Uncategorized

Certainly, no book in the Minor Prophets is as well-known as Jonah. It is the only book among the twelve that translates well into Flannelgraph. A person may spend his or her life in church—twice on Sunday and midweek service—and never hear a Sunday school lesson or sermon on Obadiah, Nahum, or Zephaniah. It is doubtful, however, that the same person would graduate from preschool without hearing about Jonah and the whale. Something has happened to Jonah, however. The book has been patronized. People love it—in a condescending way. They are grateful to have a book in the Old Testament that speaks so clearly of God’s love for the nations. The book has served as the theme for many conferences and launched countless missionaries. People see it as a wonderful counter-balance to the relentless messages of judgment in the other Minor Prophets. Yet, the story of Jonah is so fantastic, is it really believable? As deference to Scripture has diminished, the voices ridiculing Jonah’s historicity have increased. “Why?” you may ask. I will let one particularly well-spoken skeptic answer: At almost every step the reader who takes the story as a record of actual happenings must ask questions. How was it possible that...