Twice on Sundays– The Life and Legacy of James Arthur West

Twice on Sundays– The Life and Legacy of James Arthur West March 17, 2023

My grandfather was many things.  A devout Christian, a Baptist Sunday school teacher,  a 32nd order Mason, really a Shriner, the fire chief of the fire department in Wilmington N.C. To me, he was larger than life, and I loved him. He’s the one who would give me a paper grocery bag and tell me to go into the backyard and climb the pecan tree, and then bring him some pecans. And then he and my mother taught me how to carefully crack the nuts so a whole pecan could be extracted. Then he would make a pecan pie to die for.  I have so many memories of staying in his house during hot summer nights when he was still the fire chief, and hearing his stories.  I once asked him why he was such a straight arrow, why did he do so many public service jobs like counting ballots at New Hanover high, or always going to church, twice on Sundays.  His answer was simple— “Hell is too hot, and heaven too sweet to mess around in this life. You need to live with one eye on eternity.’

Of late, I’ve been doing a lot of transcribing of the unpublished works of people who have had a big impact on my life, both as a Christian and then as a minister and NT scholar.  First there was J.B. Lightfoot’s unpublished NT commentaries, then there was my doctoral mentor C.K. Barrett’s sermons and even some of his Dad’s sermons all under the title Luminescence, and finally something even closer to my heart, the long lost lessons of my grandfather which my sister found when he were cleaning out things in my mother’s garage.  All handwritten in a beautiful cursive script, all verbatim lessons.  And I have provided 104 of them, two for each Sunday, since those Baptists basically just lived in church on Sunday– morning and evening, and sometimes in between at a noonish fellowship meal too.  I never got to hear him deliver any of these decades worth of Bible lessons in person, as I was a child in those days or a young adult, and he taught older adults.  In fact, until these lessons showed up in notebooks, I didn’t even know he served Temple Baptist Church that way.  I knew he did other jobs for the church, but not as a teacher.

My hope is that many of you will pick this up and be as blessed as I have been to go through these beautiful lessons.  As granny used to say— May they bless the socks of you.  These are even better than Pop’s pecan pie…. and that is really saying something.   May these lessons nourish you with the bread of life, as they have done for me.

Here’s the link to purchase this volume on Amazon…..


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