This thread is for posting Bible background, discussion questions, and interpretation suggestions about the story of Noah that will help teachers get beyond "a cute story about animals and rainbow."
Bible Background and Discussion Questions for Teaching the Story of Noah
Submitted by Peggy Franciosa, Thorndale UMC, Thorndale PA
Genesis 9:13 I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.
Objectives for this Rotation set:
Children will be able to find the story of Noah in the Bible, they will learn that God decided not to destroy the Earth because Noah was a good and faithful man. Noah showed his obedience and faithfulness by believing what God said was true even though he had no proof. He built the Ark before it started to rain, therefore showing his faith and obedience. The rainbow is a sign of the covenant that God made with Noah that he would never destroy the Earth.
Genesis 6:9 - 9:17
This story is one of the first in the Bible and begins to explore the nature of God. He has created the Earth and man and sees our sinful nature and is saddened to see that man has resorted to sin. He decides he cannot allow this to continue and is going to destroy his creation. The only good thing he sees is Noah. Because of Noah's faithfulness and obedience, God decides to allow Noah and his family, along with some animals, to survive the flood. Noah lives up to God's trust in him and begins to build the Ark. This is no easy feat, and takes much time.
The text doesn't mention it, but we can imagine what the other people thought of Noah and his family as they built this huge structure. They may have laughed at all Noah's hard work while there was no flood in sight. Once Noah has completed the Ark, the rains began to fall. He and his family, along with the pairs of animals entered the Ark and God shut them in. It rained for 40 days and nights and flooded the Earth. All that was not in the Ark perished. Once the rain stopped, it took an additional 150 days for the flood to begin to recede. Noah sends out a dove, and it returns. He waits a week and sends it out again. This time it returns with an olive branch. He waits another week and sends it out again. This time it does not return, so Noah knows that the flood waters have receded.
When Noah and is family leave the Ark, the first thing he does is build an altar and make a burnt offering to the Lord. God is very pleased with Noah and makes a covenant with him that he will never destroy the Earth again. The rainbow in the sky will be a symbol of the covenant and whenever God sees the rainbow, he will remember the covenant.
This story illustrates God's unending love for us. He loved his creation and did not want to destroy it. When he saw Noah and his faithfulness, he used Noah to continue his creation. It was Noah who demonstrated that there is good in the Earth and that it was worth saving. God promised Noah that he would never destroy the Earth again. God has kept his promise.
- Why did God want to destroy the Earth?
- Why did he allow Noah to survive the flood?
- Why do you think that Noah had faith in God?
- How did Noah show his faith?
- What covenant did God make with Noah?
- Do you think God keeps his promises?
- Why is it important to keep promises?
Contributor Peggy Franciosa