A Deep Dive into Jonah: Part I

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Over the next number of weeks I want to take a deep-dive into the Old Testament book of Jonah. It’s story is one that’s got it all—rebellion, drama, complex characters, divine intervention, intrigue, suspense, and cliff hangers. And, more than all that, it presents us with important reminders of facets God’s eternal character, humanity’s damning weaknesses, and the life we’re called to live as his people.

Much has been written on this relatively small prophetic book. Myself, I have a shelf-full of works dedicated to this minor prophet’s tale all penned by people far and away my intellectual superiors.

Thus, I am under no delusions that my current offering contributes anything ground-breaking to the discussion. Nor do I seek to be novel or clever. My desire, rather, is to be accessible and practical. 

With pastors in mind

Pastors typically stand before the same group of believers week-after-week attempting to offer an edifying meal that has been prepared in the time since they last stood in that pulpit six days prior. Many preachers joke of the pressure: “Sunday’s always coming.”

In this constant and seemingly unrelenting schedule, time does not permit a study of a passage of Scripture like that which follows in this series of posts. To comb through commentary after book after journal article in search of useable exegetical gems is daunting, inefficient, and unsustainable.

Thus, resources created, with the pastor in mind, that seek to do much of the heavy lifting, are treasures.

More works are needed that seek to understand and present the inspired text in a ways that are communicable rather than academic, precise rather than broad, and selective rather than all-inclusive in their research. This series on the book of Jonah is the first step in a process of heavy-lifting that will (God willing) culminate with such a resource. There are many more stops along the way before then, but the language work and exegetical study in the Scriptures are significant efforts.

What’s to come

Disclaimers and explanations out of the way, over the next number of weeks, this series of posts will walk through the four chapters of Jonah, verse-by-verse, phrase-by-phrase, and pericope-by-pericope, seeking to glean from the inspired text the theological thrust(s) intended by the original A/author.

Next week I will offer an explanation of my starting presuppositions and, in the weeks that follow, an outline of the book and my own translation from which I’ll be working in subsequent posts.

Jonah is a fascinating and edifying study. May it be used by the Spirit of God to build up the people of God for the glory of God.