Strategies for Seeing Anew – full document

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1. …towards connecting faith with all of life

What does this mean?

This sacred-secular divide is the idea that there is a secular world that is the setting for our public lives and is guided by reason, and then there is personal religious belief which is viewed as a private hobby. This view implies that religious belief does not affect public life or any parts of the curriculum except RE. Some would say that faith cannot critique economics, politics, art or education as they are out of its field, and many assume that faith and reason or faith and science are opposed to one another. This attitude has lead to fragmentation of knowledge into parts often seen as unrelated to each other and God. This division of knowledge is a comparatively modern idea. As a result, sometimes learning can feel impersonal and disconnected from the rest of life, and faith can also become detached from our everyday teaching and learning practices and life choices. Ultimately the Christian faith is not about an abstract set of beliefs, but a relationship with God that makes a radical difference to all of how life is lived.

Until about a century and a half ago, scientists and scholars commonly assumed that knowledge formed a coherent whole; more precisely, they assumed that all parts of knowledge ultimately could be connected because every area of knowledge focused on some aspect of one single divine creation. J. Turner

The Bible sees things very differently. The entire world is God’s and can reveal him (Psalm 24:1) and all of life can be lived to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). The musician and the engineer, the artist and the physicist are all engaged in the same work – exploring God’s world – even if they do not know it. Jesus was called Emmanuel, meaning ‘God with us’ (Matthew 1:23). He was involved with our world (John 1:14). Faith and reason are not opposed – we are to love God with all of our minds (Matthew 22:37). Many prominent scholars have been and continue to be Christians. Being curious about the world and asking life's hard questions are part of a robust faith.

The Bible does not only deal with religious issues, it deals with families and food, work and politics (1 Timothy 2:1-2), craft and farming (Leviticus 19:10). It also gives us a basic way of seeing all of life, out of which we can explore and think through each issue we face. All of life comes under God.

For the Christian the material world can be a door to the sacred and God may be glimpsed through the things of this world: maths and science, music and poetry, politics and art. An experience of God is not restricted to religious settings. The poet Gerard Manley Hopkins talked of the world being ‘charged’ with God’s glory.

The world is charged with the grandeur of God. It will flame out, like the shining of shook foil… Gerard Manley Hopkins

This section is about moving towards connecting faith with all of life. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it a move from deliberately keeping faith and public life separate, or from not thinking about the issue and the separation happening by default?

What does this mean in school?

The false division between sacred and secular and between faith and reason are an issue for all subjects:

  • Teachers can foster this oneness of knowledge by making connections across subjects and bringing these to students’ notice, showing how faith plays a role in history, science, or literature.
  • Questions of belief and values can be asked in subjects other than Religious Education. Why not ask if numbers go on forever in maths, and why, or ask questions of ethics and meaning in science, or consider faith in other cultures in modern languages or geography?
  • We can draw on religious sources. Why not canvas the local church on an environmental issue? Or present the work of a prominent Christian scholar?
  • We should represent Christians as working in all spheres of life, not just as vicars, saints and missionaries but as poets, engineers and scientists.

When have you experienced knowledge being divided into ‘religious stuff’ and other knowledge? Did this come from the students, from staff or is it just something people take for granted? Locate a lesson or unit where you could develop more integration using some of the suggestions above.

2. …towards honouring the wonder of God's world

What does this mean?

The world is extremely complex, and the more we know, the more we are aware of what we don’t know. Mystery is the acknowledgement that there are things in all areas of life – including science – we do not fully understand, or that still provoke a sense of wonder even when we have seen something of how they work. Scientists such as Albert Einstein and Max Planck said that science comes up against the mystery of the universe.

Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of the mystery that we are trying to solve. Max Planck

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed. Albert Einstein

In the Bible this mystery and depth are acknowledged, there are some things we cannot understand fully. We can speak intelligently about the doctrines of the Christian faith, but faith and experience of God stretch beyond this, and most doctrines end in mystery (Romans 11:33-34).

Reductionism is a way of understanding and explaining complicated things by reducing them to their parts. It can (but does not have to) result in the mistaken idea that we can explain everything in simple terms. But the world is too deep and complex for that. Reductionism can lead to undervaluing and students can end up thinking human beings are ‘nothing but chemicals’ or sex is ‘nothing but bodies’ or the materials of nature are 'nothing but natural resources'. To be able to name, classify, label, or put to pragmatic use does not mean we have understood the true nature of something. To quote Aristotle: ‘The whole is more than the sum of its parts.’ It is very easy to accidentally lose the mystery in life by using analytical exercises in isolation and unintentionally leave students feeling that: ‘That is all there is to it’.

We say nothing essential about the cathedral when we speak of its stones. We say nothing essential about Man when we seek to define him by the qualities of men. Antoine de Saint-Exupery

This section is about moving towards honouring the wonder of God's world. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it a move from dismissing things with, ‘It’s nothing but…’, or is it simply moving from not appreciating the complexity and beauty of the world?

What does this mean in school?

There is a lot of naming, labelling, classifying and analysing that happens in education and is helpful, but appreciating a poem is more than analysing words, structures and techniques. Understanding a flower is more than labelling the parts. We can guard against reductionism and foster wonder by:

  • Balancing analytical/naming exercises with fuller experiences. Students can label the parts of a flower with a real one on their desks. A display can include both diagrams and images of flowers and attend to what flowers can mean in certain circumstances, such as ‘I love you’, or ‘We remember’.
  • Presenting things in ways that bring out their beauty and mystery, not just their properties and uses.
  • Explicitly raising awareness of reductionism. Is a Van Gogh really just chemicals on canvas?

Think of a lesson/unit that involves labelling or analysing the parts. In what way could the teaching and learning be planned to give a fuller experience? In a science lesson on labelling the parts of a human being, have photographs or portraits of people on display.

3. …towards curiosity about life's big questions

What does this mean?

Apathy is a lack of interest, involvement and curiosity about the world. With such an attitude it is difficult to ask big questions, feel the needs of others, or be moved to do anything about them. Apathy is related to laziness, it is sleepwalking through life, not being fully alive. Jesus said he came to bring fullness of life (John 10:10).

Apathy is the acceptance of the unacceptable. John Stott

A different world cannot be built by indifferent people. Peter Marshall

Curiosity and questioning are not the opposite of faith, they can grow out of faith and feed faith by setting us off in search of answers. Big questions can be asked not only from outside, but also from within a relationship with God. Curiosity is not necessarily idle speculation and questioning does not have to be doubt; they are part of being alive to God’s world. In the Bible people ask the big questions such as: ‘Why do the wicked prosper?’ (Job 21:7).

Another barrier to genuine questioning is reductionism. This is a view of the world that expects all questions in the end to boil down to physics or biology and uses those branches of knowledge to explain away questions about meaning, purpose, beauty, hope, and justice. Faith can actually open up the mind to engage with the richness of creation and give the full range of questions about life their due.

The glory of God is a man fully alive. Irenaeus

This section is about moving towards curiosity about life's big questions. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it a move from a general lack of curiosity, or from a feeling that asking questions is not appropriate in matters of faith and values?

What does this mean in school?

Curiosity can be encouraged in any subject:

  • Pose the big questions, encourage pupils to ask them. For example: ‘How did the pattern get into numbers?’
  • Create time and space for the questions. For example, create space for student responses on displays.
  • Use big questions to guide your planning and frame your lessons. Objectives can be written in the form of questions.
  • Reward wrestling with hard questions in students' work, not just right answers or answers arrived at too quickly.
  • Discuss with students the limits of different disciplines in terms of the kinds of questions they can effectively answer.
  • Use believers in different subjects drawing on their expertise. Students can prepare questions for them. Use the email ‘ask a believer’ facilities that can be found online if inviting people in is not practical http://pof.reonline.org.uk/emailproject/index.php.

Think of a time when a big question was asked in a subject other than RE. Did you feel able to follow it up? Or do students show apathy and need stimulating to ask such questions? Identify a lesson/unit which has potential for big questions, particularly relating to faith and values. How could you teach this in a way that stimulates students to engage with it? You might display the objective, in the form of a big question, at the beginning of a science lesson and structure the lesson round it and come back to it at the end.

4. …towards meaning, significance and purpose

What does this mean?

Life has been described as ‘one thing after another’ with little meaning; just a collection of events and facts. Human beings have seldom been satisfied with this. ‘What is the purpose of life, what does it all mean?’ has been asked by every generation. Human beings are people in search of meaning. In the Western world people are more affluent than earlier generations, but still life seems empty for many. The Bible recognises the struggle to find meaning in life. The book of Ecclesiastes is about a man trying to find purpose in it all; he has tried money, sex and power but all are meaningless (Ecclesiastes 1:2). Only after a long struggle does he find some purpose in life.

Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for. Viktor E. Frankl

There is within every soul a thirst for happiness and meaning. Thomas Aquinas

St Augustine described the search for meaning as being restless until we find our rest in God. Faith in God gives purpose to life and meaning is there to be discovered, we do not have to create it. Purpose and meaning come through a relationship with God and others – people were made for love (Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 3:8-9). Humanity’s purpose has been summed up as ‘glorifying God and enjoying him forever’.

Belief in a good creator assures Christians that he has not created a meaningless universe. The pattern and complexity in the world point to a designer who created with a purpose and gives life significance. That purpose is expressed in history moving towards a goal when wrong will cease and there will be a new heaven and earth with no sorrow or sin, where nothing comes between God and his people and where, for Christians, there is a personal sense of purpose that is expressed as a belief in God’s ‘calling’. This calling is to serve God and others using our gifts. It may be expressed within a person’s family, friends or work. It may be volunteering or a calling to a specific ministry.

The questions of what our vision is and should be are in fact the most crucial and most basic questions that we face…Fundamentally, the language of this vision belongs to the moral and religious family of language, for it is the function of moral and religious language to provide the essential dimension of education – a language of meaning. David Purpel

This section is about moving towards meaning and purpose. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it a move from a veneration of ‘facts’ as the only real knowledge, or is this movement a response to pressures from within the education system that allow little time to discuss such issues?

What does this mean in school?

It can be tempting in any subject to concentrate only on the skills, how something works, gathering data and doing research and not take the time to discuss what it all means and its significance. Or we could teach differently:

  • Asking ‘Why?’ questions is appropriate in all subjects. Meaning is not just for subjects such as English and RE; it applies in science, design, maths and ICT. Ask them in a way that signals that they are weighty and worth grappling with.
  • Learning (for instance) to create and read graphs can be presented as a skill that could be used for a range of good purposes.
  • Drawing attention to pattern and complexity can be done in most subjects: the patterns in music, art, language and science. That does not mean that we only look at what is good and ordered in life. Christians explore God’s world and face the depths of sin and the heights of love, all within the awareness that God has created a world with meaning.
  • Use examples of people who felt a sense of God’s calling, from famous figures such as Florence Nightingale to ordinary Christians living out their calling in work and family life.

Think of a time a good discussion about purpose or meaning arose in a lesson. How did it come about? Identify a lesson where you could emphasise meaning, significance and purpose. Very few lessons are ‘raw’ facts; there is usually scope for developing meaning. For example, history is not just events – those events have significance for the larger questions we ask about life.

5. …towards seeing people holistically

What does this mean?

People are not just minds or bodies. The Bible sometimes refers to people as 'body and soul' or ‘body, soul and spirit’, with soul and spirit including the will, emotions and thoughts and our relationship to God (1 Thessalonians 5:23; Psalm 31:9). The Bible is not precise in its terms, ‘soul’ can stand for the whole human being and take on the meaning ‘person’ or stand for an aspect of our make-up (Genesis 2:7).

People are not like glove puppets, with the soul inside the body. The two are intricately connected and affect each other – they describe different facets of what we are as whole people. Worship involves the whole person as do most activities. The Scriptures say, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind.’ (Luke 10:27).

"Flesh" is not the same as body in the Bible. It can refer to ‘flesh and blood’, as we use the term (Ephesians 6:12), but it is also used to describe any aspect of human nature that veers away from God, so it can apply to mind and emotions as well as bodily behaviours that turn away from God (2 Peter 2:10). The Bible does not see the soul as good and the body as bad; both can be redeemed, both can be spiritual. The Bible talks of the mind being renewed by God and of our bodies being offered in worship (Romans 12:1-2).

There is no use trying to be more spiritual than God. God never meant man to be a purely spiritual creature. That is why He uses material things like bread and wine to put the new life into us. We may think this rather crude and unspiritual. God does not: He invented eating. He likes matter. He invented it. I know some muddle-headed Christians have talked as if Christianity taught that sex, or the body, or pleasure, were bad in themselves. But they were wrong. Christianity is almost the only one of the great religions which thoroughly approves of the body – which believes that matter is good, that God Himself once took on a human body, and that some kind of body is going to be given to us even in Heaven and is going to be an essential part of our happiness, our beauty, and our energy. C. S. Lewis

There is a spiritual dimension of life that helps us to connect with God, but it is intricately interwoven with our bodies and minds.

This section is about moving towards seeing people holistically. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it a move from seeing people as ‘just bodies’, ‘just minds’ or a collection of parts, or is it a movement from lack of awareness of a different view of humanity?

What does this mean in school?

Education can easily drift into seeing students only in terms of their minds rather than as whole beings. Resisting this need not mean that teachers see themselves as social workers or parents. It means that we can only do justice to who students are by seeing them holistically:

  • A problem with learning may not be just intellectual; be aware of other possible causes, bodily, emotional, and spiritual.
  • Design a lesson so that students become aware that they are complex beings. For example, in PE draw attention to how exercise of the body can help us emotionally and intellectually.
  • Raise questions that address various aspects of who students are.
  • The spiritual aspect of humanity can be included in many subjects: history, English, drama, geography and science. Scientists are also complex beings; explore how their emotions, faith and thinking may affect their findings.

Think of a time when you became aware of your students as complex beings and not just minds to be taught. Could you have developed that so that students became aware of it?

6. …towards being challenged and changed

What does this mean?

Laying ourselves open to being challenged and changed by what we learn means making ourselves vulnerable. It is saying: ‘What has this to say to me and to my community?’ This way of viewing learning makes both knowledge and the learner active, drawing them into a relationship. In the Bible knowledge is linked to wisdom, which is practical learning for living well in God’s world, and that wisdom derives from an all-wise God (1 Kings 3:9). It calls for us to be challenged and changed not only in terms of intellectual curiosity, but also in terms of our wider way of life. When openness to change leads us through God's help to turn away from wrong choices and patterns and towards God's intentions for us, it becomes repentance.

Please make me [King Solomon] wise and teach me the difference between right and wrong. Then I will know how to rule your people. (1 Kings 3:9)

One way in which we resist vulnerability is through focusing only on mastery. ‘Mastering’ information makes us active while the information is passive. Information can become one more thing we consume and collect to see who has the most. This attitude can go with an unconscious position of superiority, and may leave us untouched by what we learn.

We are well-educated people who have been schooled in a way of knowing that treats the world as an object to be dissected and manipulated, a way of knowing that gives us power over the world. Parker Palmer

Learners can exercise restraint and humility rather than jumping to judgement, recognising that some information can change us and make us wiser (Proverbs 17:27; Proverbs 1:5) and that we need to grow in compassion, not just power and control.

Hasty conclusions are the mark of a fool; a wise man doubteth; a fool rageth and is confident; the novice saith, "I am sure that it is so"; the better learned answers, "Peradventure, it may be so; but, I pray thee, inquire". Jeremy Taylor

This section is about moving towards being challenged and changed. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it a move from an attitude of mastery and superiority, or could it be a movement from a fear of being challenged and changed or a lack of engagement with learning?

What does this mean in school?

In school, teachers and students can cultivate an attitude that is not superior or consumerist or only about mastery. Strategies might include:

  • Looking at what we reward and examining the questions we ask – do they focus on the challenging elements of the lesson or only on recalling information?
  • Thinking carefully about how we introduce what we are studying.
  • Modelling being challenged and changed: ‘When I first read this poem it made me cross, then I thought about it…’
  • Allowing thinking time rather than immediately asking for students’ opinions, to let students gain appreciation before offering comments.

Younger students can create agreed ‘rituals’ that remind them to stop and consider before giving opinions. The sign language for humility could be used. Recognising that we can be challenged and changed by what we learn puts a duty on teachers to present material wisely and fairly.

Think of a time when learning changed you. It may have been a story, a poem, an art work, a piece of information or a learning experience. What caused the change? Think of a lesson where you think it is particularly important that students are open to being changed or challenged in some way. How could you introduce that material to communicate a different attitude?

7. …towards celebrating grace

What does this mean?

God loves people as they are but he does not want them to stay as they are. Neither does God just give rules and tell people to get on with it. The Christian life is about the people we become as we are inspired, enabled, and changed by the person of Jesus (1 John 2:6). It is also about becoming part of all that our world could be, inspired by the vision of the new heaven and earth where God’s peace, love and justice reign (Revelation 21:4; Micah 4:3). Our vision of the future can be anticipated in the way we live now.

Truth lies in character. Christ did not simply speak the truth; he was truth; truth, through and through; for truth is a thing not of words, but of life and being. Frederick W. Robertson

Rules have their place; they are like the fence around a playground, they mark the boundaries; but God wants us to play on the swings not hang around the fence. Rules alone will not make people act ethically; rules may curb bad behaviour, but they also uncover our inclination to rebel without necessarily changing our desires. Faith is about so much more than that. Just keeping the rules will not make you a good football player. Similarly, just keeping the rules does not make a person a good Christian.

Grace is the free, undeserved love, goodness, help and favour of God. A champagne bottle being opened is a good image of grace, as is laughter. It is an outpouring of goodness that we did not earn or create. It is God’s measure: full, patted down and running over (Luke 6:38). It creates delight. Grace is living in remembrance that all is gift and that no one is ‘good enough’. Only with the help of the Holy Spirit can the Christian life be led and people changed. The Christian life is joyous grateful living – a very different attitude to just ‘keeping the rules’.

Once more, never think that you can live to God by your own power or strength; but always look to and rely on him for assistance, yea, for all strength and grace. David Brainerd

Laughter is the closest thing to the grace of God. Karl Barth

This section is about moving towards celebrating grace. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it a move from a contractual view of life and a negative form of the ‘rights’ culture, or is it a movement from a limited understanding of grace?

What does this mean in school?

Teachers can put rules in the proper place in their subject and highlight moments of grace:

  • Point out that you can’t produce a masterpiece in art just by following certain rules. The same applies to poetry and design. Sport too is more than rules. Discuss what this ‘more’ might involve.
  • Draw attention to lives that capture grace – lives that are overflowing and generous. Consider how people draw upon resources beyond themselves to live well.
  • In personal development talk in terms of students’ visions for the future, what informs those visions and whether those sources are helpful. Work backwards – what sort of people would we need to be to live that vision? What can we do now? What help would we need? Can we achieve our visions alone?
  • Explore the role of vision and rules in English, history and other subjects. What inspired people?
  • Help students to consider how common perceptions of Christianity as being mainly about trying to be good differ from the core Christian emphasis on grace.
  • Explore character in English and drama in relation to the question of how people change and when they experience grace.
  • Create some moments of grace for students by the way you organise teaching and learning, such as an unexpected gift in terms of learning, fun or time that will fit with the subject you are teaching.

Think of moments of grace in teaching, times when people have done far more than they were required to or maybe than you felt you deserved.

8. …towards appreciation and gratitude

What does this mean?

Thankfulness is a response to life as a gift from God; it is the opposite of seeing life in terms of what we deserve or what we control by our own efforts. Gratitude involves a reorientation of life with thankfulness as the default setting. Being thankful raises awareness not only of our own situation but also brings to mind the situation of others. Thankfulness is towards God (Psalm 92:1) and others (1 Timothy 2:1). Martin Luther saw gratitude is the basic attitude; it is like a mould that shapes life. When someone does something for you there is a sense of thanks that are due, hence Luther’s saying that ‘Unthankfulness is theft’. Thankfulness often involves taking time out from our striving to just appreciate what we have received. Too easily a consumer culture can slip into ingratitude.

Throughout the Bible, people give thanks to God in prayer, song, worship and dance. Saying thank you is the most basic form of prayer but one that is never grown out of.

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice. Meister Eckhart

Jesus gave thanks for food and to God for answering his prayer over Lazarus. Jesus commended the one leper who came back and said thank you for his healing. Paul starts many of his letters with thanksgiving and tells the Christians to give thanks in all things (Colossians 2:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:18). The term ‘Eucharist’ (Holy Communion) means thanksgiving; it is a thanksgiving for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus that opened up a new relationship with God through the forgiveness of sins.

This section is about moving towards appreciation and gratitude. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it a move from discontent and always wanting more or is it a movement from a lack of awareness of what there is to be thankful for?

What does this mean in school?

Gratitude and expressing appreciation can change the atmosphere in a classroom:

  • Teachers can model and encourage appreciation and thanks, both in relation to students and by expressing gratitude for the things in creation that are studied.
  • Set up a classroom ethos of expressing gratitude as a habit, for example using the sign language for thank you as a quick way of expressing thanks.
  • Draw students' attention to things we can be thankful for using focusing activities. This can be done by organising teaching and learning without an element that is normally taken from granted, such as electricity or books.

Think of a time when students expressed gratitude to you. What difference did it make? Create opportunities for students to feel the effect of gratitude by being intentional about thanking them. Identify a lesson where you can focus attention on something we take for granted, for example, water.

9. …towards delighting in God’s world

What does this mean?

The word ‘Eden’ means delight (Genesis 2:8). The biblical Eden was a garden of delight, and it offers a way of looking at our world: the world was meant to be a garden of delights to be explored. Christians through history have often talked about learning in terms of being in God's garden of delight, and that is part of the history of the word ‘Kindergarten’. It is easy to drift into seeing knowledge only in terms of usefulness and to neglect delighting in it. In the Bible, God tells people to ‘take delight’ in the things he has given them (Deuteronomy 26:11). Delight is akin to joy; it is consciously taking pleasure in someone or something. It involves a raised awareness, taking notice, revelling in something, whether that be the beauty of maths or the pleasure music creates, the joy of giving or the simplicity of a design. The Bible describes God as delighting in his people (Psalm 149:4).

Our only business is to love and delight ourselves in God. Brother Lawrence

Delight does not mean ignoring the darker side of life. It means fully acknowledging the difficulties of life while remaining determined to celebrate what we can and trust the underlying goodness of God.

This world is so full of care and sorrow that it is a gracious debt we owe to one another to discover the bright crystals of delight hidden in sombre circumstances and irksome tasks. Helen Keller

Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty — a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture… The true spirit of delight, the exaltation, the sense of being more than Man, which is the touchstone of the highest excellence, is to be found in mathematics as surely as poetry. Bertrand Russell

As a believer, I see DNA, the information molecule of all living things, as God's language, and the elegance and complexity of our own bodies and the rest of nature as a reflection of God's plan. Francis Collins

This section is about moving towards delighting in knowledge and in God’s world. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it moving from a utilitarian approach – only seeing knowledge and the world in terms of usefulness – or is it moving from needing emotional and intellectual ‘permission’ to express delight?

What does this mean in school?

We can organise teaching and learning to bring delight and to show that delight can be a proper response to the world:

  • Allow time to revel in sounds in music and poetry, to enjoy textures and colour in art and time to be enchanted by the structure of crystals, the elegance of DNA and the beauty of numbers.
  • Model taking delight by the language used in class, the ways in which things are spoken about.
  • Make delight a part of the lesson plan when appropriate. Find opportunities to show the beauty and intricacy of things.

Think of a time when you experienced a moment of delight in the classroom, when what was being explored became a joy. Locate a lesson/unit that you think has potential for delight. How could the teaching and learning facilitate this? You might supply images of DNA photography and DNA portraits in a science lesson. You could create a tactile display in art and allow time for touching. You could devise a task that encouraged students to delight in sounds in poetry.

10. …towards focused, loving attentiveness

What does this mean?

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?
From Leisure by W.H. Davies

It is easy for students to go through life glancing at the world and seldom stopping to listen, giving their surroundings and other people superficial thought and attention. This casual glancing and listening can be the result of our over-stimulated environment but self-absorption, superficiality and a lack of respect can also lead to paying scant attention. We need to cultivate a deeper way of viewing the world so that we look away from self to the object or person seen. We need the attentive, loving gaze and the listening ear.

Christians believe that God can speak through his world (Psalm 19:1) and through the things people make: through poems, ideas, stories, paintings and music. We need attentive listening and wisdom in order to discern how God’s voice can be heard in what we learn.

The first duty of love is to listen. Paul Tillich

Loving attention starts with humility. This is an attitude that considers that others deserve to be heard (Philippians 2:3). The Bible describes the world as God’s and people as his creation. In some way, people reflect a little of God and this gives them an inherent worth. It is not up to us to assign worth to some people and withhold it from others (Genesis 1:27).

If we value others we give their lives, ideas and what they produce careful attention. A poem takes time, skill and creativity and the writer gives something of him or herself; the writer hopes for a careful reader. St Paul encouraged Christians to dwell upon good things (Philippians 4:8). Paul uses a word that means ‘to carefully reflect on’.

This section is about moving towards focused, loving attentiveness. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it a move from general inattention or self absorption or is it a movement from inattention as a result of lack of training in paying loving attention?

What does this mean in school?

Teachers can use a range of strategies to encourage loving attention as an expression of respect:

  • Read a text slowly aloud together in English/literacy or modern foreign languages.
  • Draw attention to close up images or images seen through a microscope in science.
  • Listen with closed eyes in music.
  • Use a series of questions that focus attention, or allow time for silent reflection before soliciting answers to a question.
  • Rearrange the room for some sessions to focus attention on an object that is to be studied.
  • Consider the aesthetics of science presentations and encourage wonder.

Think of a time when you were frustrated by students’ superficial attention. What teaching strategies did you use to encourage respectful, loving attention? Think of a subject where you need the students to pay focused attention. How could you teach to encourage attention that encourages respect? You could cover up most of a painting and only reveal a little at a time, give students a series of things to look for so that they discover for themselves the skill that went into the painting.

11. …towards respect and reverence

What does this mean?

Dismissing people and things with a ‘So what’ is showing a lack of respect for God’s world and its people. It is an attitude that refuses to be impressed by the splendour and complexity of humanity and creation and never rises above the mundane and wonders. Such an attitude can lead to a carelessness towards both the planet and its people. In contrast, an attitude of respect and wonder can lead to praise of God and care for creation (Isaiah 12:5).

If a man loses his reverence for any part of life, he will lose his reverence for all of life. Albert Schweitzer

The Bible locates human worth in being God-made and mattering to God. In Ephesians 2:10 we are called God’s masterpiece. Masterpieces are treated with respect. People do not have to wait to earn our respect. Respect is our basic response and all deserve to be treated with dignity as God’s children (1 Peter 2:13-17). Jesus said that what we do to others he accepts as done to himself (Matthew 25:40).

There is always the danger that we may just do the work for the sake of the work. This is where the respect and the love and the devotion come in — that we do it to God, to Christ, and that's why we try to do it as beautifully as possible. Mother Teresa

We can stand in awe of people’s creativity, thinking, achievements and the quality of their life and relationships without ignoring their flaws.

The psalmist in Psalm 19:1 sees the heavens and for him the stars speak of the glory of God. They are not ‘just stars’. Elizabeth Barrett Browning talks of the earth being ‘crammed’ with heaven for those with eyes to see. God is in the ordinary and the extraordinary, God’s fingerprints are all over the world for those who wish to see. Such looking can lead to reverence.

Earth's crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God,

But only he who sees takes off his shoes, the rest sit round it and pluck blackberries. Elizabeth Barrett Browning

This section is about moving towards respect and reverence. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it a move from distain and disrespect or could it be a movement from a distortion of the idea that all are equal, resulting in a wariness in accrediting respect and reverence as this may be perceived as assigning value to one group more than others?

What does this mean in school?

How we teach can lead people towards respect and reverence:

  • We can help students to see the beauty in the ordinary and the extraordinary: in the pattern of numbers, the structure of a chemical, the smell of cooking. It can be an experience that suddenly intensifies and becomes something deeper, beyond the mundane.
  • The challenge of lives lived well in hard places can be explored in English, history and geography.
  • The way artefacts are handled can foster respect.
  • We can teach the language of respect in modern languages, as well as how to practise respect across cultural differences.
  • We can explore the body language of respect in drama and in our own body language in class.

Think of times when there have been moments of wonder, respect or reverence in your class. How could you plan for such opportunities? (That does not mean they will necessarily be taken up.) Sometimes it does not take much, just a few images to show the complexity of a snowflake in science or simply allowing time and not rushing on. Sometimes nothing different has to happen, we just have to be intentional about it.

12. …towards trust and affirming faith

What does this mean?

Distrust is an actively negative attitude. Cynicism is a deep distrust allied with pessimism and suspicion. All aspects of life involve trust at some level, and distrust can hamper learning. We place trust in doctors and nurses, architects and teachers, the people we work with. Gullibility is not a virtue, but without some level of trust we could not function or form relationships.

It is impossible to go through life without trust: that is to be imprisoned in the worst cell of all, oneself. Graham Greene

The cynic puts all human actions into two classes — openly bad and secretly bad. Henry Ward Beecher

Faith is closely related to trust; it involves a trust that reaches beyond the immediate and everyday. To disregard faith in any aspect of the curriculum is to ignore an aspect of life that has been significant for most of humanity through the ages and remains so today for people around the world.

Faith, for a Christian, is about assurance, confidence and trust. It is a growing trust in God which is based on evidence of God’s character and experience of him (1 Corinthians 1:9; Psalm 22:5). Faith in Christ is a means by which people come into a close relationship with God (John 1:12).

Reason is not the opposite of faith. Reason and faith can go hand in hand; in fact, all reasoning has to start from somewhere, something trusted as a starting point. Faith cannot be proved by reason (Hebrews 11:1) but that is not to say that reasoning is not part of faith. Asking questions and probing issues can be a sign of a growing faith.

If a man fights his way through his doubts to the conviction that Jesus Christ is Lord, he has attained to a certainty that the man who unthinkingly accepts things can never reach. William Barclay

Trust in one another is built by honesty and kindness (Luke 16:18). Learning to trust appropriately can be difficult when we have been disappointed, but hope and faith in the underlying presence of God's goodness can motivate trust. Trust makes us vulnerable and requires wisdom. Jesus told his followers to be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16).

This section is about moving towards trust and affirming faith. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it a move from distrust, cynicism, or from fear of trusting others? Is it a move from dismissing the role of faith, seeing it only in negative terms, or is faith ignored?

What does this mean in school?

