Week of September 16th • Discussion Guide
Jonah 3:1-10 (ESV)
1 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” 3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days' journey in breadth. 4 Jonah began to go into the city, going a day's journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” 5 And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.
6 The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, 8 but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. 9 Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.”
10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.
Open your Bible and first pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach, correct, and train you (2 Timothy 3:16). As you’re reading, ask these questions:
What is the context of the passage?
Who is being talked to or about?
What was said in the passages before and after it?
What are the historical, cultural, and political things to take into consideration?
What is happening in this passage?
Is this a command, teaching, or a story?
What things are emphasized, repeated, or related?
What do you see about God?
How does this talk about God the Father’s will for creation, culture, or your life?
How does this talk about Jesus’ victory and accomplishments on our behalf?
How does this talk about the power of the Holy Spirit for us or for His plan of redemption?
What do you see about man?
What do you see about yourself in this passage?
What do you see about others?
How does this passage speak to the younger brother? To the older brother? (Luke 15:11–32)
Spend some time reflecting. Ask yourself these questions, and discuss your thoughts:
How do you think the author wants his audience to respond?
Is this a passage of celebration, lament, correction…?
What do you learn about God’s character?
What attributes of God are more deeply affirmed as you read this?
What attributes of God challenge you?
What wrong beliefs about God and myself did I have?
What challenges my worldview?
What challenges the way I view my “neighbor”?
How is Jesus the hero of this passage?
In what ways can you move the passage away from being about yourself?
How do you discover Jesus as the central figure?
After examining the passage, apply the text to your own life. Ask yourself these questions:
How do I need to repent?
What truths do I need to believe?
What false beliefs must I turn from?
What idols have I discovered while reading this?
What can I do – empowered by the Holy Spirit – today to apply this passage?
How does this passage affect my personal life?
How does this passage affect the way I interact in community?
How does this passage affect the way I engage my “neighbors”?
Pray through the passage and your application, asking God to change your heart and to change your life, based on the time you’ve spent in God’s Word with your community.
Pray for one another to be able to be obedient to God’s word for His glory and their joy.
After you finish, share what God taught you with at least one person—your roommate, your spouse, your kids, or your coworkers. Don't keep what God taught you to yourself.