Sunday, April 20, 2014

Review of JONAH: GOD'S SCANDALOUS MERCY by Kevin Youngblood

Title: Jonah: God's Scandalous Mercy
Author: Kevin Youngblood
Publisher: Zondervan
What It's About: Jonah is a commentary on the biblical book of Jonah in Zondervan's new Hearing the Message of Scripture commentary series. This commentary, along with others in the series, is focused on interpreting the Hebrew language, tracing the author's thoughts and arguments as presented in the book, and revealing how modern day believers should see the book of Jonah as applying to them today.
What I Liked About It: The commentary has a great overall format in the way that it presents the biblical text, breaks it down, and outlines its structure. Jonah is one of the most interesting books of the Bible, and I enjoyed the the author breaks the text down both in terms of the events it records and the literary approach the author takes in communicating the events. This includes parts that are straight narrative and parts that are in poetic form. The author states the way some of the events of the story are also symbolic of something else. For example, the Jews often understood Jonah's three days and nights in the belly of a fish as a journey into and out of death. The author also shows the parallels between the story of Jonah and Jesus' story, particularly Jesus' calming of the storm, his wrestling in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane while the disciples slept, and, of course, Jesus' death and resurrection three days later. I also enjoyed the author's discussion of the role of divine and human freedom in the response of the people of Ninevah. Overall, this is a helpful little commentary for anyone studying the book of Jonah and wanting to know how it fits into the redemptive narrative of Scripture and how it applies to us today.

Review copy provided by Zondervan, courtesy of AcademicPS
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