Trust can be nurtured by an emphasis on honest and caring relationships within teaching and learning and by how we teach and learn:

  • Ways of learning that require mutual trust and depending on each other can be built into lessons. This experience of learning to trust others can open the way for reflection on what it means to trust God.
  • Faith in God can be nurtured, as appropriate, by asking questions of faith, creating stimulating contexts were questions of faith arise, and responding to such questions in faith-affirming ways.
  • Issues of trust and faith can be highlighted in discussions of curriculum content, for example in the lives of historical or literary characters.
  • Opportunities for worship, prayer, and in some schools the sacraments, can all nurture faith. Insights from various subjects can be shared as part of worship.

Think of a time when students asked questions about faith. How did you respond? Does the nature of the response depend on the subject? Identify a lesson/unit where questions of faith are often not asked, for example music or sport. Are there ways in which such questions could arise? In what ways could teaching and learning signal that asking these questions is acceptable? For example you could have a faith-related quote from a person connected to the subject as part of a display: a famous musician, scientist, sportsperson or artist.

13. …towards humility and hospitality

What does this mean?

Western culture often works from a series of implicit assumptions that have their roots in a lack of humility:

  • The West is superior to other cultures; modern times are superior to the past
  • Youth is superior to age and the new is superior to the old
  • Civilisation is only counted in terms of technological advancement
  • Material poverty counts more than other types of poverty
  • Western scientific thinking is superior to all other ways of knowing
  • Individualism: the individual's choices and opinions matter most

These attitudes can make it difficult for students to learn from peoples of the past and from other cultures. In contrast, biblical prophets condemned advanced societies that ignored justice. In the Bible, respect for the elderly and listening to the wise matter.

If the wealthy seek only to assist the poor, seeing no likelihood of learning as well as giving, then assistance can be rooted in condescension and pride. The Bible recognises a variety of riches: wealth in terms of relationships, wisdom, faith, love, good deeds and in relationship with God (Proverbs 16:16; James 2:5; Psalm 145:8; 1 Timothy 6:18; Luke 12:21). Wealth is something to be thankful for but we are not defined by what we own (Luke 12:15). Similarly, people in the West often underestimate what they can learn from members of other cultures.

It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich or poor according to what he is, not according to what he has. Henry Ward Beecher

Humility is essential if we are to learn from others. It is not grovelling self-abasement but it is the opposite of pride and arrogance. It is not being untruthful about our abilities. True humility is a generous attitude of mind that values others and sees oneself realistically. Jesus modelled humility throughout his life. Differences in culture, age, or material wealth are not to be seen as grounds for pride.

Humility is to make a right estimate of one's self. Charles Spurgeon

The Bible teaches that we should love both neighbours and strangers as ourselves (Leviticus 19:18; Leviticus 19:33-34), and calls us to exercise hospitality towards strangers (Matthew 25:34-35; Hebrews 13:2). This openness towards others is a response to the way God treats us. Note: safety teaching about strangers approaching children still applies; the biblical teaching is about attitudes and behaviour towards people who may be different from us, not about abandoning appropriate cautions.

This section is about moving towards humility and hospitality. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it a move from a misunderstanding of humility, seeing it as thinking negatively about oneself, or is it a move from arrogance? Is the move towards hospitality a move from a wariness of being open to others, viewing oneself as a receiver not a giver, or a view of people as self-contained?

What does this mean in school?

Fostering humility and raising awareness of learning from others is something that can cross all curriculum boundaries. We can:

  • Seek to model humility and a stance of openness to learning from diverse others. Draw attention to the achievements of other times and cultures.
  • Encourage students to look beyond the lack of modern technology in some settings to see other strengths. Acknowledge ways of learning other than scientific reasoning (through symbol, art, etc.).
  • Encourage students to learn other languages and cultures not just because of their pragmatic benefits (e.g. French will get me a better job) but because of the call to love those who are from other cultures.
  • When teaching about other cultures and languages, use personal narrative examples that can help students go beyond facts and create personal connections.

Think of a time when you experienced the students’ failure to see the riches of another culture because they could not see beyond the lack of technology and material wealth, or because of an implicit attitude of superiority. How could you teach that lesson differently? For example, you might focus on the quality of community life or use story to create a stronger sense of personal connection.

14. …towards seeking the good of others

What does this mean?

Humanity is capable of extreme selfishness but we also display acts of selfless love. The Bible names the root of selfishness as humanity’s choice of self over God and others that leads to the sin that warps our world. However we interpret Genesis 3 and Adam and Eve’s decision to go their own way, the reality is that we have shifted the focus onto our wants and needs and we see ourselves in competition with others. Adam and Eve’s choice reflects humanity’s.

Selfishness is the making a man's self his own centre, the beginning and end of all he doeth. John Owen

Selfishness leads to other sins, for example, stealing is a way of one person demonstrating that they think their wants are more important than another person’s. Selfishness often arises from insecurity and viewing experiences such as love as finite commodities, as if there is only so much to go round. If you get love, praise, etc. will there be enough for me? In such a situation people look after number one. Jesus ranked loving others as second only to loving God (Mark 12:28-31) and told people to treat others as they wanted to be treated (Luke 6:31). This does not mean that Christians have to be doormats. Being treated with dignity is not the same as being selfish.

Self is the root, the tree, and the branches of all the evils of our fallen state. William Law

This section is about moving towards seeking the good of others. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it a move from selfishness or apathy, or from a fear of others not responding in the same way?

What does this mean in school?

Teachers can help students see the devastation that selfishness causes in society past and present and encourage love of others.

  • Highlight examples of selfless behaviour in different subjects – and of how sin has coloured human choices.
  • Draw attention to the mindset that views life like a cake, where there is only so much to go round. Explore whether this is true of love.
  • In personal development (PSHE) and drama alternative behaviours can be explored (but these should be realistic; the idea that selflessness comes without cost is fantasy).
  • Examine role plays and examples used in different subjects; are they all about personal needs, feelings and opinions? Create alternatives that help students to move beyond self.
  • When learning about the lives of others, attend to ways in which they put God's call and others' needs ahead of their own wants.

Think of a time when selfishness manifested itself in class. Locate a lesson where you could encourage students to be unselfish. You might encourage students to elicit other people’s opinions before contributing their own. You might start by changing a title from ‘Our World’ to ‘God’s World’ or use strategies where they see an issue from another person’s point of view.

15. …towards finding worth through love

What does this mean?

Loving ourselves appropriately matters. Jesus said, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ (Matthew 22:39). To do that we need to find a way of sensing our worth without becoming self-centred.

Our deep-felt need to know that we matter can result in low self-esteem if we are not affirmed. It can also result in an inappropriate sense of our own importance if we bolster that need by status, power and a misuse of relationships. If we raise self-esteem but ignore the negative parts of our characters we will create a fragile sense of worth that does not face reality (Romans 3:23).

Jesus underlined human worth. He welcomed the sinners and outcasts of his day (John 6:37). Christians find a deep significance in being created, loved and forgiven by God. This gives people the freedom to face their sin without their sense of worth crumbling (Romans 5:8). Salvation is grace – the gift of God – we cannot earn it. This can give a deep sense of security as it does not rely on achievements.

A sense of worth should be enhanced by loving relationships within the community of Christians, in order to turn outwards and serve others. In the Bible this is often described as encouragement and building each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11). We can be honest about our abilities without boasting; we can thank God for them.

This section is about moving towards finding worth through love. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it a move from a distorted view of self or from a lack of awareness that we can find our worth through love?

What does this mean in school?

This view of worth will affect the planning of lessons and the people we select to focus on in subjects such as English, religious education and history:

  • The heroes we select can have flaws but still be models and people whose actions were worthwhile.
  • We can choose some unsung people or groups who make a difference in the world.
  • In literature, we can include a focus on the characters whose integrity stands out and who made a difference to their neighbours but didn't necessarily do anything conventionally heroic. We can also look at characters who are despised and ask what effect that has.
  • In personal development (PSHE), teaching about ‘self-esteem’ can be from within a Christian framework.
  • We can look at the message our testing and assessment is sending and what we reward and respond to in school. Are our systems undermining students' sense of significance and worth?

Think of occasions when students’ low or inappropriate self-esteem has been a problem in school. Identify a lesson/unit where the teaching and learning could reinforce a different message. An English lesson can explore various characters’ significance and worth. The teaching and learning can supply a means of engaging with the content that does not allow students with inappropriate self-esteem to dominate.

16. …towards interdependence and community

What does this mean?

Many modern societies tend to stress the individual: individual decisions, lifestyles, tastes. Although this has brought a certain type of ‘freedom’, it can lead to loneliness and a lack of connection with others. A lack of a sense of belonging makes it difficult to make choices with others in mind. The Bible stresses the connection between people. God is the father of all (Malachi 2:10).

We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.
Dorothy Day

Christianity puts relationships at the centre, Jesus encouraged people to call God ‘Father’ when they prayed, indicating a close relationship (Matthew 6:9). Within the Trinity there is a relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit which means that relationship is at the heart of the Godhead. The Christian faith is about people living out their relationship with God as a community (Romans 14:7). The Bible likens Christ to the head and the people to the body where all the parts depend on each other (Ephesians 4:15-16).

We can be human only in fellowship, in community, in koinonia, in peace … We are not made for an exclusive self-sufficiency but for interdependence … A person is a person through other persons. Desmond Tutu

As members of the same family all Christians are brothers and sisters regardless of gender, nationality or status (Galatians 3:28). There is a sense of mutual responsibility that is taken for granted in the Bible. When Cain said, ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ he already knew the answer was ‘Yes’. The church is compared by St Paul to a body where the parts are dependent on each other (1 Corinthians 12:12; 1 Corinthians 12:27) and where people bear one another’s burdens and share their highs and lows (Galatians 6:2; Romans 12:15). This creates a strong element of belonging both to God and each other.

Christian community is based on all being one in Christ and expressing that oneness in a compassionate lifestyle (Romans 12:9-10), shared worship and a shared meal – Eucharist/Holy Communion. It is lived in supporting each other, working together for others, and giving of time, wealth and self.

The Christian community is a community of the cross, for it has been brought into being by the cross, and the focus of its worship is the Lamb once slain, now glorified. So the community of the cross is a community of celebration, a Eucharistic community, ceaselessly offering to God through Christ the sacrifice of our praise and thanksgiving. John Stott

This section is about moving towards interdependence and community. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it a move from a detached independence or one-way dependence, or from a lack of opportunities to belong to communities?

What does this mean in school?

A community emphasis can make a difference to teaching and learning in many subjects:

  • When studying people in history, explore the communities they belong to rather than presenting them as ‘lone rangers’. For example, William Wilberforce was part of an active group and a wider grass roots movement.
  • Help students to connect with the local community. Get the church community involved in student learning; people in churches have a range of skills from music and languages to ICT.
  • Nurture interdependence in learning by students bringing different skills to a project.
  • In subjects as such as drama, English, history, geography and personal development (PSHE) the connections between people can be emphasised and consequences of actions for others can be followed up.
  • Sometimes ask students to work together and come up with a group statement rather than just individual opinions. Engage students in more personal interaction as part of their learning when this is suitable.
  • Have students reflect on what it means to belong to a community, and how one belongs to a Christian community.

Think of a lesson or unit where you already emphasise communities, belonging and interdependence. Now think of another where there is potential for reducing the emphasis on individualism. For example, you might be able to highlight a community’s role in environmental change in geography. Think of a lesson where you made learning more relational, perhaps using persona dolls in RE, inviting someone in to be interviewed in history or linking a painting to the story of the artist. What was the students’ response? Are there lessons where you could extend the approach?

17. …towards love and forgiveness

What does this mean?

Love, in biblical terms, is a strong attachment to others and also a commitment to a way of behaving and thinking about others that does not depend on feelings alone. St Paul lists its characteristics in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. This attitude of love is kind and patient, humble and forgiving, selfless and hopeful.

Hatred is an opposite of love; it is an intense feeling of hostility that can become a prolonged resentful feeling of bitterness. The two can lead to wanting revenge – getting your own back – which is the opposite of mercy. Apathy is probably more common than hatred; it is a general failure to care and to respond to others with love.

God’s character is defined as love (1 John 4:8). In the Bible, God is shown as slow to anger but quick to forgive, as forgiveness is central to his character (Micah 7:18). Forgiveness is ceasing to carry resentment towards an enemy. Mercy is ceasing to demand full punishment. Forgiveness does not mean, however, that evil is allowed to continue; sometimes justice and making amends still need to happen. Forgiveness is often the first step towards reconciliation in a relationship. Even if a reconciliation does not follow, Jesus taught that hatred is not the Christian way; he called for people to love even their enemies.

For Christians, forgiveness is a response to being forgiven by God and was modelled by Christ who forgave his enemies (Luke 23:24). Asking God for forgiveness should result in forgiveness of others (Matthew 6:14-15; Colossians 3:13) Forgiveness is not just a feeling; it can be an act of will.

Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. Corrie Ten Boom

This section is about moving towards love and forgiveness. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it a move from hatred or apathy, or is it a move from a limited understanding of forgiveness?

What does this mean in school?

We can explore love, forgiveness and mercy, and their opposites across the curriculum. We can:

  • Include stories of love, forgiveness and mercy (or their opposites) in history, personal development (PSHE) drama, English and other subjects. We can learn from a negative (hatred, bitterness and revenge) as well as a positive (love, forgiveness and mercy).
  • Be intentional about introducing these terms and their definitions and highlight them as they occur, relating them to students’ lives and culture.
  • Make sure students have the language of apology and forgiveness in modern foreign languages and use it in class.
  • Review the way people relate in our classes and our own ability to apologise when necessary.

Think of a lesson where love, forgiveness and mercy and their opposites are relevant to the subject matter, for example, apathy towards the environment in geography and love or revenge as a motive in literature. How could you draw attention to these in teaching and learning?

18. …towards hope and joy

What does this mean?

Anxiety and hope are both related to the future in different ways. The anxious person has the present ruined by their fears for the future. Christian hope lets faith in God and his future change the present. Hope is a deep knowledge that evil does not have the last word because Christ was victorious over sin on the cross. One day, the world will be made anew and it will be a place of justice and joy, love and peace. Biblical peace is about wholeness and things being right in our relationships, in our bodies and minds, and in our world. Having peace and hope does not mean that life will be easy (John 16:33). Faith is living in a way that acts as a signpost to that future now. Faith in God’s goodness can allay worries and allow people to live with hope even if life is difficult (1 Peter 5:7). Jesus points to God’s care of the birds and the flowers; how much more will he care about people (Matthew 6:34).

A Christian's freedom from anxiety is not due to some guaranteed freedom from trouble, but to the folly of worry and especially to the confidence that God is our Father, that even permitted suffering is within the orbit of His care. John Stott

Joy often surprises us, as the shepherds were surprised by ‘Glad tidings of great joy’ (Luke 2:10). Some of the biblical words for joy are about movement and sound. Joy may seize us and leave us wanting to dance or shout. Christian joy is not dependant on what happens to us, as it is founded on hope in Christ (Romans 15:13). Joy can persist in a quieter form through difficult times. Joy is a taste of heaven.

Joy is the serious business of Heaven. C. S. Lewis

This section is about moving towards hope and joy. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it a move from despair, or from a more diffuse lack of hope?

What does this mean in school?

It is easy for students to feel overwhelmed by the bad news they hear in the media as well as by negative experiences in their own lives and contexts. They may not have the experience of life to put it into perspective. This is particularly true of young children who may find it hard to distinguish between what is happening far away and what is nearby. Teaching and learning can change this:

  • Many parts of the curriculum look at the negative side of life: the environmental crisis, economic problems, war and poverty in history, representations of evil in literature. Check your teaching and the overall ‘story’ and tone. Does it help put the negative in the context of the Christian message that evil does not triumph in the end? Are there moments for celebration and thankfulness?
  • Balance the negative by positive examples where possible and appropriate.
  • Are joy and hope expressed in teaching and learning through dance, music, art and language?
  • Is a broad understanding of peace communicated or is it just seen as the absence of war?

Think of a time when you became aware of students’ worries in a lesson. Identify a lesson where teaching and learning could help with this. For example, in modern foreign languages do students learn the language needed to express comfort to those who are worried? Check your own language; do you need to change how you present material? Do you need to balance examples?

19. …towards self-control and peace

What does this mean?

Self-control is a societal issue (Proverbs 16:32) – lack of self-control leads to people not accepting limits to behaviour and harming others through their choices. Patience is one of the keys to self-control. Patience is actively experiencing the time we are in and not rushing onto the next thing. It is not a passive virtue.

Self-control is listed as one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 1:6-8). Self-control is the right use of our power to direct our will with God’s help. The Holy Spirit works within us as individuals and as a Christian community to develop self-restraint, self-discipline and self-control in what we think, feel and do. Self-control restricts some things in order to let other things flourish. Self-control is a form of strength. A person without self-control is viewed as vulnerable in the Bible – like a city with a hole in its walls (Proverbs 25:28).

Self-control is the exercise of inner strength under the direction of sound judgement that enables us to do, think, and say the things that are pleasing to God. Jerry Bridges

One area in which we need to exercise self-control is in relation to anger and frustration. Anger is often borne of frustration – things don’t happen quickly enough for us. Anger itself is not necessarily wrong. Anger can focus on injustice and it can be the engine of change, once channelled correctly. Jesus was angry with the money changers, with the disciples when they sent the children away (Mark 10:14) and with religious leaders who made rules more important than healing (Mark 3:5). However, anger also often occurs when our self-interest has been challenged. The Bible is full of advice about anger: deal with anger quickly (Ephesians 4:26); speak gently and you will calm people down (Proverbs 15:1). Dealing with selfishness cures much anger.

The first thing to understand about anger is that it isn't always a bad thing. Many people, especially Christians, have the mistaken notion that anger is intrinsically evil. As a result, they feel needless guilt … The issue of self-control is the question of how we deal with anger. Violence, tantrums, bitterness, resentment, hostility, and even withdrawn silence are all sinful responses to anger. R. C. Sproul

Self-control also curbs other vices, such as greed, lust, slander and gluttony. Jesus’ life and teaching embodied God’s peace (Shalom) which is about wholeness and just relationships and not just a lack of conflict. Biblical peace is when there is harmony in relationships, minds, bodies and in the wider world. It is a positive peace in which people flourish. That experience of the peace of God is a foretaste of his peace to come (John 14:27). Having peace does not mean that life will be easy; sometimes we have to disturb an unjust false peace to create a just one. Having received peace from God we are called to live in peace as far as it depends on us (Romans 12:18).

Contentment is the opposite of dissatisfaction and discontent which are about wanting more and more (Ecclesiastes 5:10). Contentment is not complacency, it is shifting the focus from what we don’t have to what we do have (1Timothy 6-7), and from our desire for more to appreciation and thankfulness. Contentment has its roots in believing life is a gift not a right.

This section is about moving towards self-control and peace. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it a move from a conscious refusal to accept limits or from a lack of training in self-control? Is it a move from anxiety or anger or from sentimental images of peace?

What does this mean in school?

Anger, peace, patience and contentment are issues that arise in many subjects from history and geography to science and design.

  • In English draw attention to stories, poems and drama that explore patience and contentment, anger and peace.
  • Create a peaceful atmosphere for teaching and learning about peace, patience and contentment.
  • There are big questions to be explored such as: ‘Should we design adverts that create discontent and more and more consumption?’ ‘Is this peace treaty peace in biblical terms?’
  • Look at the role of self-control in history, writing, personal development (PSHE) and sport.
  • Draw attention to different understandings of anger and peace. For example, you might give a range of examples and ask students to create criteria for distinguishing between the different types of anger and peace.

Does some of the material you teach sometimes stir righteous anger? Think of a time when what was being taught made students angry; was it because it highlighted injustice or because it challenged their self-interests in some way?

20. …towards embracing responsibility

What does this mean?

Behaviour is sometimes blamed on our genes or our environment and this can lead to an implicit or explicit assumption that: ‘It’s not my fault’. Without denying the influence of genetics or environment, Christianity maintains that we are responsible for the decisions we make, though in some situations our choice and responsibility is reduced. Christians believe that the gift of freedom to choose was given at creation but weakened by sin, so that it is now harder to make good choices. St Augustine likened it to balance scales where the pan labelled ‘Bad Decisions’ is loaded. The scales still work but they are biased. This bias can be corrected by God’s grace – his love and help. Throughout the Bible people are called to make right choices with God’s help (Joshua 24:15; Matthew 7:13). "Enter through the narrow gate," Jesus urged, "For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it" (Matthew 7:13).

Ultimately people are called to account before God, which assumes a degree of responsibility for making choices (Romans 14:12). If people had no capacity for making choices, they would not be responsible.

Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will – his personal responsibility in the realm of faith and morals. Albert Schweitzer
God never forces men to act against their wills. By workings of outward providence or of inward grace, the Lord may change men's minds, but He will not coerce a human being into thoughts, words or actions. Walter J. Chantry

This section is about moving towards embracing responsibility. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it a move from refusing to take responsibility for actions or from a more general lack of connection between actions and consequences?

What does this mean in school?

In school, teaching and learning can be organised in a way that gives students responsibility and allows them to make choices within the planned framework set by the teacher.

  • We can give responsibility to students and hold them to account for the choices they make. We can give students responsible choices to make in their learning.
  • In a variety of subjects students can explore how free or determined characters' choices were and what alternatives could have been chosen. Examples of both more and less free choices can be used.
  • Freedom and determinism can be explored and the influences on behaviour can be explored in science – but also, for instance, in literature.

Have you experienced people denying responsibility and blaming it on circumstances or the way they are made? Could they have made different choices? Identify a lesson/unit where you could highlight issues of choice and responsibility, for example in history or in English.

21. …towards Christian values and virtues

What does this mean?

How we live matters, but a lack of consensus in the world concerning values leads some to try to side-step this issue by labelling certain areas of life as ‘values free’. As Christians, we recognise that there is no such thing. There is no neutral ground. All of life is God’s and Christian values affect every area of life.

This is a moral universe, and you've got to take account of the fact that truth and lies and goodness and evil are things that matter. Desmond Tutu

The term ‘values’ is used in many schools but it can be rather abstract. Virtues are values expressed in character, and character affects how we treat those around us. Character is as much for the sake of others as for our own sake. The perfect expression of this was Jesus, whom Christians are called upon to imitate; he is the ‘measure’ of what humanity could be (1 John 2:6). It is all about the people we become.

The fruits of the Spirit are examples of Christian virtues (love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). 2 Peter 1:5-7 is another list of Christian virtues.

The safe landing of flight 1549 on the Hudson River on January 15, 2009 was the result of the pilot's long training that made certain actions ‘second nature’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/US_Airways_Flight_1549). Similarly, virtue and character involve acting out of habits of heart, mind and life. Virtue is not just natural goodness; it is the result of a thousand small choices that require effort to begin with until they are second nature.

As we pursue growth in virtues we discover that we fall short and need God's grace to transform our character. We pursue virtue not to impress God or declare ourselves good, but to seek to live as God intends in response to his grace to us.

Character is made in the small moments of our lives. Phillips Brooks

This section is about moving towards Christian values and virtues. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it a move from negative values or from a limited understanding of Christian values?

What does this mean in school?

Values create our context for teaching and learning across the curriculum. We communicate values in all subjects by the way in which we teach and learn, usually without knowing it. We can choose the values we communicate by our pedagogy. For some Christian values see http://www.christianvalues4schools.org.uk (select ‘values’, ‘Resources’ ‘downloads’ and ‘values questions’). All subjects can be part of character formation. In teaching and learning we can:

  • Think about the issues and values/virtues each subject raises and design teaching and learning to highlight them. Consider with students how the skills and knowledge that they gain from a subject area need to combine with virtues for them to serve others well.
  • Use stories of people who pursue the virtues in their lives in subjects such as: English, history, modern languages, art and drama.
  • Model pursuit of virtues, and honesty about falling short ourselves.
  • Look at the structure of lessons we teach: do they encourage the exercise of virtues by their structure? For example, does the structure encourage patience?
  • Look at what we reward.

Think of a time when a values issue arose in a lesson other than RE. Who initiated the issue, was it you or the students? Did you feel able to discuss it or did something stop you? Was it something internal inhibiting you or was it something external such a curriculum pressure? In light of this, what could you do to make discussing values across the curriculum possible?

22. …towards healing brokenness and seeking justice

What does this mean?

By chapter 3 of Genesis, there is brokenness in God’s good world when Adam and Eve decide to go their own way and assert self over God. However we understand the story of Genesis, one thing is clear – the world is not now as God intended. We now live in a Humpty Dumpty world full of brokenness and sin. Sin in the Bible is not just breaking the rules, its breaking a relationship. The various words used for sin express its different aspects, for example: missing the mark, disobedience, twisting (as in bending the truth). When he started his ministry, Jesus outlined his role by quoting from the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 61:1) where the prophet talks of one who will come who will heal the broken-hearted. Jesus came to bring good news, to heal the brokenness of our world and to deal with human sin. This he did by his death and resurrection (Matthew 1:21).

The word 'salvation' means wholeness, healing and restoration. Jesus healed broken minds and bodies, making people whole again. Christians are called to carry on the work of Christ by the help of the Holy Spirit, bringing healing and wholeness to broken bodies, minds, relationships and communities.

God calls people to follow ‘justice and only justice’ (Deuteronomy 16:20). Mary in her song (Luke 1:51-52) reflects on a God of justice who humbles the proud and lifts the poor. Jesus welcomed the marginalised, mixing with the poor and the rejected and people labelled sinners by others (Matthew 9:10-12). God's justice shows itself in acting on behalf of the powerless (Psalm 72:1-20; Psalm 7:1-17; Psalm 12:1-8), often represented as the orphan, the widow and the stranger – those with no-one to defend them and who often are treated unfairly. God expects his people to be just, making justice and redressing wrongs their aim (Isaiah 1:13-17; Micah 6:8).

Charity is no substitute for justice withheld. St Augustine
In the moral sphere, every act of justice or charity involves putting ourselves in the other person's place and thus transcending our own competitive particularity. C. S. Lewis

Injustice angers God. The prophet Amos thundered against the injustices of his day, where the vulnerable were oppressed and the rich just got richer. He called for justice to roll like a river (Amos 5:24). People seem to have an innate sense of the need for justice and are rightly outraged at the injustice they see in the world (Malachi 2:17). When we resist injustice there is an acknowledgement of the opponent as a responsible moral agent. To resist is to pay people the compliment that they are responsible for their actions.

This section is about moving towards healing brokenness and bringing justice. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it a move from hurt and injustice or from apathy concerning bringing justice and healing brokenness?

What does this mean in school?

Justice can be highlighted across the curriculum, by the way a subject is taught and the topics and actions chosen, as can brokenness and healing. The healing can be of relationships, communities, minds and bodies.

  • Use justice as part of an objective where it fits the material, for example, when looking at some Victorian social activists.
  • Be intentional and focus on brokenness and making whole in a text, a period in history, within communities, in relationships.
  • Use these two concepts as ways of understanding certain art works and texts, let them frame the whole lesson or unit.
  • Create dissonance/contrast by putting two situations together so that the contrast shows up the injustice.
  • Give students the opportunity to take part in creating justice, such as taking part in a campaign or running a fair trade stall.

Think of a lesson where justice was an issue or brokenness was part of the content. Think of ways in which you could make more of this.

23. …towards encouragement and working for change

What does this mean?

It is easy to become discouraged and give up trying to change things for the better, but Christians are called to be encouragers so that change does happen. God is called the ‘God of all encouragement’ (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). St Paul called on people to encourage each other and build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11). Encouragement means focusing on others and being unselfish in praise. Sometimes what people do and what type of person they are goes unnoticed; people who exercise a ministry of encouragement make a point of noticing.

With the news often being about war, disasters and economic failure it is easy to give up. Christians are not immune from this feeling, but the eye of faith sees things differently. The decisive battle with evil was won by Jesus through his life, death and resurrection. Evil is still active but the outcome is not in doubt, evil does not triumph in the end. The cross is not just about personal faith in Christ and God transforming individuals; it’s about hope for the whole world (Colossians 1:15-20; Romans 8:21-22). Faith brings both hope and realism; we live in a broken world, things will be difficult, but with God not impossible. This is not ‘fixing’ things, it’s about Christians living a communal way of life that says to our world: ‘It does not have to be like this, another way is possible.’

Good is stronger than evil; love is stronger than hate; light is stronger than darkness; life is stronger than death. Desmond Tutu
Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are. St Augustine

Discouragement often comes from trying to do things in our own strength and as individuals. Being an agent of change on your own is not the Christian ideal. In the Bible, the emphasis is on Christian communities in the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:32-34). Barnabas, an apostle alongside Paul, was called ‘Son of Encouragement’ and students and teachers can exercise this same ministry of encouragement (Hebrews 10:24) helping to bring about change.

The group of followers all felt the same way about everything. None of them claimed that their possessions were their own, and they shared everything they had with each other. In a powerful way the apostles told everyone that the Lord Jesus was now alive. God greatly blessed his followers, and no one went in need of anything. Acts 4:32-34

This section is about moving towards encouragement and working for change. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it a move from discouragement and feeling nothing can change or is it from apathy?

What does this mean in school?

Encouragement can be something practised across school life, and being agents of change relates to many subjects including history, geography, personal development (PSHE), information technology and science.

  • Look at change-making communities and their effects on others. The village of Eyam stopped the plague spreading in Derbyshire in the 17th Century. Quakers such as the Cadburys and Rowntrees practised business in a very different way and affected general business practice.
  • Explore small community groups such as those organised by A Rocha who bring about change in local environments.
  • Think carefully about the language you use: do students get the impression that it’s hopeless, things will never change, or are you overly optimistic? Neither faces a Christian view of reality.
  • Look for the ‘build-up’ effect in your teaching: lots of small things – images, tasks and resources – that create an overall effect.
  • Look for ways in which students can appropriately work for concrete changes in your school or community.
  • Use examples of people with vision in your subject. What visions of a different type of world did these people have? What informed their vision? Did their vision become reality? How? What was the effect of their vision on others? Was it positive or negative?

Think of a lesson/unit you teach that involves change, perhaps in geography or history or personal development (PSHE). What overall story does your teaching give on this issue? Do you and the students feel discouraged or realistically encouraged after it? How could you change the teaching and learning to give a more Christian balance? It might involve changing some resources or how the session is introduced and summed up.

24. …towards giving and serving others

What does this mean?

Servants were the hired hands and slaves of Jesus’ time. Jesus took this word and gave it a new and radical meaning. He took a word that described a person under the authority of others and used it to redefine leadership and greatness. Christians call Jesus the ‘servant King’ for he washed his disciples' feet and expected his followers to be willing to act similarly (John 13:14-15). Jesus made it clear that in the kingdom of God those who are greatest are those who serve God and others.

