How to interpret the Bible

Use ‘exegesis’ to interpret the Bible. Exegesis is where we draw out of the text what it is actually saying, using the original historical context, regardless of what we believe. Sometimes familiar stories are quite different than what we remember if read this way. After examining a Biblical passage using exegesis we may need to examine our other beliefs. Exegesis began with scholars studying the Bible and is now used in a variety of settings including art, film and literature. Exegesis is highly objective.

Many people use the exact opposite technique called ‘eisegesis’. Eisegesis is reading into a text the meaning we want it to have,  ignoring the original historical context and using a text to confirm our biases and predispositions. We can use eisegesis to prove anything we want to in a Biblical text. Eisegesis is highly subjective.

An example of the difference between these two techniques is contained in the phrase “Do we let our politics shape our understanding of the Bible (Eisegesis)?”  or “do we let our understanding of the Bible shape our politics (Exegesis)?”

Exegesis and eisegesis are mutually exclusive. They are not two ends on a continuum but two distinct ways of thinking, even if we are not aware of it. It may be best to learn exegesis during a specific course of study at a university or from someone who knows the differences between the two.

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Colours of the Church Year

St. John’s, like other liturgical churches, follows the Christian church year.  The church year invites Christians to reflect on different periods and events in the life of Christ. Each season or event in the church year reminds us of a pivotal time in the life and ministry of Jesus. Following the church year allows Christians to deepen our faith as we take the time to focus and reflect on what Jesus means for us and our world, and what he went through on earth.

Some of the colours only appear on one specific day of the year so are hard to spot on this calendar. The exact dates of each colour vary each year except for Christmas and Epiphany.

Blue is used during the season of Advent and is the color of royalty to welcome the coming of a King.

Rose (or pink) symbolizes joy and happiness and is often used for the Third Sunday of Advent, also known as Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is Latin for “Rejoice”. Gaudete Sunday comes after the mid-point of Advent and is a time to rejoice that the birth of our Savior (Christmas) is coming near.

White symbolizes light, purity, holiness, triumph, joy and virtue and is used for all high Holy Days and festival days, including the seasons of Christmas and Easter. White may also be used throughout the year for baptisms, marriages, and funerals (as a symbol of the resurrection).

Green symbolizes growth, eternal life, hope, the renewal of vegetation and generally of living things and the promise of new life. It is used for the season of Epiphany and Ordinary Time.

Purple can symbolize pain, suffering, and therefore mourning and penitence. It is used for the season of Lent. It is also the color of royalty, and can be used during Advent.

Red symbolizes both fire and the blood of the martyrs and is used for Pentecost and for saints days commemorating martyrs.

Black represents death and mourning, and the color black is a lack of color. It can be used on Good Friday and Holy Saturday.

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