1-4. The relation between humans and animals was changed after the flood.
- Why did the Lord say the same blessing to Noah’s family as he had said in the fifth and sixth day of creation (1,7, cf. Gen.1:22,28)?
- Why do you think God wanted to reorganize the relationship between humans and animals at this point (2)?
- What would have happened if humankind had not been allowed to eat animal products until this day (3)?
- Why must there be a state of war between humans and animals in this fallen world?
- How does the ban to eat blood connect with the sacrifices in the Old Testament and with the death of Jesus (4)?
5-7. As we remember, violence had swelled into huge proportions before the fall (6:5). These verses are considered to be the starting point of a legal system in this world.
- Why is it not good for a society that everyone does what he/she considers to be right?
- Why must God be the force behind any legal system - why isn’t man enough?
- How does God justify capital punishment for murderers?
- What does God seem to think about capital punishment in general (cf.Rom.13:4)?
- What light do these verses shed on the problem of human value?
- What are the limits of the law of the land, as far as restraining evil and violence goes?
8-17. God had promised to make a covenant with Noah (6:18). He does it now.
- Why was a covenant between God and his creation needed exactly at this point (8-11)?
- Why did God want to make his fist covenant with all of creation, not just with human beings (10)?
- Why is it important that there be a visible sign marking the establishment of a covenant (12-16)?
- What does God want you to think about, say, climate change, when you see a rainbow in clouds?
- What do you think: did Noah know what he was doing when drinking wine or didn’t he (20-21)?
- Compare the Noah who built the ark and preached the Word to the Noah depicted in verse 21?
- Why was it such a shock for Noah’s sons to witness the naked body of their father (22-23)?
- How does it usually affect children when they see their parents drunk?
- Why doesn’t the Bible keep silent on the sins of its heroes?
- How should a Christian relate to alcohol? (How should he/she relate to it in a country where alcoholism is rampant/ a big problem?)
24-27. (You can leave this out if the time is short.) These words have been used in defending racial prejudice and oppression, even slavery and apartheid. It is really inappropriate, because a) there is no word “race” in the whole Bible and b) among Canaan’s descendants there were both black and white people. Jews and Arabs are descendants of Shem and Europeans are thought to be descendants of Japheth.
- Why do you think this curse is written in the Bible?
- Why have Europe and North America lost the blessing which was promised to Japheth (27a)?
- Why do you think the Christian church is blossoming among the descendants of Ham in Africa just now?
THE GOSPEL: Shem’s special blessing meant that the Son of God and the Saviour of mankind would be born from his descendants. But in Jesus the whole world was chosen again to be the recipient of God’s gospel and his blessing. After these things I looked, and here was an enormous crowd that no one could count, made up of persons from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb dressed in long white robes, and with palm branches in their hands. They were shouting out in a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God, to the one seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Rev.7:9-10).