Top 7 Bible Verses About Jonah

Top 7 Bible Verses About Jonah May 20, 2016

Here are seven Bible verses about Jonah.

Jonah 1:1-3 “Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord.”

Jonah was a reluctant prophet of God, running from God to avoid the mission God had for Jonah but there is nowhere to run where God is not at as the psalmist wrote, “If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea” (Psalm 139:8-9). Jonah would learn that there is nowhere to run…and the same for those who refuse to repent and trust in Christ (Rev 20:12-15).

Jonah 2:2 “Saying, “I called out to the Lord, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice.”

When Jonah was inside the belly of a great fish, he thought for sure he was going to die. Some scholars believe that he actually did die but was brought back to life so that he could complete his mission to Nineveh. God wanted Jonah to take the message of repentance to Nineveh and so spared Jonah since we can see from his prayer that he repented of his running from God’s calling.

Matthew 12:40 “For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

Jesus certainly believed in Jonah and his being swallowed by a great fish (not a whale as some translations say) and said, “For as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be to this generation” (Luke 11:30). For those in Judea, Jesus said that “The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here” (Matt 12:41) and “When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation. It seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah” (Luke 11:29). Today, non-believers say that seek a sign but that’s the wrong reason to know God and shows the hardness of their hearts. It’s evil to seek a sign from God.

For-just-as-Jonah-was (1)

Jonah 3:4 “Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”

Jonah finally goes through Nineveh and from the time it took Jonah to preach to the city (a day’s journey), we can see just how huge Nineveh was. Give Jonah credit; he did as he was told. Jonah wasn’t responsible for their repenting but only to preach the need for repentance. It is God alone Who saves but He does give us the great privilege to be part of His means to save others.

Jonah 4:2 “And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.”

Jonah was angry after the city-state repented as it says, “But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry” (Jonah 4:1). Why was Jonah angry? Perhaps it was because God saved a natural enemy of Israel. It’s like praying that the persecutors of Christians might be saved, even though they’ve been murdering them by the millions since the time of Christ. Would we react the same way that Jonah did if a Muslim trusted in Christ? I would hope not.

Jonah 4:10 “And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night.”

God sent a strong wind that destroyed a plant that had been providing shade for Jonah and when the plant died, Jonah again was angry. God used the dying plant as an example by telling Jonah that he was angry that the plant died but wasn’t happy that God spared thousands in Nineveh. How much more value is a human soul than a plant, yet Jonah was angry at the plant dying but not that many would have perished without repenting.

Jonah 4:11 “And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”

The number of people in Nineveh was in the hundreds of thousands and God is telling Jonah that since he had pity on the plant, why not having compassion on the thousands in the city of Nineveh? The “120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left” meant that there were thousands of children in that city too but God even mentions the cattle, showing He cares for the beasts of the field too, even though not as much as for humans.


How many of us run from our calling of God? Do we (and do I) refuse to enter the harvest and be used by God as a means that He might save some? Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh because they were Israel’s archenemy but the truth is, Jesus died for the ungodly, wicked sinners, while yet we were His enemies (Rom 5:6-10). Should we not have the same compassion on the lost, seeing their fate is so horrible (Rev 21:8)?

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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