Job himself (1:6-12).

In one day, then, Job lost all his material possessions through various
calamities.  His sons and daughters, also, were killed when a great
tornado destroyed the house in which they were partying.  Though deeply
grieved, Job worships God and does not charge Him with wrong (1:13-22).

When Satan appeared before God again, the Lord asked whether he had
considered how Job had remained faithful despite his losses.  Satan
then made another challenge, saying that Job would curse God if he
himself were harmed.  God then allowed Satan power over Job, but only
up to the point of actually taking his life.  With such power, Satan
strikes Job with painful boils (cf. 2:7-8; 7:5; 30:30) over his entire
body.  Job's wife lost what faith she might have had, and told him to
curse God and die.  Job, however, refuses to sin with his lips

At this point, three of Job's friends (Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar)
come to mourn and try to comfort him.  However, they are shocked when
they see Job (whom they did not recognize because of the boils), and
sit dumbfounded for seven days and nights without a word in reaction to
the magnitude of his grief (2:11-13).


      1. Somewhere in the East (cf. 1:3)
      2. Near a desert (1:19)
      3. Likely the land of Edom, SE of the Dead Sea (Jer 25:20-21; Lam 4:21)

      1. Blameless and upright
      2. Feared God
      3. Shunned evil
      -- "There is none like him on the earth." (1:8)

      1. With a family of seven sons and three daughters
      2. With 7000 sheep, 3000 camel, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female 
      3. With a large household
      -- "this man was the greatest of all the people of the East"

      1. His sons liked to "party"
      2. Yet Job sought to sanctify them and offer burnt sacrifices


      1. When the "sons of God" (angels?) came before God
      2. After Satan had been "going to and fro on the earth" (cf. 1 Pe 5:8)

      1. "Have you considered my servant Job?"
      2. A man of remarkable character

      1. "Does Job fear God for nothing?"
         a. Does Job fear God selflessly?
         b. Does he not do it because of what he gets out of it?
            1) I.e., Job is simply self-centered
            2) By implication, God is not worthy to be praised on His 
               merits alone
         c. Stop blessing Job, and he will curse God!
      2. By such a test, Satan seeks to prove:
         a. There is no such thing as unselfish piety
         b. Men do right only when it is profitable to do so
         c. God is not worthy of service on the basis of His nature 
      -- Therefore Satan is not only accusing Job, but God as well!

      1. He allows Job to be severely tried, but Satan cannot harm his
      2. What God is trying to prove:
         a. There is such a thing as "noncovetous righteousness"
         b. There are people with a true devotion to God Almighty
            1) For Who He is
            2) Not for what they can get out of it


      1. His oxen, donkeys, and their servants to Sabean raiders
      2. His sheep and their servants to "fire from God from heaven"
      3. His camel and their servants to Chaldean raiders
      4. His sons and daughters are killed in a tornado

      1. He mourns, of course
         a. Tears his robe
         b. Shaves his head
         c. Falls to the ground
      2. But then he worships!
         a. In grief, he still praises God
         b. Even though he considers God as the One who has done all 
            these things
            1) He blesses the name of the Lord
            2) He does not charge God with wrong


      1. The Lord asked Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job...?"
      2. Despite punished without cause, "He still holds fast to his

      1. "...touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse You to 
         Your face!"
      2. God accepts the challenge, allowing Satan to do anything but
         take Job's life


      1. Possibilities:  elephantiasis, leprosy, or a leukemia of the 
      2. Characterized by:
         a. Boils (2:7)
         b. Itching (2:8)
         c. Drastic change of appearance (2:12)
         d. Worms and running sores (7:5)
         e. Corroding bones and gnawing pain (30:17)
         f. Blackened skin and fever (30:30)
      3. The indication is that this horrible condition continued for 
         months (7:3; 29:2)

