Good News for the Nations – The book of Jonah
Note: To attempt an overview of the book of Jonah in one study is well-nigh impossible. Many of the issues raised in the book demand much more time than is possible in one Connect Group. May I suggest that you use the questions to guide your study and reflection through the week, not just in your group. Also, do not feel you have to answer all the questions in your group – they are merely a guide for further discussion.
You will find it helpful to read the book of Jonah – it is only 4 chapters and will provide a useful background to Hugh’s reflection.
- To many people the book of Jonah is known for the big fish swallowing a man. Is that what it is really about? How would you sum up the main point/s of the book? What is its overall message?
- What characteristics of Jonah do you see in this book? Does he come across as a likeable person?
- What characteristics of God do you see here?
- Jonah 1:3 says, “Jonah ran from the Lord”. Why did he run away? Do you think it is possible for people to run away from God today? In what ways?
- Jonah should have been rejoicing that his preaching was so successful, (Jonah 3:5-9) but Jonah 4:1 tells us he was “greatly displeased and became angry”. Verses 2 and 3 show us why Jonah was angry. What is striking about his reasons?
- What was the lesson God was teaching Jonah with the growth and destruction of the vine shelter?
- Hugh said people, even churches, can be “tribal”. What are some examples of this? Have you ever experienced it yourself – or been guilty of it? (No need to answer that one out loud!)
- Romans 5:8 tells us, “God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” How does that verse help our understanding of what happened with Jonah and the Ninevites? (Jonah 4: 2,3,10f)
As Hugh said, many of us find it difficult to forgive others. Why do you think we find it so hard? In Matthew 18:21f Jesus tells a parable about a king who forgave his servant a great debt, but that same servant refused to forgive someone a lesser debt. Do you think that parable can help us to forgive others? How? (Another huge topic worthy of much more thought and reflection.).