What’s the Book of Jonah About?

Through satire and intricate storytelling, the book of Jonah invites readers to consider God's compassion and mercy that extends to us and our enemies. Watch our overview video on the book of Jonah, which breaks down the literary design of the book and its flow of thought. This book is a subversive story about a rebellious prophet who despises his God for loving his enemies.[1]

•  Watch this 2016 overview video by BibleProject on Jonah (9 min.): narrated by Timothy Mackie and Jonathan Collins.

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Do we really want God to love our enemies? Jonah is a prophet who’s called to deliver a judgment warning to a rebellious nation. He runs from his calling at every turn, showing little faith in Yahweh. But eventually he goes to the nation of Nineveh to deliver God’s message. It’s where things start to get confusing. Despite Jonah’s warning having the intended effect — Nineveh turning repentantly to Yahweh — Jonah is furious with God for sparing the Ninevites. What is going on in this story? There’s a lot to unpack.

What can we learn from Jonah? His story recounts remarkable experiences with storms at sea, being eaten by a fish, and plants that miraculously grow and die in a day, and the lessons behind these images go much deeper than what is on the surface.[2]