BACKGROUND INFORMATION. The following is a NT commentary to the life of Noah: By faith Noah, when he was warned about things not yet seen, with reverent regard constructed an ark for the deliverance of his family. Through faith he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. (Heb.11:7)
Verse 1. Here Noah is once more called “righteous” (tsaddik).
- What exactly did Noah believe in according to Hebrews 11:7?
- How do faith and righteousness relate to each other according to this verse in Hebrews?
- How did Noah’s faith affect the lives of his wife, sons and daughters-in-law?
- How do you think Noah felt when hearing again God’s words after one hundred years of silence (2-4)?
- How would you react if you suddenly heard that a catastrophe of that scale was soon to strike the earth (4)?
7:6-16. The animals were relatively tame at that time, because they were neither hunted nor eaten.
- How do you think Noah coaxed all these animals to enter the ark during a single week (2-3, 8-9, 14-16)?
- How do you think Noah’s neighbours felt when they saw the strange migration of the animals?
- The families of Noah’s daughters-in-law did not believe in God and the ark. Do you think these young women went to the ark on the basis of their own faith or on the basis of the faith of their father-in-law?
- Why didn’t the Lord want Noah to close the door (16b)?
11-12, 17-24. The earth was probably surrounded by a thick layer of clouds, which were suddenly “torn apart”/broke down. (In some translations of Gen.2:5-6 you get such an impression.) Jesus compares the time of Noah with the time at the end of the world: For in those days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark. And they knew nothing until the flood came and took them all away. It will be the same at the coming of the Son of Man. (Matt.24:38-39).
- What things interested Noah’s contemporaries? Compare to those of our contemporaries.
- Why did the catastrophe take everyone by surprise, although Noah had been proclaiming it for a hundred years?
- Think how people tried to save themselves and their children during the first days of the flood (21-23)?
- What do you suppose Noah’s contemporaries thought about his sermons while they were facing death?
- When do the new-atheists of our time have to admit that Christians were right after all?
- What kind of thoughts were perhaps crossing the minds of Noah and his family during the 40 days when the whole earth was gradually filled with water?
- How do you think Noah and his family used their time inside the ark (24)?
Peter writes in his epistle that the ark is in fact a prototype of baptism (1.Pet.3:20-21): In the ark a few, that is eight souls, were delivered through water. And this prefigured baptism, which now saves you – not the washing off of physical dirt but the pledge of a good conscience to God – through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- What are the common traits between the Christian baptism and Noah’s ark?
- What in the words of Peter show us that baptism is something God does for us in his mercy, not something we do for him?