Our kids likely know the Sunday School version of the story of Jonah. But do they know how the story really ends – after the infamous three nights in the fish’s belly? Here’s why you should consider taking the whole family through a Jonah Bible Study.
Taking the time to disciple our kids while they’re still in our home is our duty and delight as Christian parents. This looks different depending on the ages of your kids.
In the young years, the children’s Bible storybook is the main go-to for giving them a foundation of the main characters and storylines of the Bible. You might include songs to help them memorize verses or doctrine.
But when our kids get a bit older, and the Sunday School versions of Bible stories seem too overdone, they’re ready to deep dive into Scripture.
But have we given them the tools?
Using a daily (or several times a week) family Bible time to teach our kids how to study the Bible and understand it is a treasure and a spiritual life skill that will stay with them into adulthood.
So, maybe you are already convinced of the value of family discipleship – even if you didn’t grow up in a family that modeled it for you very well (or at all).
I’d like to propose that Jonah is a great book to start with in your family discipleship journey.
If you’ve been taking your kids to church since they were young or reading Bible storybooks to them, then they undoubtedly know the story of Jonah. Cute pictures of Jonah and the whale are on coloring pages and Bible-themed gear.
But is the story of Jonah all about Jonah? Does the story have a happy ending? Is Jonah truly obedient and submissive after his time in the belly of the fish?
The beauty of studying the whole book of Jonah, rather than simply retelling a Sunday School version of the plotline, is that you will get the whole context. And in the end, Jonah is a grumpy prophet who isn’t thrilled to see the character of God on display for the nations.
But the book does give us hopeful evidences of a loving and merciful God who is also sovereign over nature and nations. Those of us who are not Jewish can be thankful that God is merciful to Gentiles when they repent!
Instead of focusing on Jonah, try to read through this book as a family and focus on God’s character. Because He is truly the main character in this book.
Jonah is also a wonderful book to study together as a family because it is a narrative – a story that will hold the attention of even your younger kids! And, let’s face it, sometimes we all can identify with a grumpy prophet.
Studies for the Whole Family
If you’re not in the habit of reading through books of the Bible as a family, now is a great time to start!
You can download a FREE Inductive Bible study template to give you a guide to follow through any passage.
Or, if you want more structure and help, you can find Family Bundles of Inductive Bible Studies through several books of the Bible, including Jonah.
Fun fact: Do you know what happened to Nineveh about 100 years after the preaching of Jonah? That’s what the book of Nahum is about! Your kids who are studying ancient history will be able to fit the timeline of Jonah & Nahum right into their world history timeline.
Download FREE samples of these inductive Bible studies at 4onemore.com/samples so you can try them out without a big commitment!
Additional Bible Study Resources
- Family Bible Study through James
- How to Use Narration in Bible Study
- FREE Printable Bible Study for Kids
- FREE Minor Prophets Printable Pack
Abby is a former public school teacher, now homeschooling her five children. She’s in the trenches just like you and knows it can be challenging to be home with your kids all day while you struggle to keep up with the housework and educate your kids (and maybe even work on the side!). She blogs over at www.4onemore.com and hosts the Homeschool with Moxie podcast.