Saturday, April 19, 2014
Jonah & the Great Fish
Jonah is found in the Old Testament, towards the back, in the book called Jonah. It is only four chapters long but tells us a lot about Jonah and teaches us to do what God wants and not what we want. God told Jonah to go to Nineveh. Go said it is a great city, but it is wicked.

Jonah decided to run from God, and he found a ship that was going to Tarshish. He paid his fare and went into the bottom of the ship.
But God sent a great wind out onto the sea, and the ship felt like it was going to be broken apart! The sailors were afraid, and they started throwing the cargo overboard. They wanted to lighten the ship. Jonah was at the bottom of the ship, in a deep sleep, while this was going on.

The captain went to Jonah and said, “Get up, call on your God and maybe He will hear you and save us!” The sailors tried to figure out why the trouble had come to them. Jonah told them that he was a Hebrew; he worshipped God who made the heavens and the seas. They were really afraid when Jonah told them that he was trying to run from God. Now, the sea was getting even rougher, and they asked Jonah “what should we do?” Jonah told them to “Pick me up and throw me into the sea and the sea will become calm again.”
The men tried to row to the land, but the waves were too rough.  They cried to God “Please don’t make us die for this man that isn’t pleasing you.” They picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea!  Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah.
And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. What kind? God created a great fish, and we are not told what kind. Jonah 1:17 Jonah prayed to God while he was in the fish’s belly.
Then the Bible says that God spoke to the fish, and it spit Jonah out onto dry ground.
God went to Jonah a second time and told him to go to Nineveh to preach the message that God would tell him to. What do you think Jonah did this time? He went to Nineveh! It took three days to walk around Nineveh, it was so big! On the first day, he shouted out “Nineveh will be overthrown in 40 days!”

The people believed God and they fasted. Even the king proclaimed that everyone, even the animals, could not eat or drink and they had to turn from their evil ways. Maybe God would not be so angry, and they wouldn’t die. God saw that they changed their evil ways and did not bring death to them.
Jonah became angry. He didn’t understand why God saved Nineveh and he said, “It’d be better for me to die than to live!” God asked him “Is it right for you to be angry?” Jonah went outside to the east of the city and made a shelter. He sat under the shade watching the city.
God made a plant, and it went up over Jonah and provided shade for him and he was thankful for the shade. But the next morning, God made a worm, and it ate at the plant, and it shrunk. When the sun rose, and God made a violent east wind blow over Jonah, he felt faint.  God asked Jonah, “Is it right for you to be upset about the plant, that you didn’t make grow and only lived for one night. But I shouldn’t have pity on the great city Nineveh and the more than 120,000 people that live there and their animals?”
I used this project during the lesson. I had the booklets put together and attached to the fish before class. I printed the black & white fish onto colored cardstock. You can let them add sea stickers to the paper or let them cut out the fish if you'd like. Click here to print.

Click here to download the worksheet.
Click here to download the full-page updated color visuals here.
All are not shown.

Click here to download the pictures to color.
These are the same as the visuals but are black & white.
Bible Verse:  Jonah 1:17
Click here for Jonah printables to make your own bulletin board!
Jonah visual for this lesson. My husband made the boat, we broke up small pieces of wood, painted small pieces of dowel rod to look like stuff they would throw overboard. Also, small plastic fish. The large fish and Jonah are from Dollar Tree. And at the bottom is a large piece of blue felt to look like water.

About the fish: We don’t know what kind; we know it was a great fish.  (I looked up 27 versions of this scripture, and all versions translated as great, large, huge, big, etc. fish. Not one whale to be found in the OT. Jesus mentions Jonah in Matt. 12:40. The translators for the original Greek didn't have a word for 'ketos' [large sea creature]. Another Greek word for fish in the Greek was 'dahg'. So, in Matthew's account, ASV, CEB, DRA, and KJV translate as whale, but it is not a correct translation. Could be a sea creature, shark or a whale, but God created a specific water animal for Jonah. More info here.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission.


  1. Great lesson. Thanks for sharing with After School!

  2. What a fun way to teach about Jonah! We appreciate you linking up to The Thoughtful Spot!

  3. I am seriously coming to your blog whenever I have little ones around!!

  4. Debbie,
    I have been using your lessons for my 2 homeschool kids. You have been such a blessing in our home and the kids just love your ideas! Thanks so much

  5. Great lesson!! Pinned it to my Jonah folder! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!

  6. So, so thankful for your curriculm and your willingness to share! You have blessed my life as a teacher at church! Thank you for all you do!


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