“Jonah” Character Study

Bible Character Study
By: Paul L.
Who is this guy?
Where in the word?
Please open your bibles to:
- The book of Jonah
Character of Jonah
Character of God
Did you know?
Name: Jonah Hebrew origin, which means “Dove”
Bible Reference: The Book of Jonah – Author is unknown
Audience: The Northern Kingdom of Israel
Date: 750-725 BC
• God’s loving concern for all people and Jonah’s jealousy and
unwillingness to share the Lord’s compassion with his
Jonah’s Biography
Name: Jonah
Meaning: Dove
Ancestry & Family Life: Unknown. The only thing we know is that he
had a father named Amittai (Jon 1:1)
Training & Occupation: Prophet, Minister
Place in History: He was chosen by God to take the gospel to
the most powerful nation in the world at that time. His three
days in the belly of the fish is a foreshadow of Christ’s three days
in the earth before His resurrection. (Matt 12:40)
Historical Context
When and Where?
• Israel during the 8th century B.C. he prophesied there
(2 Kings 14:25) and eventually in Assyria.
• During this time Assyria was the most powerful empire in
the world and dominated the region.
• The kings of Assyria led numerous excursions against
both Israel and Judah.
• The country was the dreaded enemy of Israel. The kings
of Israel were at times forced to pay tribute to the
Assyrians and only about 40 years after Jonah’s ministry
were conquered and exiled.
• He was disobedient and actually attempted the foolhardy escapade of running away from God (1:3)
– (Why did Jonah run away from God instead of going to Nineveh?)
• He lacked mercy and forgiveness, wanting revenge
and holding bitterness in his heart (4:1-3)
• He was a complainer. Jonah didn’t respect God and
had an overly high view of his own opinion and self.
He routinely questioned God, disagreed with God,
and vented his anger against God (4)
• He took responsibility for his actions instead of
making others take it (1:11-12)
• He was honest when he was running away from God
and about who he was (1:8-10)
• When he was inside the fish he called out to God and
expressed repentance (2:2-9).
Important Events
• He was swallowed by a fish for three days. This is
used by Jesus in Matthew 12:39-41 as a picture for
Christ’s death and resurrection. It shows once again
that the cross is the central event in all of history and
this event foreshadowed it.
• His most important act was taking the gospel to the
Assyrians. This may be overshadowed somewhat by
his bad attitude and original disobedience. Yet Jonah
did eventually obey God and did eventually go.
Lessons from his Life
1. Don’t run away from God. It’s impossible to succeed
(Psa 139:7-11).
2. God can use even weak and flawed people to serve
Him. Through our weakness He is made strong (2
Cor 12:9).
3. We need to be merciful and show forgiveness.
Everyone is important and valuable in God’s sight.
He created them and gave them value.
Discussion Time
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