Noah's Ark and the Flood Bible Story Summary

Noah Was a Righteous Example to His Generation

Noah's Ark Story
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The story of Noah's ark and the flood is found in Genesis 6:1-11:32.

God saw how great wickedness had become and decided to wipe humankind off the face of the earth. But one righteous man among all the people of that time, Noah, found favor in God's eyes.

With very specific instructions, God told Noah to build an ark for him and his family in preparation for a catastrophic flood that would destroy every living thing on earth. God also instructed Noah to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, both male and female, and seven pairs of all the clean animals, along with every kind of food to be stored for the animals and his family while on the ark. Noah obeyed everything God commanded him to do.

After they had entered the ark, rain fell for a period of forty days and nights. The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days, and every living thing was wiped out.

As the waters receded, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. Noah and his family continued to wait for almost eight more months while the surface of the earth dried out.

Finally after an entire year, God invited Noah to come out of the ark. Immediately, Noah built an altar and offered burnt sacrifices with some of the clean animals to give thanks to God for deliverance. God was pleased with the offerings and promised never again to destroy all the living creatures as he had just done.

Later God established a covenant with Noah: "Never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth." As a sign of this everlasting covenant, God set a rainbow in the clouds.

Points of Interest from Noah's Ark Story

  • Noah was the grandson of Methuselah, the oldest person in the Bible, who died at 969 years old in the year of the flood. Noah's father was Lamech, but we are not told his mother's name.  Noah was a tenth generation descendant of Adam, who was the first human being on earth.
  • Scripture tells us Noah was a farmer (Genesis 9:20).  He was already 500 years old when he fathered three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth
  • Noah lived 350 years after the flood and died at 950 years old.
  • God's purpose in the flood was not to destroy people but to destroy wickedness and sin. Before God decided to wipe the people from the face of the Earth, he first warned Noah, making a covenant to save Noah and his family. The whole time Noah and his family labored constantly on the ark, he also preached for repentance, but the violent generation ignored him.
  • Sin was not wiped out in the flood. Noah planted a vineyard, made wine, and got drunk on it, lying naked in his tent. Ham told his brothers but did not protect his father. Shem and Japheth took a garment, backed into the tent and covered Noah without looking at him. When Noah woke, he blessed Shem and Japheth but cursed Ham's offspring, Canaan. Noah was righteous, but like every person, he inherited a sinful nature from Adam. Noah's sin was getting drunk; Ham's sin was disrespecting his father.
  • With more detail in Genesis 7:2-3, God instructed Noah to take seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, and two of every kind of unclean animal. Bible scholars have calculated that approximately 45,000 animals might have fit on the ark.
  • Like Adam, Noah was a father of the human race. God told Noah and his family the same thing he told Adam: "be fruitful and multiply." (Genesis 1:28, 9:7).
  • Genesis 7:16 interestingly points out that God shut them in the ark, or "closed the door," so to speak. Noah was a type or forerunner of Jesus Christ. Just as Christ was sealed in the tomb after his crucifixion and death, so was Noah shut in the ark. As Noah became the hope for humanity after the flood, so Christ became the hope for humanity after his resurrection.
  • The ark was exactly six times longer than it was wide. According to the Life Application Bible study notes, this is the same ratio used by modern shipbuilders.
  • In modern times, researchers continue to look for evidence of Noah's Ark.

Question for Reflection

Noah was righteous and blameless, but he was not sinless (see Genesis 9:20-21). Noah pleased God and found favor because he loved and obeyed God with his whole heart. As a result, Noah's life was an example to his entire generation. Although everyone around him followed the evil in their hearts, Noah followed God. Does your life set an example, or are you negatively influenced by the people around you?


  • International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, James Orr, general editor
  • New Unger's Bible Dictionary, R.K. Harrison, editor
  • Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Trent C. Butler, general editor