Gathering Data by Nicole Unice

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Gathering Data
Series: The Divine Pursuit - A Study of Jonah
Week 1: Call - Day 1
Nicole Unice


“THE WORD OF THE LORD CAME TO JONAH SON OF AMITTAI: ‘GO TO THE GREAT CITY OF NINEVEH...’” —JONAH 1:1

SPARK:

Imagine flipping open a beautiful picture book mid-scene. On the page, you see a beautifully dressed princess on the arm of a handsome prince, her teeny feet (how does she balance???) encased in the most dainty little glass slippers (why do princesses have to be so dainty? But I digress....)

Anyway, they gaze into one another’s eyes—the picture of true love.

This makes for a pretty picture but it’s only a small slice of the story. When you know the backstory—Cinderella’s dysfunctional home life, her mysterious run-in with a magical old lady, the pumpkin, the talking animals—the tale really comes to life. The picture of true love is sweet. But it makes for a fairy tale when you know how the story unfolds.

It is the same for scripture. Little fragments here and there might be sweet or inspirational. Occasionally they might even be life-changing. But most of the time, scripture comes to life when you know the backstory, when you spend time with it, and when you wrestle through the truths hidden behind the words.

The purpose of study is to inform our minds, to allow us to think about what is being said in scripture and how we apply it today. With Jonah, we need the backstory. We need the big picture before we examine just one page of the storybook. So today we are taking our first step! Let’s pray. I encourage you to say these words aloud (or whispered) so that you take them to heart:

Lord, I am studying Jonah because I want to know you. I want to know how you desire me to live my life, and how I can experience you in it. Jesus, you have the ability to open the scriptures for us (Luke 24:32). Please give me ears to hear your word today, and help it to stick with me. Amen.

BUILD:

Jonah is a unique book—not quite a story, not quite a prophecy. But it is four chapters that pack a punch! Your homework for this week is also unique. Before answering any questions, I want you to start by asking some of your own. Today you’ll read through the book of Jonah in one sitting. Circle words that stick out, underline parts you wonder about, and write in the margins your initial reaction to Jonah. God has created us with wonderful imaginations. Use the one He’s given you to imagine the sights, the smells, and the sounds of this book.

1. Record your initial impressions of Jonah:

2. Of God:

3. What are some words or themes that you see repeated through the book?

4. What are three (or more) questions you have about the book of Jonah?

1. ____________________________________________________________________________

2. _____________ ...


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