Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bible Study - Jonah and Nahum (Part 1 of 3)

After a break for Christmas and New Year's our Bible study met again last week to start a brief 3 week study on the prophetic books of Jonah and Nahum. I decided to do this as a change of pace from our lengthy study of the Gospel of Matthew and to dip into two remarkable little books from the Old Testament that often get missed. Most people know the story of Jonah from when they were kids in Sunday school, but don't know really anything about it other than the bit about the whale (or more accurately 'the great fish'), and most people have never even heard of Nahum.

The thing these two little books have in common is the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh (in what is today northern Iraq) and the nature of God's mercy, judgement and forgiveness. As we go forward I hope that you'll take in the depth of these prophetic books and be encouraged to take a look at a few more of these often ignored books at the end of the Old Testament.

This week our focus is on Jonah chapters 1 & 2

  • Read Jonah 1:1-3. Why do you think Jonah ran from his prophetic call? Are there times in your life when you have run away from God?
  • Read Jonah 1:4-17. How does the faith and actions of Jonah the Hebrew compare to those shown and developed by the pagan sailors on the ship?
  • Read Jonah 2:1-10. What do you make of Jonah’s prayer? What kind of prayers do you make to God when you are in trouble? Read Psalms 69, 88 and 116 for comparison. 
  • The book of Jonah influenced how Jesus understood his mission and how the first Christians told their stories about Jesus. Compare Mark 4:35-41 to Jonah 1:4-17 and Matthew 12:38-42 to the book as a whole, but especially in light of the prayer of Jonah 2. Is there anything else in these chapters or the book as a whole that makes you think of Jesus?

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