Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Jonah at a Glance

A Summary of Background Issues[1]
Russ Reaves, Immanuel Baptist Church

·         Not stated within the book.
·         Possibly written by Jonah or one of his contemporaries

·         Depends on the question of authorship.
·         Assuming Jonah or a contemporary wrote the book, it can be dated to the 8th Century B.C. (700s), prior to 722 BC, when Israel fell to Assyria.

·         The book describes historical, factual events experienced by the prophet Jonah.
·         It is not allegory, parable, midrash, or any other form of unhistorical literature.
·         It contains poetry, figurative language, and anthropomorphism, but in the context of relating a historical account.
·         Most attempts to identify Jonah as unhistorical are rooted in an anti-supernatural bias that refuses to accept the miraculous elements of the story.

·         “This little book of Jonah is not intended to communicate merely a message, but messages.” Bryan D. Estelle
·         These messages include:
o       The attributes of God, namely His holiness, His mercy, and His sovereignty.
o       God’s desire to bring salvation and true knowledge of Himself to all nations.
o       Jesus saw the book as an illustration of His own death, burial and resurrection (Matthew 12:39; 16:4; 11:29-30).
o       These are but a few of the many messages taught within the book of Jonah.

I. God’s First Call and Jonah’s Response (1:1-16)
II. God’s Rescue of the Rebellious Prophet (1:17-2:10)
III. God’s Second Commission and Jonah’s Obedience (3:1-10)
IV. Jonah’s Displeasure and God’s Response (4:1-11)

[1] Full argumentation and defense of these positions can be found in the longer paper I have written entitled “Jonah: A Background Study”. This document can be found online at
[2] Frank Page, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah (New American Commentary 19B; Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1995), p. 222. 

No comments: