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Discussion Guide - By Faith: Noah (Hebrews 11:7)

 

 

By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

  

SUMMARY 

Noah is the third and final example of the author’s point that walking by faith is something God’s people have been doing before even Abraham, the man of faith. And again, Hebrews 10:38 (quoting Habakkuk 2:3-4) is prominent in the author’s mind: “my righteous one shall live by faith”. Anyone “righteous” or pleasing to God (v 6) are, by definition, people of faith. And this includes Noah. 

Noah’s story is told in Genesis 6-9. In Genesis 6:5-7, God observes the widespread evil throughout the earth and determines to destroy “man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens” (Genesis 6:7). The following verse reads: “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.”

In Genesis 6:13-16, God informs Noah of his plan (v 13) as well as what to do to escape judgment: build an ark (vv 14-16). Noah, “in reverent fear” (Hebrews 11:7) listened and “did all that God commanded him” (Genesis 6:22; 7:5).

Raymond Brown writes that “Noah is a splendid example of the attentive believer, eager to hear what God is saying and ready to what he commands.”[1] F.F. Bruce likewise writes that Noah illustrates faith through his “willingness to believe that what God has promised he will certainly perform…”[2] What should also be remembered is that Noah was eager and willing to obey even when obedience might have seemed ridiculous. (After all, he spent 120 years building a boat far from the sea!) Such determined obedience in response to a message from God is what we’re to take away from Noah. 

Additionally, Noah’s determination weathered the same thing the Hebrews were dealing with: persecution. The language of him “condemn[ing] the world” as well as being “a preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5 NIV) suggest that Noah regularly faced the mockery of the world around him. Even still, he persisted in faith “and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith”.

  

DISCUSS

“The ark was…a visible evidence of [Noah’s] faith to his unbelieving and scoffing contemporaries.”[3] What are some visible evidences of your faith? Have you been mocked or scoffed at for what you do (or avoid doing) for the sake of Jesus?

 

Noah demonstrated a readiness and eagerness to obey God’s word. What must Noah have believed about God to be so willing to obey him? To what extent does his eagerness to obey God describe you?

  

Read Matthew 24:36-39, 42-44. What connection does Jesus make between Noah’s day and his own return? How does Noah serve as a model for how we ought to live our lives now?

 

Click here for a printable version of this discussion guide.

 

[1] Raymond Brown, The Message of Hebrews, p 201

[2] F.F. Bruce, Hebrews, p 287

[3] Donald Guthrie, Hebrews, p 232