Biblical Commentary

The Biblical Commentary provides you with all the background info you need to teach your students, including context, verse-by-verse interpretation, and what the specific application of the passage is.

Investigation The Investigation section of the commentary provides a brief context for the passage of Scripture and often serves as a short summary of the content of the entire passage.

Importance The Importance section of the commentary addresses which of the Eight Essential Truths that a specific passage teaches. The section will note the most primary truth taught, as well as any secondary ones.

Interpretation The Interpretation section of the commentary explores the meaning of the passage in a verse-by-verse manner or a few verses at a time. Background information as well as theological implications are often used to help convey the original meaning of the passage.

Implication The Implication section of the commentary explains why the truth of the passage is important for students to understand. It also addresses how the passage can affect the lives of students and how they can apply these truths to their lives.


Sometime after 5000 B.C., God flooded the entire earth. Humankind had become exceedingly sinful, and God in His holy judgment would not tolerate their wickedness. But God reached out to one righteous man and his family as a way to continue life on earth. God saw this man’s character and called him to an incredible act of faith. This man, Noah, built an ark—even though it had never rained. God used the ark to provide salvation from the great waters. God’s covenant promise never to destroy the earth with a flood again is evident every time we see a rainbow.

The ancient Babylonians wrote a story, the epic of Gilgamesh, that also tells of a great flood. In their account the noisy humans angered the gods because they disturbed their sleep. This prompted the gods to try to destroy the humans by a flood.

Through Noah’s story, however, we see a remarkable encounter with God. Drowning by chance or irritable gods perturbed with bothersome people are not in Scripture. God destroyed an immoral world filled with decadence. He preserved only Noah and his family. The reason for the flood was moral. The earth and everyone in it was completely corrupt. Widespread violence was evident. During this time “the sons of God” married and bore children by the “daughters of men” (Gen. 6:4). With the population explosion came the explosion of immorality. Noah, however, was a righteous man. He was blameless and walked with God despite all the struggles of his daily toils.

God warned Noah of His plan to destroy the corrupt earth. He gave Noah detailed instructions to build a floating vessel. Noah had never experienced a flood. But he followed God’s plan. After completing God’s blueprint, the rain began, but not before he, his family, and a variety of animals were safely aboard the ark. Noah lived in complete obedience to God. He lived by faith in the midst of wicked times.


This passage of Scripture is important for students because it vividly shows that God Is a holy and just God who loves the people He created. Because God is holy and just, He did not tolerate humanity’s wickedness. Yet even in His destruction, God showed that He values people. He flooded the earth but still preserved humanity through Noah and his family. Knowing Him as this holy and gracious God is essential to our faith in Him through Jesus. As students study the way in which God dealt with Noah, they will realize God’s holiness and grace and the importance of living by faith.

This passage also touches on other Essential Truths: People are God's Treasure and The Future is in God's Hands.


Genesis 6:5–8 This passage provides the background for the Flood story. It shows God’s anger and sorrow over the wickedness of humanity. These people were acting so wickedly that it grieved the heart of God that He had made them.

Humanity grew in population and also in moral perversion. In God’s view, society had decayed beyond recovery. God saw and grieved. He declared that He would destroy what His own hands had formed. God saw that the inclinations of the human heart were entirely wicked (Gen. 6:5, 8:21).

The heart is the center of human thinking (Mark 7:21–23). This passage draws a parallel between humanity’s heart filled with evil and God’s heart filled with pain. God’s pain, however, was not sorrow over a mistaken creation. It was sorrow over what sin had done to humanity. Making humans was no error on God’s part; the error was what humans had made of themselves.

God proclaimed that He would destroy every living thing from humans to birds to beasts (v. 7). God declared His wrath against the birds and animals, too. Sin polluted all creation that humanity had charge over (Gen. 1:26–28). Yet hope remained. In the midst of this disastrous predicament, Noah stood apart from his sinful generation (v. 8). The phrase “found favor in the eyes of the Lord” is an expression meaning that God approved of Noah—it was also used of Joseph in Gen. 39:4. The idea of God’s sight of Noah (“eyes”) echoes the sinful times that God “saw” (v. 6) throughout the earth. Noah stood apart as favored. God showed His favor when He provided an escape for Noah and his family (1 Pet. 3:20).