      1. She calls upon him to "curse God and die"
      2. Several conclusions might be drawn:
         a. Job's wife was not of the same spiritual caliber as Job
         b. To a degree, she endorsed Satan's accusation that God is 
            not worthy of service when things are bad
         c. She labored under the delusion that death ended it all
      3. Job's response to his wife further illustrates his faith in 


      1. Perhaps the oldest, certainly the most prominent of the three
      2. His name is of Edomite origin
         a. One of Esau's sons was named Eliphaz (Gen 36:15)
         b. From Teman, a city of Edom, known for its wise men (Jer 49:7; Ob 8,9)

      1. Not much know about him
      2. May have been a descendent of Shuah, son of Abraham and 
         Keturah, who lived in the "east" (Gen 25:2,6)

      1. Little is known of him
      2. May have been from Naamah, a city "toward the border of Edom
         in the South" (Josh 15:21,41)

      1. They came to mourn with him, and to comfort him
      2. At first they did not recognize Job
      3. So overwhelmed at the sight of Job and his grief...
         a. They cried out and tore their robes
         b. They sprinkled ashes on their heads
         c. They say down and remained speechless for seven days and 


1) Where did Job live?  What country might that have been? (1:1)
   - Uz; the land of Edom

2) How is Job described regarding his character? (1:1)
   - Blameless and upright, one who feared God and shunned evil

3) How many children did he have? (1:2)
   - Seven sons and three daughters

4) What were his possessions? (1:3)
   - 7000 sheep, 3000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, a 
     very large household

5) What did Job do whenever his sons would throw a party? (1:4-5)
   - Sanctify them and offer burnt offerings

6) What was Satan's accusation to God concerning Job? (1:9)
   - Does Job fear God for nothing?

7) What was Satan's initial challenge to God concerning Job? (1:11)
   - Destroy what Job has, and he will curse God to His face

8) What did God allow Satan to do? (1:12)
   - Destroy all that Job had, but not lay a hand on his person

9) What did Job lose in one day? (1:13-19)
   - All his possessions, and his sons and daughters

10) What was Job's reaction to this great lose? (1:20-21)
   - Tore his robe, shaved his head, fell to the ground and worshipped
   - "Naked came I from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return 
     there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the
     name of the Lord."

11) What was Satan's second challenge to God concerning Job? (2:5)
   - Touch his bone and flesh, and Job will curse God to His face

12) What did God allow Satan to do? (2:6)
   - Whatever he wanted, up to the point of killing Job

13) With what did Satan afflict Job? (2:7)
   - Painful boils from head to toe

14) What did Job's wife want him to do? (2:9)
   - To curse God and die

15) What did Job ask his wife? (2:10)
   - "Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept

16) What three friends came to mourn with him, and to comfort him?
   - Eliphaz the Temanite
   - Bildad the Shuhite
   - Zophar the Naamathite

17) How did they react when they saw Job? (2:12-13)
   - Lifted their voices and wept, tore their robes, sprinkled dust on
     their heads
   - Sat with him speechless for seven days and nights

18) What summary statements are made of Job in response to his
    suffering? (1:22; 2:10)
   - In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong
   - In all this Job did not sin with his lips

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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M.C.... "THE BOOK OF JOB" Introduction

                           "THE BOOK OF JOB"


The Book of Job has long been praised as a masterpiece of literature.
Consider these quotes:

   "Tomorrow, if all literature was to be destroyed and it was left to
   me to retain one work only, I should save Job." (Victor Hugo)

   "...the greatest poem, whether of ancient or modern literature."

   "The Book of Job taken as a mere work of literary genius, is one of
   the most wonderful productions of any age or of any language."
   (Daniel Webster)

What is it about the book that prompts such praise?  Most Christians I
know don't feel that way about the Book of Job.  Perhaps it is because
many tend to neglect the Old Testament altogether.  Yet Paul wrote of
the value of the Old Testament scriptures:

   For whatever things were written before were written for our
   learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the
   Scriptures might have hope. (Ro 15:4)

Note that the Old Testament was written for our learning, that it
provides patience and comfort, and as such can be a source of hope.
This is especially true with the story of Job, to whom James referred
when seeking to instill patience (cf. Jm 5:10-11). Because the Book of
Job is so often neglected, yet presents a valuable lesson and is so
highly praised by even people of the world, Christians should certainly
take the time to study this portion of God's Word!