One of the principal rules of religion is, to lose no occasion of serving God. And, since he is invisible to our eyes, we are to serve him in our neighbour; which he receives as if done to himself in person, standing visibly before us. John Wesley

Giving is a strong motif in the Bible. John’s gospel says that God loved the world so much he gave his only son (John 3:16). God gave the world to humanity and provides for them; in response, God calls for generosity to others. Giving to the poor and needy is accepted as done to Christ (Matthew 25:37-40). Jesus said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

Wealth is seen positively in the Bible when it is matched by generosity and when it is not put before others and God. The Bible does not say that money is evil; it says people should not ‘serve’ it or love it (1 Timothy 6:10). Riches should be gained honestly and justly and are for sharing. With wealth comes a responsibility for others (Deuteronomy 16:17). The attitude of the Bible is summed up in Luke’s gospel: we are not defined by what we own (Luke 12:15).

This section is about moving towards giving and serving others. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it a move from selfishness and self-serving or is it a move from an attitude of fear that there may not be enough attention, love, generosity, etc. to go round?

What does this mean in school?

Students can look at different forms of giving in a variety of subjects: giving of wealth, self, time and skills, and the difference this giving makes:

  • Use examples of giving and serving where you can, for example, in maths.
  • Create giving and serving role-play possibilities in play areas for young children, supplying gift bags and boxes.
  • Create opportunities to give and serve in different ways as part of learning. A student might give of their skills or time to another student as part of learning.
  • Use examples of people who serve, such as scientists who use their knowledge to serve others.
  • Explore local projects that serve the community and relate them to student learning, for example, an environmental project.
  • Find appropriate ways to give status to serving in the school.

Think of a time when you experienced a student giving to you or serving you in some way. Identify a lesson or unit where you can change the framework to giving and serving, for example, a topic on transport can look at how transport serves the community or the role of ICT in serving the community. A geography survey of the local area can look at how a range of needs (physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual) are served.

