I believe we have a misnomer. It revolves around two words: testing and proving. Our English language adapts. It changes. For example, when my father was young, you could say that you feel gay, and people would understand you meant happy. If you were to say that you feel gay in modern society, happy probably wouldn’t make it onto the list of interpretations that you might be meaning. When my father was young, cool meant chilly. Now, cool means hip, or in style. Words adapt and change meaning and connotation from generation to generation. When we read our English Bibles, something that we ought to do is ask what the word actually means. When we read, “The Lord thy God put thee to the test,” does the word test mean something other than test?
Many times we have words that we use, and those words might be technically correct, but they have a connotation with them that is not correct. What we imply by using certain words or phrases is extremely important to be aware of. What does God testing us mean? I find that Job 1 gives the most solid answer. We find haSatan, the accuser, coming before God to accuse Job. God, then, says to Satan that his servant Job is a righteous man. God allows Job to undergo testing, to see whether God’s testimony about him is true. What is the point of the test?
We cannot conclude that God tested Job, and if Job were to have failed that test that he would undergo judgment. God had complete faith in His servant Job. In God’s eye, this wasn’t a test. This would be like challenging me as a grown man to tie my shoes as a test. I’ve performed this task thousands of times in my life, and it is no longer a test to see whether I can tie my shoes. This is God’s mindset. He doesn’t see it as a test. You want proof, Satan, that Job is a righteous man? I’ll give you proof. God allows the suffering to prove Job’s faithfulness and righteousness. To then say that it is a test brings false implications. We can try to justify the word by saying we’ll explain what we mean, but the fact still remains that the term simply has wrong implications. It might be possible that in 1611 when the King James translators used the word test that test did not have wrong implication. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. But why perpetuate that word when we know that it does not imply the correct connotation? That connotation of God giving us a test to see whether we are able to live up to His requirement is contrary to everything that God reveals Himself to be in Scripture. There is a vast difference between testing and proving, and the difference needs to be noted.