During last Sunday’s service, the pastor preached about Jonah to help us learn that we should always be keen about God’s calling and be ready to follow His instructions. During our weekly Bible study, we decided to dig deeper into this fascinating story. Since everyone knew who he was, we opened our discussion with the questions, “What does the name Jonah mean, and how many times is Jonah mentioned in the Bible?”
The number of times the name Jonah is mentioned differs in various translations. For example, the New King James Version mentions it 30 times, 18 times in the Old Testament and 12 times in the New Testament. The New International Version mentions the mane 27 times, 18 times in the Old Testament and 9 times in the New Testament. The Good News Translation mentions it 27 times, 20 times in the Old Testament and 7 times in the New Testament. The King James Version mentions it 17 times in the Old Testament only.
This article will look into the topic of Jonah, and will try to answer questions such as the biblical meaning of the name, his importance in the Gospels, what he is famous for, how he appears in the New Testament, and the lessons God taught him. Keep reading to get these answers and know some bible verses about Jonah.
What Is The Biblical Meaning Of The Name Jonah?
The name Jonah means dove. Jonah was Amittai’s son who came from Gath-Hepher in Zebulun. He was one of the earliest prophets, and his deeds are told in the short but powerful book of Jonah, that only has 48 verses.
The Importance of the Jonah in the Gospels
Jonah is important in the Gospels because Jesus uses his story as a metaphor for what would befall him. In Matthew 12:39, Jesus was angry at the people and called them godless and evil because they still did not believe that he was the Son of God and continued asking for a miracle to prove his claim. Jesus told them that the only miracle they would get was that of Jonah. In Matthew 12:40, Jesus continues to tell the people that just as Jonah spent three days and nights swallowed by a fish, he would also spend the same time in the depth of the earth. Here, Jesus uses the sign of Jonah as a metaphor for his future, where he would be betrayed, crucified, buried, and resurrect in three days, just as Jonah had stayed in the fish’s stomach.
In Matthew 12:41, Jesus tells the Pharisees that the people of Nineveh would condemn them on the day of judgment because they heard Jonah’s preaching and turned from evil, while the Pharisees continued to doubt Jesus even after witnessing his miracles.
What was Jonah famous for in the Bible?
Jonah was famous for disobeying God. Jonah 1:3 explains how God spoke to Jonah, asking him to go to Nineveh and preach the word of God since the inhabitants had become wicked. Instead of Jonah heeding the voice of God, he went in the opposite direction to run away from God. He went to Joppa and boarded a ship to be as far away as possible from the Lord and the city He was sending him.
Jonah despised the people of Nineveh since they were Israel’s enemies and did not agree with God’s plan of forgiving their sins. Even though he agreed to go to Nineveh, he was very angry because of God’s mercy on the city.
Biblical references About Jonah
There are different verses in the Bible about Jonah, with the New King James Version having the most accounts with 30 verses.
Most of the verses about Jonah are in the book of Jonah, with only a few in other books. 2 Kings 14:25 mentions Jonah when what God had promised Israel through him came to pass.
Jonah 1:1 and Jonah 1:3 explain how God spoke To Jonah, but he ran away from Him since he did not want to go to Nineveh. Jonah 1:7, Jonah 1:9, Jonah 1:10, Jonah 1:12, and Jonah 1:17 explains what transpired at the sea. Jonah was swallowed by a big fish and stayed in its stomach for three days and three nights.
Jonah 3:1, Jonah 3:3, and Jonah 3:4 explain how Jonah finally obeyed God and went to warn the people of Nineveh of the coming destruction if they did not repent. Jonah 4:5 through Jonah 4:9 explains Jonah’s anger toward God for saving Nineveh.
How does Jonah appear in the New Testament?
Jonah appears in the New Testament in Matthew 12:39 when the Pharisees demanded a miracle from Jesus. He also appears in Luke 11:29, which is also about the people demanding for a sign that Jesus was indeed the son of God. Here, Jesus tells them that the only sign they would see was the sign of Jonah. This has been interpreted to mean the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that took place in three days, just as Jonah spent three days in the fish’s stomach.
What lesson does God teach Jonah?
The main lesson that God teaches Jonah is that He loves all his creation regardless of their sins. Jonah was angry with God for forgiving Nineveh despite being a wicked city. God wanted the Ninevites to be saved as long as they repented.
God also teaches Jonah that He is sovereign and controls everything, including the sea, animals, and plants. When Jonah was running away from God, He caused havoc in the sea and commanded a big fish to swallow him. God also commanded a plant to grow in Jonah 4:9 to provide him with shade.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.