Week of September 23rd • Discussion Guide
Jonah 4:1-11 (ESV)
1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. 2 And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. 3 Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” 4 And the Lord said, “Do you do well to be angry?”
5 Jonah went out of the city and sat to the east of the city and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, till he should see what would become of the city. 6 Now the Lord God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. 7 But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered.8 When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” 9 But God said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?” And he said, “Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.” 10 And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. 11 And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”
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.