Preaching Jonah (MA/PhD)


Fall 2023
Mon 9:00am - 10:50am

Why is there a book of Jonah, and what should it do for you when you read it? Jonah is unique among prophetic books. It is a book about a prophet rather than the message God has given the prophet; only a few of Jonah’s own words are recorded, and most of these are his objections to the results of preaching in Nineveh. In the historical notice of Jonah in kings, unlike other prophets, Jonah has positive words for an idolatrous king. In the book, Jonah is reluctant to declare the message he has been given.

This course will probe the intentions and purpose of the author of this prophetic composition, his method of accomplishing his goals, and how ministers can further these goals in preaching. Though a very short book, it provokes a lot of questions about prophecy, about justice and forgiveness, and the way God deals with his people. It is a deceptively simple narrative; the more it is probed, the more profound it becomes.


  • Become familiar with the text of Jonah, including translation (exegetical) questions.
  • Understand Jonah in relation to the latter prophets and the scroll of the twelve.
  • Appreciate diverse perspectives of literary analysis of Jonah in Jewish and Christian traditions.
  • Become familiar with interpretations of Jonah from pre-Christian times to the present.


  • Becoming Christ-like in forgiving others because they know not what they do.
  • Responding to injustice and wrong without hate and a quest for revenge.
  • Practicing love as Christ loved us and gave himself for us (Eph. 5:2).
  • Dealing with anger in a mature and responsible manner.


  • Preach and teach Jonah to challenge vengeful attitudes and inspire Christian perspectives.
  • Correct false emphases on what is important in the book of Jonah.
  • Demonstrate forgiveness with help from examples like those of Sokreaksa Himm