Distinguished theologian and former pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York Timothy Keller has released a new book focused on the Old Testament Book of Jonah.
Titled The Prodigal Prophet: Jonah and the Mystery of God's Mercy and released earlier this month, the book examines important lessons about the Bible book and draws a parallel between Jonah and Jesus' parable about the Prodigal Son.
"Jonah's journey also doesn't end when he is freed from the belly of the fish. There is an entire second half to his story—but it is left unresolved within the text of the Bible. Why does the book of Jonah end on what is essentially a cliffhanger?" noted the book's Amazon description.
"In these pages, Timothy Keller provides an answer to the extraordinary conclusion of this biblical parable—and shares the powerful Christian message at the heart of Jonah's story."
Here are eight thought-provoking quotes from The Prodigal Prophet, followed by their respective page number. They include a host of issues involving Jonah, how to treat people of different faiths, and justified criticism.
All quotes are reprinted from THE PRODIGAL PROPHET: Jonah and the Mystery of God's Mercy, by Timothy Keller. Published on October 2, 2018 by Viking, an imprint of the Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © Timothy Keller, 2018.
Jonah and the Whale
"... the text does not show evidence of the author having made up the miracle account. A fiction writer ordinarily adds supernatural elements in order to create excitement or spectacle and to capture reader attention, but this writer doesn't capitalize on the event at all in that way. The fish is mentioned only in two brief verses and there are no descriptive details. It is reported more as a simple fact of what happened." (4)
An Unlikely Prophet
"The original readers of the book of Jonah would have remembered him as intensely patriotic, a highly partisan nationalist. And they would have been amazed that God would send a man like that to preach to the very people he most feared and hated." (12)
God Extends Mercy
"Jonah runs and runs. But even though he uses multiple strategies, the Lord is always a step ahead. God varies his strategies too, and continually extends mercy to us in new ways, even though we neither understand nor deserve it." (21)
"We cannot treat our bodies indifferently and still expect to have good health. We cannot treat people indifferently and expect to maintain their friendship." (24)
Respecting People Who Are Different
"God wants us to treat people of different races and faiths in a way that is respectful, loving, generous, and just." (32)
"We deserve the critique of the world if the church does not exhibit visible love in practical deeds. The captain had every right to rebuke a believer who was oblivious to the problems of the people around him and doing nothing for them." (38)
Respectful of Non-Christians
"Christians should be humble and respectful toward those who do not share their faith." (41)
An Angry God
"Many today find the idea of an angry God to be distasteful, even though modern people agree widely that to be passionate for justice does entail rightful anger." (65)