jonah bannerLesson Overview

This is lesson 4 of 4 in Jonah’s Guide to Mishandling the Good News, a bible study on Jonah. Step 4: Rejoice in God’s Mercy Toward Sinners

  • Main Point of the Passage: God rebuked Jonah for being angry about God’s mercy on Nineveh
  • Main Point of the Lesson: God is not happy when forgiven people are reluctant to forgive
  • Main Application of the Lesson: Group members will speak and pray like mediators hoping for mercy rather than prosecutors hoping for judgment


Leader Preparation

To prepare for this lesson, write your own answers to each of the questions below. You will share some of your answers with the group, but make it your goal to talk less than 20% of the Bible study time. Ask the questions, listen to your group, and let them carry the Bible study. You’ll be amazed.

Optional Homework

If you plan to use the optional homework, you’ll need two or three volunteers each week. A few days before your Bible study, choose two volunteers and give each of them one of the following assignments. Tell them you’d like them to take 3-5 minutes to share their work with the group.

Discussion Questions

Once everyone in your group is sitting in a circle, say, “Here’s the first question. Everyone answers the first question, and it’s just for fun.” Then read the first question, pause, and listen to your group’s answers.

Smile Question: If you had to give a million dollars to somebody you’ve never met, who would you choose? It has to be somebody alive today.

Share Question: What types of sins are most difficult for you to forgive in others?

Introduce the Passage: God is not happy when forgiven people are reluctant to forgive. In Jonah 4, God rebuked Jonah for being angry about God’s mercy on the Ninevites.

Study Question: Let’s read verses 1-9 in two segments and answer this question after each segment: Why was Jonah angry?

Possible answers include:

  • Jonah 4:1-3, He knew that God would be compassionate toward the Ninevites
  • Jonah 4:4-9, He had lost the vine that was giving him shade.

Connect-the-Dots Question: Let’s read Jonah 4:9-11. In verse 9, God asked Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry?” How do you think Jonah would have justified his anger?

Count-the-Cost Question: Earlier we listed sins that are difficult for us to forgive. It’s likely the people of Nineveh committed many of the same sins. What do you think God would have said if Jonah brought up how sinful the people of Nineveh were?

Let’s-Do-It Question: What would it look like for you to be a person who cheers for God’s compassion rather than his judgment in our country?

Prayer: Father, we pray that you will have compassion and mercy on us and on our country. Help us to be people who hope for your mercy rather than your judgment.



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