Week of September 2nd • Discussion Guide
Jonah 1:4-17 (ESV)
4 But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up. 5 Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried out to his god. And they hurled the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and had lain down and was fast asleep. 6 So the captain came and said to him, “What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call out to your god! Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we may not perish.”
Jonah Is Thrown into the Sea
7 And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know on whose account this evil has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 Then they said to him, “Tell us on whose account this evil has come upon us. What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?” 9 And he said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”10 Then the men were exceedingly afraid and said to him, “What is this that you have done!” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.
11 Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you, that the sea may quiet down for us?” For the sea grew more and more tempestuous. 12 He said to them, “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.” 13 Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to get back to dry land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more tempestuous against them. 14 Therefore they called out to the Lord, “O Lord, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not on us innocent blood, for you, O Lord, have done as it pleased you.” 15 So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. 16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.
A Great Fish Swallows Jonah
17 And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
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.