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The Story of Jonah Bible Study Series Index

Reta Halteman Finger began her Bible study blog, Reta’s Reflections with a study of 1 Corinthians, and followed it up with a series on the Fourth Gospel— the Gospel according to John.  For her third series she takes up the story of Jonah.

Read more about Reta’s Reflections and Reta Halteman Finger.

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This is an index of posts in Reta’s third Bible study series, an examination of the story of Jonah.

(Posts are in reverse order on this page, with the first of the series at the bottom.)

Reversal

March, 2019 Poetry Selection
Jonah would laugh,
no doubt,
at this miracle
of reversal:

The Perils of God’s Mercy—Jonah 4:1-11

Lesson 4 - “The story of Jonah teaches us that God cares about those we perceive as our worst enemies. Jonah’s dilemma was the opposite of Job’s. Job’s agonizing question to God was, ‘How can God let bad things happen to good people?’ Jonah asks how God can allow good things to happen to bad people. Both of these books challenge other scriptures that promise blessings for those who obey God’s laws and curses on those who don’t. In both cases God responds with open-ended questions with which we must wrestle.”

Changing God’s Mind—Jonah 3:1-10

Lesson 3 - “Having disobeyed once to dire consequences, Jonah figures he has no choice; so off he trots, eastward over the desert until he arrives in Nineveh, capital of the Assyrian Empire (now in Iraq). In 3:3 we see both contrast and repetition: instead of a raging sea, Jonah finds a huge urban center. The city is so large it takes three days to walk across it, paralleling the three days Jonah had spent inside the fish (1:17).”

Going down to Sheol: Jonah 2:1-10

Lesson 2 - “But now, rescued by the fish, Jonah ‘gets religion.’ Sort of. He’s grateful to be saved from ‘the belly of Sheol’ after all. But he blames God for ‘casting him into the deep’ (v 3)—when it’s his own fault for fleeing from God’s presence and then requesting to be thrown into the sea.

Away from God’s Presence—Jonah 1:1-17

Lesson 1 - “Although we find no women in this story thus far, the Hebrew word for ship is feminine and has a will of her own: she threatens to break apart (v 4). Jonah goes down into ‘her hold’ as into a womb, and falls asleep. (The actual Hebrew term is ‘the innermost parts of the ship.’) Later, he ends up in the fish’s 'belly' (v 17), which comes from the same Hebrew root as 'womb.' Jonah is both protected and entrapped by these female images.”

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