University Passage

Dear APU Community,

The selection of a University Passage affirms the centrality of Jesus Christ and the authority of Scripture in the unfolding life of this community. Further, the process invites the full participation of each member and readies us to receive the passage that God would have for us. And as I look back over the last year, I am amazed to see God’s unmistakable hand guide us to the right passage to promote growth, invite change, and encourage a deeper connection to Him.

In 2014–15, we studied the identity of Christ expressed in the eight I AM Statements from the Gospel of John.

In preparation for 2015–16, we again turned to the university community for thoughtful recommendations around the Cornerstone of Scholarship. In the hundreds of submissions received from students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and trustees, we sensed your support for and trust in this tradition.

When the committee gathered, we prayed for God’s leading. Through our discussion, the Spirit tugged again at our hearts and minds to consider a new path. All of us quickly agreed on the study of two complementary passages for 2015–16: Deuteronomy 6:1–9 and Mark 12:28–34. These passages connect us to the richness of our Jewish heritage and its fulfillment in the person of Jesus Christ, while allowing intentional focus on the Cornerstone of Scholarship.

That cornerstone highlights the development of the mind as a pathway for spiritual vibrancy and nurturing the very soul of the university. These passages reinforce that all forms of scholarship contribute to the centrality of Jesus Christ and that our behavior reflects the wisdom and knowledge afforded to us through His Word. They also emphasize the importance of story, highlight the tension between present and future generations, call us to obedience to God, and connect wisdom and knowledge to service and compassion. I love that we will think deeply about the Old and New Testaments next year!

I look forward to how God uses His Word to expand our minds so that we become a people who reflect Christ and His Church.


Jon R. Wallace, DBA

President, Azusa Pacific University

2015–16 University Passages

Deuteronomy 6:1–9, The Great Commandment (NRSV)

1 Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the ordinances—that the LORD your God charged me to teach you to observe in the land that you are about to cross into and occupy, 2 so that you and your children and your children’s children may fear the LORD your God all the days of your life, and keep all his decrees and his commandments that I am commanding you, so that your days may be long. 3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe them diligently, so that it may go well with you, and so that you may multiply greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, has promised you. 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. 6 Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. 7 Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. 8 Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, 9 and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Mark 12:28–34, The First Commandment (NRSV)

28 One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30 you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’; 33 and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’—this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.