1The earth and everything on it belong to the Lord . The world and its people belong to him. 2The Lord placed it all on the oceans and rivers. 3Who may climb the Lord 's hill or stand in his holy temple? 4Only those who do right for the right reasons, and don't worship idols or tell lies under oath. 5The Lord God, who saves them, will bless and reward them, 6because they worship and serve the God of Jacob. 7Open the ancient gates, so that the glorious king may come in. 8Who is this glorious king? He is our Lord , a strong and mighty warrior. 9Open the ancient gates, so that the glorious king may come in. 10Who is this glorious king? He is our Lord , the All-Powerful! (By David.) A prayer for guidance and help
1Friends, I want to remind you that all our ancestors walked under the cloud and went through the sea. 2This was like being baptized and becoming followers of Moses. 3All of them also ate the same spiritual food 4and drank the same spiritual drink, which flowed from the spiritual rock that followed them. That rock was Christ. 5But most of them did not please God. So they died, and their bodies were scattered all over the desert. 6What happened to them is a warning to keep us from wanting to do the same evil things. 7They worshipped idols, just as the Scriptures say, The people sat down to eat and drink. Then they got up to dance around. So don't worship idols. 8Some of those people did shameful things, and in a single day about twenty-three thousand of them died. Don't do shameful things as they did. 9And don't try to test Christ, as some of them did and were later bitten by poisonous snakes. 10Don't even grumble, as some of them did and were killed by the destroying angel. 11These things happened to them as a warning to us. All this was written in the Scriptures to teach us who live in these last days. 12Even if you think you can stand up to temptation, be careful not to fall. 13You are tempted in the same way that everyone else is tempted. But God can be trusted not to let you be tempted too much, and he will show you how to escape from your temptations. 14My friends, you must keep away from idols. 15I am speaking to you as people who have enough sense to know what I am talking about. 16When we drink from the cup that we ask God to bless, isn't that sharing in the blood of Christ? When we eat the bread that we break, isn't that sharing in the body of Christ? 17By sharing in the same loaf of bread, we become one body, even though there are many of us. 18Aren't the people of Israel sharing in the worship when they gather around the altar and eat the sacrifices offered there? 19Am I saying that either the idols or the food sacrificed to them is anything at all? 20No, I am not! That food is really sacrificed to demons and not to God. I don't want you to have anything to do with demons. 21You cannot drink from the cup of demons and still drink from the Lord's cup. You cannot eat at the table of demons and still eat at the Lord's table. 22We would make the Lord jealous if we did that. And we are not stronger than the Lord. Always honour God 23Some of you say, We can do whatever we want to! But I tell you that not everything may be good or helpful. 24We should think about others and not about ourselves. 25However, when you buy meat in the market, go ahead and eat it. Keep your conscience clear by not asking where the meat came from. 26The Scriptures say, The earth and everything in it belong to the Lord. 27If an unbeliever invites you to dinner, and you want to go, then go. Eat whatever you are served. Don't cause a problem for someone's conscience by asking where the food came from. 28But if you are told that it has been sacrificed to idols, don't cause a problem by eating it. I don't mean a problem for yourself, but for the one who told you. Why should my freedom be limited by someone else's conscience? 30If I give thanks for what I eat, why should anyone accuse me of doing wrong? 31When you eat or drink or do anything else, always do it to honour God. 32Don't cause problems for Jews or Greeks or anyone else who belongs to God's church. 33I always try to please others instead of myself, in the hope that many of them will be saved.
1Jesus Christ came from the family of King David and also from the family of Abraham. And this is a list of his ancestors. 2From Abraham to King David, his ancestors were: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah and his brothers (Judah's sons were Perez and Zerah, and their mother was Tamar), Hezron; Ram, Amminadab, Nahshon, Salmon, Boaz (his mother was Rahab), Obed (his mother was Ruth), Jesse, and King David. 6From David to the time of the exile in Babylonia, the ancestors of Jesus were: David, Solomon (his mother had been Uriah's wife), Rehoboam, Abijah, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Jehoram; Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah, and Jehoiachin and his brothers. 12From the exile to the birth of Jesus, his ancestors were: Jehoiachin, Shealtiel, Zerubbabel, Abiud, Eliakim, Azor, Zadok, Achim; Eliud, Eleazar, Matthan, Jacob, and Joseph, the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus, who is called the Messiah. 17There were fourteen generations from Abraham to David. There were also fourteen from David to the exile in Babylonia and fourteen more to the birth of the Messiah. The birth of Jesus (Luke 2.1-7) 18This is how Jesus Christ was born. A young woman named Mary was engaged to Joseph from King David's family. But before they were married, she learnt that she was going to have a baby by God's Holy Spirit. 19Joseph was a good man and did not want to embarrass Mary in front of everyone. So he decided to call off the wedding quietly. 20While Joseph was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, Joseph, the baby that Mary will have is from the Holy Spirit. Go ahead and marry her. 21Then after her baby is born, name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. 22So the Lord's promise came true, just as the prophet had said, 23A virgin will have a baby boy, and he will be called Immanuel, which means God is with us. 24After Joseph woke up, he and Mary were soon married, just as the Lord's angel had told him to do. 25But they did not sleep together before her baby was born. Then Joseph named him Jesus. The wise men
1In the beginning was the one who is called the Word. The Word was with God and was truly God. 2From the very beginning the Word was with God. 3And with this Word, God created all things. Nothing was made without the Word. Everything that was created 4received its life from him, and his life gave light to everyone. 5The light keeps shining in the dark, and darkness has never put it out. 6God sent a man named John, 7who came to tell about the light and to lead all people to have faith. 8John wasn't that light. He came only to tell about the light. 9The true light that shines on everyone was coming into the world. 10The Word was in the world, but no one knew him, though God had made the world with his Word. 11He came into his own world, but his own nation did not welcome him. 12Yet some people accepted him and put their faith in him. So he gave them the right to be the children of God. 13They were not God's children by nature or because of any human desires. God himself was the one who made them his children. 14The Word became a human being and lived here with us. We saw his true glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father. From him all the kindness and all the truth of God have come down to us. 15John spoke about him and shouted, This is the one I told you would come! He is greater than I am, because he was alive before I was born. 16Because of all that the Son is, we have been given one blessing after another. 17The Law was given by Moses, but Jesus Christ brought us undeserved kindness and truth. 18No one has ever seen God. The only Son, who is truly God and is closest to the Father, has shown us what God is like. John the Baptist tells about Jesus (Matthew 3.1-12; Mark 1.1-8; Luke 3.15-17) 19The Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and temple helpers to ask John who he was. He told them plainly, I am not the Messiah. 21Then when they asked him if he were Elijah, he said, No, I am not! And when they asked if he were the Prophet, he also said No! 22Finally, they said, Who are you then? We have to give an answer to the ones who sent us. Tell us who you are! 23John answered in the words of the prophet Isaiah, I am only someone shouting in the desert, Get the road ready for the Lord! 24Some Pharisees had also been sent to John. 25They asked him, Why are you baptizing people, if you are not the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet? 26John told them, I use water to baptize people. But here with you is someone you don't know. 27Even though I came first, I am not good enough to untie his sandals. 28John said this as he was baptizing east of the River Jordan in Bethany. The Lamb of God 29The next day, John saw Jesus coming towards him and said: Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30He is the one I told you about when I said, Someone else will come. He is greater than I am, because he was alive before I was born. 31I didn't know who he was. But I came to baptize you with water, so that everyone in Israel would see him. 32I was there and saw the Spirit come down on him like a dove from heaven. And the Spirit stayed on him. 33Before this I didn't know who he was. But the one who sent me to baptize with water had told me, You will see the Spirit come down and stay on someone. Then you will know that he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. 34I saw this happen, and I tell you that he is the Son of God. 35The next day, John was there again, and two of his followers were with him. 36When he saw Jesus walking by, he said, Here is the Lamb of God! 37John's two followers heard him, and they went with Jesus. 38When Jesus turned and saw them, he asked, What do you want? They answered, Rabbi, where do you live? The Hebrew word Rabbi means Teacher. 39Jesus replied, Come and see! It was already about four o'clock in the afternoon when they went with him and saw where he lived. So they stayed on for the rest of the day. 40One of the two men who had heard John and had gone with Jesus was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. 41The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother and tell him, We have found the Messiah! The Hebrew word Messiah means the same as the Greek word Christ. 42Andrew brought his brother to Jesus. And when Jesus saw him, he said, Simon son of John, you will be called Cephas. This name can be translated as Peter. Jesus chooses Philip and Nathanael 43The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. There he met Philip, who was from Bethsaida, the home town of Andrew and Peter. Jesus said to Philip, Come with me. 45Philip then found Nathanael and said, We have found the one that Moses and the Prophets wrote about. He is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth. 46Nathanael asked, Can anything good come from Nazareth? Philip answered, Come and see. 47When Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards him, he said, Here is a true descendant of our ancestor Israel. And he isn't deceitful. 48How do you know me? Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree. 49Nathanael said, Rabbi, you are the Son of God and the King of Israel! 50Jesus answered, Did you believe me just because I said that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see something even greater. 51I tell you for certain that you will see heaven open and God's angels going up and coming down on the Son of Man. Jesus at a wedding in Cana
1Once again Jesus used stories to teach the people: 2The kingdom of heaven is like what happened when a king gave a wedding banquet for his son. 3The king sent some servants to tell the invited guests to come to the banquet, but the guests refused. 4He sent other servants to say to the guests, The banquet is ready! My cattle and prize calves have all been prepared. Everything is ready. Come to the banquet! 5But the guests did not pay any attention. Some of them left for their farms, and some went to their places of business. 6Others grabbed the servants, then beat them up and killed them. 7This made the king so furious that he sent an army to kill those murderers and burn down their city. 8Then he said to the servants, It is time for the wedding banquet, and the invited guests don't deserve to come. 9Go out to the street corners and tell everyone you meet to come to the banquet. 10They went out into the streets and brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike. And the banquet room was filled with guests. 11When the king went in to meet the guests, he found that one of them wasn't wearing the right kind of clothes for the wedding. 12The king asked, Friend, why didn't you wear proper clothes for the wedding? But the guest had no excuse. 13So the king gave orders for that person to be tied hand and foot and to be thrown outside into the dark. That's where people will cry and grit their teeth in pain. 14Many are invited, but only a few are chosen. Paying taxes (Mark 12.13-17; Luke 20.20-26) 15The Pharisees got together and planned how they could trick Jesus into saying something wrong. 16They sent some of their followers and some of Herod's followers to say to him, Teacher, we know that you are honest. You teach the truth about what God wants people to do. And you treat everyone with the same respect, no matter who they are. 17Tell us what you think! Should we pay taxes to the Emperor or not? 18Jesus knew their evil thoughts and said, Why are you trying to test me? You show-offs! 19Let me see one of the coins used for paying taxes. They brought him a silver coin, 20and he asked, Whose picture and name are on it? 21The Emperor's, they answered. Then Jesus told them, Give the Emperor what belongs to him and give God what belongs to God. 22His answer surprised them so much that they walked away. Life in the future world (Mark 12.18-27; Luke 20.27-40) 23The Sadducees did not believe that people would rise to life after death. So that same day some of the Sadducees came to Jesus and said: 24Teacher, Moses wrote that if a married man dies and has no children, his brother should marry the widow. Their first son would then be thought of as the son of the dead brother. 25Once there were seven brothers who lived here. The first one married, but died without having any children. So his wife was left to his brother. 26The same thing happened to the second and third brothers and finally to all seven of them. 27At last the woman died. 28When God raises people from death, whose wife will this woman be? She had been married to all seven brothers. 29Jesus answered: You are completely wrong! You don't know what the Scriptures teach. And you don't know anything about the power of God. 30When God raises people to life, they won't marry. They will be like the angels in heaven. 31And as for people being raised to life, God was speaking to you when he said, 32I am the God worshipped by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He isn't the God of the dead, but of the living. 33The crowds were surprised to hear what Jesus was teaching. The most important commandment (Mark 12.28-34; Luke 10.25-28) 34After Jesus had made the Sadducees look foolish, the Pharisees heard about it and got together. 35One of them was an expert in the Jewish Law. So he tried to test Jesus by asking, 36Teacher, what is the most important commandment in the Law? 37Jesus answered: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. 38This is the first and most important commandment. 39The second most important commandment is like this one. And it is, Love others as much as you love yourself. 40All the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets are based on these two commandments. About David's son (Mark 12.35-37; Luke 20.41-44) 41While the Pharisees were still there, Jesus asked them, 42What do you think about the Messiah? Whose family will he come from? They answered, He will be a son of King David. 43Jesus replied, How then could the Spirit lead David to call the Messiah his Lord? David said, 44The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at my right side until I make your enemies into a footstool for you. 45If David called the Messiah his Lord, how can the Messiah be a son of King David? 46No one was able to give Jesus an answer, and from that day on, no one dared ask him any more questions. Jesus condemns the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law of Moses (Mark 12.38-40; Luke 11.37-52; 20.45-47)
1First of all, I ask you to pray for everyone. Ask God to help and bless them all, and tell God how thankful you are for each of them. 2Pray for kings and others in power, so that we may live quiet and peaceful lives as we worship and honour God. 3This kind of prayer is good, and it pleases God our Saviour. 4God wants everyone to be saved and to know the whole truth, which is, 5There is only one God, and Christ Jesus is the only one who can bring us to God. Jesus was truly human, and he gave himself to rescue all of us. 6God showed us this at the right time. 7This is why God chose me to be a preacher and an apostle of the good news. I am telling the truth. I am not lying. God sent me to teach the Gentiles about faith and truth. 8I want everyone everywhere to lift innocent hands towards heaven and pray, without being angry or arguing with each other. 9I would like women to wear modest and sensible clothes. They should not have fancy hair styles, or wear expensive clothes, or put on jewellery made of gold or pearls. 10Women who claim to love God should do helpful things for others, 11and they should learn by being quiet and paying attention. 12They should be silent and not be allowed to teach or to tell men what to do. 13After all, Adam was created before Eve, 14and the man Adam wasn't the one who was fooled. It was the woman Eve who was completely fooled and sinned. 15But women will be saved by having children, if they stay faithful, loving, holy, and modest. Church officials
1The Lord told Moses 2to say to the community of Israel: I am the Lord your God. I am holy, and you must be holy too! 3Respect your father and your mother, honour the Sabbath, and don't make idols or images. I am the Lord your God. 5When you offer a sacrifice to ask my blessing, be sure to follow my instructions. 6You may eat the meat either on the day of the sacrifice or on the next day, but you must burn anything left until the third day. 7If you eat any of it on the third day, the sacrifice will be disgusting to me, and I will reject it. 8In fact, you will be punished for not respecting what I say is holy, and you will no longer belong to the community of Israel. 9When you harvest your grain, always leave some of it standing along the edges of your fields and don't pick up what falls on the ground. 10Don't strip your grapevines clean or gather the grapes that fall off the vines. Leave them for the poor and for those foreigners who live among you. I am the Lord your God. 11Do not steal or tell lies or cheat others. 12Do not misuse my name by making promises you don't intend to keep. I am the Lord your God. 13Do not steal anything or cheat anyone, and don't fail to pay your workers at the end of each day. 14I am the Lord your God, and I command you not to make fun of the deaf or to cause a blind person to stumble. 15Be fair, no matter who is on trialdon't favour either the poor or the rich. 16Don't be a gossip, but never hesitate to speak up in court, especially if your testimony can save someone's life. 17Don't hold grudges. On the other hand, it's wrong not to correct someone who needs correcting. 18Stop being angry and don't try to take revenge. I am the Lord , and I command you to love others as much as you love yourself. 19Breed your livestock animals only with animals of the same kind, and don't plant two kinds of seed in the same field or wear clothes made of different kinds of material. 20If a man has sex with a slave woman who is promised in marriage to someone else, he must pay a fine, but they are not to be put to death. After all, she was still a slave at the time. 21The man must bring a ram to the entrance of the sacred tent and give it to a priest, who will then offer it as a sacrifice to me, so the man's sins will be forgiven. 23After you enter the land, you will plant fruit trees, but you are not to eat any of their fruit for the first three years. 24In the fourth year the fruit must be set apart, as an expression of thanks 25to me, the Lord God. Do this, and in the fifth year, those trees will produce an abundant harvest of fruit for you to eat. 26Don't eat the blood of any animal. Don't practise any kind of witchcraft. 27I forbid you to shave any part of your head or beard or to cut and tattoo yourself as a way of worshipping the dead. 29Don't let your daughters serve as temple prostitutesthis would bring disgrace both to them and the land. 30I command you to respect the Sabbath and the place where I am worshipped. 31Don't make yourselves disgusting to me by going to people who claim they can talk to the dead. 32I command you to show respect for older people and to obey me with fear and trembling. 33Don't ill-treat any foreigners who live in your land. 34Instead, treat them as well as you treat citizens and love them as much as you love yourself. Remember, you were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God. 35Use honest scales and don't cheat when you weigh or measure anything. I am the Lord your God. I rescued you from Egypt, 37and I command you to obey my laws. Penalties for disobeying God's laws
1Am I saying that God has turned his back on his people? Certainly not! I am one of the people of Israel, and I myself am a descendant of Abraham from the tribe of Benjamin. 2God did not turn his back on his chosen people. Don't you remember reading in the Scriptures how Elijah complained to God about the people of Israel? 3He said, Lord, they killed your prophets and destroyed your altars. I am the only one left, and now they want to kill me. 4But the Lord told Elijah, I still have seven thousand followers who have not worshipped Baal. 5It is the same way now. God was kind to the people of Israel, and so a few of them are still his followers. 6This happened because of God's undeserved kindness and not because of anything they have done. It could not have happened except for God's kindness. 7This means that only a chosen few of the people of Israel found what all of them were searching for. And the rest of them were stubborn, 8just as the Scriptures say, God made them so stupid that their eyes are blind, and their ears are still deaf. 9Then David said, Turn their meals into bait for a trap, so that they will stumble and be given what they deserve. 10Blindfold their eyes! Don't let them see. Bend their backs beneath a burden that will never be lifted. Gentiles will be saved 11Do I mean that the people of Israel fell, never to get up again? Certainly not! Their failure made it possible for the Gentiles to be saved, and this will make the people of Israel jealous. 12But if the rest of the world's people were helped so much by Israel's sin and loss, they will be helped even more by their full return. 13I am now speaking to you Gentiles, and as long as I am an apostle to you, I will take pride in my work. 14I hope in this way to make some of my own people jealous enough to be saved. 15When Israel rejected God, the rest of the people in the world were able to turn to him. So when God makes friends with Israel, it will be like bringing the dead back to life. 16If part of a batch of dough is made holy by being offered to God, then all the dough is holy. If the roots of a tree are holy, the rest of the tree is holy too. 17You Gentiles are like branches of a wild olive tree that were made to be part of a cultivated olive tree. You have taken the place of some branches that were cut away from it. And because of this, you enjoy the blessings that come from being part of that cultivated tree. 18But don't think you are better than the branches that were cut away. Just remember that you are not supporting the roots of that tree. Its roots are supporting you. 19Perhaps you think those branches were cut away, so that you could be put in their place. 20That's true enough. But they were cut away because they did not have faith, and you are where you are because you do have faith. So don't be proud, but be afraid. 21If God cut away those natural branches, couldn't he do the same to you? 22Now you see both how kind and how hard God can be. He was hard on those who fell, but he was kind to you. And he will keep on being kind to you, if you keep on trusting in his kindness. Otherwise, you will be cut away too. 23If those other branches will start having faith, they will be made a part of that tree again. God has the power to put them back. 24After all, it wasn't natural for branches to be cut from a wild olive tree and to be made part of a cultivated olive tree. So it is much more likely that God will join the natural branches back to the cultivated olive tree. The people of Israel will be brought back 25My friends, I don't want you Gentiles to be too proud of yourselves. So I will explain the mystery of what has happened to the people of Israel. Some of them have become stubborn, and they will stay like that until the complete number of you Gentiles has come in. 26In this way all Israel will be saved, as the Scriptures say, From Zion someone will come to rescue us. Then Jacob's descendants will stop being evil. 27This is what the Lord has promised to do when he forgives their sins. 28The people of Israel are treated as God's enemies, so that the good news can come to you Gentiles. But they are still the chosen ones, and God loves them because of their famous ancestors. 29God doesn't take back the gifts he has given or forget about the people he has chosen. 30At one time you Gentiles rejected God. But now Israel has rejected God, and you have been shown mercy. 31And because of the mercy shown to you, they will also be shown mercy. 32All people have disobeyed God, and that's why he treats them as prisoners. But he does this, so that he can have mercy on all of them. 33Who can measure the wealth and wisdom and knowledge of God? Who can understand his decisions or explain what he does? 34Has anyone known the thoughts of the Lord or given him advice? 35Has anyone loaned something to the Lord that must be repaid? 36Everything comes from the Lord. All things were made because of him and will return to him. Praise the Lord for ever! Amen. Christ brings new life
1Jesus said: I tell you for certain that only thieves and robbers climb over the fence instead of going in through the gate to the sheep pen. 2But the gatekeeper opens the gate for the shepherd, and he goes in through it. The sheep know their shepherd's voice. He calls each of them by name and leads them out. 4When he has led out all his sheep, he walks in front of them, and they follow, because they know his voice. 5The sheep will not follow strangers. They don't recognize a stranger's voice, and they run away. 6Jesus told the people this story. But they did not understand what he was talking about. Jesus is the good shepherd 7Jesus said: I tell you for certain that I am the gate for the sheep. 8Everyone who came before me was a thief or a robber, and the sheep did not listen to any of them. 9I am the gate. All who come in through me will be saved. Through me they will come and go and find pasture. 10A thief comes only to rob, kill, and destroy. I came so that everyone would have life, and have it fully. 11I am the good shepherd, and the good shepherd gives up his life for his sheep. 12Hired workers are not like the shepherd. They don't own the sheep, and when they see a wolf coming, they run off and leave the sheep. Then the wolf attacks and scatters the flock. 13Hired workers run away because they don't care about the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep, and they know me. 15Just as the Father knows me, I know the Father, and I give up my life for my sheep. 16I have other sheep that are not in this sheep pen. I must bring them together too, when they hear my voice. Then there will be one flock of sheep and one shepherd. 17The Father loves me, because I give up my life, so that I may receive it back again. 18No one takes my life from me. I give it up willingly! I have the power to give it up and the power to receive it back again, just as my Father commanded me to do. 19The people took sides because of what Jesus had told them. 20Many of them said, He has a demon in him! He is mad! Why listen to him? 21But others said, How could anyone with a demon in him say these things? No one like that could give sight to a blind person! Jesus is rejected 22That winter, Jesus was in Jerusalem for the Temple Festival. 23One day he was walking in that part of the temple known as Solomon's Porch, 24and the people gathered all around him. They said, How long are you going to keep us guessing? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly! 25Jesus answered: I have told you, and you refused to believe me. The things I do by my Father's authority show who I am. 26But since you are not my sheep, you don't believe me. 27My sheep know my voice, and I know them. They follow me, 28and I give them eternal life, so that they will never be lost. No one can snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father gave them to me, and he is greater than all others. No one can snatch them from his hands, 30and I am one with the Father. 31Once again the Jewish leaders picked up stones in order to kill Jesus. 32But he said, I have shown you many good things that my Father sent me to do. Which one are you going to stone me for? 33They answered, We are not stoning you because of any good thing you did. We are stoning you because you did a terrible thing. You are just a man, and here you are claiming to be God! 34Jesus replied: In your Scriptures doesn't God say, You are gods? 35You can't argue with the Scriptures, and God spoke to those people and called them gods. 36So why do you accuse me of a terrible sin for saying that I am the Son of God? After all, it is the Father who prepared me for this work. He is also the one who sent me into the world. 37If I don't do as my Father does, you should not believe me. 38But if I do what my Father does, you should believe because of that, even if you don't have faith in me. Then you will know for certain that the Father is one with me, and I am one with the Father. 39Again they wanted to arrest Jesus. But he escaped 40and crossed the Jordan to the place where John had earlier been baptizing. While Jesus was there, 41many people came to him. They were saying, John didn't perform any miracles, but everything he said about Jesus is true. 42A lot of those people also put their faith in Jesus. The death of Lazarus
1Job said: 2If you want to offer comfort, then listen to me. 3And when I have finished, you can start your insults all over again. 4My complaint is against God; that's why I am impatient. 5Just looking at me is enough to make you sick, 6and the very thought of myself fills me with disgust. 7Why do evil people live so long and gain such power? 8Why are they allowed to see their children grow up? 9They have no worries at home, and God never punishes them. 10Their cattle have lots of calves without ever losing one; 11their children play and dance safely by themselves. 12These people sing and celebrate to the sound of tambourines, small harps, and flutes, 13and they are successful, without a worry, until the day they die. Leave us alone! 14Those who are evil say to God All-Powerful, Leave us alone! Don't bother us with your teachings. 15What do we gain from praying and worshipping you? 16We succeeded all on our own. And so, I keep away from them and their evil schemes. 17How often does God become angry and send disaster and darkness to punish sinners? 18How often does he strike them like a storm that scatters straw? 19You say, God will punish those sinners' children in place of those sinners. But I say, Let him punish those sinners themselves until they really feel it. 20Let God All-Powerful force them to drink their own destruction from the cup of his anger. 21Because after they are dead, they won't care what happens to their children. Who can tell God what to do? 22Who can tell God what to do? He judges powerful rulers. 23Some of us die prosperous, enjoying good health, 25while others die in poverty, having known only pain. 26But we all end up dead, beneath a blanket of worms. 27My friends, I know that you are plotting against me. 28You ask, Where is the home of that important person who does so much evil? 29Everyone, near and far, agrees 30that those who do wrong never suffer disaster, when God becomes angry. 31No one points out their sin or punishes them. 32Then at their funerals, they are highly praised; 33the earth welcomes them home, while crowds mourn. 34But empty, meaningless words are the comfort you offer me. What use are we humans to God?
1When the son of David was king in Jerusalem, he was known to be very wise, and he said: 2Nothing makes sense! Everything is nonsense. I have seen it all nothing makes sense! 3What is there to show for all our hard work here on this earth? 4People come, and people go, but still the world never changes. 5The sun comes up, the sun goes down; it hurries right back to where it started from. 6The wind blows south, the wind blows north; round and round it blows over and over again. 7All rivers empty into the sea, but it never spills over; one by one the rivers return to their source. 8All of life is far more boring than words could ever say. Our eyes and our ears are never satisfied with what we see and hear. 9Everything that happens has happened before; nothing is new, nothing under the sun. 10Someone might say, Here is something new! But it happened before, long before we were born. 11No one who lived in the past is remembered any more, and everyone yet to be born will be forgotten too. It is senseless to be wise 12I said these things when I lived in Jerusalem as king of Israel. 13With all my wisdom I tried to understand everything that happens here on earth. And God has made this so hard for us humans to do. 14I have seen it all, and everything is just as senseless as chasing the wind. 15If something is crooked, it can't be made straight; if something isn't there, it can't be counted. 16I said to myself, You are by far the wisest person who has ever lived in Jerusalem. You are eager to learn, and you have learnt a lot. 17Then I decided to find out all I could about wisdom and foolishness. Soon I realized that this too was as senseless as chasing the wind. 18The more you know, the more it hurts; the more you understand, the more you suffer. It is senseless to be selfish
1In the past you were dead because you sinned and fought against God. 2You followed the ways of this world and obeyed the devil. He rules the world, and his spirit has power over everyone who doesn't obey God. 3Once we were also ruled by the selfish desires of our bodies and minds. We had made God angry, and we were going to be punished like everyone else. 4But God was merciful! We were dead because of our sins, but God loved us so much that he made us alive with Christ, and God's wonderful kindness is what saves you. 6God raised us from death to life with Christ Jesus, and he has given us a place beside Christ in heaven. 7God did this so that in the future world he could show how truly good and kind he is to us because of what Christ Jesus has done. 8You were saved by faith in God, who treats us much better than we deserve. This is God's gift to you, and not anything you have done on your own. 9It isn't something you have earned, so there is nothing you can boast about. 10God planned for us to do good things and to live as he has always wanted us to live. That's why he sent Christ to make us what we are. United by Christ 11Don't forget that you are Gentiles. In fact, you used to be called uncircumcised by those who take pride in being circumcised. 12At that time you did not know about Christ. You were foreigners to the people of Israel, and you had no part in the promises that God had made to them. You were living in this world without hope and without God, 13and you were far from God. But Christ offered his life's blood as a sacrifice and brought you near God. 14Christ has made peace between Jews and Gentiles, and he has united us by breaking down the wall of hatred that separated us. Christ gave his own body 15to destroy the Law of Moses with all its rules and commands. He even brought Jews and Gentiles together as though we were only one person, when he united us in peace. 16On the cross Christ did away with our hatred for each other. He also made peace between us and God by uniting Jews and Gentiles in one body. 17Christ came and preached peace to you Gentiles, who were far from God, and peace to us Jews, who were near God. 18And because of Christ, all of us can come to the Father by the same Spirit. 19You Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens with everyone else who belongs to the family of God. 20You are like a building with the apostles and prophets as the foundation and with Christ as the most important stone. 21Christ is the one who holds the building together and makes it grow into a holy temple for the Lord. 22And you are part of that building Christ has built as a place for God's own Spirit to live. Paul's mission to the Gentiles
1Finally, my dear friends, be glad that you belong to the Lord. It doesn't bother me to write the same things to you that I have written before. In fact, it is for your own good. 2Watch out for those people who behave like dogs! They are evil and want to do more than just circumcise you. 3But we are the ones who are truly circumcised, because we worship by the power of God's Spirit and take pride in Christ Jesus. We don't boast about what we have done, 4although I could. Others may boast about themselves, but I have more reason to boast than anyone else. 5I was circumcised when I was eight days old, and I am from the nation of Israel and the tribe of Benjamin. I am a true Hebrew. As a Pharisee, I strictly obeyed the Law of Moses. 6And I was so eager that I even made trouble for the church. I did everything the Law demands in order to please God. 7But Christ has shown me that what I once thought was valuable is worthless. 8Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have given up everything else and count it all as rubbish. All I want is Christ 9and to know that I belong to him. I could not make myself acceptable to God by obeying the Law of Moses. God accepted me simply because of my faith in Christ. 10All I want is to know Christ and the power that raised him to life. I want to suffer and die as he did, 11so that somehow I also may be raised to life. Running towards the goal 12I have not yet reached my goal, and I am not perfect. But Christ has taken hold of me. So I keep on running and struggling to take hold of the prize. 13My friends, I don't feel that I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead. 14I run towards the goal, so that I can win the prize of being called to heaven. This is the prize that God offers because of what Christ Jesus has done. 15All of us who are mature should think in this same way. And if any of you think differently, God will make it clear to you. 16But we must keep going in the direction that we are now headed. 17My friends, I want you to follow my example and learn from others who closely follow the example we set for you. 18I often warned you that many people are living as enemies of the cross of Christ. And now with tears in my eyes, I warn you again 19that they are headed for hell! They worship their stomachs and boast about the disgusting things they do. All they can think about are the things of this world. 20But we are citizens of heaven and are eagerly waiting for our Saviour to come from there. Our Lord Jesus Christ 21has power over everything, and he will make these poor bodies of ours like his own glorious body.
1I don't need to write to you about the time or date when all this will happen. 2You know that the Lord's return will be as a thief coming at night. 3People will think they are safe and secure. But destruction will suddenly strike them like the pains of a woman about to give birth. And they won't escape. 4My dear friends, you don't live in darkness, and so that day won't surprise you like a thief. 5You belong to the light and live in the day. We don't live in the night or belong to the dark. 6Others may sleep, but we should stay awake and be alert. 7People sleep during the night, and some even get drunk. 8But we belong to the day. So we must stay sober and let our faith and love be like a suit of armour. Our firm hope that we will be saved is our helmet. 9God doesn't intend to punish us, but wants us to be saved by our Lord Jesus Christ. 10Christ died for us, so that we could live with him, whether we are alive or dead when he comes. 11That's why you must encourage and help each other, just as you are already doing. 12My friends, we ask you to be thoughtful of your leaders who work hard and tell you how to live for the Lord. 13Show them great respect and love because of their work. Try to get along with each other. 14My friends, we beg you to warn anyone who isn't living right. Encourage anyone who feels left out, help all who are weak, and be patient with everyone. 15Don't be hateful to people, just because they are hateful to you. Rather, be good to each other and to everyone else. 16Always be joyful 17and never stop praying. 18Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do. 19Don't turn away God's Spirit 20or ignore prophecies. 21Put everything to the test. Accept what is good 22and don't have anything to do with evil. 23I pray that God, who gives peace, will make you completely holy. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept healthy and faultless until our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 24The one who chose you can be trusted, and he will do this. 25Friends, please pray for us. 26Give the Lord's followers a warm greeting. 27In the name of the Lord I beg you to read this letter to all his followers. 28I pray that our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you!
1I come to you, Lord , for protection. Don't let me be ashamed. Do as you have promised and rescue me. 2Listen to my prayer and hurry to save me. Be my mighty rock and the fortress where I am safe. 3You, Lord God, are my mighty rock and my fortress. Lead me and guide me, so that your name will be honoured. 4Protect me from hidden traps and keep me safe. 5You are faithful, and I trust you because you rescued me. 6I hate the worshippers of worthless idols, but I trust you, Lord . 7I celebrate and shout because you are kind. You saw all my suffering, and you cared for me. 8You kept me from the hands of my enemies, and you set me free. 9Have pity, Lord ! I am suffering and almost blind. My whole body aches. 10I have known only sorrow all my life long, and I suffer year after year. I am weak from sin, and my bones are limp. 11My enemies insult me. Neighbours are even worse, and I disgust my friends. People meet me in the street, and they turn and run. 12I am completely forgotten like someone dead. I am merely a broken dish. 13I hear the crowds whisper, Everyone is afraid! They are plotting and scheming to murder me. 14But I trust you, Lord , and I claim you as my God. 15My life is in your hands. Save me from enemies who hunt me down. 16Smile on me, your servant. Have pity and rescue me. 17I pray only to you. Don't disappoint me. Disappoint my cruel enemies until they lie silent in their graves. 18Silence those proud liars! Make them stop boasting and insulting your people. 19You are wonderful, and while everyone watches, you store up blessings for all who honour and trust you. 20You are their shelter from harmful plots, and you are their protection from vicious gossip. 21I will praise you, Lord , for showing great kindness when I was like a city under attack. 22I was terrified and thought, They've chased me far away from you! But you answered my prayer when I shouted for help. 23All who belong to the Lord , show how you love him. The Lord protects the faithful, but he severely punishes everyone who is proud. 24All who trust the Lord , be cheerful and strong. (A special psalm by David.) The joy of forgiveness
1So the heavens and the earth and everything else were created. 2By the seventh day God had finished his work, and so he rested. 3God blessed the seventh day and made it special because on that day he rested from his work. 4That's how God created the heavens and the earth. The Garden of Eden When the Lord God made the heavens and the earth, 5no grass or plants were growing anywhere. God had not yet sent any rain, and there was no one to work the land. 6But streams came up from the ground and watered the earth. 7The Lord God took a handful of soil and made a man. God breathed life into the man, and the man started breathing. 8The Lord made a garden in a place called Eden, which was in the east, and he put the man there. 9The Lord God placed all kinds of beautiful trees and fruit trees in the garden. Two other trees were in the middle of the garden. One of the trees gave lifethe other gave the power to know the difference between right and wrong. 10From Eden a river flowed out to water the garden, then it divided into four rivers. 11The first one is the River Pishon that flows through the land of Havilah, 12where pure gold, rare perfumes, and precious stones are found. 13The second is the River Gihon that winds through Ethiopia. 14The River Tigris that flows east of Assyria is the third, and the fourth is the River Euphrates. 15The Lord God put the man in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and to look after it. 16But the Lord told him, You may eat fruit from any tree in the garden, 17except the one that has the power to let you know the difference between right and wrong. If you eat any fruit from that tree, you will die before the day is over! 18The Lord God said, It isn't good for the man to live alone. I need to make a suitable partner for him. 19So the Lord took some soil and made animals and birds. He brought them to the man to see what names he would give each of them. Then the man named the tame animals and the birds and the wild animals. That's how they got their names. None of these was the right kind of partner for the man. 21So the Lord God made him fall into a deep sleep, and he took out one of the man's ribs. Then after closing the man's side, 22the Lord made a woman out of the rib. The Lord God brought her to the man, 23and the man exclaimed, Here is someone like me! She is part of my body, my own flesh and bones. She came from me, a man. So I will name her Woman! 24That's why a man will leave his own father and mother. He marries a woman, and the two of them become like one person. 25Although the man and his wife were both naked, they were not ashamed. The first sin
1Later the Lord chose seventy-two other followers and sent them out two by two to every town and village where he was about to go. 2He said to them: A large crop is in the fields, but there are only a few workers. Ask the Lord in charge of the harvest to send out workers to bring it in. 3Now go, but remember, I am sending you like lambs into a pack of wolves. 4Don't take along a money bag or a travelling bag or sandals. And don't waste time greeting people on the road. 5As soon as you enter a home, say, God bless this home with peace. 6If the people living there are peace-loving, your prayer for peace will bless them. But if they are not peace-loving, your prayer will return to you. 7Stay with the same family, eating and drinking whatever they give you, because workers are worth what they earn. Don't move around from house to house. 8If the people of a town welcome you, eat whatever they offer. 9Heal their sick and say, God's kingdom will soon be here! 10But if the people of a town refuse to welcome you, go out into the street and say, 11We are shaking the dust from our feet as a warning to you. And you can be sure that God's kingdom will soon be here! 12I tell you that on the day of judgment the people of Sodom will get off easier than the people of that town! The unbelieving towns (Matthew 11.20-24) Jesus continued: 13You people of Chorazin are in for trouble! You people of Bethsaida are also in for trouble! If the miracles that took place in your towns had happened in Tyre and Sidon, the people there would have turned to God long ago. They would have dressed in sackcloth and put ashes on their heads. 14On the day of judgment the people of Tyre and Sidon will get off easier than you will. 15People of Capernaum, do you think you will be honoured in heaven? Well, you will go down to hell! 16My followers, whoever listens to you is listening to me. Anyone who says No to you is saying No to me. And anyone who says No to me is really saying No to the one who sent me. The return of the seventy-two 17When the seventy-two followers returned, they were excited and said, Lord, even the demons obeyed when we spoke in your name! 18Jesus told them: I saw Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. 19I have given you the power to trample on snakes and scorpions and to defeat the power of your enemy Satan. Nothing can harm you. 20But don't be happy because evil spirits obey you. Be happy that your names are written in heaven! Jesus thanks his Father (Matthew 11.25-27; 13.16,17) 21At that same time, Jesus felt the joy that comes from the Holy Spirit, and he said: My Father, Lord of heaven and earth, I am grateful that you hid all this from wise and educated people and showed it to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that is what pleased you. 22My Father has given me everything, and he is the only one who knows the Son. The only one who really knows the Father is the Son. But the Son wants to tell others about the Father, so that they can know him too. 23Jesus then turned to his disciples and said to them in private, You are really blessed to see what you see! 24Many prophets and kings were eager to see what you see and to hear what you hear. But I tell you that they did not see or hear. The good Samaritan 25An expert in the Law of Moses stood up and asked Jesus a question to see what he would say. Teacher, he asked, what must I do to have eternal life? 26Jesus answered, What is written in the Scriptures? How do you understand them? 27The man replied, The Scriptures say, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind. They also say, Love your neighbours as much as you love yourself. 28Jesus said, You have given the right answer. If you do this, you will have eternal life. 29But the man wanted to show that he knew what he was talking about. So he asked Jesus, Who are my neighbours? 30Jesus replied: As a man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, robbers attacked him and grabbed everything he had. They beat him up and ran off, leaving him half dead. 31A priest happened to be going down the same road. But when he saw the man, he walked by on the other side. 32Later a temple helper came to the same place. But when he saw the man who had been beaten up, he also went by on the other side. 33A man from Samaria then came travelling along that road. When he saw the man, he felt sorry for him 34and went over to him. He treated his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put him on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. 35The next morning he gave the innkeeper two silver coins and said, Please take care of the man. If you spend more than this on him, I will pay you when I return. 36Then Jesus asked, Which one of these three people was a real neighbour to the man who was beaten up by robbers? 37The teacher answered, The one who showed pity. Jesus said, Go and do the same! Martha and Mary 38The Lord and his disciples were travelling along and came to a village. When they got there, a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39She had a sister named Mary, who sat down in front of the Lord and was listening to what he said. 40Martha was worried about all that had to be done. Finally, she went to Jesus and said, Lord, doesn't it bother you that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to come and help me! 41The Lord answered, Martha, Martha! You are worried and upset about so many things, 42but only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen what is best, and it will not be taken away from her. Prayer (Matthew 6.9-13; 7.7-11)
1Children, you belong to the Lord, and you do the right thing when you obey your parents. The first commandment with a promise says, 2Obey your father and your mother, 3and you will have a long and happy life. 4Parents, don't be hard on your children. Raise them properly. Teach them and instruct them about the Lord. Slaves and masters 5Slaves, you must obey your earthly masters. Show them great respect and be as loyal to them as you are to Christ. 6Try to please them at all times, and not just when you think they are watching. You are slaves of Christ, so with your whole heart you must do what God wants you to do. 7Gladly serve your masters, as though they were the Lord himself, and not simply people. 8You know that you will be rewarded for any good things you do, whether you are slaves or free. 9Slave owners, you must treat your slaves with this same respect. Don't threaten them. They have the same Master in heaven that you do, and he doesn't have any favourites. The fight against evil 10Finally, let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong. 11Put on all the armour that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil's tricks. 12We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. 13So put on all the armour that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm. 14Be ready! Let the truth be like a belt around your waist, and let God's justice protect you like armour. 15Your desire to tell the good news about peace should be like shoes on your feet. 16Let your faith be like a shield, and you will be able to stop all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Let God's saving power be like a helmet, and for a sword use God's message that comes from the Spirit. 18Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God's people. 19Pray that I will be given the message to speak and that I may fearlessly explain the mystery about the good news. 20I was sent to do this work, and that's the reason I am in jail. So pray that I will be brave and will speak as I should. 21I want you to know how I am getting along and what I am doing. That's why I am sending Tychicus to you. He is a dear friend, as well as a faithful servant of the Lord. He will tell you how I am doing, and he will cheer you up. 23I pray that God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ will give peace, love, and faith to every follower! 24May God be kind to everyone who keeps on loving our Lord Jesus Christ.
1Sometimes false prophets spoke to the people of Israel. False teachers will also sneak in and speak harmful lies to you. But these teachers don't really belong to the Master who paid a great price for them, and they will quickly destroy themselves. 2Many people will follow their evil ways and cause others to tell lies about the true way. 3They will be greedy and cheat you with smooth talk. But long ago God decided to punish them, and God doesn't sleep. 4God did not have pity on the angels that sinned. He had them tied up and thrown into the dark pits of hell until the time of judgment. 5And during Noah's time, God did not have pity on the ungodly people of the world. He destroyed them with a flood, though he did save eight people, including Noah, who preached the truth. 6God punished the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and this is a warning to anyone else who wants to sin. 7Lot lived right and was greatly troubled by the terrible way those wicked people were living. He was a good man, and day after day he suffered because of the evil things he saw and heard. So the Lord rescued him. 9This shows that the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their sufferings and to punish evil people while they wait for the day of judgment. 10The Lord is especially hard on people who disobey him and don't think of anything except their own filthy desires. They are reckless and proud and are not afraid of cursing the glorious beings in heaven. 11Although angels are more powerful than these evil beings, even the angels don't dare to accuse them to the Lord. 12These people are no better than senseless animals that live by their feelings and are born to be caught and killed. They speak evil of things they don't know anything about. But their own corrupt deeds will destroy them. 13They have done evil, and they will be rewarded with evil. They think it is fun to have wild parties during the day. They are immoral, and the meals they eat with you are spoilt by the shameful and selfish way they carry on. 14All they think about is having sex with someone else's husband or wife. There is no end to their wicked deeds. They trick people who are easily fooled, and their minds are filled with greedy thoughts. But they are headed for trouble! 15They have left the true road and have gone down the wrong path by following the example of the prophet Balaam. He was the son of Beor and loved what he got from being a criminal. 16But a donkey corrected him for this evil deed. It spoke to him with a human voice and made him stop his foolishness. 17These people are like dried up water holes and clouds blown by a storm. The darkest part of hell is waiting for them. 18They boast out loud about their stupid nonsense. And by being vulgar and crude, they trap people who have barely escaped from living the wrong kind of life. 19They promise freedom to everyone. But they are merely slaves of filthy living, because people are slaves of whatever controls them. 20When they learnt about our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they escaped from the filthy things of this world. But they are again caught up and controlled by these filthy things, and now they are in a worse state than they were at first. 21They would have been better off if they had never known about the right way. Even after they knew what was right, they turned their backs on the holy commandments that they were given. 22What happened to them is just like the true saying, A dog will come back to lick up its own vomit. A pig that has been washed will roll in the mud.
1Dear friends, God is good. So I beg you to offer your bodies to him as a living sacrifice, pure and pleasing. That's the most sensible way to serve God. 2Don't be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to him. 3I realize how kind God has been to me, and so I tell each of you not to think you are better than you really are. Use good sense and measure yourself by the amount of faith that God has given you. 4A body is made up of many parts, and each of them has its own use. 5That's how it is with us. There are many of us, but we are each part of the body of Christ, as well as part of one another. 6God has also given each of us different gifts to use. If we can prophesy, we should do it according to the amount of faith we have. 7If we can serve others, we should serve. If we can teach, we should teach. 8If we can encourage others, we should encourage them. If we can give, we should be generous. If we are leaders, we should do our best. If we are good to others, we should do it cheerfully. Rules for Christian living 9Be sincere in your love for others. Hate everything that is evil and hold tight to everything that is good. 10Love each other as brothers and sisters and honour others more than you do yourself. 11Never give up. Eagerly follow the Holy Spirit and serve the Lord. 12Let your hope make you glad. Be patient in time of trouble and never stop praying. 13Take care of God's needy people and welcome strangers into your home. 14Ask God to bless everyone who ill-treats you. Ask him to bless them and not to curse them. 15When others are happy, be happy with them, and when they are sad, be sad. 16Be friendly with everyone. Don't be proud and feel that you are cleverer than others. Make friends with ordinary people. 17Don't ill-treat someone who has ill-treated you. But try to earn the respect of others, 18and do your best to live at peace with everyone. 19Dear friends, don't try to get even. Let God take revenge. In the Scriptures the Lord says, I am the one to take revenge and pay them back. 20The Scriptures also say, If your enemies are hungry, give them something to eat. And if they are thirsty, give them something to drink. This will be the same as piling burning coals on their heads. 21Don't let evil defeat you, but defeat evil with good. Obey rulers
1Solomon signed a treaty with the king of Egypt and married his daughter. She lived in the older part of Jerusalem until the palace, the Lord 's temple, and the wall around Jerusalem were completed. 2At that time, there was no temple for worshipping the Lord , and everyone offered sacrifices at the local shrines. 3Solomon loved the Lord and followed his father David's instructions, but Solomon also offered sacrifices and burnt incense at the shrines. 4The most important shrine was in Gibeon, and Solomon had offered more than a thousand sacrifices on that altar. 5One night while Solomon was in Gibeon, the Lord God appeared to him in a dream and said, Solomon, ask for anything you want, and I will give it to you. 6Solomon answered: My father David, your servant, was honest and did what you commanded. You were always loyal to him, and you gave him a son who is now king. 7Lord God, I'm your servant, and you've made me king in my father's place. But I'm very young and know so little about being a leader. 8And now I must rule your chosen people, even though there are too many of them to count. 9Please make me wise and teach me the difference between right and wrong. Then I will know how to rule your people. If you don't, there is no way I could rule this great nation of yours. 10God said: Solomon, I'm pleased that you asked for this. You could have asked to live a long time or to be rich. Or you could have asked for your enemies to be destroyed. Instead, you asked for wisdom to make right decisions. 12So I'll make you wiser than anyone who has ever lived or ever will live. 13I'll also give you what you didn't ask for. You'll be rich and respected as long as you live, and you'll be greater than any other king. 14If you obey me and follow my commands, as your father David did, I'll let you live a long time. 15Solomon woke up and realized that God had spoken to him in the dream. He went back to Jerusalem and stood in front of the sacred chest, where he offered sacrifices to please the Lord and sacrifices to ask his blessing. Then Solomon gave a feast for his officials. Solomon makes a difficult decision 16One day two women came to King Solomon, 17and one of them said: Your Majesty, this woman and I live in the same house. Not long ago my baby was born at home, 18and three days later her baby was born. Nobody else was there with us. 19One night while we were all asleep, she rolled over on her baby, and he died. 20Then while I was still asleep, she got up and took my son out of my bed. She put him in her bed, then she put her dead baby next to me. 21In the morning when I got up to feed my son, I saw that he was dead. But when I looked at him in the light, I knew he wasn't my son. 22No! the other woman shouted. He was your son. My baby is alive! The dead baby is yours, the first woman yelled. Mine is alive! They argued back and forth in front of Solomon, 23until finally he said, Both of you say this live baby is yours. 24Someone bring me a sword. A sword was brought, and Solomon ordered, 25Cut the baby in half! That way each of you can have part of him. 26Please don't kill my son, the baby's mother screamed. Your Majesty, I love him very much, but give him to her. Just don't kill him. The other woman shouted, Go ahead and cut him in half. Then neither of us will have the baby. 27Solomon said, Don't kill the baby. Then he pointed to the first woman, She is his real mother. Give the baby to her. 28Everyone in Israel was amazed when they heard how Solomon had made his decision. They realized that God had given him wisdom to judge fairly. Solomon's officials
1Solomon signed a treaty with the king of Egypt and married his daughter. She lived in the older part of Jerusalem until the palace, the Lord 's temple, and the wall around Jerusalem were completed. 2At that time, there was no temple for worshipping the Lord , and everyone offered sacrifices at the local shrines. 3Solomon loved the Lord and followed his father David's instructions, but Solomon also offered sacrifices and burnt incense at the shrines. 4The most important shrine was in Gibeon, and Solomon had offered more than a thousand sacrifices on that altar. 5One night while Solomon was in Gibeon, the Lord God appeared to him in a dream and said, Solomon, ask for anything you want, and I will give it to you. 6Solomon answered: My father David, your servant, was honest and did what you commanded. You were always loyal to him, and you gave him a son who is now king. 7Lord God, I'm your servant, and you've made me king in my father's place. But I'm very young and know so little about being a leader. 8And now I must rule your chosen people, even though there are too many of them to count. 9Please make me wise and teach me the difference between right and wrong. Then I will know how to rule your people. If you don't, there is no way I could rule this great nation of yours. 10God said: Solomon, I'm pleased that you asked for this. You could have asked to live a long time or to be rich. Or you could have asked for your enemies to be destroyed. Instead, you asked for wisdom to make right decisions. 12So I'll make you wiser than anyone who has ever lived or ever will live. 13I'll also give you what you didn't ask for. You'll be rich and respected as long as you live, and you'll be greater than any other king. 14If you obey me and follow my commands, as your father David did, I'll let you live a long time. 15Solomon woke up and realized that God had spoken to him in the dream. He went back to Jerusalem and stood in front of the sacred chest, where he offered sacrifices to please the Lord and sacrifices to ask his blessing. Then Solomon gave a feast for his officials. Solomon makes a difficult decision 16One day two women came to King Solomon, 17and one of them said: Your Majesty, this woman and I live in the same house. Not long ago my baby was born at home, 18and three days later her baby was born. Nobody else was there with us. 19One night while we were all asleep, she rolled over on her baby, and he died. 20Then while I was still asleep, she got up and took my son out of my bed. She put him in her bed, then she put her dead baby next to me. 21In the morning when I got up to feed my son, I saw that he was dead. But when I looked at him in the light, I knew he wasn't my son. 22No! the other woman shouted. He was your son. My baby is alive! The dead baby is yours, the first woman yelled. Mine is alive! They argued back and forth in front of Solomon, 23until finally he said, Both of you say this live baby is yours. 24Someone bring me a sword. A sword was brought, and Solomon ordered, 25Cut the baby in half! That way each of you can have part of him. 26Please don't kill my son, the baby's mother screamed. Your Majesty, I love him very much, but give him to her. Just don't kill him. The other woman shouted, Go ahead and cut him in half. Then neither of us will have the baby. 27Solomon said, Don't kill the baby. Then he pointed to the first woman, She is his real mother. Give the baby to her. 28Everyone in Israel was amazed when they heard how Solomon had made his decision. They realized that God had given him wisdom to judge fairly. Solomon's officials
1A dry crust of bread eaten in peace and quiet is better than a feast eaten where everyone argues. 2A hard-working slave will be placed in charge of a no-good child, and that slave will be given the same inheritance that each child receives. 3Silver and gold are tested by flames of fire; our thoughts are tested by the Lord . 4Troublemakers listen to troublemakers, and liars listen to liars. 5By insulting the poor, you insult your Creator. You will be punished if you make fun of someone in trouble. 6Grandparents are proud of their grandchildren, and children should be proud of their parents. 7It sounds strange for a fool to talk sensibly, but it's even worse for a ruler to tell lies. 8A bribe works miracles like a magic charm that brings good luck. 9You will keep your friends if you forgive them, but you will lose your friends if you keep talking about what they did wrong. 10A sensible person accepts correction, but you can't beat sense into a fool. 11Cruel people want to rebel, and so vicious attackers will be sent against them. 12A bear robbed of her cubs is far less dangerous than a stubborn fool. 13You will always have trouble if you are mean to those who are good to you. 14The start of an argument is like a water leak so stop it before real trouble breaks out. 15The Lord doesn't like those who defend the guilty or condemn the innocent. 16Why should fools have money for an education when they refuse to learn? 17A friend is always a friend, and relatives are born to share our troubles. 18It's stupid to guarantee someone else's loan. 19The wicked and the proud love trouble and keep begging to be hurt. 20Dishonesty does you no good, and telling lies will get you in trouble. 21It's never pleasant to be the parent of a fool and have nothing but pain. 22If you are cheerful, you feel good; if you are sad, you hurt all over. 23Crooks accept secret bribes to keep justice from being done. 24Anyone with wisdom knows what makes good sense, but fools can never make up their minds. 25Foolish children bring sorrow to their father and pain to their mother. 26It isn't fair to punish the innocent and those who do right. 27It makes a lot of sense to be a person of few words and to stay calm. 28Even fools seem clever when they are quiet. It's wrong to favour the guilty
1These are the proverbs of King Solomon of Israel, the son of David. 2Proverbs will teach you wisdom and self-control and how to understand sayings with deep meanings. 3You will learn what is right and honest and fair. 4From these, an ordinary person can learn to be clever, and young people can gain knowledge and good sense. 5If you are already wise, you will become even wiser. And if you are clever, you will learn to understand 6proverbs and sayings, as well as words of wisdom and all kinds of riddles. 7Respect and obey the Lord ! This is the beginning of knowledge. Only a fool rejects wisdom and good advice. Warnings against bad friends 8My child, obey the teachings of your parents, 9and wear their teachings as you would a lovely hat or a pretty necklace. 10Don't be tempted by sinners or listen 11when they say, Come on! Let's gang up and kill somebody, just for the fun of it! 12They're well and healthy now, but we'll finish them off once and for all. 13We'll take their valuables and fill our homes with stolen goods. 14If you join our gang, you'll get your share. 15Don't follow anyone like that or do what they do. 16They are in a big hurry to commit some crime, perhaps even murder. 17They are like a bird that sees the bait, but ignores the trap. 18They gang up to murder someone, but they are the victims. 19The wealth you get from crime robs you of your life. Wisdom speaks 20Wisdom shouts in the streets wherever crowds gather. 21She shouts in the market places and near the city gates as she says to the people, 22How much longer will you enjoy being stupid fools? Won't you ever stop sneering and laughing at knowledge? 23Listen as I correct you and tell you what I think. 24You completely ignored me and refused to listen; 25you rejected my advice and paid no attention when I warned you. 26So when you are struck by some terrible disaster, 27or when trouble and distress surround you like a whirlwind, I will laugh and make fun of you. 28You will ask for my help, but I won't listen; you will search, but you won't find me. 29No, you would not learn, and you refused to respect the Lord . 30You rejected my advice and paid no attention when I warned you. 31Now you will eat the fruit of what you have done, until you are stuffed full with your own schemes. 32Sin and self-satisfaction bring destruction and death to stupid fools. 33But if you listen to me, you will be safe and secure without fear of disaster. Wisdom and bad friends
1My children, I am writing this so that you won't sin. But if you do sin, Jesus Christ always does the right thing, and he will speak to the Father for us. 2Christ is the sacrifice that takes away our sins and the sins of all the world's people. 3When we obey God, we are sure that we know him. 4But if we claim to know him and don't obey him, we are lying and the truth isn't in our hearts. 5We truly love God only when we obey him as we should, and then we know that we belong to him. 6If we say we are his, we must follow the example of Christ. 7My dear friends, I am not writing to give you a new commandment. It is the same one that you were first given, and it is the message you heard. 8But it really is a new commandment, and you know its true meaning, just as Christ does. You can see the darkness fading away and the true light already shining. 9If we claim to be in the light and hate someone, we are still in the dark. 10But if we love others, we are in the light, and we don't cause problems for them. 11If we hate others, we are living and walking in the dark. We don't know where we are going, because we can't see in the dark. 12Children, I am writing to you, because your sins have been forgiven in the name of Christ. 13Parents, I am writing to you, because you have known the one who was there from the beginning. Young people, I am writing to you, because you have defeated the evil one. 14Children, I am writing to you, because you have known the Father. Parents, I am writing to you, because you have known the one who was there from the beginning. Young people, I am writing to you, because you are strong. God's message is firm in your hearts, and you have defeated the evil one. 15Don't love the world or anything that belongs to the world. If you love the world, you cannot love the Father. 16Our foolish pride comes from this world, and so do our selfish desires and our desire to have everything we see. None of this comes from the Father. 17The world and the desires it causes are disappearing. But if we obey God, we will live for ever. The enemy of Christ 18Children, this is the last hour. You heard that the enemy of Christ would appear at this time, and many of Christ's enemies have already appeared. So we know that the last hour is here. 19These people came from our own group, yet they were not part of us. If they had been part of us, they would have stayed with us. But they left, which proves that they did not belong to our group. 20Christ, the Holy One, has blessed you, and now all of you understand. 21I did not need to write to you about the truth, since you already know it. You also know that liars do not belong to the truth. 22And a liar is anyone who says that Jesus isn't truly Christ. Anyone who says this is an enemy of Christ and rejects both the Father and the Son. 23If we reject the Son, we reject the Father. But if we say that we accept the Son, we have the Father. 24Keep thinking about the message you first heard, and you will always be one in your heart with the Son and with the Father. 25The Son has promised us eternal life. 26I am writing to warn you about those people who are misleading you. 27But Christ has blessed you with the Holy Spirit. Now the Spirit stays in you, and you don't need any teachers. The Spirit is truthful and teaches you everything. So stay united in your heart with Christ, just as the Spirit has taught you to do. Children of God 28Children, stay united in your hearts with Christ. Then when he returns, we will have confidence and won't have to hide in shame. 29You know that Christ always does right and that everyone who does right is a child of God.
1I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth had disappeared, and so had the sea. 2Then I saw New Jerusalem, that holy city, coming down from God in heaven. It was like a bride dressed in her wedding gown and ready to meet her husband. 3I heard a loud voice shout from the throne: God's home is now with his people. He will live with them, and they will be his own. Yes, God will make his home among his people. 4He will wipe all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying, or pain. These things of the past are gone for ever. 5Then the one sitting on the throne said: I am making everything new. Write down what I have said. My words are true and can be trusted. 6Everything is finished! I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will freely give water from the life-giving fountain to everyone who is thirsty. 7All who win the victory will be given these blessings. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 8But I will tell you what will happen to cowards and to everyone who is unfaithful or dirty-minded or who murders or is sexually immoral or uses witchcraft or worships idols or tells lies. They will be thrown into that lake of fire and burning sulphur. This is the second death. 9I saw one of the seven angels who had the bowls filled with the seven last terrible troubles. The angel came to me and said, Come on! I will show you the one who will be the bride and wife of the Lamb. 10Then with the help of the Spirit, he took me to the top of a very high mountain. There he showed me the holy city of Jerusalem coming down from God in heaven. 11The glory of God made the city bright. It was dazzling and crystal clear like a precious jasper stone. 12The city had a high and thick wall with twelve gates, and each one of them was guarded by an angel. On each of the gates was written the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. 13Three of these gates were on the east, three were on the north, three more were on the south, and the other three were on the west. 14The city was built on twelve foundation stones. On each of the stones was written the name of one of the Lamb's twelve apostles. 15The angel who spoke to me had a gold measuring stick to measure the city and its gates and its walls. 16The city was shaped like a cube, because it was just as high as it was wide. When the angel measured the city, it was about two thousand four hundred kilometres high and two thousand four hundred kilometres wide. 17Then the angel measured the wall, and by our measurements it was about sixty metres high. 18The wall was built of jasper, and the city was made of pure gold, clear as crystal. 19Each of the twelve foundations was a precious stone. The first was jasper, the second was sapphire, the third was agate, the fourth was emerald, 20the fifth was onyx, the sixth was carnelian, the seventh was chrysolite, the eighth was beryl, the ninth was topaz, the tenth was chrysoprase, the eleventh was jacinth, and the twelfth was amethyst. 21Each of the twelve gates was a solid pearl. The streets of the city were made of pure gold, clear as crystal. 22I did not see a temple there. The Lord God All-Powerful and the Lamb were its temple. 23And the city did not need the sun or the moon. The glory of God was shining on it, and the Lamb was its light. 24Nations will walk by the light of that city, and kings will bring their riches there. 25Its gates are always open during the day, and night never comes. 26The glorious treasures of nations will be brought into the city. 27But nothing unworthy will be allowed to enter. No one who is dirty-minded or who tells lies will be there. Only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life will be in the city.
1In the future, the mountain with the Lord 's temple will be the highest of all. It will reach above the hills, and every nation will rush to it. 2People of many nations will come and say, Let's go up to the mountain of the Lord God of Jacob and worship in his temple. The Lord will teach us his Law from Jerusalem, and we will obey him. 3He will settle arguments between distant and powerful nations. They will beat their swords and their spears into rakes and shovels; they will never again make war or attack one another. 4Everyone will find rest beneath their own fig trees or grapevines, and they will live in peace. This is a solemn promise of the Lord All-Powerful. 5Others may follow their gods, but we will always follow the Lord our God. The Lord will lead his people home 6The Lord said: At that time I will gather my people the lame and the outcasts, and all into whose lives I have brought sorrow. 7Then the lame and the outcasts will belong to my people and become a strong nation. I, the Lord , will rule them from Mount Zion for ever. 8Mount Zion in Jerusalem, guardian of my people, you will rule again. 9Jerusalem, why are you crying? Don't you have a king? Have your advisers gone? Are you suffering like a woman in childbirth? 10Keep on groaning with pain, you people of Jerusalem! If you escape from your city to the countryside, you will still be taken as prisoners to Babylonia. But later I will rescue you from your enemies. 11Zion, because of your sins you are surrounded by many nations who say, We can hardly wait to see you disgraced. 12But they don't know that I, the Lord , have gathered them here to grind them like grain. 13Smash them to pieces, Zion! I'll let you be like a bull with iron horns and bronze hoofs. Crush those nations and bring their wealth to me, the Lord of the earth. A promised ruler
1One Sabbath when Jesus and his disciples were walking through some wheat fields, the disciples picked some wheat. They rubbed the husks off with their hands and started eating the grain. 2Some Pharisees said, Why are you picking grain on the Sabbath? You're not supposed to do that! 3Jesus answered, Surely you have read what David did when he and his followers were hungry. 4He went into the house of God and took the sacred loaves of bread that only priests were supposed to eat. He not only ate some himself, but even gave some to his followers. 5Jesus finished by saying, The Son of Man is Lord over the Sabbath. A man with a crippled hand (Matthew 12.9-14; Mark 3.1-6) 6On another Sabbath Jesus was teaching in a Jewish meeting place, and a man with a crippled right hand was there. 7Some Pharisees and teachers of the Law of Moses kept watching Jesus to see if he would heal the man. They did this because they wanted to accuse Jesus of doing something wrong. 8Jesus knew what they were thinking. So he told the man to stand up where everyone could see him. And the man stood up. 9Then Jesus asked, On the Sabbath should we do good deeds or evil deeds? Should we save someone's life or destroy it? 10After he had looked around at everyone, he told the man, Stretch out your hand. He did, and his bad hand became completely well. 11The teachers and the Pharisees were furious and started saying to each other, What can we do about Jesus? Jesus chooses his twelve apostles (Matthew 10.1-4; Mark 3.13-19) 12About that time Jesus went off to a mountain to pray, and he spent the whole night there. 13The next morning he called his disciples together and chose twelve of them to be his apostles. 14One was Simon, and Jesus named him Peter. Another was Andrew, Peter's brother. There were also James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15Matthew, Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus. The rest of the apostles were Simon, known as the Eager One, 16Jude, who was the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who later betrayed Jesus. Jesus teaches, preaches, and heals (Matthew 4.23-25) 17Jesus and his apostles went down from the mountain and came to some flat, level ground. Many other disciples were there to meet him. Large crowds of people from all over Judea, Jerusalem, and the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon were there too. 18These people had come to listen to Jesus and to be healed of their diseases. All who were troubled by evil spirits were also healed. 19Everyone was trying to touch Jesus, because power was going out from him and healing them all. Blessings and troubles (Matthew 5.1-12) 20Jesus looked at his disciples and said: God will bless you people who are poor. His kingdom belongs to you! 21God will bless you hungry people. You will have plenty to eat! God will bless you people who are crying. You will laugh! 22God will bless you when others hate you and won't have anything to do with you. God will bless you when people insult you and say cruel things about you, all because you are a follower of the Son of Man. 23Long ago your own people did these same things to the prophets. So when this happens to you, be happy and jump for joy! You will have a great reward in heaven. 24But you rich people are in for trouble. You have already had an easy life! 25You well-fed people are in for trouble. You will go hungry! You people who are laughing now are in for trouble. You are going to cry and weep! 26You are in for trouble when everyone says good things about you. That is what your own people said about those prophets who told lies. Love for enemies (Matthew 5.38-48; 7.12a) Jesus continued: 27This is what I say to all who will listen to me: Love your enemies, and be good to everyone who hates you. 28Ask God to bless anyone who curses you, and pray for everyone who is cruel to you. 29If someone slaps you on one cheek, don't stop that person from slapping you on the other cheek. If someone wants to take your coat, don't try to keep back your shirt. 30Give to everyone who asks and don't ask people to return what they have taken from you. 31Treat others just as you want to be treated. 32If you love only someone who loves you, will God praise you for that? Even sinners love people who love them. 33If you are kind only to someone who is kind to you, will God be pleased with you for that? Even sinners are kind to people who are kind to them. 34If you lend money only to someone you think will pay you back, will God be pleased with you for that? Even sinners lend to sinners because they think they will get it all back. 35But love your enemies and be good to them. Lend without expecting to be paid back. Then you will get a great reward, and you will be the true children of God in heaven. He is good even to people who are unthankful and cruel. 36Have pity on others, just as your Father has pity on you. Judging others (Matthew 7.1-5) 37Jesus said: Don't judge others, and God won't judge you. Don't be hard on others, and God won't be hard on you. Forgive others, and God will forgive you. 38If you give to others, you will be given a full amount in return. It will be packed down, shaken together, and spilling over into your lap. The way you treat others is the way you will be treated. 39Jesus also used some sayings as he spoke to the people. He said: Can one blind person lead another blind person? Won't they both fall into a ditch? 40Are students better than their teacher? But when they are fully trained, they will be like their teacher. 41You can see the speck in your friend's eye. But you don't notice the log in your own eye. 42How can you say, My friend, let me take the speck out of your eye, when you don't see the log in your own eye? You show-offs! First, get the log out of your own eye. Then you can see how to take the speck out of your friend's eye. A tree and its fruit (Matthew 7.17-20; 12.34b,35) Jesus continued: 43A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. 44You can tell what a tree is like by the fruit it produces. You cannot pick figs or grapes from thorn bushes. 45Good people do good things because of the good in their hearts. Bad people do bad things because of the evil in their hearts. Your words show what is in your heart. Two builders (Matthew 7.24-27) Jesus continued: 46Why do you keep on saying that I am your Lord, when you refuse to do what I say? 47Anyone who comes and listens to me and obeys me 48is like someone who dug down deep and built a house on solid rock. When the flood came and the river rushed against the house, it was built so well that it didn't even shake. 49But anyone who hears what I say and doesn't obey me is like someone whose house wasn't built on solid rock. As soon as the river rushed against that house, it was smashed to pieces! Jesus heals an army officer's servant (Matthew 8.5-13; John 4.43-54)
1It is wonderful to be grateful and to sing your praises, Lord Most High! 2It is wonderful each morning to tell about your love and at night to announce how faithful you are. 3I enjoy praising your name to the music of harps, 4because everything you do makes me happy, and I sing joyful songs. 5You do great things, Lord . Your thoughts are too deep 6for an ignorant fool to know or understand. 7Though the wicked sprout and spread like grass, they will be pulled up by their roots. 8But you will rule over all of us for ever, 9and your hateful enemies will be scattered and then destroyed. 10You have given me the strength of a wild ox, and you have chosen me to be your very own. 11My eyes have seen, and my ears have heard the doom and destruction of my terrible enemies. 12Good people will prosper like palm trees, and they will grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. 13They will take root in your house, Lord God, and they will do well. 14They will be like trees that stay healthy and fruitful, even when they are old. 15And they will say about you, The Lord always does right! God is our mighty rock. The Lord is king
1First of all, I ask you to pray for everyone. Ask God to help and bless them all, and tell God how thankful you are for each of them. 2Pray for kings and others in power, so that we may live quiet and peaceful lives as we worship and honour God. 3This kind of prayer is good, and it pleases God our Saviour. 4God wants everyone to be saved and to know the whole truth, which is, 5There is only one God, and Christ Jesus is the only one who can bring us to God. Jesus was truly human, and he gave himself to rescue all of us. 6God showed us this at the right time. 7This is why God chose me to be a preacher and an apostle of the good news. I am telling the truth. I am not lying. God sent me to teach the Gentiles about faith and truth. 8I want everyone everywhere to lift innocent hands towards heaven and pray, without being angry or arguing with each other. 9I would like women to wear modest and sensible clothes. They should not have fancy hair styles, or wear expensive clothes, or put on jewellery made of gold or pearls. 10Women who claim to love God should do helpful things for others, 11and they should learn by being quiet and paying attention. 12They should be silent and not be allowed to teach or to tell men what to do. 13After all, Adam was created before Eve, 14and the man Adam wasn't the one who was fooled. It was the woman Eve who was completely fooled and sinned. 15But women will be saved by having children, if they stay faithful, loving, holy, and modest. Church officials
1I want you to know what a struggle I am going through for you, for God's people at Laodicea, and for all those followers who have never met me. 2I do it to encourage them. Then as their hearts are joined together in love, they will be wonderfully blessed with complete understanding. And they will truly know Christ. Not only is he the key to God's mystery, 3but all wisdom and knowledge are hidden away in him. 4I tell you these things to keep you from being fooled by fancy talk. 5Even though I am not with you, I keep thinking about you. I am glad to know that you are living as you should and that your faith in Christ is strong. Christ brings real life 6You have accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord. Now keep on following him. 7Plant your roots in Christ and let him be the foundation for your life. Be strong in your faith, just as you were taught. And be grateful. 8Don't let anyone fool you by using senseless arguments. These arguments may sound wise, but they are only human teachings. They come from the powers of this world and not from Christ. 9God lives fully in Christ. 10And you are fully grown because you belong to Christ, who is over every power and authority. 11Christ has also taken away your selfish desires, just as circumcision removes flesh from the body. 12And when you were baptized, it was the same as being buried with Christ. Then you were raised to life because you had faith in the power of God, who raised Christ from death. 13You were dead, because you were sinful and were not God's people. But God let Christ make you alive, when he forgave all our sins. 14God wiped out the charges that were against us for disobeying the Law of Moses. He took them away and nailed them to the cross. 15There Christ defeated all powers and forces. He let the whole world see them being led away as prisoners when he celebrated his victory. 16Don't let anyone tell you what you must eat or drink. Don't let them say that you must celebrate the New Moon festival, the Sabbath, or any other festival. 17These things are only a shadow of what was to come. But Christ is real! 18Don't be cheated by people who make a show of acting humble and who worship angels. They boast about seeing visions. But it is all nonsense, because their minds are filled with selfish desires. 19They are no longer part of Christ, who is the head of the whole body. Christ gives the body its strength, and he uses its joints and muscles to hold it together, as it grows by the power of God. 20You died with Christ. Now the forces of the universe don't have any power over you. Why do you live as if you had to obey such rules as, 21Don't handle this. Don't taste that. Don't touch this.? 22After these things are used, they are no longer good for anything. So why be bothered with the rules that humans have made up? 23Obeying these rules may seem to be the clever thing to do. They appear to make you love God more and to be very humble and to have control over your body. But they don't really have any power over our desires.
1I don't need to write to you about the time or date when all this will happen. 2You know that the Lord's return will be as a thief coming at night. 3People will think they are safe and secure. But destruction will suddenly strike them like the pains of a woman about to give birth. And they won't escape. 4My dear friends, you don't live in darkness, and so that day won't surprise you like a thief. 5You belong to the light and live in the day. We don't live in the night or belong to the dark. 6Others may sleep, but we should stay awake and be alert. 7People sleep during the night, and some even get drunk. 8But we belong to the day. So we must stay sober and let our faith and love be like a suit of armour. Our firm hope that we will be saved is our helmet. 9God doesn't intend to punish us, but wants us to be saved by our Lord Jesus Christ. 10Christ died for us, so that we could live with him, whether we are alive or dead when he comes. 11That's why you must encourage and help each other, just as you are already doing. 12My friends, we ask you to be thoughtful of your leaders who work hard and tell you how to live for the Lord. 13Show them great respect and love because of their work. Try to get along with each other. 14My friends, we beg you to warn anyone who isn't living right. Encourage anyone who feels left out, help all who are weak, and be patient with everyone. 15Don't be hateful to people, just because they are hateful to you. Rather, be good to each other and to everyone else. 16Always be joyful 17and never stop praying. 18Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do. 19Don't turn away God's Spirit 20or ignore prophecies. 21Put everything to the test. Accept what is good 22and don't have anything to do with evil. 23I pray that God, who gives peace, will make you completely holy. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept healthy and faultless until our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 24The one who chose you can be trusted, and he will do this. 25Friends, please pray for us. 26Give the Lord's followers a warm greeting. 27In the name of the Lord I beg you to read this letter to all his followers. 28I pray that our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you!
1So the heavens and the earth and everything else were created. 2By the seventh day God had finished his work, and so he rested. 3God blessed the seventh day and made it special because on that day he rested from his work. 4That's how God created the heavens and the earth. The Garden of Eden When the Lord God made the heavens and the earth, 5no grass or plants were growing anywhere. God had not yet sent any rain, and there was no one to work the land. 6But streams came up from the ground and watered the earth. 7The Lord God took a handful of soil and made a man. God breathed life into the man, and the man started breathing. 8The Lord made a garden in a place called Eden, which was in the east, and he put the man there. 9The Lord God placed all kinds of beautiful trees and fruit trees in the garden. Two other trees were in the middle of the garden. One of the trees gave lifethe other gave the power to know the difference between right and wrong. 10From Eden a river flowed out to water the garden, then it divided into four rivers. 11The first one is the River Pishon that flows through the land of Havilah, 12where pure gold, rare perfumes, and precious stones are found. 13The second is the River Gihon that winds through Ethiopia. 14The River Tigris that flows east of Assyria is the third, and the fourth is the River Euphrates. 15The Lord God put the man in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and to look after it. 16But the Lord told him, You may eat fruit from any tree in the garden, 17except the one that has the power to let you know the difference between right and wrong. If you eat any fruit from that tree, you will die before the day is over! 18The Lord God said, It isn't good for the man to live alone. I need to make a suitable partner for him. 19So the Lord took some soil and made animals and birds. He brought them to the man to see what names he would give each of them. Then the man named the tame animals and the birds and the wild animals. That's how they got their names. None of these was the right kind of partner for the man. 21So the Lord God made him fall into a deep sleep, and he took out one of the man's ribs. Then after closing the man's side, 22the Lord made a woman out of the rib. The Lord God brought her to the man, 23and the man exclaimed, Here is someone like me! She is part of my body, my own flesh and bones. She came from me, a man. So I will name her Woman! 24That's why a man will leave his own father and mother. He marries a woman, and the two of them become like one person. 25Although the man and his wife were both naked, they were not ashamed. The first sin
1The Lord is giving you the land, and soon you will conquer it, settle down, 2and plant crops. And when you begin harvesting each of your crops, the very first things you pick must be put in a basket. Take them to the place where the Lord your God chooses to be worshipped, 3and tell the priest, Long ago the Lord our God promised our ancestors that he would give us this land. And today, I thank him for keeping his promise and giving me a share of the land. 4The priest will take the basket and set it in front of the Lord 's altar. 5Then, standing there in front of the place of worship, you must pray: My ancestor was homeless, an Aramean who went to live in Egypt. There were only a few in his family then, but they became great and powerful, a nation of many people. 6The Egyptians were cruel and had no pity on us. They ill-treated our people and forced us into slavery. 7We called out for help to you, the Lord God of our ancestors. You heard our cries; you knew we were in trouble and abused. 8Then you terrified the Egyptians with your mighty miracles and rescued us from Egypt. 9You brought us here and gave us this land rich with milk and honey. 10Now, Lord , I bring to you the best of the crops that you have given me. After you say these things, place the basket in front of the Lord 's altar and bow down to worship him. 11Then you and your family must celebrate by eating a meal at the place of worship to thank the Lord your God for giving you such a good harvest. And remember to invite the Levites and the foreigners who live in your town. Ten per cent of the harvest Moses said to Israel: 12Every year you are to give ten per cent of your harvest to the Lord . But every third year, this ten per cent must be given to the poor who live in your town, including Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows. That way, they will have enough to eat. 13Then you must pray: Our Lord and our God, you have said that ten per cent of my harvest is sacred. I have obeyed your command and given this to the poor, including the Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows. 14I have not eaten any of this sacred food while I was in mourning; in fact, I never touched it when I was unclean. And none of it has been offered as a sacrifice to the spirits of the dead. I have done everything exactly as you commanded. 15Our Lord , look down from your temple in heaven and bless your people Israel. You promised our ancestors that you would give us this land rich with milk and honey, and you have kept your promise. The Lord is your God, and you are his people Moses said to Israel: 16Today the Lord your God has commanded you to obey these laws and teachings with all your heart and soul. 17In response, you have agreed that the Lord will be your God, that you will obey all his laws and teachings, and that you will listen when he speaks to you. 18Since you have agreed to obey the Lord , he has agreed that you will be his people and that you will belong to him, just as he promised. 19The Lord created all nations, but he will make you more famous than any of them, and you will receive more praise and honour. You will belong only to the Lord your God, just as he promised. Build an altar on Mount Ebal
1Shout praises to the Lord ! Sing him a new song of praise when his loyal people meet. 2People of Israel, rejoice because of your Creator. People of Zion, celebrate because of your King. 3Praise his name by dancing and playing music on harps and tambourines. 4The Lord is pleased with his people, and he gives victory to those who are humble. 5All you faithful people, praise our glorious Lord! Celebrate and worship. 6Praise God with songs on your lips and a sword in your hand. 7Take revenge and punish the nations. 8Put chains of iron on their kings and rulers. 9Punish them as they deserve; this is the privilege of God's faithful people. Shout praises to the Lord ! The Lord is good to his people
1The heavens keep telling the wonders of God, and the skies declare what he has done. 2Each day informs the following day; each night announces to the next. 3They don't speak a word, and there is never the sound of a voice. 4Yet their message reaches all the earth, and it travels around the world. In the heavens a tent is set up for the sun. 5It rises like a bridegroom and gets ready like a hero eager to run a race. 6It travels all the way across the sky. Nothing hides from its heat. 7The Law of the Lord is perfect; it gives us new life. His teachings last for ever, and they give wisdom to ordinary people. 8The Lord 's instruction is right; it makes our hearts glad. His commands shine brightly, and they give us light. 9Worshipping the Lord is sacred; he will always be worshipped. All of his decisions are correct and fair. 10They are worth more than the finest gold and are sweeter than honey from a honeycomb. 11By your teachings, Lord, I am warned; by obeying them, I am greatly rewarded. 12None of us know our faults. Forgive me when I sin without knowing it. 13Don't let me do wrong on purpose, Lord, or let sin have control over my life. Then I will be innocent, and not guilty of some terrible fault. 14Let my words and my thoughts be pleasing to you, Lord , because you are my mighty rock and my protector. (A psalm by David for the music leader.) A prayer for victory
1Christ encourages you, and his love comforts you. God's Spirit unites you, and you are concerned for others. 2Now make me completely happy! Live in harmony by showing love for each other. Be united in what you think, as if you were only one person. 3Don't be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves. 4Care about them as much as you care about yourselves 5and think the same way that Christ Jesus thought: 6Christ was truly God. But he did not try to remain equal with God. 7Instead he gave up everything and became a slave, when he became like one of us. 8Christ was humble. He obeyed God and even died on a cross. 9Then God gave Christ the highest place and honoured his name above all others. 10So at the name of Jesus everyone will bow down, those in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. 11And to the glory of God the Father everyone will openly agree, Jesus Christ is Lord! Lights in the world 12My dear friends, you always obeyed when I was with you. Now that I am away, you should obey even more. So work with fear and trembling to discover what it really means to be saved. 13God is working in you to make you willing and able to obey him. 14Do everything without grumbling or arguing. 15Then you will be the pure and innocent children of God. You live among people who are crooked and evil, but you must not do anything that they can say is wrong. Try to shine as lights among the people of this world, 16as you hold firmly to the message that gives life. Then on the day when Christ returns, I can take pride in you. I can also know that my work and efforts were not useless. 17Your faith in the Lord and your service are like a sacrifice offered to him. And my own blood may have to be poured out with the sacrifice. If this happens, I will be glad and rejoice with you. 18In the same way, you should be glad and rejoice with me. Timothy and Epaphroditus 19I want to be encouraged by news about you. So I hope the Lord Jesus will soon let me send Timothy to you. 20I don't have anyone else who cares about you as much as he does. 21The others think only about what interests them and not about what concerns Christ Jesus. 22But you know what kind of person Timothy is. He has worked with me like a son in spreading the good news. 23I hope to send him to you, as soon as I find out what is going to happen to me. 24And I feel sure that the Lord will also let me come soon. 25I think I ought to send my dear friend Epaphroditus back to you. He is a follower and a worker and a soldier of the Lord, just as I am. You sent him to look after me, 26but now he is eager to see you. He is worried, because you heard he was sick. 27In fact, he was very sick and almost died. But God was kind to him, and also to me, and he kept me from being burdened down with sorrow. 28Now I am more eager than ever to send Epaphroditus back again. You will be glad to see him, and I won't have to worry any longer. 29Be sure to give him a cheerful welcome, just as people who serve the Lord deserve. 30He almost died working for Christ, and he risked his own life to do for me what you could not.
1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was barren, with no form of life; it was under a roaring ocean covered with darkness. But the Spirit of God was moving over the water. 3God said, I command light to shine! And light started shining. 4God looked at the light and saw that it was good. He separated light from darkness 5and named the light Day and the darkness Night. Evening came and then morningthat was the first day. 6God said, I command a dome to separate the water above it from the water below it. 7And that's what happened. God made the dome 8and named it Sky. Evening came and then morningthat was the second day. 9God said, I command the water under the sky to come together in one place, so there will be dry ground. And that's what happened. 10God named the dry ground Land, and he named the water Sea. God looked at what he had done and saw that it was good. 11God said, I command the earth to produce all kinds of plants, including fruit trees and grain. And that's what happened. 12The earth produced all kinds of vegetation. God looked at what he had done, and it was good. 13Evening came and then morningthat was the third day. 14God said, I command lights to appear in the sky and to separate day from night and to show the time for seasons, special days, and years. 15I command them to shine on the earth. And that's what happened. 16God made two powerful lights, the brighter one to rule the day and the other to rule the night. He also made the stars. 17Then God put these lights in the sky to shine on the earth, 18to rule day and night, and to separate light from darkness. God looked at what he had done, and it was good. 19Evening came and then morningthat was the fourth day. 20God said, I command the sea to be full of living creatures, and I command birds to fly above the earth. 21So God made the giant sea monsters and all the living creatures that swim in the sea. He also made every kind of bird. God looked at what he had done, and it was good. 22Then he gave the living creatures his blessinghe told the sea creatures to live everywhere in the sea and the birds to live everywhere on earth. 23Evening came and then morningthat was the fifth day. 24God said, I command the earth to give life to all kinds of tame animals, wild animals, and reptiles. And that's what happened. 25God made every one of them. Then he looked at what he had done, and it was good. 26God said, Now we will make humans, and they will be like us. We will let them rule the fish, the birds, and all other living creatures. 27So God created humans to be like himself; he made men and women. 28God gave them his blessing and said: Have a lot of children! Fill the earth with people and bring it under your control. Rule over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and every animal on the earth. 29I have provided all kinds of fruit and grain for you to eat. 30And I have given the green plants as food for everything else that breathes. These will be food for animals, both wild and tame, and for birds. 31God looked at what he had done. All of it was very good! Evening came and then morningthat was the sixth day.
1Dear friends, I love you and long to see you. Please keep on being faithful to the Lord. You are my pride and joy. Paul encourages the Lord's followers 2Euodia and Syntyche, you belong to the Lord, so I beg you to stop arguing with each other. 3And, my true partner, I ask you to help them. These women have worked together with me and with Clement and with the others in spreading the good news. Their names are now written in the book of life. 4Always be glad because of the Lord! I will say it again: be glad. 5Always be gentle with others. The Lord will soon be here. 6Don't worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. 7Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel. 8Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don't ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise. 9You know the teachings I gave you, and you know what you heard me say and saw me do. So follow my example. And God, who gives peace, will be with you. 10The Lord has made me very grateful that at last you have thought about me once again. Actually, you were thinking about me all along, but you didn't have any chance to show it. 11I am not complaining about having too little. I have learnt to be satisfied with whatever I have. 12I know what it is to be poor or to have plenty, and I have lived under all kinds of conditions. I know what it means to be full or to be hungry, to have too much or too little. 13Christ gives me the strength to face anything. 14It was good of you to help me when I was having such a hard time. 15My friends at Philippi, you remember what it was like when I started preaching the good news in Macedonia. After I left there, you were the only church that became my partner by giving blessings and by receiving them in return. 16Even when I was in Thessalonica, you helped me more than once. 17I am not trying to get something from you, but I want you to receive the blessings that come from giving. 18I have been paid back everything, and with interest. I am completely satisfied with the gifts that you asked Epaphroditus to bring me. They are like a sweet-smelling offering or like the right kind of sacrifice that pleases God. 19I pray that God will take care of all your needs with the wonderful blessings that come from Christ Jesus! 20May God our Father be praised for ever and ever. Amen. 21Give my greetings to all who are God's people because of Christ Jesus. The Lord's followers here with me send you their greetings. 22All God's people send their greetings, especially those in the service of the Emperor. 23I pray that our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless your life!
1At that time you will say, I thank you, Lord ! You were angry with me, but you stopped being angry and gave me comfort. 2I trust you to save me, Lord God, and I won't be afraid. My power and my strength come from you, and you have saved me. 3With great joy, you people will get water from the well of victory. 4At that time you will say, Our Lord , we are thankful, and we worship only you. We will tell the nations how glorious you are and what you have done. 5Because of your wonderful deeds we will sing your praises everywhere on earth. 6Sing, people of Zion! Celebrate the greatness of the holy Lord of Israel. God is here to help you. Babylon will be punished
1In the past you were dead because you sinned and fought against God. 2You followed the ways of this world and obeyed the devil. He rules the world, and his spirit has power over everyone who doesn't obey God. 3Once we were also ruled by the selfish desires of our bodies and minds. We had made God angry, and we were going to be punished like everyone else. 4But God was merciful! We were dead because of our sins, but God loved us so much that he made us alive with Christ, and God's wonderful kindness is what saves you. 6God raised us from death to life with Christ Jesus, and he has given us a place beside Christ in heaven. 7God did this so that in the future world he could show how truly good and kind he is to us because of what Christ Jesus has done. 8You were saved by faith in God, who treats us much better than we deserve. This is God's gift to you, and not anything you have done on your own. 9It isn't something you have earned, so there is nothing you can boast about. 10God planned for us to do good things and to live as he has always wanted us to live. That's why he sent Christ to make us what we are. United by Christ 11Don't forget that you are Gentiles. In fact, you used to be called uncircumcised by those who take pride in being circumcised. 12At that time you did not know about Christ. You were foreigners to the people of Israel, and you had no part in the promises that God had made to them. You were living in this world without hope and without God, 13and you were far from God. But Christ offered his life's blood as a sacrifice and brought you near God. 14Christ has made peace between Jews and Gentiles, and he has united us by breaking down the wall of hatred that separated us. Christ gave his own body 15to destroy the Law of Moses with all its rules and commands. He even brought Jews and Gentiles together as though we were only one person, when he united us in peace. 16On the cross Christ did away with our hatred for each other. He also made peace between us and God by uniting Jews and Gentiles in one body. 17Christ came and preached peace to you Gentiles, who were far from God, and peace to us Jews, who were near God. 18And because of Christ, all of us can come to the Father by the same Spirit. 19You Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens with everyone else who belongs to the family of God. 20You are like a building with the apostles and prophets as the foundation and with Christ as the most important stone. 21Christ is the one who holds the building together and makes it grow into a holy temple for the Lord. 22And you are part of that building Christ has built as a place for God's own Spirit to live. Paul's mission to the Gentiles
1Stop being hateful! Stop trying to fool people, and start being sincere. Don't be jealous or say cruel things about others. 2Be like newborn babies who are thirsty for the pure spiritual milk that will help you grow and be saved. 3You have already found out how good the Lord really is. 4Come to Jesus Christ. He is the living stone that people have rejected, but which God has chosen and highly honoured. 5And now you are living stones that are being used to build a spiritual house. You are also a group of holy priests, and with the help of Jesus Christ you will offer sacrifices that please God. 6It is just as God says in the Scriptures, Look! I am placing in Zion a choice and precious cornerstone. No one who has faith in that one will be disappointed. 7You are followers of the Lord, and that stone is precious to you. But it isn't precious to those who refuse to follow him. They are the builders who tossed aside the stone that turned out to be the most important one of all. 8They disobeyed the message and stumbled and fell over that stone, because they were doomed. 9But you are God's chosen and special people. You are a group of royal priests and a holy nation. God has brought you out of darkness into his marvellous light. Now you must tell all the wonderful things that he has done. The Scriptures say, 10Once you were nobody. Now you are God's people. At one time no one had pity on you. Now God has treated you with kindness. Live as God's servants should 11Dear friends, you are foreigners and strangers on this earth. So I beg you not to surrender to those desires that fight against you. 12Always let others see you behaving properly, even though they may still accuse you of doing wrong. Then on the day of judgment, they will honour God by telling the good things they saw you do. 13The Lord wants you to obey all human authorities, especially the Emperor, who rules over everyone. 14You must also obey governors, because they are sent by the Emperor to punish criminals and to praise good citizens. 15God wants you to silence stupid and ignorant people by doing right. 16You are free, but still you are God's servants, and you must not use your freedom as an excuse for doing wrong. 17Respect everyone and show special love for God's people. Honour God and respect the Emperor. 18Servants, you must obey your masters and always show respect to them. Do this, not only to those who are kind and thoughtful, but also to those who are cruel. 19God will bless you, even if others treat you unfairly for being loyal to him. 20You don't gain anything by being punished for some wrong you have done. But God will bless you, if you have to suffer for doing something good. 21After all, God chose you to suffer as you follow in the footsteps of Christ, who set an example by suffering for you. 22Christ did not sin or ever tell a lie. 23Although he was abused, he never tried to get even. And when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he had faith in God, who judges fairly. 24Christ carried the burden of our sins. He was nailed to the cross, so that we would stop sinning and start living right. By his cuts and bruises you are healed. 25You had wandered away like sheep. Now you have returned to the one who is your shepherd and protector. Wives and husbands
1The kingdom of heaven is like what happened one night when ten girls took their oil lamps and went to a wedding to meet the groom. 2Five of the girls were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps, but no extra oil. 4The ones who were wise took along extra oil for their lamps. 5The groom was late arriving, and the girls became drowsy and fell asleep. 6Then in the middle of the night someone shouted, Here's the groom! Come to meet him! 7When the girls got up and started getting their lamps ready, 8the foolish ones said to the others, Let us have some of your oil! Our lamps are going out. 9The girls who were wise answered, There's not enough oil for all of us! Go and buy some for yourselves. 10While the foolish girls were on their way to get some oil, the groom arrived. The girls who were ready went into the wedding, and the doors were closed. 11Later the other girls returned and shouted, Sir, sir! Open the door for us! 12But the groom replied, I don't even know you! 13So, my disciples, always be ready! You don't know the day or the time when all this will happen. A story about three servants (Luke 19.11-27) Jesus continued: 14The kingdom is also like what happened when a man went away and put his three servants in charge of all he owned. 15The man knew what each servant could do. So he handed five thousand coins to the first servant, two thousand to the second, and one thousand to the third. Then he left the country. 16As soon as the man had gone, the servant with the five thousand coins used them to earn five thousand more. 17The servant who had two thousand coins did the same with his money and earned two thousand more. 18But the servant with one thousand coins dug a hole and hid his master's money in the ground. 19Some time later the master of those servants returned. He called them in and asked what they had done with his money. 20The servant who had been given five thousand coins brought them in with the five thousand that he had earned. He said, Sir, you gave me five thousand coins, and I have earned five thousand more. 21Wonderful! his master replied. You are a good and faithful servant. I left you in charge of only a little, but now I will put you in charge of much more. Come and share in my happiness! 22Next, the servant who had been given two thousand coins came in and said, Sir, you gave me two thousand coins, and I have earned two thousand more. 23Wonderful! his master replied. You are a good and faithful servant. I left you in charge of only a little, but now I will put you in charge of much more. Come and share in my happiness! 24The servant who had been given one thousand coins then came in and said, Sir, I know that you are hard to get along with. You harvest what you don't plant and gather crops where you haven't scattered seed. 25I was frightened and went out and hid your money in the ground. Here is every single coin! 26The master of the servant told him, You are lazy and good-for-nothing! You know that I harvest what I don't plant and gather crops where I haven't scattered seed. 27You could have at least put my money in the bank, so that I could have earned interest on it. 28Then the master said, Now your money will be taken away and given to the servant with ten thousand coins! 29Everyone who has something will be given more, and they will have more than enough. But everything will be taken from those who don't have anything. 30You are a worthless servant, and you will be thrown out into the dark where people will cry and grit their teeth in pain. The final judgment Jesus continued: 31When the Son of Man comes in his glory with all his angels, he will sit on his royal throne. 32The people of all nations will be brought before him, and he will separate them, as shepherds separate their sheep from their goats. 33He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34Then the king will say to those on his right, My father has blessed you! Come and receive the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world was created. 35When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat, and when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was a stranger, you welcomed me, 36and when I was naked, you gave me clothes to wear. When I was sick, you took care of me, and when I was in jail, you visited me. 37Then the ones who pleased the Lord will ask, When did we give you something to eat or drink? 38When did we welcome you as a stranger or give you clothes to wear 39or visit you while you were sick or in jail? 40The king will answer, Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me. 41Then the king will say to those on his left, Get away from me! You are under God's curse. Go into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels! 42I was hungry, but you did not give me anything to eat, and I was thirsty, but you did not give me anything to drink. 43I was a stranger, but you did not welcome me, and I was naked, but you did not give me any clothes to wear. I was sick and in jail, but you did not take care of me. 44Then the people will ask, Lord, when did we fail to help you when you were hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in jail? 45The king will say to them, Whenever you failed to help any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you failed to do it for me. 46Then Jesus said, Those people will be punished for ever. But the ones who pleased God will have eternal life. The plot to kill Jesus (Mark 14.1,2; Luke 22.1,2; John 11.45-53)
1The heavens keep telling the wonders of God, and the skies declare what he has done. 2Each day informs the following day; each night announces to the next. 3They don't speak a word, and there is never the sound of a voice. 4Yet their message reaches all the earth, and it travels around the world. In the heavens a tent is set up for the sun. 5It rises like a bridegroom and gets ready like a hero eager to run a race. 6It travels all the way across the sky. Nothing hides from its heat. 7The Law of the Lord is perfect; it gives us new life. His teachings last for ever, and they give wisdom to ordinary people. 8The Lord 's instruction is right; it makes our hearts glad. His commands shine brightly, and they give us light. 9Worshipping the Lord is sacred; he will always be worshipped. All of his decisions are correct and fair. 10They are worth more than the finest gold and are sweeter than honey from a honeycomb. 11By your teachings, Lord, I am warned; by obeying them, I am greatly rewarded. 12None of us know our faults. Forgive me when I sin without knowing it. 13Don't let me do wrong on purpose, Lord, or let sin have control over my life. Then I will be innocent, and not guilty of some terrible fault. 14Let my words and my thoughts be pleasing to you, Lord , because you are my mighty rock and my protector. (A psalm by David for the music leader.) A prayer for victory
1From Paul, chosen by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from Sosthenes, who is also a follower. 2To God's church in Corinth. Christ Jesus chose you to be his very own people, and you worship in his name, as we and all others do who call him Lord. 3My prayer is that God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace! 4I never stop thanking my God for being kind enough to give you Christ Jesus, 5who helps you speak and understand so well. 6Now you are certain that everything we told you about our Lord Christ Jesus is true. 7You are not missing out on any blessings, as you wait for him to return. 8And until the day Christ does return, he will keep you completely innocent. 9God can be trusted, and he chose you to be partners with his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Taking sides 10My dear friends, as a follower of our Lord Jesus Christ, I beg you to get along with each other. Don't take sides. Always try to agree in what you think. 11Several people from Chloe's family have already reported to me that you keep arguing with each other. 12They have said that some of you claim to follow me, while others claim to follow Apollos or Peter or Christ. 13Has Christ been divided up? Was I nailed to a cross for you? Were you baptized in my name? 14I thank God that I didn't baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius. 15Not one of you can say that you were baptized in my name. 16I did baptize the family of Stephanas, but I don't remember if I baptized anyone else. 17Christ did not send me to baptize. He sent me to tell the good news without using big words that would make the cross of Christ lose its power. Christ is God's power and wisdom 18The message about the cross doesn't make any sense to lost people. But for those of us who are being saved, it is God's power at work. 19As God says in the Scriptures, I will destroy the wisdom of all who claim to be wise. I will confuse those who think they know so much. 20What happened to those wise people? What happened to those experts in the Scriptures? What happened to the ones who think they have all the answers? Didn't God show that the wisdom of this world is foolish? 21God was wise and decided not to let the people of this world use their wisdom to learn about him. Instead, God chose to save only those who believe the foolish message we preach. 22Jews ask for miracles, and Greeks want something that sounds wise. 23But we preach that Christ was nailed to a cross. Most Jews have problems with this, and most Gentiles think it is foolish. 24Our message is God's power and wisdom for the Jews and the Greeks that he has chosen. 25Even when God is foolish, he is wiser than everyone else, and even when God is weak, he is stronger than everyone else. 26My dear friends, remember what you were when God chose you. The people of this world didn't think that many of you were wise. Only a few of you were in places of power, and not many of you came from important families. 27But God chose the foolish things of this world to put the wise to shame. He chose the weak things of this world to put the powerful to shame. 28What the world thinks is worthless, useless, and nothing at all is what God has used to destroy what the world considers important. 29God did all this to keep anyone from boasting to him. 30You are God's children. He sent Christ Jesus to save us and to make us wise, acceptable, and holy. 31So if you want to boast, do what the Scriptures say and boast about the Lord. Telling about Christ and the cross
1My God, my God, why have you deserted me? Why are you so far away? Won't you listen to my groans and come to my rescue? 2I cry out day and night, but you don't answer, and I can never rest. 3Yet you are the holy God, ruling from your throne and praised by Israel. 4Our ancestors trusted you, and you rescued them. 5When they cried out for help, you saved them, and you did not let them down when they depended on you. 6But I am merely a worm, far less than human, and I am hated and rejected by people everywhere. 7Everyone who sees me makes fun and sneers. They shake their heads, 8and say, Trust the Lord ! If you are his favourite, let him protect you and keep you safe. 9You, Lord , brought me safely through birth, and you protected me when I was a baby at my mother's breast. 10From the day I was born, I have been in your care, and from the time of my birth, you have been my God. 11Don't stay far off when I am in trouble with no one to help me. 12Enemies are all around like a herd of wild bulls. Powerful bulls from Bashan are everywhere. 13My enemies are like lions roaring and attacking with jaws open wide. 14I have no more strength than a few drops of water. All my bones are out of joint; my heart is like melted wax. 15My strength has dried up like a broken clay pot, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You, God, have left me to die in the dust. 16Brutal enemies attack me like a pack of dogs, tearing at my hands and my feet. 17I can count all my bones, and my enemies just stare and sneer at me. 18They took my clothes and gambled for them. 19Don't stay far away, Lord ! My strength comes from you, so hurry and help. 20Rescue me from enemy swords and save me from those dogs. 21Don't let lions eat me. You rescued me from the horns of wild bulls, 22and when your people meet, I will praise you, Lord . 23All who worship the Lord , now praise him! You belong to Jacob's family and to the people of Israel, so fear and honour the Lord ! 24The Lord doesn't hate or despise the helpless in all their troubles. When I cried out, he listened and did not turn away. 25When your people meet, you will fill my heart with your praises, Lord , and everyone will see me keep my promises to you. 26The poor will eat and be full, and all who worship you will be thankful and live in hope. 27Everyone on this earth will remember you, Lord . People all over the world will turn and worship you, 28because you are in control, the ruler of all nations. 29All who are rich and have more than enough will bow down to you, Lord. Even those who are dying and almost in the grave will come and bow down. 30In the future, everyone will worship and learn about you, our Lord. 31People not yet born will be told, The Lord has saved us! (A psalm by David.) The good shepherd
1In the beginning was the one who is called the Word. The Word was with God and was truly God. 2From the very beginning the Word was with God. 3And with this Word, God created all things. Nothing was made without the Word. Everything that was created 4received its life from him, and his life gave light to everyone. 5The light keeps shining in the dark, and darkness has never put it out. 6God sent a man named John, 7who came to tell about the light and to lead all people to have faith. 8John wasn't that light. He came only to tell about the light. 9The true light that shines on everyone was coming into the world. 10The Word was in the world, but no one knew him, though God had made the world with his Word. 11He came into his own world, but his own nation did not welcome him. 12Yet some people accepted him and put their faith in him. So he gave them the right to be the children of God. 13They were not God's children by nature or because of any human desires. God himself was the one who made them his children. 14The Word became a human being and lived here with us. We saw his true glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father. From him all the kindness and all the truth of God have come down to us. 15John spoke about him and shouted, This is the one I told you would come! He is greater than I am, because he was alive before I was born. 16Because of all that the Son is, we have been given one blessing after another. 17The Law was given by Moses, but Jesus Christ brought us undeserved kindness and truth. 18No one has ever seen God. The only Son, who is truly God and is closest to the Father, has shown us what God is like. John the Baptist tells about Jesus (Matthew 3.1-12; Mark 1.1-8; Luke 3.15-17) 19The Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and temple helpers to ask John who he was. He told them plainly, I am not the Messiah. 21Then when they asked him if he were Elijah, he said, No, I am not! And when they asked if he were the Prophet, he also said No! 22Finally, they said, Who are you then? We have to give an answer to the ones who sent us. Tell us who you are! 23John answered in the words of the prophet Isaiah, I am only someone shouting in the desert, Get the road ready for the Lord! 24Some Pharisees had also been sent to John. 25They asked him, Why are you baptizing people, if you are not the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet? 26John told them, I use water to baptize people. But here with you is someone you don't know. 27Even though I came first, I am not good enough to untie his sandals. 28John said this as he was baptizing east of the River Jordan in Bethany. The Lamb of God 29The next day, John saw Jesus coming towards him and said: Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30He is the one I told you about when I said, Someone else will come. He is greater than I am, because he was alive before I was born. 31I didn't know who he was. But I came to baptize you with water, so that everyone in Israel would see him. 32I was there and saw the Spirit come down on him like a dove from heaven. And the Spirit stayed on him. 33Before this I didn't know who he was. But the one who sent me to baptize with water had told me, You will see the Spirit come down and stay on someone. Then you will know that he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. 34I saw this happen, and I tell you that he is the Son of God. 35The next day, John was there again, and two of his followers were with him. 36When he saw Jesus walking by, he said, Here is the Lamb of God! 37John's two followers heard him, and they went with Jesus. 38When Jesus turned and saw them, he asked, What do you want? They answered, Rabbi, where do you live? The Hebrew word Rabbi means Teacher. 39Jesus replied, Come and see! It was already about four o'clock in the afternoon when they went with him and saw where he lived. So they stayed on for the rest of the day. 40One of the two men who had heard John and had gone with Jesus was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. 41The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother and tell him, We have found the Messiah! The Hebrew word Messiah means the same as the Greek word Christ. 42Andrew brought his brother to Jesus. And when Jesus saw him, he said, Simon son of John, you will be called Cephas. This name can be translated as Peter. Jesus chooses Philip and Nathanael 43The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. There he met Philip, who was from Bethsaida, the home town of Andrew and Peter. Jesus said to Philip, Come with me. 45Philip then found Nathanael and said, We have found the one that Moses and the Prophets wrote about. He is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth. 46Nathanael asked, Can anything good come from Nazareth? Philip answered, Come and see. 47When Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards him, he said, Here is a true descendant of our ancestor Israel. And he isn't deceitful. 48How do you know me? Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree. 49Nathanael said, Rabbi, you are the Son of God and the King of Israel! 50Jesus answered, Did you believe me just because I said that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see something even greater. 51I tell you for certain that you will see heaven open and God's angels going up and coming down on the Son of Man. Jesus at a wedding in Cana
1Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see. 2It was their faith that made our ancestors pleasing to God. 3Because of our faith, we know that the world was made at God's command. We also know that what can be seen was made out of what cannot be seen. 4Because Abel had faith, he offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. God was pleased with him and his gift, and even though Abel is now dead, his faith still speaks for him. 5Enoch had faith and did not die. He pleased God, and God took him up to heaven. That's why his body was never found. 6But without faith no one can please God. We must believe that God is real and that he rewards everyone who searches for him. 7Because Noah had faith, he was warned about something that had not yet happened. He obeyed and built a boat that saved him and his family. In this way the people of the world were judged, and Noah was given the blessings that come to everyone who pleases God. 8Abraham had faith and obeyed God. He was told to go to the land that God had said would be his, and he left for a country he had never seen. 9Because Abraham had faith, he lived as a stranger in the promised land. He lived there in a tent, and so did Isaac and Jacob, who were later given the same promise. 10Abraham did this, because he was waiting for the eternal city that God had planned and built. 11Even when Sarah was too old to have children, she had faith that God would do what he had promised, and she had a son. 12Her husband Abraham was almost dead, but he became the ancestor of many people. In fact, there are as many of them as there are stars in the sky or grains of sand along the beach. 13Every one of those people died. But they still had faith, even though they had not received what they had been promised. They were glad just to see these things from far away, and they agreed that they were only strangers and foreigners on this earth. 14When people talk this way, it is clear that they are looking for a place to call their own. 15If they had been talking about the land where they had once lived, they could have gone back at any time. 16But they were looking forward to a better home in heaven. That's why God wasn't ashamed for them to call him their God. He even built a city for them. 17Abraham had been promised that Isaac, his only son, would continue his family. But when Abraham was tested, he had faith and was willing to sacrifice Isaac, 19because he was sure that God could raise people to life. This was just like getting Isaac back from death. 20Isaac had faith, and he promised blessings to Jacob and Esau. 21Later, when Jacob was about to die, he leaned on his walking stick and worshipped. Then because of his faith he blessed each of Joseph's sons. 22And just before Joseph died, he had faith that God would lead the people of Israel out of Egypt. So he told them to take his bones with them. 23Because Moses' parents had faith, they kept him hidden until he was three months old. They saw that he was a beautiful child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king's orders. 24Then after Moses grew up, his faith made him refuse to be called Pharaoh's grandson. 25He chose to be ill-treated with God's people instead of having the good time that sin could bring for a little while. 26Moses knew that the treasures of Egypt were not as wonderful as what he would receive from suffering for the Messiah, and he looked forward to his reward. 27Because of his faith, Moses left Egypt. Moses had seen the invisible God and wasn't afraid of the king's anger. 28His faith also made him celebrate Passover. He sprinkled the blood of animals on the doorposts, so that the firstborn sons of the people of Israel would not be killed by the destroying angel. 29Because of their faith, the people walked through the Red Sea on dry land. But when the Egyptians tried to do it, they were drowned. 30God's people had faith, and when they had walked around the city of Jericho for seven days, its walls fell down. 31Rahab had been a prostitute, but she had faith and welcomed the spies. So she wasn't killed with the people who disobeyed. 32What else can I say? There isn't enough time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets. 33Their faith helped them conquer kingdoms, and because they did right, God made promises to them. They closed the jaws of lions 34and put out raging fires and escaped from the swords of their enemies. Although they were weak, they were given the strength and power to chase foreign armies away. 35Some women received their loved ones back from death. Many of these people were tortured, but they refused to be released. They were sure that they would get a better reward when the dead are raised to life. 36Others were made fun of and beaten with whips, and some were chained in jail. 37Still others were stoned to death or sawn in two or killed with swords. Some had nothing but sheep skins or goat skins to wear. They were poor, ill-treated, and tortured. 38The world did not deserve these good people, who had to wander in deserts and on mountains and had to live in caves and holes in the ground. 39All of them pleased God because of their faith! But still they died without being given what had been promised. 40This was because God had something better in store for us. And he did not want them to reach the goal of their faith without us. A large crowd of witnesses
1Jesus said to his disciples: A rich man once had a manager to take care of his business. But he was told that his manager was wasting money. 2So the rich man called him in and said, What is this I hear about you? Tell me what you have done! You are no longer going to work for me. 3The manager said to himself, What shall I do now that my master is going to fire me? I can't dig ditches, and I'm ashamed to beg. 4I know what I'll do, so that people will welcome me into their homes after I've lost my job. 5Then one by one he called in the people who were in debt to his master. He asked the first one, How much do you owe my master? 6A hundred barrels of olive oil, the man answered. So the manager said, Take your bill and sit down and quickly write fifty. 7The manager asked someone else who was in debt to his master, How much do you owe? A thousand sacks of wheat, the man replied. The manager said, Take your bill and write eight hundred. 8The master praised his dishonest manager for looking out for himself so well. That's how it is! The people of this world look out for themselves better than the people who belong to the light. 9My disciples, I tell you to use wicked wealth to make friends for yourselves. Then when it is gone, you will be welcomed into an eternal home. 10Anyone who can be trusted in little matters can also be trusted in important matters. But anyone who is dishonest in little matters will be dishonest in important matters. 11If you cannot be trusted with this wicked wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? 12And if you cannot be trusted with what belongs to someone else, who will give you something that will be your own? 13You cannot be the slave of two masters. You will like one more than the other or be more loyal to one than to the other. You cannot serve God and money. Some sayings of Jesus (Matthew 11.12,13; 5.31,32; Mark 10.11,12) 14The Pharisees really loved money. So when they heard what Jesus said, they made fun of him. 15But Jesus told them: You are always making yourselves look good, but God sees what is in your heart. The things that most people think are important are worthless as far as God is concerned. 16Until the time of John the Baptist, people had to obey the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets. But since God's kingdom has been preached, everyone is trying hard to get in. 17Heaven and earth will disappear before the smallest letter of the Law does. 18It is a terrible sin for a man to divorce his wife and marry another woman. It is also a terrible sin for a man to marry a divorced woman. Lazarus and the rich man Jesus continued: 19There was once a rich man who wore expensive clothes and every day ate the best food. 20But a poor beggar named Lazarus was brought to the gate of the rich man's house. 21He was happy just to eat the scraps that fell from the rich man's table. His body was covered with sores, and dogs kept coming up to lick them. 22The poor man died, and angels took him to the place of honour next to Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23He went to hell and was suffering terribly. When he looked up and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side, 24he said to Abraham, Have pity on me! Send Lazarus to dip his finger in water and touch my tongue. I'm suffering terribly in this fire. 25Abraham answered, My friend, remember that while you lived, you had everything good, and Lazarus had everything bad. Now he is happy, and you are in pain. 26And besides, there is a deep ditch between us, and no one from either side can cross over. 27But the rich man said, Abraham, then please send Lazarus to my father's home. 28Let him warn my five brothers, so they won't come to this horrible place. 29Abraham answered, Your brothers can read what Moses and the prophets wrote. They should pay attention to that. 30Then the rich man said, No, that's not enough! If only someone from the dead would go to them, they would listen and turn to God. 31So Abraham said, If they won't pay attention to Moses and the prophets, they won't listen even to someone who comes back from the dead. Faith and service (Matthew 18.6,7,21,22; Mark 9.42)
1Jesus called together his twelve disciples. He gave them the power to force out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and sickness. 2The first of the twelve apostles was Simon, better known as Peter. His brother Andrew was an apostle, and so were James and John, the two sons of Zebedee. 3Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew the tax collector, James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus were also apostles. 4The others were Simon, known as the Eager One, and Judas Iscariot, who later betrayed Jesus. Instructions for the twelve apostles (Mark 6.7-13; Luke 9.1-6) 5Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions: Stay away from the Gentiles and don't go to any Samaritan town. 6Go only to the people of Israel, because they are like a flock of lost sheep. 7As you go, announce that the kingdom of heaven will soon be here. 8Heal the sick, raise the dead to life, heal people who have leprosy, and force out demons. You received without paying, now give without being paid. 9Don't take along any gold, silver, or copper coins. 10And don't carry a travelling bag or an extra shirt or sandals or a walking stick. Workers deserve their food. 11So when you go to a town or a village, find someone worthy enough to have you as their guest and stay with them until you leave. 12When you go to a home, give it your blessing of peace. 13If the home is deserving, let your blessing remain with them. But if the home isn't deserving, take back your blessing of peace. 14If someone won't welcome you or listen to your message, leave their home or town. And shake the dust from your feet at them. 15I promise you that the day of judgment will be easier for the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town. Warning about trouble (Mark 13.9-13; Luke 21.12-17) Jesus continued: 16I am sending you like lambs into a pack of wolves. So be as wise as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17Watch out for people who will take you to court and have you beaten in their meeting places. 18Because of me, you will be dragged before rulers and kings to tell them and the Gentiles about your faith. 19But when someone arrests you, don't worry about what you will say or how you will say it. At that time you will be given the words to say. 20But you will not really be the one speaking. The Spirit from your Father will tell you what to say. 21Brothers and sisters will betray one another and have each other put to death. Parents will betray their own children, and children will turn against their parents and have them killed. 22Everyone will hate you because of me. But if you remain faithful until the end, you will be saved. 23When people ill-treat you in one town, hurry to another one. I promise you that before you have gone to all the towns of Israel, the Son of Man will come. 24Disciples are not better than their teacher, and slaves are not better than their master. 25It is enough for disciples to be like their teacher and for slaves to be like their master. If people call the head of the family Satan, what will they say about the rest of the family? The one to fear (Luke 12.2-7) Jesus continued: 26Don't be afraid of anyone! Everything that is hidden will be found out, and every secret will be known. 27Whatever I say to you in the dark, you must tell in the light. And you must announce from the housetops whatever I have whispered to you. 28Don't be afraid of people. They can kill you, but they cannot harm your soul. Instead, you should fear God who can destroy both your body and your soul in hell. 29Aren't two sparrows sold for only a penny? But your Father knows when any one of them falls to the ground. 30Even the hairs on your head are counted. 31So don't be afraid! You are worth much more than many sparrows. Telling others about Christ (Luke 12.8,9) Jesus continued: 32If you tell others that you belong to me, I will tell my Father in heaven that you are my followers. 33But if you reject me, I will tell my Father in heaven that you don't belong to me. Not peace, but trouble (Luke 12.51-53; 14.26,27) Jesus continued: 34Don't think that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came to bring trouble, not peace. 35I came to turn sons against their fathers, daughters against their mothers, and daughters-in-law against their mothers-in-law. 36Your worst enemies will be in your own family. 37If you love your father or mother or even your sons and daughters more than me, you are not fit to be my disciples. 38And unless you are willing to take up your cross and come with me, you are not fit to be my disciples. 39If you try to save your life, you will lose it. But if you give it up for me, you will find it. Rewards (Mark 9.41) Jesus continued: 40Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me. And anyone who welcomes me also welcomes the one who sent me. 41Anyone who welcomes a prophet, just because that person is a prophet, will be given the same reward as a prophet. Anyone who welcomes a good person, just because that person is good, will be given the same reward as a good person. 42And anyone who gives one of my most humble followers a cup of cool water, just because that person is my follower, will be rewarded. John the Baptist (Luke 7.18-35)
1We humans make plans, but the Lord has the final word. 2We may think we know what is right, but the Lord is the judge of our motives. 3Share your plans with the Lord , and you will succeed. 4The Lord has a reason for everything he does, and he lets evil people live only to be punished. 5The Lord doesn't like anyone who is conceited you can be sure they will be punished. 6If we truly love God, our sins will be forgiven; if we show him respect, we will keep away from sin. 7When we please the Lord , even our enemies make friends with us. 8It's better to be honest and poor than to be dishonest and rich. 9We make our own plans, but the Lord decides where we will go. 10Rulers speak with authority and are never wrong. 11The Lord doesn't like it when we cheat in business. 12Justice makes rulers powerful. They should hate evil 13and like honesty and truth. 14An angry ruler can put you to death. So be wise! Don't make one angry. 15When a ruler is happy and pleased with you, it's like refreshing rain, and you will live. 16It's much better to be wise and sensible than to be rich. 17God's people avoid evil ways, and they protect themselves by watching where they go. 18Too much pride will destroy you. 19You are better off being humble and poor than getting rich from what you take by force. 20If you know what you're doing, you will prosper. God blesses everyone who trusts him. 21Good judgment proves that you are wise, and if you speak kindly, you can teach others. 22Good sense is a fountain that gives life, but fools are punished by their foolishness. 23You can persuade others if you are wise and speak sensibly. 24Kind words are like honey they cheer you up and make you feel strong. 25Sometimes what seems right is really a road to death. 26The hungrier you are, the harder you work. 27Worthless people plan trouble. Even their words burn like a flaming fire. 28Gossip is no good! It causes hard feelings and comes between friends. 29Don't trust violent people. They will mislead you to do the wrong thing. 30When someone winks or grins behind your back, trouble is on the way. 31Grey hair is a glorious crown worn by those who have lived right. 32Controlling your temper is better than being a hero who captures a city. 33We make our own decisions, but the Lord alone determines what happens. Our thoughts are tested by the Lord
1My friends, if you have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, you won't treat some people better than others. 2Suppose a rich person wearing fine clothes and a gold ring comes to one of your meetings. And suppose a poor person dressed in worn out clothes also comes. 3You must not give the best seat to the one in fine clothes and tell the one who is poor to stand at the side or sit on the floor. 4That is the same as saying that some people are better than others, and you would be acting like a crooked judge. 5My dear friends, pay attention. God has given a lot of faith to the poor people in this world. He has also promised them a share in his kingdom that he will give to everyone who loves him. 6You ill-treat the poor. But isn't it the rich who boss you around and drag you off to court? 7Aren't they the ones who make fun of your Lord? 8You will do well, if you obey the most important law in the Scriptures. It is the law that commands us to love others as much as we love ourselves. 9But if you treat some people better than others, you have done wrong, and the Scriptures teach that you have sinned. 10If you obey every law except one, you are still guilty of breaking them all. 11The same God who told us to be faithful in marriage also told us not to murder. So even if you are faithful in marriage, but murder someone, you have still broken God's Law. 12Speak and act like people who will be judged by the law that sets us free. 13Do this, because on the day of judgment there will be no pity for those who have not had pity on others. But even in judgment, God is merciful! 14My friends, what good is it to say you have faith, when you don't do anything to show that you really do have faith? Can that kind of faith save you? 15If you know someone who doesn't have any clothes or food, 16you shouldn't just say, I hope all goes well for you. I hope you will be warm and have plenty to eat. What good is it to say this, unless you do something to help? 17Faith that doesn't lead us to do good deeds is all alone and dead! 18Suppose someone disagrees and says, It is possible to have faith without doing kind deeds. I would answer, Prove that you have faith without doing kind deeds, and I will prove that I have faith by doing them. 19You believe there is only one God. That's fine. Even demons believe this, and it makes them shake with fear. 20Does some stupid person want proof that faith without deeds is useless? 21Well, our ancestor Abraham pleased God by putting his son Isaac on the altar to sacrifice him. 22Now you see how Abraham's faith and deeds worked together. He proved that his faith was real by what he did. 23This is what the Scriptures mean by saying, Abraham had faith in God, and God was pleased with him. That's how Abraham became God's friend. 24You can now see that we please God by what we do and not only by what we believe. 25For example, Rahab had been a prostitute. But she pleased God when she welcomed the spies and sent them home by another way. 26Anyone who doesn't breathe is dead, and faith that doesn't do anything is just as dead! The tongue
1I will praise you, my God and King, and always honour your name. 2I will praise you each day and always honour your name. 3You are wonderful, Lord , and you deserve all praise, because you are much greater than anyone can understand. 4Each generation will announce to the next your wonderful and powerful deeds. 5I will keep thinking about your marvellous glory and your mighty miracles. 6Everyone will talk about your fearsome deeds, and I will tell all nations how great you are. 7They will celebrate and sing about your matchless mercy and your power to save. 8You are merciful, Lord ! You are kind and patient and always loving. 9You are good to everyone, and you take care of all your creation. 10All creation will thank you, and your loyal people will praise you. 11They will tell about your marvellous kingdom and your power. 12Then everyone will know about the mighty things you do and your glorious kingdom. 13Your kingdom will never end, and you will rule for ever. Our Lord , you keep your word and do everything you say. 14When someone stumbles or falls, you give a helping hand. 15Everyone depends on you, and when the time is right, you provide them with food. 16By your own hand you satisfy the desires of all who live. 17Our Lord , everything you do is kind and thoughtful, 18and you are near to everyone whose prayers are sincere. 19You satisfy the desires of all your worshippers, and you come to save them when they ask for help. 20You take care of everyone who loves you, but you destroy the wicked. 21I will praise you, Lord , and everyone will respect your holy name for ever. Shout praises to the Lord
1If you are a slave, you should respect and honour your owner. This will keep people from saying bad things about God and about our teaching. 2If any of you slaves have owners who are followers, you should show them respect. After all, they are also followers of Christ, and he loves them. So you should serve and help them the best you can. False teaching and true wealth These are the things you must teach and tell the people to do. 3Anyone who teaches something different disagrees with the correct and godly teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ. 4Those people who disagree are proud of themselves, but they don't really know a thing. Their minds are sick, and they like to argue over words. They cause jealousy, disagreements, unkind words, evil suspicions, 5and nasty quarrels. They have wicked minds and have missed out on the truth. These people think religion is supposed to make you rich. 6And religion does make your life rich, by making you content with what you have. 7We didn't bring anything into this world, and we won't take anything with us when we leave. 8So we should be satisfied just to have food and clothes. 9People who want to be rich fall into all sorts of temptations and traps. They are caught by foolish and harmful desires that drag them down and destroy them. 10The love of money causes all kinds of trouble. Some people want money so much that they have given up their faith and caused themselves a lot of pain. Fighting a good fight for the faith 11Timothy, you belong to God, so keep away from all these evil things. Try your best to please God and to be like him. Be faithful, loving, dependable, and gentle. 12Fight a good fight for the faith and claim eternal life. God offered it to you when you clearly told about your faith, while so many people listened. 13Now I ask you to make a promise. Make it in the presence of God, who gives life to all, and in the presence of Jesus Christ, who openly told Pontius Pilate about his faith. 14Promise to obey completely and fully all that you have been told until our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 15The glorious God is the only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords. At the time that God has already decided, he will send Jesus Christ back again. 16Only God lives for ever! And he lives in light that no one can come near. No human has ever seen God or ever can see him. God will be honoured, and his power will last for ever. Amen. 17Warn the rich people of this world not to be proud or to trust in wealth that is easily lost. Tell them to have faith in God, who is rich and blesses us with everything we need to enjoy life. 18Instruct them to do as many good deeds as they can and to help everyone. Remind the rich to be generous and share what they have. 19This will lay a solid foundation for the future, so that they will know what true life is like. 20Timothy, guard what God has placed in your care! Don't pay any attention to that godless and stupid talk that sounds clever but really isn't. 21Some people have even lost their faith by believing this talk. I pray that the Lord will be kind to all of you!
1As thousands of people crowded around Jesus and were stepping on each other, he told his disciples: Be sure to guard against the dishonest teaching of the Pharisees! It is their way of fooling people. 2Everything that is hidden will be found out, and every secret will be known. 3Whatever you say in the dark will be heard when it is day. Whatever you whisper in a closed room will be shouted from the housetops. The one to fear (Matthew 10.28-31) Jesus continued: 4My friends, don't be afraid of people. They can kill you, but after that, there is nothing else they can do. 5God is the one you must fear. Not only can he take your life, but he can throw you into hell. God is certainly the one you should fear! 6Five sparrows are sold for just two pennies, but God doesn't forget a single one of them. 7Even the hairs on your head are counted. So don't be afraid! You are worth much more than many sparrows. Telling others about Christ (Matthew 10.32,33; 12.32; 10.19,20) Jesus continued: 8If you tell others that you belong to me, the Son of Man will tell God's angels that you are my followers. 9But if you reject me, you will be rejected in front of them. 10If you speak against the Son of Man, you can be forgiven, but if you speak against the Holy Spirit, you cannot be forgiven. 11When you are brought to trial in the Jewish meeting places or before rulers or officials, don't worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say. 12At that time the Holy Spirit will tell you what to say. A rich fool 13A man in a crowd said to Jesus, Teacher, tell my brother to give me my share of what our father left us when he died. 14Jesus answered, Who gave me the right to settle arguments between you and your brother? 15Then he said to the crowd, Don't be greedy! Owning a lot of things won't make your life safe. 16So Jesus told them this story: A rich man's farm produced a big crop, 17and he said to himself, What can I do? I don't have a place large enough to store everything. 18Later, he said, Now I know what I'll do. I'll tear down my barns and build bigger ones, where I can store all my grain and other goods. 19Then I'll say to myself, You have stored up enough good things to last for years to come. Live it up! Eat, drink, and enjoy yourself. 20But God said to him, You fool! Tonight you will die. Then who will get what you have stored up? 21This is what happens to people who store up everything for themselves, but are poor in the sight of God. Worry (Matthew 6.25-34) 22Jesus said to his disciples: I tell you not to worry about your life! Don't worry about having something to eat or wear. 23Life is more than food or clothing. 24Look at the crows! They don't plant or harvest, and they don't have storehouses or barns. But God takes care of them. You are much more important than any birds. 25Can worry make you live longer? 26If you don't have power over small things, why worry about everything else? 27Look how the wild flowers grow! They don't work hard to make their clothes. But I tell you that Solomon with all his wealth wasn't as well clothed as one of these flowers. 28God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown into a fire tomorrow. Won't he do even more for you? You have such little faith! 29Don't keep worrying about having something to eat or drink. 30Only people who don't know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father knows what you need. 31But put God's work first, and these things will be yours as well. Treasures in heaven (Matthew 6.19-21) Jesus continued: 32My little group of disciples, don't be afraid! Your Father wants to give you the kingdom. 33Sell what you have and give the money to the poor. Make yourselves money bags that never wear out. Make sure your treasure is safe in heaven, where thieves cannot steal it and moths cannot destroy it. 34Your heart will always be where your treasure is. Faithful and unfaithful servants (Matthew 24.45-51) Jesus continued: 35Be ready and keep your lamps burning 36just like those servants who wait up for their master to return from a wedding feast. As soon as he comes and knocks, they open the door for him. 37Servants are fortunate if their master finds them awake and ready when he comes! I promise you that he will get ready and make his servants sit down so that he can serve them. 38Those servants are really fortunate if their master finds them ready, even though he comes late at night or early in the morning. 39You would not let a thief break into your home, if you knew when the thief was coming. 40So always be ready! You don't know when the Son of Man will come. 41Peter asked Jesus, Did you say this just for us or for everyone? 42The Lord answered: Who are faithful and wise servants? Who are the ones the master will put in charge of giving the other servants their food supplies at the proper time? 43Servants are fortunate if their master comes and finds them doing their job. 44A servant who is always faithful will be put in charge of everything the master owns. 45But suppose one of the servants thinks that the master won't return until late. Suppose that servant starts beating all the other servants and eats and drinks and gets drunk. 46If that happens, the master will come on a day and at a time when the servant least expects him. That servant will then be punished and thrown out with the servants who cannot be trusted. 47If servants are not ready or willing to do what their master wants them to do, they will be beaten hard. 48But servants who don't know what their master wants them to do will not be beaten so hard for doing wrong. If God has been generous with you, he will expect you to serve him well. But if he has been more than generous, he will expect you to serve him even better. Not peace, but trouble (Matthew 10.34-36) Jesus continued: 49I came to set fire to the earth, and I wish it were already on fire! 50I am going to be put to a hard test. And I will have to suffer a lot of pain until it is over. 51Do you think that I came to bring peace to earth? No indeed! I came to make people choose sides. 52A family of five will be divided, with two of them against the other three. 53Fathers and sons will turn against one another, and mothers and daughters will do the same. Mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law will also turn against each other. Knowing what to do (Matthew 16.2,3; 5.25,26) 54Jesus said to all the people: As soon as you see a cloud coming up in the west, you say, It's going to rain, and it does. 55When the south wind blows, you say, It's going to get hot, and it does. 56Are you trying to fool someone? You can predict the weather by looking at the earth and sky, but you don't really know what's going on right now. 57Why don't you understand the right thing to do? 58When someone accuses you of something, try to settle things before you are taken to court. If you don't, you will be dragged before the judge. Then the judge will hand you over to the jailer, and you will be locked up. 59You won't get out until you have paid the last penny you owe. Turn back to God
1As thousands of people crowded around Jesus and were stepping on each other, he told his disciples: Be sure to guard against the dishonest teaching of the Pharisees! It is their way of fooling people. 2Everything that is hidden will be found out, and every secret will be known. 3Whatever you say in the dark will be heard when it is day. Whatever you whisper in a closed room will be shouted from the housetops. The one to fear (Matthew 10.28-31) Jesus continued: 4My friends, don't be afraid of people. They can kill you, but after that, there is nothing else they can do. 5God is the one you must fear. Not only can he take your life, but he can throw you into hell. God is certainly the one you should fear! 6Five sparrows are sold for just two pennies, but God doesn't forget a single one of them. 7Even the hairs on your head are counted. So don't be afraid! You are worth much more than many sparrows. Telling others about Christ (Matthew 10.32,33; 12.32; 10.19,20) Jesus continued: 8If you tell others that you belong to me, the Son of Man will tell God's angels that you are my followers. 9But if you reject me, you will be rejected in front of them. 10If you speak against the Son of Man, you can be forgiven, but if you speak against the Holy Spirit, you cannot be forgiven. 11When you are brought to trial in the Jewish meeting places or before rulers or officials, don't worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say. 12At that time the Holy Spirit will tell you what to say. A rich fool 13A man in a crowd said to Jesus, Teacher, tell my brother to give me my share of what our father left us when he died. 14Jesus answered, Who gave me the right to settle arguments between you and your brother? 15Then he said to the crowd, Don't be greedy! Owning a lot of things won't make your life safe. 16So Jesus told them this story: A rich man's farm produced a big crop, 17and he said to himself, What can I do? I don't have a place large enough to store everything. 18Later, he said, Now I know what I'll do. I'll tear down my barns and build bigger ones, where I can store all my grain and other goods. 19Then I'll say to myself, You have stored up enough good things to last for years to come. Live it up! Eat, drink, and enjoy yourself. 20But God said to him, You fool! Tonight you will die. Then who will get what you have stored up? 21This is what happens to people who store up everything for themselves, but are poor in the sight of God. Worry (Matthew 6.25-34) 22Jesus said to his disciples: I tell you not to worry about your life! Don't worry about having something to eat or wear. 23Life is more than food or clothing. 24Look at the crows! They don't plant or harvest, and they don't have storehouses or barns. But God takes care of them. You are much more important than any birds. 25Can worry make you live longer? 26If you don't have power over small things, why worry about everything else? 27Look how the wild flowers grow! They don't work hard to make their clothes. But I tell you that Solomon with all his wealth wasn't as well clothed as one of these flowers. 28God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown into a fire tomorrow. Won't he do even more for you? You have such little faith! 29Don't keep worrying about having something to eat or drink. 30Only people who don't know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father knows what you need. 31But put God's work first, and these things will be yours as well. Treasures in heaven (Matthew 6.19-21) Jesus continued: 32My little group of disciples, don't be afraid! Your Father wants to give you the kingdom. 33Sell what you have and give the money to the poor. Make yourselves money bags that never wear out. Make sure your treasure is safe in heaven, where thieves cannot steal it and moths cannot destroy it. 34Your heart will always be where your treasure is. Faithful and unfaithful servants (Matthew 24.45-51) Jesus continued: 35Be ready and keep your lamps burning 36just like those servants who wait up for their master to return from a wedding feast. As soon as he comes and knocks, they open the door for him. 37Servants are fortunate if their master finds them awake and ready when he comes! I promise you that he will get ready and make his servants sit down so that he can serve them. 38Those servants are really fortunate if their master finds them ready, even though he comes late at night or early in the morning. 39You would not let a thief break into your home, if you knew when the thief was coming. 40So always be ready! You don't know when the Son of Man will come. 41Peter asked Jesus, Did you say this just for us or for everyone? 42The Lord answered: Who are faithful and wise servants? Who are the ones the master will put in charge of giving the other servants their food supplies at the proper time? 43Servants are fortunate if their master comes and finds them doing their job. 44A servant who is always faithful will be put in charge of everything the master owns. 45But suppose one of the servants thinks that the master won't return until late. Suppose that servant starts beating all the other servants and eats and drinks and gets drunk. 46If that happens, the master will come on a day and at a time when the servant least expects him. That servant will then be punished and thrown out with the servants who cannot be trusted. 47If servants are not ready or willing to do what their master wants them to do, they will be beaten hard. 48But servants who don't know what their master wants them to do will not be beaten so hard for doing wrong. If God has been generous with you, he will expect you to serve him well. But if he has been more than generous, he will expect you to serve him even better. Not peace, but trouble (Matthew 10.34-36) Jesus continued: 49I came to set fire to the earth, and I wish it were already on fire! 50I am going to be put to a hard test. And I will have to suffer a lot of pain until it is over. 51Do you think that I came to bring peace to earth? No indeed! I came to make people choose sides. 52A family of five will be divided, with two of them against the other three. 53Fathers and sons will turn against one another, and mothers and daughters will do the same. Mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law will also turn against each other. Knowing what to do (Matthew 16.2,3; 5.25,26) 54Jesus said to all the people: As soon as you see a cloud coming up in the west, you say, It's going to rain, and it does. 55When the south wind blows, you say, It's going to get hot, and it does. 56Are you trying to fool someone? You can predict the weather by looking at the earth and sky, but you don't really know what's going on right now. 57Why don't you understand the right thing to do? 58When someone accuses you of something, try to settle things before you are taken to court. If you don't, you will be dragged before the judge. Then the judge will hand you over to the jailer, and you will be locked up. 59You won't get out until you have paid the last penny you owe. Turn back to God
1The Lord told Moses 2to say to the community of Israel: I am the Lord your God. I am holy, and you must be holy too! 3Respect your father and your mother, honour the Sabbath, and don't make idols or images. I am the Lord your God. 5When you offer a sacrifice to ask my blessing, be sure to follow my instructions. 6You may eat the meat either on the day of the sacrifice or on the next day, but you must burn anything left until the third day. 7If you eat any of it on the third day, the sacrifice will be disgusting to me, and I will reject it. 8In fact, you will be punished for not respecting what I say is holy, and you will no longer belong to the community of Israel. 9When you harvest your grain, always leave some of it standing along the edges of your fields and don't pick up what falls on the ground. 10Don't strip your grapevines clean or gather the grapes that fall off the vines. Leave them for the poor and for those foreigners who live among you. I am the Lord your God. 11Do not steal or tell lies or cheat others. 12Do not misuse my name by making promises you don't intend to keep. I am the Lord your God. 13Do not steal anything or cheat anyone, and don't fail to pay your workers at the end of each day. 14I am the Lord your God, and I command you not to make fun of the deaf or to cause a blind person to stumble. 15Be fair, no matter who is on trialdon't favour either the poor or the rich. 16Don't be a gossip, but never hesitate to speak up in court, especially if your testimony can save someone's life. 17Don't hold grudges. On the other hand, it's wrong not to correct someone who needs correcting. 18Stop being angry and don't try to take revenge. I am the Lord , and I command you to love others as much as you love yourself. 19Breed your livestock animals only with animals of the same kind, and don't plant two kinds of seed in the same field or wear clothes made of different kinds of material. 20If a man has sex with a slave woman who is promised in marriage to someone else, he must pay a fine, but they are not to be put to death. After all, she was still a slave at the time. 21The man must bring a ram to the entrance of the sacred tent and give it to a priest, who will then offer it as a sacrifice to me, so the man's sins will be forgiven. 23After you enter the land, you will plant fruit trees, but you are not to eat any of their fruit for the first three years. 24In the fourth year the fruit must be set apart, as an expression of thanks 25to me, the Lord God. Do this, and in the fifth year, those trees will produce an abundant harvest of fruit for you to eat. 26Don't eat the blood of any animal. Don't practise any kind of witchcraft. 27I forbid you to shave any part of your head or beard or to cut and tattoo yourself as a way of worshipping the dead. 29Don't let your daughters serve as temple prostitutesthis would bring disgrace both to them and the land. 30I command you to respect the Sabbath and the place where I am worshipped. 31Don't make yourselves disgusting to me by going to people who claim they can talk to the dead. 32I command you to show respect for older people and to obey me with fear and trembling. 33Don't ill-treat any foreigners who live in your land. 34Instead, treat them as well as you treat citizens and love them as much as you love yourself. Remember, you were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God. 35Use honest scales and don't cheat when you weigh or measure anything. I am the Lord your God. I rescued you from Egypt, 37and I command you to obey my laws. Penalties for disobeying God's laws
1The Lord told Moses 2to say to the community of Israel: I am the Lord your God. I am holy, and you must be holy too! 3Respect your father and your mother, honour the Sabbath, and don't make idols or images. I am the Lord your God. 5When you offer a sacrifice to ask my blessing, be sure to follow my instructions. 6You may eat the meat either on the day of the sacrifice or on the next day, but you must burn anything left until the third day. 7If you eat any of it on the third day, the sacrifice will be disgusting to me, and I will reject it. 8In fact, you will be punished for not respecting what I say is holy, and you will no longer belong to the community of Israel. 9When you harvest your grain, always leave some of it standing along the edges of your fields and don't pick up what falls on the ground. 10Don't strip your grapevines clean or gather the grapes that fall off the vines. Leave them for the poor and for those foreigners who live among you. I am the Lord your God. 11Do not steal or tell lies or cheat others. 12Do not misuse my name by making promises you don't intend to keep. I am the Lord your God. 13Do not steal anything or cheat anyone, and don't fail to pay your workers at the end of each day. 14I am the Lord your God, and I command you not to make fun of the deaf or to cause a blind person to stumble. 15Be fair, no matter who is on trialdon't favour either the poor or the rich. 16Don't be a gossip, but never hesitate to speak up in court, especially if your testimony can save someone's life. 17Don't hold grudges. On the other hand, it's wrong not to correct someone who needs correcting. 18Stop being angry and don't try to take revenge. I am the Lord , and I command you to love others as much as you love yourself. 19Breed your livestock animals only with animals of the same kind, and don't plant two kinds of seed in the same field or wear clothes made of different kinds of material. 20If a man has sex with a slave woman who is promised in marriage to someone else, he must pay a fine, but they are not to be put to death. After all, she was still a slave at the time. 21The man must bring a ram to the entrance of the sacred tent and give it to a priest, who will then offer it as a sacrifice to me, so the man's sins will be forgiven. 23After you enter the land, you will plant fruit trees, but you are not to eat any of their fruit for the first three years. 24In the fourth year the fruit must be set apart, as an expression of thanks 25to me, the Lord God. Do this, and in the fifth year, those trees will produce an abundant harvest of fruit for you to eat. 26Don't eat the blood of any animal. Don't practise any kind of witchcraft. 27I forbid you to shave any part of your head or beard or to cut and tattoo yourself as a way of worshipping the dead. 29Don't let your daughters serve as temple prostitutesthis would bring disgrace both to them and the land. 30I command you to respect the Sabbath and the place where I am worshipped. 31Don't make yourselves disgusting to me by going to people who claim they can talk to the dead. 32I command you to show respect for older people and to obey me with fear and trembling. 33Don't ill-treat any foreigners who live in your land. 34Instead, treat them as well as you treat citizens and love them as much as you love yourself. Remember, you were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God. 35Use honest scales and don't cheat when you weigh or measure anything. I am the Lord your God. I rescued you from Egypt, 37and I command you to obey my laws. Penalties for disobeying God's laws
1The kingdom of heaven is like what happened one night when ten girls took their oil lamps and went to a wedding to meet the groom. 2Five of the girls were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps, but no extra oil. 4The ones who were wise took along extra oil for their lamps. 5The groom was late arriving, and the girls became drowsy and fell asleep. 6Then in the middle of the night someone shouted, Here's the groom! Come to meet him! 7When the girls got up and started getting their lamps ready, 8the foolish ones said to the others, Let us have some of your oil! Our lamps are going out. 9The girls who were wise answered, There's not enough oil for all of us! Go and buy some for yourselves. 10While the foolish girls were on their way to get some oil, the groom arrived. The girls who were ready went into the wedding, and the doors were closed. 11Later the other girls returned and shouted, Sir, sir! Open the door for us! 12But the groom replied, I don't even know you! 13So, my disciples, always be ready! You don't know the day or the time when all this will happen. A story about three servants (Luke 19.11-27) Jesus continued: 14The kingdom is also like what happened when a man went away and put his three servants in charge of all he owned. 15The man knew what each servant could do. So he handed five thousand coins to the first servant, two thousand to the second, and one thousand to the third. Then he left the country. 16As soon as the man had gone, the servant with the five thousand coins used them to earn five thousand more. 17The servant who had two thousand coins did the same with his money and earned two thousand more. 18But the servant with one thousand coins dug a hole and hid his master's money in the ground. 19Some time later the master of those servants returned. He called them in and asked what they had done with his money. 20The servant who had been given five thousand coins brought them in with the five thousand that he had earned. He said, Sir, you gave me five thousand coins, and I have earned five thousand more. 21Wonderful! his master replied. You are a good and faithful servant. I left you in charge of only a little, but now I will put you in charge of much more. Come and share in my happiness! 22Next, the servant who had been given two thousand coins came in and said, Sir, you gave me two thousand coins, and I have earned two thousand more. 23Wonderful! his master replied. You are a good and faithful servant. I left you in charge of only a little, but now I will put you in charge of much more. Come and share in my happiness! 24The servant who had been given one thousand coins then came in and said, Sir, I know that you are hard to get along with. You harvest what you don't plant and gather crops where you haven't scattered seed. 25I was frightened and went out and hid your money in the ground. Here is every single coin! 26The master of the servant told him, You are lazy and good-for-nothing! You know that I harvest what I don't plant and gather crops where I haven't scattered seed. 27You could have at least put my money in the bank, so that I could have earned interest on it. 28Then the master said, Now your money will be taken away and given to the servant with ten thousand coins! 29Everyone who has something will be given more, and they will have more than enough. But everything will be taken from those who don't have anything. 30You are a worthless servant, and you will be thrown out into the dark where people will cry and grit their teeth in pain. The final judgment Jesus continued: 31When the Son of Man comes in his glory with all his angels, he will sit on his royal throne. 32The people of all nations will be brought before him, and he will separate them, as shepherds separate their sheep from their goats. 33He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34Then the king will say to those on his right, My father has blessed you! Come and receive the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world was created. 35When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat, and when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was a stranger, you welcomed me, 36and when I was naked, you gave me clothes to wear. When I was sick, you took care of me, and when I was in jail, you visited me. 37Then the ones who pleased the Lord will ask, When did we give you something to eat or drink? 38When did we welcome you as a stranger or give you clothes to wear 39or visit you while you were sick or in jail? 40The king will answer, Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me. 41Then the king will say to those on his left, Get away from me! You are under God's curse. Go into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels! 42I was hungry, but you did not give me anything to eat, and I was thirsty, but you did not give me anything to drink. 43I was a stranger, but you did not welcome me, and I was naked, but you did not give me any clothes to wear. I was sick and in jail, but you did not take care of me. 44Then the people will ask, Lord, when did we fail to help you when you were hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in jail? 45The king will say to them, Whenever you failed to help any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you failed to do it for me. 46Then Jesus said, Those people will be punished for ever. But the ones who pleased God will have eternal life. The plot to kill Jesus (Mark 14.1,2; Luke 22.1,2; John 11.45-53)