Genesis 6:9–10 Noah was “blameless” (v. 9). This word denotes a morally complete or sound lifestyle (Deut. 18:13). The same word described Abraham (Gen. 17:1) and Job (Job 1:1). This does not mean that Noah was sinless, but that his daily life was ethical and devout (1 John 1:8–9). The passage does not tell about a particularly righteous act. The author gave a general description of Noah as a man who “walked with God” (v. 9). The Bible says that the later patriarchs walked “before” God (Gen. 17:1, 24:40, 48:15), but only records that Noah and Enoch (Gen. 5:22, 5:24) walked “with” God. Verse 10 repeats the genealogy in Genesis 5:32. This calls attention to the development of Noah’s chosen line of blessing. Genesis 10 will look to Noah’s three descendants as the foundation of all nations.

Genesis 6:11–12 Three times the passage declares that the earth was “corrupt.” This word underscores God’s reason for judgment. “Violence” (v. 11) refers to physical abuse and even murder (Judg. 9:24). Noah’s times were characterized by the spilling of innocent blood. This reminds us of Cain’s murder of Abel (Gen. 4:8–10). Murder had reached epidemic proportions. God had blessed the earth with Adam and Eve; they were to fill the earth with children (Gen. 1:28). But their family would also fill the earth with immorality.

Genesis 6:13–22 God’s first speech to Noah gave detailed instructions: Noah was to build a sea vessel and recruit its occupants. God made two announcements followed by two instructions. Noah followed the instructions completely (v. 22). God told Noah that humanity’s doom was just around the corner. He then explained how He would rescue Noah and his family. Noah was to build an ark. Noah was not a sailor. He was not familiar with floating vessels. Yet God gave instructions for a perfectly seaworthy craft complete with rooms and a pitch sealant. With exact proportions, Noah built the ark to specifications (v. 22). Verse 17 restates God’s determination to destroy everything with breath. The language “all life” and “everything” indicated that the flood would be a worldwide catastrophe. Yet out of this calamity God would save a remnant and make a covenant with Noah. The covenant represents God’s gracious decision to spare Noah and his family. Noah thus rested on God’s promise as he and his family faced the disaster soon to unfold before them.

Verses 19–21 describe the people in the ark. God instructed Noah to gather a representative group of animals, “two of all living creatures.” These creatures would replenish the earth. Verse 22 parallels the completeness of the impending destruction with the completeness of how Noah finished his task. Noah did “everything just as God had commanded.” Noah built the ark on dry land while waiting for the floodwaters. This act was exemplary of a person exercising faith and trusting in what was not seen or proven.

Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah completed an assignment that he did not fully understand. The purpose of his task was “not yet seen” until it started raining and the floodwaters lifted the ark from its resting place. His faith was justified, and by it the world’s faithlessness was judged. Noah was counted among God’s righteous ones who live by faith. He “became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith” (v. 7). Noah’s actions model the obedience and effectiveness of faith placed in the truth of God’s Word.


Our society can be very double-minded. Movies, music, magazines, and art reflect a decadent trend toward violence and sex. Yet religious life thrives, proven by weekly church and synagogue attendance, growing industries of religious music and film, and the Christian witness of celebrities and athletes. Simply turn on the TV or radio, and the competing voices are clear. We must wrestle with these competing voices everyday. What immoral messages do you face? What immoral messages do your students face? How can you encourage them to be faithful and obedient?

Noah did not surrender to the allure of a sinful generation. He maintained his faithfulness and purity when all others followed immorality. How can you do the same? What are the differences between the pressures that Noah might have felt and what we experience in our times? How can you help your students relate to Noah?

The New Testament identifies Noah as a “preacher of righteousness” (2 Pet. 2:5), but he had few converts! What responsibilities do you have to forewarn others of the disasters of sin? What examples can you share with your students of people who stood against unrighteousness like Noah did? Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).