“Shuv” in Jonah: First lesson with youngest children at Ephesus School

Our youngest students, ages 6 and younger, enacted “shuv” from the story of Jonah. They traced the Hebrew letters for “shuv” which means “to turn or repent.” We have many characters turning in the story of Jonah: from the seamen who turned to Jonah’s God, to the large fish who turned Jonah around from Tarshish and delivered him to the shore of Ninevah, to the people of Ninevah who turned from their evil way, and even God who “repented of the evil which he said he would do to them; and he did not do it.” (Jonah 3:10)
We find that repentance may have less to do with the feeling in our hearts, and more to do with the direction of our feet and our action.
If you would like to join your children in their memory work, we are attempting to memorize chapter 2.


  1. This is excellent. You are exposing children to the literal language of the Bible and its practical mentality. In modernity, we tend associate repentance with “feeling sorry,” as though our feelings can undo the harm we’ve caused others. It’s the literal change in our actions–the redirection of our footsteps–that counts.

  2. I got a great question from Jeremy that relates to Hollie’s post:

    >>Isn’t the value in any action (or thought for that matter) contingent upon
    >>the intent which is springing forth from the heart?

    In the Bible, behavior governed by instruction shapes the heart and changes man’s intent. So, in effect, biblical repentance works in reverse of our commonplace assumptions about the role of ideas and feelings. We talk as though having the correct idea about something will heal us, as though our idea of basketball is responsible for our shooting average. In reality, our shooting average is the result of coaching and practice or the lack thereof. Likewise, in modern education, we utter platitudes about “method” and learning “how” to think without actually diving into the source material. It’s like teaching people “how” to swim without getting into the water. Repentance works the same way. You have to actually do it. Hence the biblical imperative, “do this, and you shall live.”

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