1-5. Verse 1b resembles the beginning verses of the whole Bible. The Hebrew word “wind” can also be translated by the word “spirit / Spirit”. There was no rudder in the ark; that is why it could not be steered/ manoeuvred. Nobody knew yet that Noah’s family would have to spend more than a year in the ark.
- How may Noah’s family have felt knowing that they were the only human beings on earth?
- Think of different factors which made the year in the ark an ordeal of faith for Noah and his family.
- What gave hope for Noah and his family?
- What ordeal in our life could perhaps be compared to Noah’s life in the ark?
- How many months had passed, when the ark stopped atop a mountain (4, cf. 7:11)?
- The mountain range of Ararat is situated at the border area between Turkey and Armenia of our day, and inhabited by Kurds. (See map). In no point of human history has it been an easy place to reach. What do you think about the rumours about there having been sighted a frame of a big ship, partly covered with snow?
- Why have all these details been written in the Bible?
- What was Noah’s purpose in sending birds from the ark?
- How many months did the raven have to spend outside the ark before the land was dry (4,6,14)?
- What did those three doves tell Noah about the rate with which the surface of the earth was getting dry (8-12)?
- Why did they have to wait for two more months even after the olive tree was in leaf? Think of various reasons.
- What was the difference between living in the ark with, versus without a roof (13)?
- What do you think was the most wonderful thing for humans and animals the day they were let out of their year-long confinement (16-17)?
- What was peculiar in the way the humans and animals left the ark (18-19)?
- In what respect is leaving the ark a prototype of the end of the world and the start of the new creation?
20-22. These verses show that mankind had a vague idea of clean animals (fit for sacrifice) even before the law of Moses was given. Noah had brought seven pairs of clean animals into the ark (7:2).
- Why did Noah want to build an altar for the Lord the first thing after stepping on the newly created world (20)?
- Why did the Lord give his promise when smelling the aroma of the sacrifice, not before that (21)?
- What does the promise in verse 21 mean? See also the beginning of verse 22 and 2.Pet.3:7.
- Compare verses 6:5 and 8:21. What do they show about mankind before and after the fall?
- How does radical evil manifest itself in our day?
- What are the things that will not change until the end of the world, regardless of climate change or nuclear war (21-22)?
- What it the message of this story for our own time?
- What are the things that make it difficult for modern man to believe in a historical flood? (Jesus believed it, though…)
- Which facts speak for this story to be historically true? (for example in the area of geology or genetics)
THE GOSPEL: The flood did not wipe out original sin. The thoughts and plans of human beings were selfish and evil even after the flood, and they still are. But the sacrifice of Noah was a prototype of the death of Jesus. The blood had to be poured out so that the mankind would get their sins forgiven and get a new beginning.