NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week’s Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.

Bible Passage: Jonah 2:1-10

Discussion Questions:

  • What is the most outrageous result you have ever experienced because of a decision you made?
  • What does it mean to repent? What does it mean, after repenting, to acknowledge the Savior?
  • When you sin, how difficult is it for you to repent? What does it take to get you to repent?

Food for thought:

‘Tis the season. Christmas surrounds us. Lights, music, decorations, treats, festivities. We sing “Joy to the World” and hear messages about the angels’ glad tidings and the reasons for hope that came with the Babe in the manger.

Isaiah 7:14 tells us the virgin would conceive and the Child would be called Immanuel, which Matthew quoted and translated for us as “God is with us” (Matthew 1:23). Isaiah tells us He would also be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, and Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). The angel told Joseph that Jesus would “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). What could be more joyful than that?

But in our excitement over the birth of Jesus, we can easily overlook the reality that the joy He came to bring to the world only comes forth through repentance. John the Baptist (Matthew 3:2), Jesus (Matthew 4:17), the disciples (Mark 6:12), the apostle Paul (Acts 17:30) and the risen Jesus (Revelation 2:5) all called for people to repent.

In “Running from Mercy,” pastor and author Anthony J. Carter leads us to investigate the journey from misery to mercy through the experiences of the prophet Jonah.

You know Jonah’s story. In rebellion he tried to run from God, found himself on a ship in a violent storm, and acknowledged to the sailors that he was to blame for the storm (Jonah 1:12). Rather than blame others, Jonah “fessed up” to his sin. Once thrown overboard, somewhere in the depths of the Mediterranean Sea inside the belly of a large fish, Jonah acknowledged his sin to God and cried out for mercy (Jonah 2).

With his repentance, his promise to fulfill what he had vowed, and his proclamation that “salvation belongs to the LORD,” Jonah not only acknowledged his sin, but he also acknowledged his Savior. God commanded the fish to vomit Jonah onto the shore. Jonah moved from the misery of being fish food to the mercy of another chance to be obedient. It wasn’t Jonah’s preference, but he considered it better than remaining in his “Sea bnb.” May repentance not be so difficult for us.


MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at Lifeway.com/masterwork.

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  • Staff/Lifeway Christian Resources