Jonah 3:5-10

Talks for Growing Christians

Nineveh Repents at the Preaching of Jonah

Jonah 3:5-10

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Lesson Number 7

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. When people believe God, they turn from their wicked ways.
  2. When people turn from their wicked ways, God withholds His judgment.

Practical Application

  1. You’d be surprised who might listen to you.


  1. What happened when Jonah preached to Nineveh?
  2. How does this relate to Matthew 12:40 and Luke 24:46?
  3. List the four factors that God used to soften up the people of Nineveh to receive Jonah’s message.
  4. Explain the difference between a revival and a spiritual awakening.
  5. Was this true conversion or only a temporary turning way from evil?
  6. Did Jesus believe it was true conversion?
  7. What is meant by sackcloth and ashes?


  1. The entire population of the city, from the king down, repented.
  2. It was confirmation by the Lord Jesus that the preaching of Jonah was one of the great events in all the history of the New Testament.
  3. a. the economy was down and God allows hard times to soften up hard-hearted people b. devastating plagues had swept through Nineveh c. an eclipse occurred, considered by the ancients as an agent of divine intervention and divine wrath d. the appearance of Jonah himself after having been in the fish
  4. A revival is for people who are already believers, but need to be revived (like those who are backslidden, apathetic and lukewarm). A spiritual awakening, on the other hand, refers to unbelievers who become converted. They were spiritually dead, but have been awakened from the dead through the preaching of the word of God.
  5. It was a true conversion that this generation did believe in the one true God, and they repented and turned from their wicked ways. See Jonah 3:5.
  6. Yes. See Matthew 12:41.
  7. Sackcloth and ashes were outward symbols of inner repentance.


  1. When people believe God, they turn from their wicked ways. The spiritual awakening in Jonah’s day was unprecedented in history. As many as 600,000 people were converted. Could a spiritual awakening happen today? Discuss.
  2. When people turn from their wicked ways, realizing and responding to the grace of God, He relents and withholds judgment. This happened to Nineveh. Could it happen in our country today?


  1. Jonah might have thought that none of the Ninevites would listen to his message. They were pagan Assyrians, known in the ancient world for their cruel and wicked ways. Do you discount some people because they are wicked and seem to be indifferent to the gospel? Continue in your witness, because it could mean salvation for a seemingly hard-hearted person.

Key Verses

  • “So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them.” Jonah 3:5
  • “God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.” Jonah 3:10

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