THE PLACE OF JOB IN THE OLD TESTAMENT:  Job is the first of five books
commonly referred to as "The Books Of Poetry".  These include Job,
Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon.  Called such
because they are written in poetic style in contrast to the narrative
style of most other books, they are also often referred to as "Wisdom
Literature" (especially Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes).  Oswald
Chambers (1874-1917) offered this concise summary of the five books:

   * Job - How to suffer

   * Psalms - How to pray

   * Proverbs - How to act

   * Ecclesiastes - How to enjoy

   * Song of Solomon - How to love

Now let's take a look at the Book of Job in particular...

AUTHOR AND DATE OF WRITING:  Who wrote the book, and when?  No one
really knows.  Jewish tradition attributes the book to Moses, and other
authors have been suggested (Job, Elihu, Solomon, Isaiah, Hezekiah, and
Baruch, Jeremiah's scribe).  "All that can be said with certainty is
that the author was a loyal Hebrew who was not strictly bound by the
popular creed that assumed suffering was always the direct result of
sin" (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown).  Because the author is unknown,
it's date has been hotly debated among scholars.  Some think it was
written before Moses (pre 1500 B.C.).  Others put it at the time of
Solomon (ca. 900 B.C.), and some even as late as the Babylonian Exile
or later (post 600 B.C.).

The uncertainty of author and date does not nullify the book's
inspiration, for it is affirmed in the New Testament.  Paul quotes from
it on several occasions in his writings (cf. 1Co 3:19 with Job 5:13;
and Ro 11:35 with Job 41:11).  For the Christian who accepts the
inspiration of the New Testament, such evidence is sufficient.

THE HISTORICITY OF THE BOOK:  Even though inspired, are we to take the
events described in it as historically true?  There are several reasons
for believing that they are:

   * The style of the opening and close of the book certainly conform
     to other Biblical narratives that are historical (cf. 1:1 with
     1Sa 1:1 and Lk 1:5).

   * In Ezekiel 14:14, Job is mentioned along with Noah and Daniel,
     two other figures of history.

   * James, the Lord's brother, refers to Job as an example of
     perseverance (Jm 5:11).

THE SETTING OF THE BOOK:  The historical events appear to be set in
the "Patriarchal" period (i.e., sometime between Noah and Moses). There
are no allusions to the Law of Moses in the book, but there is a
mention of a flood (22:16). Job functions as a priest in offering
sacrifices for his family (1:5), similar to what we find with Abraham
(cf. Gen 12:7).  His longevity is typical of the patriarchs (42:16;
cf. Gen 11:22-26,32).  For such reasons I would place him somewhat
contemporary with Abraham (i.e., ca 2000 B.C.).

THE PURPOSE OF THE BOOK:  It is common to suggest that the purpose of
the book is to answer the age-old question, "Why does God allow the
righteous to suffer?"  That is certainly the question Job raises, but
it is worthy to note that he himself never receives a direct answer.
Nor is one given by the author, other than to answer Satan's challenge,
"Does Job fear God for nothing?".  We are privileged to know of the
challenge of Satan, and that God allows Job to suffer in answer to that
challenge, but Job is never told of this.  Therefore, I suggest that
the purpose of the book is:

    To answer the question, "How should the righteous suffer?"

