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Featured Class: Job & OT Wisdom

19 April 2019
 April 19, 2019

Featured Class: Job & OT Wisdom taught by Dr. Dominick Hernández

CCBC offers students the opportunity to anchor themselves in books of the Bible to gain a deeper understanding of their faith and how to practically apply their beliefs outside the classroom. Recently our students had the privilege of taking a class taught by guest instructor Dr. Dominick Hernández from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

  • About Dr. Hernández:

Dr. Hernández is married to his wife, Gabby, and they have two children together. He attended the School of Ministry in Costa Mesa, CA. During this time he became ordained at Calvary Chapel Voyage in Fountain Valley, CA where he served as the youth pastor. He is currently working as an assistant professor of Old Testament Interpretation and is the Director of the Online Hispanic Program at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. Dr. Hernández has a Master of Arts in physical education from the Teachers College Columbia University, Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a Doctorate of Philosophy from Bar-Ilan University.

  • What do you enjoy most about teaching this subject? 

I developed an interest for languages and studying the Bible in my teenage years. Later, I began attending a congregation that taught expositionally through the Bible. This sparked a desire to learn the Bible in its historical and linguistic contexts and the book of Job is a linguistically complex book as we covered in class.

  • What is the main theme or application you want your students to take away from the class?

The main goals of the class are to help the students gain a proper hermeneutical understanding of the book of Job and the theological issues that it presents, know the historical and literary context of the book, be able to confidently handle the intricacies of the text and its interpretation, and be able to properly respond to trials that the student faces in life with wisdom.

  • How has preparing to teach this class grown you spiritually?

Studying the book of Job and Old Testament wisdom literature has helped me understand that there aren’t always easy answers for big problems. It has also helped me understand the sovereignty of God more in that wisdom literature purports many general principles (as we see in Proverbs) but, ultimately, God is in control of everything (as we see in Job).

  • If you’d like to learn more and stay updated with Dr. Dominick Hernández, visit his website by clicking here. He’s also on Twitter and Instagram (@dom_s_hernandez) and he has a YouTube channel which you can visit here.

  • Here is an interview Dr. Hernández did talking about his studies on the book of Job:

     

 

Hannah Olsen was a student in Dr. Hernández’s class. Here are her thoughts:

What did you enjoy most about the class?

I really enjoyed how much emphasis was placed on understanding the historical, cultural, and literary context of the book of Job. There was so much I hadn’t really realized that played major roles in properly understanding the book. Job is a very complex book, but since there was such an emphasis in understanding the background first, it made it much easier to understand the smaller details.

 

What has stood out to you the most and how can you use this to benefit you in the future?

One major thing that stuck out to me while taking this course was simply how big and mysterious our God is. I think we as Christians often put God in a box or think we understand who He is. And even though we might have some basic understanding of Him, as revealed to us through the Bible, God works in ways so far beyond our understanding. Job was allowed by God to be tormented by Satan in unimaginable ways and when he asked God why all this was happening and why the wicked don’t get what they deserve, God gave him no answer. As we know, the Lord is perfect and righteous in all His ways but He is also sovereign and does things we don’t understand. Just remembering this and keeping a healthy fear of the Lord will really benefit my future walk with the Lord.

 

How can you practically apply what you have learned to your life?

When we looked at the context of Job in the class, we saw Job had no fault that caused him to suffer so greatly. Yet his friends blamed him for his suffering and thought he did something to deserve it. Although we can’t forget that there are consequences for people’s actions, it is not always what it seems and people don’t suffer just because of the sins they committed. I can practically apply this to my life in the way that I comfort and council others. Remembering that Job was blameless and upright and yet still suffered so greatly is an encouragement to people who are going through trials that are unexpected. Also, I should take this to heart and remember that just because someone is facing immense trials doesn’t mean they brought it on themselves by sinning in some great way.

 

If you were recommending this class to a friend, what would you tell them?

I would tell them to be prepared to be challenged in the way they think about God and the system of how the world works. I definitely realized all the things that I thought about how God works are not necessarily right. He is so much higher than men and is a complete mystery to us. I faced questions that truly prodded my faith, but after really digging into the text and what it means in its context, I think my faith and awe of who the Lord is has been strengthened.

 

Joshua Beckman was also a student in the class. Read what he had to say about Job & OT Wisdom:

What did you enjoy the most about this class?

First and foremost, Professor Hernández had a clear and passionate love for Christ and the Word of God, which came out in his teaching. And as a more academically-minded person, I greatly enjoyed the scholarly depth to the class. Not only did we as students learn much of the book itself verse-by-verse, but also the historical and cultural context of it. He brought up the original Hebrew in many places and explained it to us, didn’t shy away from seemingly problematic passages and in general did a very thorough job of teaching each passage. He was very interactive and completely open to questions, even at the expense of the planned material for each class. He created a classroom environment that was able to be completely relaxed while also thorough and rigorous. It was a college class, and we were being challenged above and beyond our normal depth of thought about the Word of God. He showed that the Bible is not only simple and practical, but at the same time deep and complex. That is what I enjoyed the most.

 

What has stood out to you the most and how can you use this to benefit you in the future?

We as the American church have lost a true concept of spiritual warfare. We tend to think about the world purely in its physical sense. People, places, things. In this class, however, one of the points laid out by Professor Hernández challenged that thinking. In the first two chapters of Job, the reader twice sees a bizarre heavenly scene unfold. God seems to sit as overseer of a gathering of angels, and in the midst of this gathering Satan approaches God. They have a brief exchange, during the course of which both times Satan challenges God about Job and both times God gives Satan authority to harm Job in some way. This, it is clear, is the true cause of Job’s suffering. It has nothing to do with Job. But what Professor Hernández contended was even deeper. The book itself is not about a conflict between God and Job, nor is it about Job vs. his friends, or even Job vs. Satan. The book of Job is primarily a playing out of a conflict between God and Satan. This has already helped to widen my thinking about the world and life in general. While we may not see it, we need to be aware of the fact that there is a world of spiritual warfare that does indeed affect us. The lesson to be learned from Job is simple—we won’t always know the reason for why we go through certain circumstances. It may be that we are the focus of a larger battle to which we are completely oblivious.

 

How can you practically apply what you have learned to your life?

If I don’t know the reasons for my circumstances, obviously God doesn’t want me to know them. Job was never told about Satan’s challenge. He never got the answer to his question of why. How then can I expect to be treated differently? The practical side of this abstract, conceptual talk about spiritual warfare and the book of Job is that it is not my job to go looking for demons. If God wants me to see them, to see the battle being fought, He is more than capable of doing so—just look at 2 Kings 6:14-17. But so long as He doesn’t, it is my job merely to be faithful to Him. I know my calling in this life. I am to strive to know and love Jesus Christ my Lord, live worthy of the calling He has called me to and preach the Gospel. The book of Job tells me that my circumstances should never cause me to doubt this.

 

If you were recommending this class to a friend, what would you tell them?

First, that it was incredibly thorough while being enjoyable—the time flew by and yet seemed packed with more information than the time could have allowed. As a teacher, Professor Hernández was one of the best under whom I have had the privilege to sit. He was incredibly engaging, fun and as credible academically as they come. But above all, the class did an incredible job of widening and deepening my thinking about the Bible. And that is worth it wherever it can be found.

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