I wonder sometimes about Job. As he was “blameless and upright” (Job 1:1), in some translations “perfect and upright”, does it mean that he was sinless? The Bible teaches that no one is sinless (except Jesus), I guess Job was not sinless. So what makes him “blameless” or “perfect”? I know that every OT prophet had sins and most of those are described in the Bible. (David thief and murderer, Abraham liar, Noah drunk, Jacob deceitful, Moses murderer…) Seems like Job stands out as an exception. How come? I’d like to hear your take on this issue.
Clearly, as you notice, Job was not literally blameless. He was such a righteous man, that we was described by God as blameless. I believe he was blameless by comparison. We need to interpret passages in their context. An example of the use of a word which, if taken literally, implies an impossible human perfection, consider Titus 1:6 “An elder must be blameless…” Clearly, if we take this to mean literally perfect–without sin–then no one would be qualified to be an elder. The parallel verse in 1 Tim 3:2 commands that an elder be “above reproach.” As with Job 1:1, we take the word blameless to be a relative term. In Titus 1:6 and Job 1:1, to be blameless means to be a person whose life and character are so righteous that no one could bring a public charge against them. I believe that any Christian can live a life which is “above reproach” in this sense, if we rely sufficiently on God and commit ourselves to obey him fully in all we do. This is not a sinless perfection.
It is true that Job does stand out as one of the most righteous men in the Old Testament. He is not unique in this sense, however. I would add Joseph to the list of biblical figures for whom we have very little negative information. Enoch comes to mind as well. However, obviously, Enoch, Job and Joseph did sin at times.