While Job's questions and complaints often come close to charging God
with wrong, he never crosses the line and humbly submits to God when
told that the answers to his questions are beyond his ability to
understand.  Thus the book shows us how the righteous should bear up
under suffering ("You have heard of the perseverance of Job" - Jm 5:

SOME LESSONS FROM THE BOOK:  In his study on the book (The Book Of
Job, Quality Pub.), Wayne Jackson offers the following lessons to be

   * The book defends the absolute glory and perfection of God - It
     sets forth the theme echoed in Ps 18:3 ("I will call upon the
     Lord, who is worthy to be praised").  God is deserving of our
     praise simply on the basis of who He is, apart from the blessings
     He bestows.  Satan denied this (1:9-11), but Job proved him
     wrong (1:20-22; 2:10).

   * The question of suffering is addressed - Why do we suffer?  Who
     or what causes it?  Why doesn't God do something?  Not all
     questions are answered, but some important points are made:

     - Man is unable to subject the painful experiences of human
       existence to a meaningful analysis - God's workings are
       beyond man's ability to fathom.  Man simply cannot tie all
       the "loose ends" of the Lord's purposes together.  We must
       learn to trust in God, no matter the circumstances.

     - Suffering is not always the result of personal sin - The
       erroneous conclusion drawn by Job's friends is that suffering
       is always a consequence of sin.  Job proves this is not the

     - Suffering may be allowed as a compliment to one's spirituality
       - God allowed Job to suffer to prove to Satan what kind of man
       he really was.  What confidence God had in Job!

   * The book paints a beautiful picture of "patience" - The Greek word
     is "hupomone", which describes the trait of one who is able to
     abide under the weight of trials.  From the "patience of Job", we
     learn that it means to maintain fidelity to God, even under great
     trials in which we do not understand what is happening.

   * The book also prepares the way for the coming of Jesus Christ!
     - His coming is anticipated in several ways.  Job longs for a
     mediator between him and God (9:33; 33:23), and Jesus is one
     (1Ti 2:5).  Job confessed his faith in a Redeemer who would one
     day come (19:25); Christ is that Redeemer (Ep 1:7)!

BRIEF OUTLINE (adapted from Warren Wiersbe)


   A. HIS PROSPERITY (1:1-5)

   B. HIS ADVERSITY (1:6-2:13)



   A. THE FIRST ROUND (4-14)
      1. Eliphaz (4-5)_Job's reply (6-7)
      2. Bildad (8)_Job's reply (9-10)
      3. Zophar (11)_Job's reply (12-14)

   B. THE SECOND ROUND (15-21)
      1. Eliphaz (15)_Job's reply (16-17)
      2. Bildad (18)_Job's reply (19)
      3. Zophar (20)_Job's reply (21)

   C. THE THIRD ROUND (22-37)
      1. Eliphaz (22)_Job's reply (23-24)
      2. Bildad (25)_Job's reply (26-31)

      1. Contradicting Job's friends (32)
      2. Contradicting Job himself (33)
      3. Proclaiming God's justice, goodness, and majesty (34-37)


   A. GOD HUMBLES JOB (38:1-42:6)
      1. Through questions too great to answer (38:1-41:34)
      2. Job acknowledges his inability to understand (42:1-6)

   B. GOD HONORS JOB (42:7-17)
      1. God rebukes his critics (42:7-10)
      2. God restores his wealth (42:11-17)


1) What are Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon,
   often called?
   - Books of Poetry
   - Wisdom Literature

2) Who wrote the book, and when?
   - We do not know

3) What evidence is there that this book describes an event that
   actually occurred?
   - It both starts and ends like other books of history in the Old
   - Job is included with Noah and Daniel, as figures of history, in
     Ezek 14:14
   - James refers to the example of Job in teaching on perseverance
     (Jm 5:11)

4) In what historical time frame is the story of Job possibly set?
   - During the period of the patriarchs, perhaps contemporary with

5) What is the purpose of this book, as suggested in the introduction?
   - To answer the question, "How should the righteous suffer?"

6) According to the outline suggested above, what are the three main
   divisions of the book?
   - Job's Distress (1-3)
   - Job's Defense (4-37)
   - Job's Deliverance (38-42)

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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