A Gracious and Compassionate God: Mission, Salvation and Spirituality in the Book of Jonah, By Daniel C. Timmer alt

A Gracious and Compassionate God

Mission, Salvation and Spirituality in the Book of Jonah

New Studies in Biblical Theology


by Daniel C. Timmer
Series edited by D. A. Carson

A Gracious and Compassionate God
  • Length: 201 pages
  • Published: March 11, 2016
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 8969
  • ISBN: 9780830889693

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The book of Jonah is arguably just as jarring for us as it was for the ancients. Ninevah's repentance, Jonah's estrangement from God and the book's bracing moral conclusion all pose unsettling questions for today's readers.

For biblical theologians, Jonah also raises tough questions regarding mission and religious conversion. Here, Daniel Timmer embarks on a new reading of Jonah in order to secure its ongoing relevance for biblical theology. After an examination of the book?s historical backgrounds (in both Israel and Assyria), Timmer discusses the biblical text in detail, paying special attention to redemptive history and its Christocentric orientation. Timmer then explores the relationship between Israel and the nations—including the question of mission—and the nature of religious conversion and spirituality in the Old Testament.

This New Studies in Biblical Theology volume concludes with an injunction for scholars and lay readers to approach Jonah as a book written to facilitate spiritual change in the reader.

Addressing key issues in biblical theology, the works comprising New Studies in Biblical Theology are creative attempts to help Christians better understand their Bibles. The NSBT series is edited by D. A. Carson, aiming to simultaneously instruct and to edify, to interact with current scholarship and to point the way ahead.

"Daniel Timmer's volume is exceptional: it engages in a close reading of much of Jonah, but keeps one eye peeled for legitimate canonical ties with what we would today call the mission of God. Dr. Timmer thinks and writes clearly and succinctly, and biblical and theological issues come alive. This is a book to cherish."

D. A. Carson

"This book is highly recommended for laypeople, students, and ministers who desire to move beyond the flat reading of Jonah found in much popular-level Christian literature."

Jerry Hwang, ThemeliosNovember 2012


Series preface
Author's preface
What is the book of Jonah?
Approaching the book of Jonah

1. The nations and mission in Jonah
The nations
Israel between universalism and mission
A definition of mission in the Old Testament
Mission in Jonah?
Mission from Pentecost onward
Evaluating contemporary approaches to mission
Mission and the priority of the gospel

2. Conversion and spirituality in Jonah and in biblical theology
Conversion in biblical theology and in Jonah
Abram?s faith
Abram?s repentance
Conversion elsewhere in the Old Testament
Approaching conversion in Jonah
Spirituality in biblical theology and in Jonah
The possibility of a unified biblical spirituality
Approaching spirituality in Jonah

3. Looking into Jonah 1
Meeting the main characters
Initial identities and contrasts
Identities clarified and remade
The aftermath of the storm

4. Looking into Jonah 2
Yahweh prepares a fish
Jonah prays
Jonah is saved from drowning

5. Looking into Jonah 3
Assyria in the eighth century bc
Nineveh in the eighth century bc
Jonah?s message
The response of the Ninevites
The limits of Nineveh?s repentance
The response of Nineveh?s king
Who was Nineveh?s king?
Nineveh?s repentance in context
How does God ?relent??
God?s justice and his relenting

6. Looking into Jonah 4
Jonah?s anger against Yahweh
The root of Jonah?s anger: God?s gracious character
The fruit of Jonah?s anger: life with God impossible
Yahweh?s first response to Jonah?s anger
Jonah?s anger over his discomfort
Yahweh?s second response to Jonah?s anger

7. Conclusions
Christocentric interpretation and application
Sin and its consequences in Jonah
Judgment and salvation in the Day of the Lord
Jonah, mission and the gospel
Jonah, conversion and spirituality, and the gospel
Jonah, imitation of God, and the gospel
Mission, Christ-conformity and our triune God

Index of modern authors
Index of Scripture references
Index of ancient sources


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Daniel C. Timmer is professor of biblical studies for the PhD program at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Professeur d’Ancien Testament, Faculté de théologie évangélique, Montréal, Québec. His books include The Non-Israelite Nations in the Book of the Twelve, A Gracious and Compassionate God (NSBT) and Nahum (ZECOT).

D. A. Carson

D. A. Carson is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois.