TMW Book Reviews

Beyond the Whale

by Chad Groen

When Jonah set upon a path to Tarshish, ignoring all the warning signs, he was about to become the protagonist of one of the most often-spoken stories in the Bible: suddenly, a huge whale finds a snack in poor Jonah and swallows him whole.

Three days later, by the Grace of God, the man is set free. We can find it all in the chapters of the Book of Jonah – but can we really say that is all there is to the tale?

In Jonah: Beyond the Whale, author Chad Groen presents us with a very introspective reflection to the verses of the Book, demonstrating that the salvation provided by the Lord onto Jonah’s terrible fate is but one of many miracles that have been woven in the words among the Word. The Gentile sailors desperately cling to their gods as a storm of divine proportions hits the vessel.

Jonah, in his rebellious ways of ignoring God’s orders, doesn’t really think he is responsible for the rage that descends onto them until the very last minute. And then chaos reaches its peak – you know how it goes.

Again, the story is famous, but is it really well-known? As I read Jonah: Beyond the Whale, I was brought to see the different messages within the Book, such as: following God’s command without faltering; being true to your word; the weakness (and arrogance) of human nature and unwavering faith. Groen invites us to partake in his reflection with an open heart and an avidly critical eye, and mirrors Jonah’s hardship to several of which we face in life, and how we can learn from it. Spiritual growth as a Christian was literally in my hands when I was reading, because the author interacts with the reader by offering principles and values from the Bible as a whole and also poses questions that left me thinking for longer than the book lasted, since it is a short read. Highly recommended for people who want to go further in their studies of the Bible, and since Groen writes in a very wholesome style, Jonah: Beyond the Whale is also a very welcome intro/accompaniment for the Book itself.

– The Moving Words Review

Official Entry: The Most Moving Book Award, Jan. 3, 2022


About the Author

Chad Groen has an editorial background with multiple Christian book publishers. He has worked for Our Daily Bread Ministries as a copy editor and also for Zondervan as a proofreader. While working at Zondervan, he also wrote a devotion for the “New Men’s Devotional Bible.” He’s been a Christian for most of his life and has gone to church his entire life. He and his wife Kristy are foster parents and live in Wyoming, Michigan, with their son, Zacchaeus.

“There are a few messages in my book, but the most dominant is to obey God and serve him. He has us on this earth for a purpose, so when he calls us to do something we need to be obedient and do what he tells us,” said Groen in an interview with The Moving Words. “I used to be an assistant editor for Our Daily Bread Ministries and also a proofreader for Zondervan. Over the years I’ve found the book of Jonah to be a fun book to read and study. I’ve also heard pastors preach about it and done a Bible study on it,” he added.