Painting of figures in a conversation

Questions for Reflection and Discussion – Genesis 6 9-22

The text we’re studying for Sunday, October 7 is Genesis 6:9-22, which is the first episode in the long story of God and Noah, the ark, the flood, and its aftermath.

Here are some questions about the text that we might want to consider in class:

In Genesis 6:9, Noah is described as “righteous” and “blameless.” What impression does this give us about Noah? Why? Can we think of anyone we know today who might be described this way? Who? Why do we say that?

The text tells us that “Noah walked with God.” What do we understand “walking with God” to mean? Where do we get that idea? Who else in the Bible walked with God? Have we ever known anyone in our lives who walked with God? Do we feel we, ourselves, “walk with God”? Why or why not? Do we want to? How would that be different from the way we live now?

Verse 11 tells us “the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence.” How does this compare with our own time and place? In what way is it similar? In what way is it different, do we think? What are the implications of our answers, do we think? Why?

“God said to Noah” in v 13 is followed by several verses of fairly explicit instructions that present what God said to Noah. How is God’s “saying” to Noah similar to God’s “saying” to us? How is it different? On balance, do we understand God’s “saying” to Noah as more similar to, or as more different from, God’s “saying” to us? Why is that? What difference does our answer to this question make?

In v22, “Noah did all that God commanded him.” What does this tell us about Noah? How is the statement in v22 related to the description of Noah’s character and Noah’s relationship to God in v9? How is it related to the content of God’s instructions in vv14-21? What else might have contributed to Noah’s doing all that God commanded him, do we think? What makes us think this?

In what ways does Noah serve as a model for us? In what ways might Noah not serve as a model for us? Why do we think this? What do we see as the implications of this [part of the] story for us? Why?

Hebrews 11:7 reads:

By faith Noah, warned by God about events as yet unseen, respected the warning and built an ark to save his household; by this he condemned the world and became an heir to the righteousness that is in accordance with faith.

What does it mean that Noah did what he did “by faith”? Is Noah’s “faith” like our “faith,” different from ours, or similar in some ways and different in other ways? Does the story of Noah help us to understand “faith” more, or differently, than we have in the past? How? What are the implications of that change for us?

Overall, this week’s study seems to encourage us to consider Noah as an example of faithfulness to God’s commands or instructions, to consider what that faithfulness relied on [by way of character, for instance, or grace] and demanded [behaviorally, mentally, emotionally, socially, …], and to examine our own lives and choices in light of Noah’s example – which might motivate us to an act of contrition, or to renewed commitment to respond to God’s claim on our lives, or both.

The National Council of Churches Committee on the Uniform Series used to post links to news stories or opinion pieces that touched on or reflected the text of the week in some way. They seem to have stopped doing that for now, so … here is a small contribution towards that cause:

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops: “Praying Like a Faithful Citizen”

“Every Blessing Counts in Honduras”

“Truck Driver Turns School Bus into ‘Noah’s Ark’ for Hurricane Florence Animal Rescue”

Jack Hartjes, “Civil Disobedience and the Puzzle That Was Thursday”

Painting of figures in a conversation

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