The Bible

All Roads Lead to Hope: The Rainbow and the Covenant in Genesis College

For many stories, the meaning changes drastically when read through different lenses. Looking at the context in which Thucydides writes might lead one to see it as a warning to the Athenians not to repeat the mistakes of the past, while looking at the text as a separate entity reveals a depressing commentary on the predictability of human nature. But the covenant of the rainbow in Genesis 9 seems less fickle in interpretation. On every level of analysis, from the word choice to speculations about the author’s motives, one can see the same underlying message. Perhaps it is because of the universal assurance this message provides. For the rainbow is the ultimate sign of hope in forgiveness, one that existed long before organized religion. The rainbow, and the covenant it represents, can give hope to many generations that God’s wrath will eventually subside, no matter how severe the crime.

When comparing translations of the Bible, there are remarkably few major variations in translation. Because of this, it is ironic that the biggest discrepancy comes from the most famous word in this passage: rainbow. While translations such as the New International Version and the New Living Translation use the word “rainbow”, the King James...

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