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SCRIPTURE TEXT: JONAH 1-4
Jonah is a strange book. After all, a man is swallowed by a fish and survives. But don’t quickly write off Jonah. Jesus himself referred to Jonah as a historical person (Matt. 12:39-41) and 2 Kings 14:25 tells us that Jonah lived during the time of Jeroboam II. The focus of Jonah is unique compared to other prophetic books. The book is not so much about the message of the prophet, but about the prophet himself.
As Colin Smith puts it,
Some people teach us by their example; Jonah teaches us by his weakness. By confessing his own failures, Jonah holds up a mirror for us to see the struggles and enigmas of our Christian lives (1 Cor. 10:11). He wants us to discover the grace of God—which, once we see it, is stronger than all our fears, anxieties, and disappointments. The real hero in the story is God. We catch glimpses of God’s extraordinary patience with weak people like Jonah (Jonah 3:1–2; 4:4, 9–10), his relentless pursuit of lost people like the Ninevites (1:2; 4:11), and the ultimate victory of his love (2:9; 3:10).
HEAD: Questions aimed at our minds to help us understand God’s word.
As you read Jonah in its entirety, what are your first impressions of the book? What stands out to you?
What are words, phrases, and themes that seem to span across the entire book of Jonah (Look for repetition, places, and names)?
HEART: Questions aimed at our affections to help us love God.
In what way is the sinfulness of the human heart on display throughout the book? In what ways have you seen this in your own life?
In what way is the grace of God for sinners on display throughout the book? In what ways have you seen this in your own life?
HANDS: Questions aimed at our hands to help us live for God (Personally, Communally, and Missionally).
What does the Book of Jonah teach as about how we are to live for God? Relate to one another? Live on mission?