The Bible’s True Story of Noah’s Ark

Noah’s Ark is one of the few stories most people recognize. The beloved child’s tale of an overstuffed bathtub toy filled with all sorts of lovable creatures has been a favorite of many. But how does this story compare with the historical account recorded for us in the Bible?

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A Wicked World

A Wicked World

The Lord saw how utterly wicked people on earth had become; every thought was only evil all the time. So God said, “I will destroy from the earth the people I have created. And with them, the animals, birds, and creeping things” (Genesis 6:5–7).

Noah praying

Noah Pleases God

But Noah found favor with God for he alone was righteous among the people of his day. Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And God said to him, “I will establish My covenant with you; you will go into the ark with your wife, your sons, and their wives” (Genesis 6:8–10, 18).

Noah Builds an Ark

God said to Noah, “I am going to destroy all flesh because the world is full of violence. Build an ark of gopherwood, with rooms inside, three decks, and a door. Cover it inside and out with pitch.” And Noah did exactly as God commanded him (Genesis 6:13–22).

A Wicked World

The Animals Come to Noah

God also told Noah, “Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and his mate, and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and his mate, and seven pairs of the birds of the heavens also, male and female, to keep their offspring alive on the face of all the earth” (Genesis 7:2–3, ESV).

Entering the Ark

Noah and Family Enter the Ark

So Noah and his family went into the Ark because of the coming Flood. And every land animal after its kind went with them, two by two, male and female, just as God had commanded. And the Lord shut the door (Genesis 7:7–16).

Global Flood

A Flood Covers the Earth

Then the Flood began. The fountains of the deep broke open, and the windows of heaven were opened. Rain poured for forty days and forty nights. The waters rose until every high hill on the earth was covered. Everything that lived on land perished in the raging floodwaters (Genesis 7:17–24).

The Great Flood Subsides

The waters flooded the earth for one hundred and fifty days. And God remembered Noah and the animals on the Ark. The waters receded and the Ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat (Genesis 8:1–5).


Noah Sends Out a Dove

After sending out a raven, Noah sent out a dove to see if there was dry ground. But it came back having found nowhere to perch. After seven days, Noah sent it back out and it came back with a fresh olive leaf in its mouth. And Noah knew the ground was drying (Genesis 8:6–12).

Leaving the Ark

Noah Leaves the Ark

Then God told Noah, “Come out of the ark. And bring the animals with you so they can be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” So Noah and his family came out with all the animals (Genesis 8:13–19).

God’s Promise Not to Flood the Earth Again

Then Noah built an altar and offered burnt offerings to the Lord on it. And God said, “Never again will I curse the ground because of man or send a flood to destroy all living things, even though mankind’s heart is evil from childhood.” And God blessed Noah and his family saying, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth” (Genesis 8:20–22).

God's rainbow promise

How do illustrations from children’s books and nursery walls compare to the real Noah’s Ark?

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Explore more about the real Noah's Ark at Answers in Genesis