The Bible is a conversation. Some books seem to be responses to other books. Even within some books it seems that one section was written in response to another, or is offered as a balance or corrective.
You can't take the Proverbs seriously unless you also read the book of Job
Joshua needs Judges and both need Ruth
Matthew without Mark Luke and John leaves an incomplete picture
One interesting example of this kind of inter-canonical dialog is found through the book of Jonah. Many scholars have argued that the book of Jonah represents a critique of Israelite prophecy as a whole.
In many ways he best demonstrates what a false prophet looks like rather then a true prophet. Consider the following.
- He is uncritically PRO- ISRAEL
- He is reluctant
- He is disobedient to a direct mission from God
- He whines about discomfort
- He would rather fail and see the Lord kill his enemies then see God's mercy against the Ninivites
- He is difficult to even talk to
In Jonah God is the real hero, NOT the prophet.
I think it's interesting that it is Jonah that Jesus uses as a sign for his authority; of all the prophets only Jonah is completely dependent on God for his success. I like that. It shows that there might even be hope for me.