Spoiler Alert- this may be a stupid question


#1

Can someone clarify for me a few things? I am reading the Book of Maccabees- and am absolutely enthralled. I LOVE it. I tried to read the book of Job- but couldn’t get past all of the back and forth speeches. I’ll try to go back to it some other time.

My question is this: are all of the books in the Bible historical? I read the explanation at the beginning of the book of Job and it led me to believe that it was fiction.

I am TERRIBLY sorry if this is a horrendous question! LOL


#2

All Scripture is God breathed so it is His message to us. If by historical you mean did they happen, I believe all these stories actually happened. As a catholic we are not required to have that belief, and many don’t. I especially like second Maccabees. When reading Job, I have begun think of Mary, the person God could truly say have you seen my servant Mary who does good and shuns evil all the days of her life. I believe Job is a type of Mary. Normally the books are separated into different types history, law, song, etc. In that division not all the books are historical.
Grace and peace,
Bruce


#3

“The book of Job, named after its protagonist, is an exquisite dramatic poem…”

The intro to the “wisdom” books also refers to most of these as “didactical”, or meant to teach moral instruction along with entertain.

At least that’s what the NAB says.


#4

A very sensible question, imo :slight_smile: This article about the 4 senses of Scripture might help you.

Many people believe that Job is “a story” and Maccabees history. Here are lists of the books in the Catholic OT listed by category: Wisdom, History, Law, and Prophecy.


#5

Can you prove that? Hindus claim that their Scriptures are older and better than the Bible.


#6

#7

Yes I can prove it, the Bible itself says it, 2 Tim. 3:16. That’s good enough for me, what about you?


#8

Some of their scriptures are older. Some claim to be much older than we can prove, but some definitely pre-date the Bible. However, “better” is a judgement call, and isn’t something which can be proved or disproved. I find the Hindu scriptures entertaining; with vimana in the sky, magic weapons, rakshasas and demons, monkey armies, etc. I even think that some of them have wisdom similar to the Bible, but it is in the Bible where I find God.

Back to the OP; Job is believed to be the oldest book in the Bible. I have never met a Jewish person, rabbi or otherwise, who thinks that it’s a literal story. There are certain problems with it, like God making a bet with the devil over the fate of someone’s soul and their happiness. It was meant to be a story to teach us that we often don’t understand the motives of God, because only He sees the big picture.

There is some argument over the historicity of the Maccabees, but I believe that they are at least based on history. I find it interesting that contemporary sources, when looking for the Ark of the Covenant, never go back to the Maccabees which tells us where it was hidden (or at least a general area.) Some things from other books which were thought to not be historical, such as the existence of David and Solomon, have since been proven by archaeology. It’s impossible to say how much of the Old Testament is historically accurate, but it was at least based in real history. Kings and Chronicles were written as historical texts, so they’re probably pretty accurate, as far as anyone can tell.


#9

Thank you!! I love the linked article. I did an audio course on the gospel of St John (with Scott Hahn) and was introduced to Typology. It blew my mind. This catholic girl had no idea how rich in history- and how fascinating Bible study could truly be! Thank you for your response


#10

Thank you all! This was helpful. So in the end the moral of the story is: whether or not the story is 100% factual is not the point- since the book was included in the Bible- it was inspired by God and carries an important message for us.

All this being said, some of the books are historical, while others are not necessarily.

I finished the first Maccabees last night and plan to start the second tonight. It makes for excellent bedtime reading. Hoping the second connects with the first- it ended a bit too abruptly for my “happily ever after” seeking self:)


#11

Don’t expect a “happily ever after.” It’s the history of the Jews being conquered, conquered again, and finally becoming subjects of the Roman Empire. However, I love reading the Maccabees. My favorite book, though, is Tobit (Daniel being a close second.) If you haven’t read Tobit yet, I recommend doing so after you finish 2 Maccabees.


#12

I’ll make that one my next read! Thanks for the suggestion:)

I was wondering about the Romans in the first Maccabees- in the first they are nothing but friendly allies (albeit ones that didn’t really step in to help them).

I also got into an article last night that said the reality of Purgatory is hinted at (I don’t know if hint is the right word yet) in the second Maccabees- and it got me thinking about the fact that Purgatory is such a hard thing to believe in for protestants… which is no wonder- because if they don’t consider these books scriptural- they have less to go on than we do. Which got me wondering how we could even use it as a point when arguing about it’s existence- but as someone pointed out- since the books are inspired by God- then that’s all the proof we really need. This was a helpful realization… as was the fact that Jesus so often connected the old testament when teaching people… surely he meant for us to refer to these books.

I’ve found other passages in the Gospels mind you, that to me are a clear indication on the reality of Purgatory- at least it is in my mind. I’m referring to the parable of the unforgiving servant. To me, since it says that he will be in prison until the last cent is paid- I take it to mean that there will be an eventual end to his suffering. Not sure if that’s accrate or not.


#13

A very good explanation and commentary of the book of Job is found here:

youtu.be/kZKuixGmiMw

The creator of the video intentionally leaves the question of whether Job is fiction completely untouched because if the meaning of Job is understood it doesn’t matter whether or not the story actually happened – much like the Good Samaritan or other parables in the NT.


#14

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