GENESIS 5 – 9
Bible Study Notes Rev. Betsy Perkins
The Line of Seth: Signs of Hope, Signs of Grace
Adam and Eve’s son Seth is introduced with the statement, “At that time people began to call on the name of the LORD.” The story continues to follow that glimmer of hope, even as the family rides its ups and downs.
Adam to Noah: “Then he died” (5:1-32):
o Why does the writer of Genesis go back to Creation as he begins to give the account of the line of Shem? What aspect of the creation story is particularly highlighted?
o If the ages are symbolic rather than literal, what truths might we hear in them?
o What is the effect of the refrain, “Then he died”, at the end of each minibiography? Who is the exception and why might that be?
o The name Noah sounds like the Hebrew word for rest/comfort. What is Lamach’s hope for Noah? Is it realized? (Could there be a connection to 9:20?)
Rebellion, Devastation, and Grace (6:1-22):
Nephilim = fallen ones
o What is God’s first reaction to the rebellion and evil in humanity? Does this mean God made a mistake?
o Compare 6:6 and 3:16-17 to find a way in which we reflect God’s image and emotion. What truth might this teach us about humans eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?
o What motivates God’s decision to “wipe out” humankind along with all the other creatures?
o In verse 6:8, Noah finds “grace” (Hebrew, chen) in the eyes of God. What comes first, God’s grace or Noah’s faithfulness and integrity?
“Favor or grace is a positive, accepting, generous attitude that someone shows towards us when we did not think there was any reason they would or should. After the talk of regret, pain and destruction, one would not have thought there was any room for grace in this story.”
o The same Hebrew word is used 4 times in verses 11-13, often translated as corrupt/ destroy/ devastate. What is the relationship between human’s having devastated the earth and God’s devastating the earth?
o What comes first, God’s covenant promise or Noah’s obedience? To what extend does the covenant depend on Noah’s odedience?
Creation Undone (7:1-24):
o What might Noah have been thinking as God gave him instructions about the animals? What issues that Noah faced might we also face today?
o How does 7:11 undo Day 2 of creation? What about Day 3?
o Who shuts the door of the ark (vs.16)?
A Covenant (8:1-9:29):
o The process of re-creation is bookended by God’s “remembering” (see 8:1 and 9:15), perhaps better translated “mindful”. What is the significance of this?
o What moves over the water at the beginning of creation and again at the beginning of the re-creation (1:2, 8:1)?
o What are the similarities between the start of the flood in 7:11, and the end in 8:2?
o What is Noah’s response on entering the renewed creation? What is distinctive about his offering to God? How was it received by God?
o What is the reason God guarantees the cycle of seasons?
God’s reason for this guarantee is especially remarkable. It is “because the inclination of the human heart is evil from its youth.” God is wondrously illogical as only God can be. It would be more logical if God said, “I will not destroy the earth again, although the inclination of the human heart is so evil.” And that is what some translations have God saying. But God uses the ordinary word for “because,” which hardly ever, if ever, means “although.” Not surprisingly, what God has to say is more profound than one would have expected. God’s grace operated not despite human sin but because of human sin.” John Goldingay
o Compare 9:1-3 with 1:28-30. What are the similarities and the differences?
o With whom is God making a covenant (9:8-10)? Who has responsibilities in this covenant?
“With this first covenant sign, humanity has nothing to do to make it work. After all, part of its background is that ‘the inclination of the human heart is evil from its youth,’ so it is no use for God to make the future dependent on humanity. The rainbow does not require human cooperation to make it shine. It is purely a sign that speaks of God’s grace and mercy.”
o What happens next with the man who is found by God’s grace, is faithful and obedient to God, and receives God’s mercy? Are you kidding me?!
o What does Genesis 5-9 reveal about us as human beings?
o What does Genesis 5-9 reveal about God?
In light of this passage and our discussion, what one truth about God and about yourself stand out as something to “take to heart” this week?
Are there steps you will take, by God’s grace, to more fully apply it to your life?
Resources: Robert Alter, Genesis, 1996
John Goldingay, Genesis for Everyone, 2010
Max Lucado, Life Lessons with Max Lucado: Book of Genesis, 1997