1 What was the historical background for the book? (Ex. Nineveh was a great city, Jonah 1:1).

2 What were the prevailing conditions for the people? (Ex. A storm at sea that was caused by the Lord, Jonah 1:4). Read through Jonah two more times at one sitting. Answer the following questions by taking notes with verse citations.

3 Who are the main characters in the book? Is there one main character that stands out? Explain why you selected a particular main character. Just because the book is titled “Jonah” does not mean that Jonah must be the main character. The main character is most often the person who is the focus of the entire story.

4 What is the main subject of the book or what is the author talking about? The main subject is the argument of the book. This is not the main application of the book but the main subject from the original author to the original recipients. If this was a newspaper it would be the main headline of the story? The video presentations for this course provide examples.

5 What themes are developed in the book? Identify these themes and list each occurrence. Pay special attention to the meaning of names and titles. You should use a Bible dictionary to examine these words. You are gathering exegetical information about Jonah as a basis for producing your exegetical commentary and outline. You are seeking to immerse your mind in the content of the story. You want to prayerfully read and meditate on the text. You are putting your feet into the sands of time and seeking to understand this historical narrative from the original author to the original recipients.

6. Read through the book again. What are the major divisions of the book? Sometimes a book is divided geographically, by characters, by time, by themes or settings. For the purpose of course continuity, the main divisions are chapters: 1:1-17, 2:1-10, 3:1-10, and 4:1-11.
Give the major divisions a sentence summary. What is the author talking about?Statement 4:1-4

In what ways was Nineveh a great city?

What were some of the great wickedness of Nineveh?

Why does Jonah choose Tarshish as his place to escape?

Why does Jonah go down into the ship?

How does a great wind cause a storm?

What direction did the wind come from? Was this the normal direction for the wind?

Identify a few contrasts in this chapter between Jonah and the sailors. The writer is using comparison and contrast to make implied statements about Jonah.

What was the background of the casting of lots, particularly among the pagans?

What is the significance of Jonah’s answers to the sailor’s questions?
Why did the men become extremely frightened?

Why were the sailors reluctant to do what Jonah stated?

If the men were rowing to the shore, what direction was the wind coming against them?

Who seeks the Lord in this section and why?

How do the men respond to the calming of the storm? How does this contrast to Jonah?

Was Jonah swallowed by a whale according to the text?

What is the meaning of the depths of Sheol?

What was Jonah’s hope in this time of despair? Why?

How good Jonah state that he descended to the roots of the mountains when he was underwater?

What does it mean that his life was brought up from the pit?

Do you think that Jonah died and rose again or was he just faint and recovered? Does the New Testament shed any light on this issue?
What are the theological components of Jonah’s prayer? What did he believe about the Lord God and the afterlife?

What dry land was Jonah vomited on to?

What root did the great fish take to get him there?

What are some of the interpretations of a three-day walk and which one seems correct to you?

What does it mean that the people of Nineveh believed God? What did they believe?

Why would the king cover himself with sackcloth? What is the cultural background?

How is it that God can turn and relent, or change His mind?

What was the basis by which God relented?

Why was Jonah displeased by the repentance of the Ninevites?

Identify Jonah’s theology and explain each component. What is the historical background for Jonah’s theology?

Jonah does not seem to be afraid of death and even asks for death. Why does he prefer to die?

Why did Jonah position himself east of the city?

What did Jonah hope would be the outcome?

What are some of the speculations as to what type of plant is mentioned? Does it matter to the main interpretation of the text what plant it was?

How many times has God used the wind to punish Jonah? List the two examples.

Why did Jonah believe that death was better for him than life?

What was the major lesson that God wanted to teach Jonah through the plant?

What is the meaning of the 120,000 who did not know their right from their left?

In what way is God’s reference to the animals a final rebuke of Jonah?

1. What did the text mean to the initial audience?

2. What are the differences between the initial audience and believers today?

3. What is the universal principle in this text?

4. How does the New Testament teaching modify or qualify this principle?

5. How should Christians today apply this modified universal principle in their lives?

You should not list the five steps for each of your application statements. You do need to think your way through the 5 steps as you write your application statements. Your application statements should each have one short paragraph in which you link the OT context and principle to a NT principle. You should seek to be specific about the application. General statements about prayer, faith, forgiveness, etc. will not impact your audience as significantly as specific statements. The following is an example of the process.

1. What did the text mean to the initial audience?
Jonah refused to obey the word of the Lord. Jonah sought to flee from the presence of the Lord by going a different direction.

2. What are the differences between the initial audience and believers today?

We are not an OT prophet but a NT saints. We are not under the Mosaic Law or a prophetic command, but there are still consequences when we disobey the Lord. We are not commanded to preach a prophetic condemnation on a city, but we are called to preach the gospel.

3. What is the universal principle in this text?

When the word of the Lord commands us to do something, we must obey it.

4. How does the New Testament teaching modify or qualify this principle?

The New Testament declares that we are to obey the Word of God. The parallel for NT saints is the commandment of Jesus in Matthew 28:18–20 (NASB95) 18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

5. How should Christians today apply this modified universal principle in their lives?








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