Disclaimer: New Growth Press (www.newgrowthpress.com) has sponsored this post by providing me a free copy of the book for review. I was not required to write a positive post. All opinions are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC guidelines.
Last week, I completed another Bible study, this time on the book of Jonah. Titled Jonah: Grace For Sinners And Saints, this study is a part of the series The Gospel-Centered Life In The Bible and is written by Iain M. Duguid. Did you read my review of the study of Mark? This one is very similar and was just as interesting.
What It Is
Jonah: Grace For Sinners And Saints is a 119 page softback book. It is designed as a small group Bible study with the overarching purpose of not just learning about Jonah but to discover God and his saving grace and power. It is also designed to help the student learn to see others who need God and share God with them, as Jonah did with the Ninevites. It is best if each participant has their own study guide. While designed for discussion and small groups or Bible classes, I found it easy enough to use individually and was able to learn a lot on my own.
The guide is set up with an introduction (About This Study), ten chapters, and leader’s notes. Each chapter is structured the same throughout. The first part of each lesson introduces the Big Idea for that chapter. This Big Idea might be about disappointment, judgment, or response to God’s call for repentance.
Next there is a Bible Conversation. This is a short section that has the student opening up their Bible and reading the text directly from God, hearing what the Bible says. There are some questions included to help the student start to understand the Big Idea of the chapter. These questions are not designed for right and wrong answers, but rather to generate discussion.
The article follows the Bible Conversation and is the main teaching part of the lesson. It is an article written by the author to address the Big Idea from the Bible text included in the lesson. Designed to be read out loud, it is the lead in for the discussion about the article and Big Idea. There are some discussion questions at the end of this section to help guide the process.
Following the article the study turns to practical application. These Exercise sections are designed to get the student really thinking about how to apply to their own life what was talked about in the lesson. These exercises may be questions to answer, lists to complete, boxes to check, or an activity to do. Each of the exercises make the study very personal and applicable. In Jonah, it really forces the student to evaluate whether they are running from God, whether they are sharing God’s message with the unsaved, whether bitterness exists in their own life, and more. This is where it gets real.
To end the study, there is a guided wrap-up and prayer.
All of these sections are complemented by the Leader’s Notes. These notes may include historical information, ideas to consider to help guide discussions, or give additional Bible references that will help understand the ideas considered. The notes do not give “right or wrong” answers but rather information to assist in discerning God’s way from His word.
What I Thought
Once again, I really like the way this is set up. I appreciate that the Bible is the dominant text referred to in the study and that the author’s article expounds upon that without replacing it. So often, we find the author’s words being the focus rather than God’s words. This series seems to be doing a great job of keeping the focus where it should be: God’s Word. I do wish the Leader’s Notes were integrated with the chapters, though I understand why they are not. If I was a participant in a group study, I think I would like them being at the back. However, doing the study as an individual, the notes being at the back means I often forget about them when doing each section so I lose out on that information being helpful to me.
Since this is an Old Testament book, there is not as much of a discussion about the process of salvation for you and me but rather the process of God sending his message of necessary repentance to Ninevah. The focus of the study of Jonah is more on the power and sovereignty of God, the need for repentance, and understanding the nature of God rather than on the element of eternal salvation through the New Testament covenant. I did not note anything of concern in this study.
I do really like this series so far. I have one more to review from this series: Ruth. I am looking forward to starting the study this evening.
Be sure to visit New Growth Press, who has sponsored this post by providing me a free copy of the book for review. I was not required to write a positive post. All opinions are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC guidelines.
Lori, At Home.