Job, part of What the Bible Teaches series of Old Testament Commentaries - David Newell
Published by John Ritchie Ltd. 40 Beansburn, Kilmarnock, Scotland, KA3 1RH
This commentary by David Newell in the What the Bible Teaches series is a detailed and learned exegesis, dealing thoroughly with the difficulties and profundities of this ancient book, yet at the same time managing to be highly readable.
The author achieves this by a straightforward, friendly manner of writing, avoiding pomposity and platitudes, while the sprinkling of literary references helps to keep things from ever going dry. I laughed out loud at the use of the story of Pooh, Piglet and the Woozles as a simile for the looping arguments encountered in Job, most of the humour coming in such an unexpected way, yet expressing precisely my own feelings. Reference to the writings of Swift, Shakespeare, Shelley and Milton are all imaginatively brought to bear to illustrate points being made. The broad sweep from Handel’s Messiah to The House at Pooh Corner is done unpretentiously, and to good effect.
In the main, the author compares scripture with scripture, connecting each verse with the wider biblical context and wrestling out a clear meaning.
There is no slithering over tricky passages; the author highlights where there are difficulties in translation or interpretation, but always says what he thinks is the answer, and why.
Throughout, pointed practical lessons apply what is taught to everyday life. These are pithily expressed in proverbial style, e.g., ‘Inherited traditions need constantly to be measured against the infallible Word’; ‘The better we know the scriptures, the better we are equipped to apply their healing balm to those in need’; ‘Sympathy and support are best offered when most required’; certainly, if heeded, this is teaching that would change things for the better.
There is constant reference to the Lord Jesus, from the foreword, right through to the final page which contains the FANNY CROSBY quote, ‘For I know whate’er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well’, providing a worshipful backbeat to each progressing argument. In this way the book highlights that all scripture is about the Lord Jesus, the Beginning and the End of all things.
I have always loved the book of Job, but after reading this commentary I understood it more deeply than I ever had before. It is a given that the scripture is inexhaustible, nevertheless this book does its subject justice and the readers’ heads, hearts and hands are well catered for.
Thanks to John Stewart, Chesterfield, England, for this review.