Noah is the central human figure in the flood story in Genesis. Bible readers know him as the patriarch who built the ark and for being righteous and faithful in the midst of a godless generation. Because Noah is so important to Genesis and the rest of the Bible, and because the New Testament praises him for his faith (Heb. 11:7), many people want to know more about his life.
If there aren’t gaps in the genealogy found in Genesis 5, which lists the ages of Noah’s ancestors dating back to Adam, he was born 1,056 years after creation. Yet, many scholars believe there are gaps in Genesis’ genealogies. Additionally, some scholars estimate Noah lived 3,000 to 5,000 years ago.
How do scholars calculate the ages listed in Genesis 5? How do estimations for the date of the flood help readers know when Noah lived and died? Where does the Bible mention Noah’s age? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and others.
Calculating Noah’s birth year
The fifth chapter of Genesis records the genealogy that lists the names and ages of Noah’s ancestors dating back to Adam. Scholars disagree on if the genealogy includes “gaps,” meaning the list skips multiple generations. Some contend that there may be gaps of thousands of years between certain names. Those who believe there aren’t gaps simply add up the dates in the list.
|Name||Birth Year||Death Year|
*Enoch never physically died because God transported him to heaven. See Genesis 5:24 below.
Genesis 11:10-26 lists the names and ages of Shem’s descendants all the way to Abram.
Adam to Seth
3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. 4 The days of Adam after he fathered Seth were 800 years; and he had other sons and daughters. 5 Thus all the days that Adam lived were 930 years, and he died.
6 When Seth had lived 105 years, he fathered Enosh. 7 Seth lived after he fathered Enosh 807 years and had other sons and daughters. 8 Thus all the days of Seth were 912 years, and he died.
Enosh to Mahalalel
9 When Enosh had lived 90 years, he fathered Kenan.
10 Enosh lived after he fathered Kenan 815 years and had other sons and daughters.
11 Thus all the days of Enosh were 905 years, and he died.
12 When Kenan had lived 70 years, he fathered Mahalalel.
13 Kenan lived after he fathered Mahalalel 840 years and had other sons and daughters.
14 Thus all the days of Kenan were 910 years, and he died.
15 When Mahalalel had lived 65 years, he fathered Jared.
16 Mahalalel lived after he fathered Jared 830 years and had other sons and daughters.
17 Thus all the days of Mahalalel were 895 years, and he died.
Jared to Enoch
18 When Jared had lived 162 years, he fathered Enoch.
19 Jared lived after he fathered Enoch 800 years and had other sons and daughters.
20 Thus all the days of Jared were 962 years, and he died.
21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah.
22 Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters.
23 Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.
Methuselah to Noah and Shem
25 When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he fathered Lamech.
26 Methuselah lived after he fathered Lamech 782 years and had other sons and daughters.
27 Thus all the days of Methuselah were 969 years, and he died.
28 When Lamech had lived 182 years, he fathered a son
29 and called his name Noah, saying, “Out of the ground that the LORD has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.”
30 Lamech lived after he fathered Noah 595 years and had other sons and daughters.
31 Thus all the days of Lamech were 777 years, and he died.
32 After Noah was 500 years old, Noah fathered Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
How old was Noah when the flood started?
Instead of attempting to date Noah’s life starting with creation and moving ahead in time, some approaches begin with the present and move backward. For example, one Genesis scholar writes that the flood occurred — and therefore Noah lived — “about 4,500 years ago.”  This implies that Noah lived about 2,500 to 3,000 years before Jesus Christ.
For most scholars who attempt such a calculation, this approach results in estimations of a “window” of time because Noah lived so long ago. Most “windows” consist of millenniums as opposed to centuries or decades.
Using the same approach, another Genesis scholar believes Noah may have lived before the third millennium B.C. “A careful study of the Biblical evidence leads us to the conclusion that the Flood may have occurred as much as three to five thousand years before Abraham.” 
Genesis mentions Noah’s age multiple times to date the flood story. This is how readers know that Noah was 600 years old when the flood began and 601 when it ended.
- Genesis 7:6-7 read, “Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters came upon the earth. And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him went into the ark to escape the waters of the flood.”
- Genesis 8:13, reads, “In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried from off the earth. And Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dry.”
What does the Bible say about Noah?
Noah is the main character of Genesis, chapters six through nine, though the book first mentions him at the end of the genealogy in chapter five.
|What does “Noah” mean?||“Noah” is related to the Hebrew word for “rest” or “comfort”|
|Who was Noah’s father?||Lamech (Gen. 5:28-30)|
|Who was Noah’s grandfather?||Methuselah (Gen. 5:25-27)|
|Who was Noah’s great grandfather?||Enoch (Gen. 5:21-23)|
|What line did Noah come from?||The line of Adam via Seth (Gen. 5:3-8)|
|What kind of character did Noah have?||He was righteous, blameless, and walked with God (Gen. 6:9)|
|What Noah sinless?||No, Noah was a sinner (e.g. Gen. 9:21; cf. Rom. 3:23)|
|How old was Noah when he became a father?||500 years old (Gen. 5:32)|
|Was Noah married?||Yes, but his wife is unnamed (Gen. 6:18)|
|Did Noah have children?||Yes, three sons; Shem, Ham, and Japheth (Gen. 6:10)|
|Who did Noah take on the ark?||His wife, their three sons, and their wives (Gen. 6:18; cf. 1 Pet. 3:20)|
|Did Noah have grandchildren?||Yes, his sons and their wives had children after the flood, like Canaan (Gen. 9:18)|
|What was Noah’s job before the flood?||It’s unclear, though Peter calls him a preacher (2 Pet. 2:5)|
|How old was Noah when the flood began?||600 years old (Gen. 7:6, 11)|
|How old was Noah when the flood ended?||601 years old (Gen. 8:13)|
|What did God promise Noah?||God made a covenant with him not to destroy the world again with a flood (Gen. 9:9-17).|
|What was Noah’s job after the flood?||He farmed a vineyard (Gen. 9:20)|
|How many years did Noah live after the flood?||350 years (Gen. 9:28)|
|How old was Noah when he died?||950 years old (Gen. 9:29); only Jared (962) and Methuselah (969) lived longer|
|How many New Testament verses mention Noah?||8 (see below)|
|What is Noah’s legacy?||He was a man of great faith (Heb. 11:7)|
 The Answers Book 1, Ken Ham gen. ed. p. 139.
 The Genesis Flood by John C. Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris. p. 489.
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