What are some of the truths we can learn about sin and suffering if we limit our thinking and teaching to only chapter 1 of Jonah? Here are a few ideas you might share with your class. I believe you and your class can find other truths in Jonah 1 to think and talk about too.
First, God wants to save sinners: (the Ninevites and the sailors).
Second, some people do not want “the worst” sinners saved (Jonah).
Third, sometimes we suffer because someone else has sinned (the sailors).
Fourth, sometimes we suffer because we have sinned (Jonah).
Fifth, receiving a warning implies the possibility of making necessary changes with the possibility of being saved (the severe storm, not immediate destruction and death).
Sixth, those who suffer from the sins of others can be benefited (the sailors were saved and came to know about, believe in, pray to, and worship the true God.
Seventh, God will discipline His children to enable and encourage them to do what is right and obey God.
You might ask this question of your class to get their ideas first, and then share with them any of the above ideas that you find helpful.
If you look beyond Jonah 1 to the rest of the Bible in discussiing this issue, you will probably be involved in discussion the entire class period!
May God bless your Bible study and teaching!