BACKGROUND INFORMATION: During the time between Adam and Noah, mankind lived without God’s law. Their only law was “the Golden Rule” which says: In everything, treat others as you would want them to treat you (Matt.7:12). Noah had to wait for sons to be born much longer than other men at that time. He was already 500 years old when three boys were born to him (5:28-32).
6:5-7 and 11-12.
- How do you think everyday life was in the world described in verses 5,11 and12?
- Compare the time of Noah with our own time.
- What do you think about how God is depicted in verses 6-7?
- Do you think people were violent, because they didn’t know the law of God, or for some other reason?
- How should Christians try to stem the flood of violence in our day?
- Why did God decide to destroy even animals along with human beings (7,13)?
6:8-10. In verse 9 there are two Hebrew words describing Noah: righteous (tsaddik) and blameless (tamim). Righteousness is one of the most important words in the Bible. It means a person who is acceptable in God’s sight.
- Read carefully verses 8-9 and try to picture in your mind Noah’s relation to God and to his neighbours. What can you say about it?
- Was Noah righteous because of his faith or because of his behaviour? Give your reasons.
- Think of how Noah had been able to keep his faith intact among such depravity.
- How do you think Noah’s contemporaries felt about him?
6:13-16. The total area of the ark was 10000 square metres (108000 square feet) in three stories; it was as big as an oil tanker of our day. Note that this happened before the Iron Age. At Noah’s time one could occasionally extract some iron from meteorites, that was all.
- Change the measurements of the ark into metres/ feet. What was prescribed for the length, breadth and depth of the ark?
- What were the differences between a regular ship and the ark?
6:17-22. Some commentators of the OT have deduced from verses 5:32, 6:3, 7:6 that Noah was building the ark more than a hundred years. If this conclusion is correct he didn’t have any sons when he started this huge project. His father Lemek was still alive; he died five years before the flood.
- Consider different stages of the building process. What particular difficulties did Noah face?
- How do you think other people commented on the project when a huge ship was built on dry land?
- Peter calls Noah “a herald of righteousness” (2.Pet.2:5) and the author of Hebrews tells us that he “condemned the world through his faith” (Heb.11:7). This means that Noah preached to his contemporaries while building the ark. How can it be that no one repented during one hundred long years?
- What do you think Noah’s father and his siblings thought about his project of building an ark (5:28-30)?
- What about Noah’s wife? What kind of difficulties did she face?
- The sons of Noah were born while the ark was being built. Compare their early years with those of their peers?
- Imagine the girls who came from godless families but agreed nevertheless to marry Noah’s sons. What made them do that? Consider various alternatives.
- What is the God-given task where you should be as faithful as Noah was in building the ark?
- How could we endure the criticism of the world around us without losing our courage?
Noah was righteous in God’s eyes because he believed in God’s mercy. He did not build the ark in order to become righteous, but because he already was righteous. “He became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith” (Hebrews 11:7).