One of my favorite studies in scripture is that of questions. As we try to develop better study techniques, we must pay close attention to what is said in a text, but also to the way it is said. Questions give us insight into what a conversation, a writer, a sermon, or an entire book is trying to get us to focus on.

Jonah is one of my favorite books of the Hebrew Scriptures. It is a relatively short story and a small book (only four chapters). Still, every time I study it, I seem to see something I haven’t seen before. That is the case with this study. As many times as I had studied Jonah, I had never evaluated it from the perspective of the questions. Yet, when you look at it purely from the perspective of the questions, you get so much insight into the book. And we find so many practical applications for each of us today. There are some great evangelism lessons taught in the book of Jonah. And a terrific way to notice them is to study the questions asked in the book and ask those same questions of ourselves.

First, “Why are you sleeping?” (1:7). For Jonah, they were in the middle of a physical crisis in the storm at sea. For us, we are in the middle of a spiritual crisis! Looking around, we see a lack of spiritual concern everywhere and more people on the planet than there have ever been. Now is not the time to slumber. Now is the time to wake up and get to work!

Second, “What is your occupation?” (1:8). For Jonah, they could not figure out that he was a prophet because he was not prophesying. Can people tell we are followers of Jesus, or do they have to ask? If we are not living it, telling it, and inviting them, will they ever know?

Third, “How could you do this?” (1:10). For Jonah, he had put the ones around him in grave danger by not obeying the Lord. If we do not obey the Lord’s commission to teach the Gospel, we are putting the souls around us in eternal danger!

Fourth, “Do you have good reason to be angry?” (4:4). For Jonah, he was angry that the Lord was willing to “relent” from punishing Jonah’s enemies when they repented. What about us? Are we guilty of not wanting to spread the Gospel to people who look different, talk differently, smell differently, or come from different religious backgrounds? As my mentor and friend Wayne Burger would ask, “Are we soil testers or seed sewers?”

Fifth, “Should I not have compassion?” (4:11). God asked Jonah this, pointing out His willingness to forgive even the pagan Gentiles – the enemies of Jonah’s people. God is still wanting and willing to forgive all who would believe and obey Him, no matter who they are. If He is, so should we be!

We must be looking for opportunities to share the love of God and the Good News of His Son with all! We must understand that God wants all to be saved and make that our primary focus as well! Jonah ran away from God and evangelism. When he did get involved in the work God called him to, he wanted it to be his way, not God’s way. We must not run from the job of evangelism! There is too much at stake – Our souls and the souls of those yet to hear the Gospel!

Corey Sawyers
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Corey Sawyers is the preaching minister at the Martin (TN) Church of Christ and an adjunct instructor with Bear Valley Bible Institute. He began preaching at the age of 15, filling in throughout Northwest Tennessee. He has been in full-time ministry since 1998 and has served with congregations in Tennessee and Colorado. He and his wife, Melody, married in 1996, and both are graduates of Bear Valley Bible Institute. They have three sons. Garrett is the youth minister at the Greenfield (TN) Church of Christ and is soon to be married to Bailey Jones. Gordon is the preacher for the Knob Creek Church of Christ in Dukedom, TN, and is soon to be married to Lauren Kelly. Gannon is still at home and wants to go into ministry when he grows up. Corey loves his family, ministry, the Tennessee Vols, the Andy Griffith Show, drinking coffee, and banana pudding.