Have you made any New Year Resolutions? I seem to have committed myself to developing this web site.
Last year, I managed to keep at least one resolution: to read the whole bible (Protestant canon). I’ve been following Brian Hardin’s Daily Audio Bible podcast for several years, but I got a bit behind with that when my daily commute to work came to an end last spring.

Having acquired Brian’s
‘Passages’ book, with appendices showing three alternative reading plans, I decided to follow the Historical plan last year. That was made easier when Bible Gateway brought out their free app for mobile devices.

This year, to make a change, I’m following the Chronological plan. The difference is that the historical plan takes the books in the order that they are believed to have been written or accepted as canonical, whereas the chronological plan follows the order of events described. For example, some of the early letters come before the Gospels.

Although these two plans start in the same way, covering eleven chapters of Genesis in three days, the first difference came today, since the book of Job comes at this point in the chronological plan, so I read the first five chapters of Job this morning. The story of Job is believed to be older than the story of Abraham, which means that this discourse on the meaning of undeserved suffering is more than 4,000 years old.

Because of the critical attitude of Job’s friends in many passages of the book, the expression ‘Job’s Comforter’ came to mean someone who makes one’s troubles worse by saying “It’s your own fault”, or something to that effect. In chapter 2, verse 13, however, we read:

Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No-one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.

This suggests that the value of silent support in counselling has been known for a very long time.