Job and the Problem of Suffering – A Review

Job and the Problem of Suffering


This review of Job and the Problem of Suffering was written by Dr. Charles W. Moore. Dr. Moore is a retired Baptist minister. Dr. Moore is the former president of Northern Baptist Seminary. He served as president at the time Northern was located in Lombard, Illinois. It was my pleasure to work together with Dr. Moore. During his tenure as president of Northern Seminary, the seminary experienced a period of growth in the student body.




Job and the Problem of Suffering
A Review By Dr. Charles W. Moore

It is one thing to read a book with the goal of acquiring information. Yet, it is another matter to read a book through the eyeglasses of personal experience. As a reader who has faced cancer on two occasions, experienced a near-death heart attack and various complications that accompanied these setbacks, I found myself reading Dr. Mariottini’s book with a desire to not only grow in my academic understanding of Job but to receive personal ministry through the printed pages. In the end, I was blessed that both my desires were fulfilled.

Through the years, many books have been written on the book of Job. Some focus merely on academic matters associated with exegesis and other issues often associated with “higher criticism.”

Other books have been more devotional in nature, offering the reader understanding, hope and insight when facing incomprehensible sufferings. Yet what this writer appreciated most about Dr. Mariottini’s book is his ability to weave the cerebral with the emotional; the academic with the practical.

It is obvious that Dr. Mariottini, while spending much time in the academy through the years, has also enriched the lives of churches by serving as a pastor and teacher to local congregations.

This book does not seek to answer all of the problems associated with human suffering. In fact, Dr. Mariottini avoids becoming just one more of Job’s friends by the humility he expresses in admitting that God never really does provide Job with an answer.

There are times in life in which things happen where no rational answer exists. Yet, as Dr. Mariottini also shares, this does not mean that suffering is meaningless. Somehow, in the sovereign council of God, God is actively working in ways that may appear irrational and nonsensical to mere mortals.

As I read through the book, particularly section three, I found myself writing notes in the margins that can be used for both preaching and teaching. Some of these insights included the following:

• The cosmic battle between God and evil is real. It is the Christ who points us to the eventual victory.

• No human being can fully understand the reality of suffering. We must avoid the temptation to play the role of Hympty Dumpty in Lewis Carol’s work, Alice in Wonderland who said, “I can explain all of the poems that have ever been invented.”

• Seeing God at work and sensing God’s presence is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight!

• God can handle our emotions. It’s not necessary to sanitize our communication with Him.

• Suffering or the absence of suffering is not a measurement of one’s walk with God.

Is there anything lacking in this book? Perhaps the only missing element I would have appreciated is the insertion of narratives, personal or otherwise, that could have drawn the reader into the book on a more emotional level.

However, this is not enough to deter this writer’s appreciation for a book that spoke to me on both an academic and personal level. Dr. Mariottini may have retired from his formal capacity as a professor, however his expertise and experience continue to challenge minds and touch hearts of former students and colleagues alike . . . including this one!

I would like to thank Dr. Moore for his review of my book. Dr. Moore reviews the book as an academic and as a pastor who knows the physical and spiritual needs of people who have dealt and are dealing with the problem of suffering.

My book, Job and the Problem of Suffering deals with the problem of suffering and God’s awareness of human suffering. You can buy my book on Amazon.

Claude Mariottini
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

If you enjoyed reading this post, you will enjoy reading my books.



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