Dear APU Community,
Selection of a University Passage marks a very meaningful time for me in the midst of our busy spring semester. I relish the gathering of faculty, staff, and students who prayerfully and thoughtfully approach Scripture, asking that God would reveal the text this community needs to draw us ever closer to Him. I value the participation of the broader APU community, including board members, parents, and alumni who submit verses and chapters for consideration. Each affirms that this institution proclaims the Lordship of Christ and the authority of Scripture in word and deed.
In the year ahead, we turn to our chief cornerstone of Christ. The committee discussed the recommended passages with minds open to where the Spirit called. The list narrowed and the conversation grew richer and more purposeful as we considered the lessons offered in the choices presented. We discussed how Jesus is counter cultural: we leave behind independence for interdependence, entitlement for service and sacrifice, dominance for submission to Christ and a posture of humility. Christ is the model we aspire to emulate and the One who enables our transformation.
Consensus then emerged and settled around two texts: Isaiah 53 and Philippians 2:1-11 (NRSV). Isaiah sets a trajectory for God’s work in the world, which is manifested in the incarnation of Christ depicted in Philippians. These passages encourage the discipline of bringing Jesus into focus; seeing Him means we see who we are supposed to be. Together, these texts reveal God’s heart so that we can know Him better and be forever changed.
As we walk through these passages next year, exploring the suffering and servanthood of Christ, we will be encouraged to release our rights and embrace God’s will, just as Jesus humbled Himself, sacrificing His will for the Father’s. I look forward to how He shapes our community in His likeness.
Isaiah 53 (NRSV)
Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account.
Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By a perversion of justice he was taken away. Who could have imagined his future? For he was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people. They made his grave with the wicked and his tomb with the rich, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain. When you make his life an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days; through him the will of the Lord shall prosper. Out of his anguish he shall see light; he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge. The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Philippians 2:1-11 (NRSV)
If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross.
Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Recent University Passages
2017-18: Micah 6:8 and Acts 2:42-47
2016-17: Romans 12
2015-16: Deuteronomy 6:1-9 and Mark 12:28-34
2014-15: I AM Statements from the Gospel of John
2013-14: Ephesians 4
2012-13: James 2