Jonah - Concordia Commentary

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Dr. Lessing interprets the narrative of Jonah as true history that reveals the God of Israel as gracious toward all who repent and believe in him in his Concordia Commentary on Jonah.
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In This Volume

Jonah is a little book with a big impact. Christ references story of this defiant prophet as a type of his own three day death and resurrection, and no scene is more common in early Christian art that Jonah and the fish. In this commentary, Dr. Reed Lessing provides an original translation and a critical focus on Jonah as a true historical narrative, assumed by Christ Himself. Ironically, Jonah the Israelite begrudges God’s abundant grace, while Gentiles are converted to saving faith through the power of the preached Word. Lessing interprets Jonah as a faithful an example of repentance, God’s grace, and the problems of pride in Christian life.


  • A history of interpretation on Jonah
  • An exploration of Jonah as both a true historical narrative and a satire of typical prophetic works

Additional Essays

  • When Yaweh Changes a Verdict
  • The Sign of Jonah in the New Testament
  • Jonah: Fact of Fiction

About the Author

Dr. R. Reed Lessing serves as Senior Pastor at Saint Michael Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Previously, he was a professor of exegetical theology and director of the graduate school at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri. He studied at St. John’s College, Winfield, Kansas (B.A.), and Concordia Seminary (M. Div., S.T.M., Ph.D.).


"Lessing supports well his case for Jonah being satire with irony. Jonah does the exact opposite of what the Lord gives Him to do. He shows great pastoral care in seeing and applying both law and gospel in Jonah. Significant Luther quotes abound. Look for numerous references to preaching, the pastoral office, the sacraments, and even the liturgy. The Lord is the God who delivers. Jesus is the One greater than Jonah."

Paul J. Cain, Senior Pastor at Immanuel, Sheridan Wyoming, Headmaster of martin Luther Grammar School and Immanuel Academy in Liturgy, Hymnody, & Pulpit Quarterly Book Review Vol. 1 Issue 4.

About the series

The Concordia Commentary Series: A Theological Exposition of Sacred Scripture is written to enable pastors and teachers of the Word to proclaim the Gospel with greater insight, clarity, and faithfulness to the divine intent of the Biblical text.

The series will cover all the canonical books of the Old and New Testament, with an original translation and meticulous grammatical analysis of the Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek of each text. The foremost interpretive lens centers on the unified proclamation of the person and work of Christ across every Scriptural book.

The Commentary fully affirms the divine inspiration, inerrancy, and authority of Scripture; Each passage bears witness to the confession that God has reconciled the world to Himself through the incarnation, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ His Son.

Authors expose the rich treasury of language, imagery, and thematic content of the Scripture, while supplementing their work with additional research in archaeology, history, and extrabiblical literature. Throughout, God’s Word emanates from authors careful attention and inculcates the ongoing life of the Church in Word, Sacrament, and daily confession.

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Books of BibleJonah
Section of BibleOld Testament, Prophetic Books
Biblical PeopleJonah

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