1Keep being concerned about each other as the Lord's followers should. 2Be sure to welcome strangers into your home. By doing this, some people have welcomed angels as guests, without even knowing it. 3Remember the Lord's people who are in jail and be concerned for them. Don't forget those who are suffering, but imagine that you are there with them. 4Have respect for marriage. Always be faithful to your partner, because God will punish anyone who is immoral or unfaithful in marriage. 5Don't fall in love with money. Be satisfied with what you have. The Lord has promised that he will not leave us or desert us. 6That should make you feel like saying, The Lord helps me! Why should I be afraid of what people can do to me? 7Don't forget about your leaders who taught you God's message. Remember what kind of lives they lived and try to have faith like theirs. 8Jesus Christ never changes! He is the same yesterday, today, and for ever. 9Don't be fooled by any kind of strange teachings. It is better to receive strength from God's undeserved kindness than to depend on certain foods. After all, these foods don't really help the people who eat them. 10But we have an altar where even the priests who serve in the place of worship have no right to eat. 11After the high priest offers the blood of animals as a sin offering, the bodies of those animals are burnt outside the camp. 12Jesus himself suffered outside the city gate, so that his blood would make people holy. 13That's why we should go outside the camp to Jesus and share in his disgrace. 14On this earth we don't have a city that lasts for ever, but we are waiting for such a city. 15Our sacrifice is to keep offering praise to God in the name of Jesus. 16But don't forget to help others and to share your possessions with them. This too is like offering a sacrifice that pleases God. 17Obey your leaders and do what they say. They are watching over you, and they must answer to God. So don't make them sad as they do their work. Make them happy. Otherwise, they won't be able to help you at all. 18Pray for us. Our consciences are clear, and we always try to live right. 19I especially want you to pray that I can visit you again soon. 20God gives peace, and he raised our Lord Jesus Christ from death. Now Jesus is like a Great Shepherd whose blood was used to make God's eternal agreement with his flock. 21I pray that God will make you ready to obey him and that you will always be eager to do right. May Jesus help you do what pleases God. To Jesus Christ be glory for ever and ever! Amen. 22My friends, I have written only a short letter to encourage you, and I beg you to pay close attention to what I have said. 23By now you must know that our friend Timothy is out of jail. If he gets here in time, I will bring him with me when I come to visit you. 24Please give my greetings to your leaders and to the rest of the Lord's people. His followers from Italy send you their greetings. 25I pray that God will be kind to all of you!
1Jesus then told them this story: A farmer once planted a vineyard. He built a wall around it and dug a pit to crush the grapes in. He also built a lookout tower. Then he let his vineyard and left the country. 2When it was harvest time, he sent a servant to get his share of the grapes. 3The tenants grabbed the servant. They beat him up and sent him away without a thing. 4The owner sent another servant, but the tenants beat him on the head and insulted him terribly. 5Then the man sent another servant, and they killed him. He kept sending servant after servant. They beat some of them and killed others. 6The owner had a son he loved very much. Finally, he sent his son to the tenants because he thought they would respect him. 7But they said to themselves, Some day he will own this vineyard. Let's kill him! That way we can have it all for ourselves. 8So they grabbed the owner's son and killed him. Then they threw his body out of the vineyard. 9Jesus asked, What do you think the owner of the vineyard will do? He will come and kill those tenants and let someone else have his vineyard. 10Surely you know that the Scriptures say, The stone that the builders tossed aside is now the most important stone of all. 11This is something the Lord has done, and it is amazing to us. 12The leaders knew that Jesus was really talking about them, and they wanted to arrest him. But because they were afraid of the crowd, they let him alone and left. Paying taxes (Matthew 22.15-22; Luke 20.20-26) 13The Pharisees got together with Herod's followers. Then they sent some men to trick Jesus into saying something wrong. 14They went to him and said, Teacher, we know that you are honest. You treat everyone with the same respect, no matter who they are. And you teach the truth about what God wants people to do. Tell us, should we pay taxes to the Emperor or not? 15Jesus knew what they were up to, and he said, Why are you trying to test me? Show me a coin! 16They brought him a silver coin, and he asked, Whose picture and name are on it? The Emperor's, they answered. 17Then Jesus told them, Give the Emperor what belongs to him and give God what belongs to God. The men were amazed at Jesus. Life in the future world (Matthew 22.23-33; Luke 20.27-40) 18The Sadducees did not believe that people would rise to life after death. So some of them came to Jesus and said: 19Teacher, Moses wrote that if a married man dies and has no children, his brother should marry the widow. Their first son would then be thought of as the son of the dead brother. 20There were once seven brothers. The first one married, but died without having any children. 21The second brother married his brother's widow, and he also died without having children. The same thing happened to the third brother, 22and finally to all seven brothers. At last the woman died. 23When God raises people from death, whose wife will this woman be? After all, she had been married to all seven brothers. 24Jesus answered: You are completely wrong! You don't know what the Scriptures teach. And you don't know anything about the power of God. 25When God raises people to life, they won't marry. They will be like the angels in heaven. 26You know about people being raised to life. You know that in the story about Moses and the burning bush, God said, I am the God worshipped by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 27He isn't the God of the dead, but of the living. You Sadducees are all wrong. The most important commandment (Matthew 22.34-40; Luke 10.25-28) 28One of the teachers of the Law of Moses came up while Jesus and the Sadducees were arguing. When he heard Jesus give a good answer, he asked him, What is the most important commandment? 29Jesus answered, The most important one says: People of Israel, you have only one Lord and God. 30You must love him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. 31The second most important commandment says: Love others as much as you love yourself. No other commandment is more important than these. 32The man replied, Teacher, you are certainly right to say there is only one God. 33It is also true that we must love God with all our heart, mind, and strength, and that we must love others as much as we love ourselves. These commandments are more important than all the sacrifices and offerings that we could possibly make. 34When Jesus saw that the man had given a sensible answer, he told him, You are not far from God's kingdom. After this, no one dared ask Jesus any more questions. About David's son (Matthew 22.41-46; Luke 20.41-44) 35As Jesus was teaching in the temple, he said, How can the teachers of the Law of Moses say that the Messiah will come from the family of King David? 36The Holy Spirit led David to say, The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at my right side until I make your enemies into a footstool for you. 37If David called the Messiah his Lord, how can the Messiah be his son? The large crowd enjoyed listening to Jesus teach. Jesus condemns the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law of Moses (Matthew 23.1-36; Luke 20.45-47) 38As Jesus was teaching, he said: Guard against the teachers of the Law of Moses! They love to walk around in long robes and be greeted in the market. 39They like the front seats in the meeting places and the best seats at banquets. 40But they cheat widows out of their homes and pray long prayers just to show off. They will be punished most of all. A widow's offering (Luke 21.1-4) 41Jesus was sitting in the temple near the offering box and watching people put in their gifts. He noticed that many rich people were giving a lot of money. 42Finally, a poor widow came up and put in two coins that were worth only a few pennies. 43Jesus told his disciples to gather around him. Then he said: I tell you that this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 44Everyone else gave what they didn't need. But she is very poor and gave everything she had. Now she doesn't have a penny to live on. The temple will be destroyed (Matthew 24.1,2; Luke 21.5,6)
1One Sabbath when Jesus and his disciples were walking through some wheat fields, the disciples picked some wheat. They rubbed the husks off with their hands and started eating the grain. 2Some Pharisees said, Why are you picking grain on the Sabbath? You're not supposed to do that! 3Jesus answered, Surely you have read what David did when he and his followers were hungry. 4He went into the house of God and took the sacred loaves of bread that only priests were supposed to eat. He not only ate some himself, but even gave some to his followers. 5Jesus finished by saying, The Son of Man is Lord over the Sabbath. A man with a crippled hand (Matthew 12.9-14; Mark 3.1-6) 6On another Sabbath Jesus was teaching in a Jewish meeting place, and a man with a crippled right hand was there. 7Some Pharisees and teachers of the Law of Moses kept watching Jesus to see if he would heal the man. They did this because they wanted to accuse Jesus of doing something wrong. 8Jesus knew what they were thinking. So he told the man to stand up where everyone could see him. And the man stood up. 9Then Jesus asked, On the Sabbath should we do good deeds or evil deeds? Should we save someone's life or destroy it? 10After he had looked around at everyone, he told the man, Stretch out your hand. He did, and his bad hand became completely well. 11The teachers and the Pharisees were furious and started saying to each other, What can we do about Jesus? Jesus chooses his twelve apostles (Matthew 10.1-4; Mark 3.13-19) 12About that time Jesus went off to a mountain to pray, and he spent the whole night there. 13The next morning he called his disciples together and chose twelve of them to be his apostles. 14One was Simon, and Jesus named him Peter. Another was Andrew, Peter's brother. There were also James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15Matthew, Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus. The rest of the apostles were Simon, known as the Eager One, 16Jude, who was the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who later betrayed Jesus. Jesus teaches, preaches, and heals (Matthew 4.23-25) 17Jesus and his apostles went down from the mountain and came to some flat, level ground. Many other disciples were there to meet him. Large crowds of people from all over Judea, Jerusalem, and the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon were there too. 18These people had come to listen to Jesus and to be healed of their diseases. All who were troubled by evil spirits were also healed. 19Everyone was trying to touch Jesus, because power was going out from him and healing them all. Blessings and troubles (Matthew 5.1-12) 20Jesus looked at his disciples and said: God will bless you people who are poor. His kingdom belongs to you! 21God will bless you hungry people. You will have plenty to eat! God will bless you people who are crying. You will laugh! 22God will bless you when others hate you and won't have anything to do with you. God will bless you when people insult you and say cruel things about you, all because you are a follower of the Son of Man. 23Long ago your own people did these same things to the prophets. So when this happens to you, be happy and jump for joy! You will have a great reward in heaven. 24But you rich people are in for trouble. You have already had an easy life! 25You well-fed people are in for trouble. You will go hungry! You people who are laughing now are in for trouble. You are going to cry and weep! 26You are in for trouble when everyone says good things about you. That is what your own people said about those prophets who told lies. Love for enemies (Matthew 5.38-48; 7.12a) Jesus continued: 27This is what I say to all who will listen to me: Love your enemies, and be good to everyone who hates you. 28Ask God to bless anyone who curses you, and pray for everyone who is cruel to you. 29If someone slaps you on one cheek, don't stop that person from slapping you on the other cheek. If someone wants to take your coat, don't try to keep back your shirt. 30Give to everyone who asks and don't ask people to return what they have taken from you. 31Treat others just as you want to be treated. 32If you love only someone who loves you, will God praise you for that? Even sinners love people who love them. 33If you are kind only to someone who is kind to you, will God be pleased with you for that? Even sinners are kind to people who are kind to them. 34If you lend money only to someone you think will pay you back, will God be pleased with you for that? Even sinners lend to sinners because they think they will get it all back. 35But love your enemies and be good to them. Lend without expecting to be paid back. Then you will get a great reward, and you will be the true children of God in heaven. He is good even to people who are unthankful and cruel. 36Have pity on others, just as your Father has pity on you. Judging others (Matthew 7.1-5) 37Jesus said: Don't judge others, and God won't judge you. Don't be hard on others, and God won't be hard on you. Forgive others, and God will forgive you. 38If you give to others, you will be given a full amount in return. It will be packed down, shaken together, and spilling over into your lap. The way you treat others is the way you will be treated. 39Jesus also used some sayings as he spoke to the people. He said: Can one blind person lead another blind person? Won't they both fall into a ditch? 40Are students better than their teacher? But when they are fully trained, they will be like their teacher. 41You can see the speck in your friend's eye. But you don't notice the log in your own eye. 42How can you say, My friend, let me take the speck out of your eye, when you don't see the log in your own eye? You show-offs! First, get the log out of your own eye. Then you can see how to take the speck out of your friend's eye. A tree and its fruit (Matthew 7.17-20; 12.34b,35) Jesus continued: 43A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. 44You can tell what a tree is like by the fruit it produces. You cannot pick figs or grapes from thorn bushes. 45Good people do good things because of the good in their hearts. Bad people do bad things because of the evil in their hearts. Your words show what is in your heart. Two builders (Matthew 7.24-27) Jesus continued: 46Why do you keep on saying that I am your Lord, when you refuse to do what I say? 47Anyone who comes and listens to me and obeys me 48is like someone who dug down deep and built a house on solid rock. When the flood came and the river rushed against the house, it was built so well that it didn't even shake. 49But anyone who hears what I say and doesn't obey me is like someone whose house wasn't built on solid rock. As soon as the river rushed against that house, it was smashed to pieces! Jesus heals an army officer's servant (Matthew 8.5-13; John 4.43-54)
1Once again Jesus used stories to teach the people: 2The kingdom of heaven is like what happened when a king gave a wedding banquet for his son. 3The king sent some servants to tell the invited guests to come to the banquet, but the guests refused. 4He sent other servants to say to the guests, The banquet is ready! My cattle and prize calves have all been prepared. Everything is ready. Come to the banquet! 5But the guests did not pay any attention. Some of them left for their farms, and some went to their places of business. 6Others grabbed the servants, then beat them up and killed them. 7This made the king so furious that he sent an army to kill those murderers and burn down their city. 8Then he said to the servants, It is time for the wedding banquet, and the invited guests don't deserve to come. 9Go out to the street corners and tell everyone you meet to come to the banquet. 10They went out into the streets and brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike. And the banquet room was filled with guests. 11When the king went in to meet the guests, he found that one of them wasn't wearing the right kind of clothes for the wedding. 12The king asked, Friend, why didn't you wear proper clothes for the wedding? But the guest had no excuse. 13So the king gave orders for that person to be tied hand and foot and to be thrown outside into the dark. That's where people will cry and grit their teeth in pain. 14Many are invited, but only a few are chosen. Paying taxes (Mark 12.13-17; Luke 20.20-26) 15The Pharisees got together and planned how they could trick Jesus into saying something wrong. 16They sent some of their followers and some of Herod's followers to say to him, Teacher, we know that you are honest. You teach the truth about what God wants people to do. And you treat everyone with the same respect, no matter who they are. 17Tell us what you think! Should we pay taxes to the Emperor or not? 18Jesus knew their evil thoughts and said, Why are you trying to test me? You show-offs! 19Let me see one of the coins used for paying taxes. They brought him a silver coin, 20and he asked, Whose picture and name are on it? 21The Emperor's, they answered. Then Jesus told them, Give the Emperor what belongs to him and give God what belongs to God. 22His answer surprised them so much that they walked away. Life in the future world (Mark 12.18-27; Luke 20.27-40) 23The Sadducees did not believe that people would rise to life after death. So that same day some of the Sadducees came to Jesus and said: 24Teacher, Moses wrote that if a married man dies and has no children, his brother should marry the widow. Their first son would then be thought of as the son of the dead brother. 25Once there were seven brothers who lived here. The first one married, but died without having any children. So his wife was left to his brother. 26The same thing happened to the second and third brothers and finally to all seven of them. 27At last the woman died. 28When God raises people from death, whose wife will this woman be? She had been married to all seven brothers. 29Jesus answered: You are completely wrong! You don't know what the Scriptures teach. And you don't know anything about the power of God. 30When God raises people to life, they won't marry. They will be like the angels in heaven. 31And as for people being raised to life, God was speaking to you when he said, 32I am the God worshipped by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He isn't the God of the dead, but of the living. 33The crowds were surprised to hear what Jesus was teaching. The most important commandment (Mark 12.28-34; Luke 10.25-28) 34After Jesus had made the Sadducees look foolish, the Pharisees heard about it and got together. 35One of them was an expert in the Jewish Law. So he tried to test Jesus by asking, 36Teacher, what is the most important commandment in the Law? 37Jesus answered: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. 38This is the first and most important commandment. 39The second most important commandment is like this one. And it is, Love others as much as you love yourself. 40All the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets are based on these two commandments. About David's son (Mark 12.35-37; Luke 20.41-44) 41While the Pharisees were still there, Jesus asked them, 42What do you think about the Messiah? Whose family will he come from? They answered, He will be a son of King David. 43Jesus replied, How then could the Spirit lead David to call the Messiah his Lord? David said, 44The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at my right side until I make your enemies into a footstool for you. 45If David called the Messiah his Lord, how can the Messiah be a son of King David? 46No one was able to give Jesus an answer, and from that day on, no one dared ask him any more questions. Jesus condemns the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law of Moses (Mark 12.38-40; Luke 11.37-52; 20.45-47)
1What good is it to be a Jew? What good is it to be circumcised? 2It is good in a lot of ways! First of all, God's messages were spoken to the Jews. 3It is true that some of them did not believe the message. But does this mean that God cannot be trusted, just because they did not have faith? 4No, indeed! God tells the truth, even if everyone else is a liar. The Scriptures say about God, Your words will be proved true, and in court you will win your case. 5If our evil deeds show how right God is, then what can we say? Is it wrong for God to become angry and punish us? What a foolish thing to ask. 6But the answer is, No. Otherwise, how could God judge the world? 7Since your lies bring great honour to God by showing how truthful he is, you may ask why God still says you are a sinner. 8You might as well say, Let's do something evil, so that something good will come of it! Some people even claim that we are saying this. But God is fair and will judge them as well. No one is good 9What does all this mean? Does it mean that we Jews are better off than the Gentiles? No, it doesn't! Jews, as well as Gentiles, are ruled by sin, just as I have said. 10The Scriptures tell us, No one is acceptable to God! 11Not one of them understands or even searches for God. 12They have all turned away and are worthless. There isn't one person who does right. 13Their words are like an open pit, and their tongues are good only for telling lies. Each word is as deadly as the fangs of a snake, 14and they say nothing but bitter curses. 15These people quickly become violent. 16Wherever they go, they leave ruin and destruction. 17They don't know how to live in peace. 18They don't even fear God. 19We know that everything in the Law was written for those who are under its power. The Law says these things to stop anyone from making excuses and to let God show that the whole world is guilty. 20God doesn't accept people simply because they obey the Law. No, indeed! All the Law does is to point out our sin. 21Now we see how God does make us acceptable to him. The Law and the Prophets tell how we become acceptable, and it isn't by obeying the Law of Moses. 22God treats everyone alike. He accepts people only because they have faith in Jesus Christ. 23All of us have sinned and fallen short of God's glory. 24But God treats us much better than we deserve, and because of Christ Jesus, he freely accepts us and sets us free from our sins. 25God sent Christ to be our sacrifice. Christ offered his life's blood, so that by faith in him we could come to God. And God did this to show that in the past he was right to be patient and forgive sinners. This also shows that God is right when he accepts people who have faith in Jesus. 27What is left for us to boast about? Not a thing! Is it because we obeyed some law? No! It is because of faith. 28We see that people are acceptable to God because they have faith, and not because they obey the Law. 29Does God belong only to the Jews? Isn't he also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, he is! 30There is only one God, and he accepts Gentiles as well as Jews, simply because of their faith. 31Do we destroy the Law by our faith? Not at all! We make it even more powerful. The example of Abraham
1Jesus crossed Lake Galilee, which was also known as Lake Tiberias. 2A large crowd had seen him perform miracles to heal the sick, and those people went with him. 3It was almost time for the Jewish festival of Passover, and Jesus went up on a mountain with his disciples and sat down. 5When Jesus saw the large crowd coming towards him, he asked Philip, Where will we get enough food to feed all these people? 6He said this to test Philip, since he already knew what he was going to do. 7Philip answered, Don't you know that it would take almost a year's wages just to buy only a little bread for each of these people? 8Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the disciples. He spoke up and said, 9There is a boy here who has five small loaves of barley bread and two fish. But what good is that with all these people? 10The ground was covered with grass, and Jesus told his disciples to make everyone sit down. About five thousand men were in the crowd. 11Jesus took the bread in his hands and gave thanks to God. Then he passed the bread to the people, and he did the same with the fish, until everyone had plenty to eat. 12The people ate all they wanted, and Jesus told his disciples to gather up the leftovers, so that nothing would be wasted. 13The disciples gathered them up and filled twelve large baskets with what was left over from the five barley loaves. 14After the people had seen Jesus perform this miracle, they began saying, This must be the Prophet who is to come into the world! 15Jesus realized that they would try to force him to be their king. So he went up on a mountain, where he could be alone. Jesus walks on the water (Matthew 14.22-27; Mark 6.45-52) 16That evening, Jesus' disciples went down to the lake. 17They got into a boat and set off for Capernaum. Later that evening Jesus had still not come to them, 18and a strong wind was making the water rough. 19When the disciples had rowed for five or six kilometres, they saw Jesus walking on the water. He kept coming closer to the boat, and they were terrified. 20But he said, I am Jesus! Don't be afraid! 21The disciples wanted to take him into the boat, but suddenly the boat reached the shore where they were headed. The bread that gives life 22The people who had stayed on the east side of the lake knew that only one boat had been there. They also knew that Jesus had not left in it with his disciples. But the next day 23some boats from Tiberias sailed near the place where the crowd had eaten the bread for which the Lord had given thanks. 24They saw that Jesus and his disciples had left. Then they got into the boats and went to Capernaum to look for Jesus. 25They found him on the west side of the lake and asked, Rabbi, when did you get here? 26Jesus answered, I tell you for certain that you are not looking for me because you saw the miracles, but because you ate all the food you wanted. 27Don't work for food that spoils. Work for food that gives eternal life. The Son of Man will give you this food, because God the Father has given him the right to do so. 28What exactly does God want us to do? the people asked. 29Jesus answered, God wants you to have faith in the one he sent. 30They replied, What miracle will you perform, so that we can have faith in you? What will you do? 31For example, when our ancestors were in the desert, they were given manna to eat. It happened just as the Scriptures say, God gave them bread from heaven to eat. 32Jesus then told them, I tell you for certain that Moses wasn't the one who gave you bread from heaven. My Father is the one who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33And the bread that God gives is the one who came down from heaven to give life to the world. 34The people said, Lord, give us this bread and don't ever stop! 35Jesus replied: I am the bread that gives life! No one who comes to me will ever be hungry. No one who has faith in me will ever be thirsty. 36I have told you already that you have seen me and still do not have faith in me. 37Everything and everyone that the Father has given me will come to me, and I won't turn any of them away. 38I didn't come from heaven to do what I want! I came to do what the Father wants me to do. He sent me, 39and he wants to make certain that none of the ones he has given me will be lost. Instead, he wants me to raise them to life on the last day. 40My Father wants everyone who sees the Son to have faith in him and to have eternal life. Then I will raise them to life on the last day. 41The people started grumbling because Jesus had said he was the bread that had come down from heaven. 42They were asking each other, Isn't he Jesus, the son of Joseph? Don't we know his father and mother? How can he say that he has come down from heaven? 43Jesus told them: Stop grumbling! 44No one can come to me, unless the Father who sent me makes them want to come. But if they do come, I will raise them to life on the last day. 45One of the prophets wrote, God will teach all of them. And so everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him will come to me. 46The only one who has seen the Father is the one who has come from him. No one else has ever seen the Father. 47I tell you for certain that everyone who has faith in me has eternal life. 48I am the bread that gives life! 49Your ancestors ate manna in the desert, and later they died. 50But the bread from heaven has come down, so that no one who eats it will ever die. 51I am that bread from heaven! Everyone who eats it will live for ever. My flesh is the life-giving bread that I give to the people of this world. 52They started arguing with each other and asked, How can he give us his flesh to eat? 53Jesus answered: I tell you for certain that you won't live unless you eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man. 54But if you do eat my flesh and drink my blood, you will have eternal life, and I will raise you to life on the last day. 55My flesh is the true food, and my blood is the true drink. 56If you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you are one with me, and I am one with you. 57The living Father sent me, and I have life because of him. Now everyone who eats my flesh will live because of me. 58The bread that comes down from heaven isn't like what your ancestors ate. They died, but whoever eats this bread will live for ever. 59Jesus was teaching in a Jewish place of worship in Capernaum when he said these things. The words of eternal life 60Many of Jesus' disciples heard him and said, This is too hard for anyone to understand. 61Jesus knew that his disciples were grumbling. So he asked, Does this bother you? 62What if you should see the Son of Man go up to heaven where he came from? 63The Spirit is the one who gives life! Human strength can do nothing. The words that I have spoken to you are from that life-giving Spirit. 64But some of you refuse to have faith in me. Jesus said this, because from the beginning he knew who would have faith in him. He also knew which one would betray him. 65Then Jesus said, You cannot come to me, unless the Father makes you want to come. That is why I have told these things to all of you. 66Because of what Jesus said, many of his disciples turned their backs on him and stopped following him. 67Jesus then asked his twelve disciples if they were going to leave him. 68Simon Peter answered, Lord, there is no one else that we can go to! Your words give eternal life. 69We have faith in you, and we are sure that you are God's Holy One. 70Jesus told his disciples, I chose all twelve of you, but one of you is a demon! 71Jesus was talking about Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. He would later betray Jesus, even though he was one of the twelve disciples. Jesus' brothers don't have faith in him
1By faith we have been made acceptable to God. And now, because of our Lord Jesus Christ, we live at peace with God. 2Christ has also introduced us to God's undeserved kindness on which we take our stand. So we are happy, as we look forward to sharing in the glory of God. 3But that's not all! We gladly suffer, because we know that suffering helps us to endure. 4And endurance builds character, which gives us a hope 5that will never disappoint us. All this happens because God has given us the Holy Spirit, who fills our hearts with his love. 6Christ died for us at a time when we were helpless and sinful. 7No one is really willing to die for an honest person, though someone might be willing to die for a truly good person. 8But God showed how much he loved us by having Christ die for us, even though we were sinful. 9But there is more! Now that God has accepted us because Christ sacrificed his life's blood, we will also be kept safe from God's anger. 10Even when we were God's enemies, he made peace with us, because his Son died for us. Yet something even greater than friendship is ours. Now that we are at peace with God, we will be saved by his Son's life. 11And in addition to everything else, we are happy because God sent our Lord Jesus Christ to make peace with us. Adam and Christ 12Adam sinned, and that sin brought death into the world. Now everyone has sinned, and so everyone must die. 13Sin was in the world before the Law came. But no record of sin was kept, because there was no Law. 14Yet death still had power over all who lived from the time of Adam to the time of Moses. This happened, though not everyone disobeyed a direct command from God, as Adam did. In some ways Adam is like Christ who came later. 15But the gift that God was kind enough to give was very different from Adam's sin. That one sin brought death to many others. Yet in an even greater way, Jesus Christ alone brought God's gift of kindness to many people. 16There is a lot of difference between Adam's sin and God's gift. That one sin led to punishment. But God's gift made it possible for us to be acceptable to him, even though we have sinned many times. 17Death ruled like a king because Adam had sinned. But that cannot compare with what Jesus Christ has done. God has been so kind to us, and he has accepted us because of Jesus. And so we will live and rule like kings. 18Everyone was going to be punished because Adam sinned. But because of the good thing that Christ has done, God accepts us and gives us the gift of life. 19Adam disobeyed God and caused many others to be sinners. But Jesus obeyed him and will make many people acceptable to God. 20The Law came, so that the full power of sin could be seen. Yet where sin was powerful, God's kindness was even more powerful. 21Sin ruled by means of death. But God's kindness now rules, and God has accepted us because of Jesus Christ our Lord. This means that we will have eternal life. Dead to sin but alive because of Christ
1I don't need to write to you about the time or date when all this will happen. 2You know that the Lord's return will be as a thief coming at night. 3People will think they are safe and secure. But destruction will suddenly strike them like the pains of a woman about to give birth. And they won't escape. 4My dear friends, you don't live in darkness, and so that day won't surprise you like a thief. 5You belong to the light and live in the day. We don't live in the night or belong to the dark. 6Others may sleep, but we should stay awake and be alert. 7People sleep during the night, and some even get drunk. 8But we belong to the day. So we must stay sober and let our faith and love be like a suit of armour. Our firm hope that we will be saved is our helmet. 9God doesn't intend to punish us, but wants us to be saved by our Lord Jesus Christ. 10Christ died for us, so that we could live with him, whether we are alive or dead when he comes. 11That's why you must encourage and help each other, just as you are already doing. 12My friends, we ask you to be thoughtful of your leaders who work hard and tell you how to live for the Lord. 13Show them great respect and love because of their work. Try to get along with each other. 14My friends, we beg you to warn anyone who isn't living right. Encourage anyone who feels left out, help all who are weak, and be patient with everyone. 15Don't be hateful to people, just because they are hateful to you. Rather, be good to each other and to everyone else. 16Always be joyful 17and never stop praying. 18Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do. 19Don't turn away God's Spirit 20or ignore prophecies. 21Put everything to the test. Accept what is good 22and don't have anything to do with evil. 23I pray that God, who gives peace, will make you completely holy. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept healthy and faultless until our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 24The one who chose you can be trusted, and he will do this. 25Friends, please pray for us. 26Give the Lord's followers a warm greeting. 27In the name of the Lord I beg you to read this letter to all his followers. 28I pray that our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you!
1I, the Lord All-Powerful, have something else to say to you priests. 2You had better take seriously the need to honour my name. Otherwise, when you give a blessing, I will turn it into a curse. In fact, I have already done this, because you haven't taken to heart your duties as priests. 3I will punish your descendants and rub your faces in the manure from your animal sacrifices, and then be done with you. 4I am telling you this, so I can continue to keep my agreement with your ancestor Levi. 5I blessed him with a full life, as I had promised, and he kept his part of the agreement by honouring me and respecting my name. 6He taught the truth and never told lies, and he led a lot of people to turn from sin, because he obeyed me and lived right. 7You priests should be eager to spread knowledge, and everyone should come to you for instruction, because you speak for me, the Lord All-Powerful. 8But you have turned your backs on me. Your teachings have led others to do sinful things, and you have broken the agreement I made with your ancestor Levi. 9So I caused everyone to hate and despise you, because you disobeyed me and failed to treat all people alike. 10Don't you know that we all have God as our Father? Didn't the one God create each of us? Then why do you cheat each other by breaking the agreement God made with your ancestors? 11You people in Judah and Jerusalem have been unfaithful to the Lord . You have disgraced the temple that he loves, and you have committed the disgusting sin of worshipping other gods. 12I pray that the Lord will no longer let those who are guilty belong to his people, even if they eagerly decide to offer the Lord a gift. 13And what else are you doing? You cry noisily and flood the Lord 's altar with your tears, because he isn't pleased with your offerings and refuses to accept them. 14And why isn't God pleased? It's because he knows that each of you men has been unfaithful to the wife you married when you were young. You promised that she would be your partner, but now you have broken that promise. 15Didn't God create you to become like one person with your wife? And why did he do this? It was so you would have children, and then lead them to become God's people. Don't ever be unfaithful to your wife. 16The Lord God All-Powerful of Israel hates anyone who is cruel enough to divorce his wife. So take care never to be unfaithful! 17You have worn out the Lord with your words. And yet, you ask, How did we do that? You did it by saying, The Lord is pleased with evil and doesn't care about justice. The promised messenger
1When you do good deeds, don't try to show off. If you do, you won't get a reward from your Father in heaven. 2When you give to the poor, don't blow a loud horn. That's what show-offs do in the meeting places and on the street corners, because they are always looking for praise. I can assure you that they already have their reward. 3When you give to the poor, don't let anyone know about it. 4Then your gift will be given in secret. Your Father knows what is done in secret, and he will reward you. Prayer (Luke 11.2-4) Jesus continued: 5When you pray, don't be like those show-offs who love to stand up and pray in the meeting places and on the street corners. They do this just to look good. I can assure you that they already have their reward. 6When you pray, go into a room alone and close the door. Pray to your Father in private. He knows what is done in private, and he will reward you. 7When you pray, don't talk on and on as people do who don't know God. They think God likes to hear long prayers. 8Don't be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask. 9You should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, help us to honour your name. 10Come and set up your kingdom, so that everyone on earth will obey you, as you are obeyed in heaven. 11Give us our food for today. 12Forgive us for doing wrong, as we forgive others. 13Keep us from being tempted and protect us from evil. 14If you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, your Father in heaven will forgive you. 15But if you don't forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. Worshipping God by going without eating Jesus continued: 16When you go without eating, don't try to look gloomy as those show-offs do when they go without eating. I can assure you that they already have their reward. 17Instead, comb your hair and wash your face. 18Then others won't know that you are going without eating. But your Father sees what is done in private, and he will reward you. Treasures in heaven (Luke 12.33,34) Jesus continued: 19Don't store up treasures on earth! Moths and rust can destroy them, and thieves can break in and steal them. 20Instead, store up your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy them, and thieves cannot break in and steal them. 21Your heart will always be where your treasure is. Light (Luke 11.34-36) Jesus continued: 22Your eyes are like a window for your body. When they are good, you have all the light you need. 23But when your eyes are bad, everything is dark. If the light inside you is dark, you are in the dark. Money (Luke 16.13) Jesus continued: 24You cannot be the slave of two masters! You will like one more than the other or be more loyal to one than the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Worry (Luke 12.22-31) Jesus continued: 25I tell you not to worry about your life. Don't worry about having something to eat, drink, or wear. Isn't life more than food or clothing? 26Look at the birds in the sky! They don't plant or harvest. They don't even store grain in barns. Yet your Father in heaven takes care of them. Aren't you worth more than birds? 27Can worry make you live longer? 28Why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow. They don't work hard to make their clothes. 29But I tell you that Solomon with all his wealth wasn't as well clothed as one of them. 30God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown into a fire tomorrow. He will surely do even more for you! Why do you have such little faith? 31Don't worry and ask yourselves, Will we have anything to eat? Will we have anything to drink? Will we have any clothes to wear? 32Only people who don't know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father in heaven knows that you need all these. 33But more than anything else, put God's work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well. 34Don't worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself. You have enough to worry about today. Judging others (Luke 6.37,38,41,42) Jesus said:
1Welcome all the Lord's followers, even those whose faith is weak. Don't criticize them for having beliefs that are different from yours. 2Some think it is all right to eat anything, while those whose faith is weak will eat only vegetables. 3But you should not criticize others for eating or for not eating. After all, God welcomes everyone. 4What right do you have to criticize someone else's servants? Only their Lord can decide if they are doing right, and the Lord will make sure that they do right. 5Some of the Lord's followers think one day is more important than another. Others think all days are the same. But each of you should make up your own mind. 6Any followers who count one day more important than another day do it to honour their Lord. And any followers who eat meat give thanks to God, just like the ones who don't eat meat. 7Whether we live or die, it must be for God, rather than for ourselves. 8Whether we live or die, it must be for the Lord. Alive or dead, we still belong to the Lord. 9This is because Christ died and rose to life, so that he would be the Lord of the dead and of the living. 10Why do you criticize other followers of the Lord? Why do you look down on them? The day is coming when God will judge all of us. 11In the Scriptures God says, I swear by my very life that everyone will kneel down and praise my name! 12And so, each of us must give an account to God for what we do. Don't cause problems for others 13We must stop judging others. We must also make up our minds not to upset anyone's faith. 14The Lord Jesus has made it clear to me that God considers all foods fit to eat. But if you think some foods are unfit to eat, then for you they are not fit. 15If you are hurting others by the foods you eat, you are not guided by love. Don't let your appetite destroy someone Christ died for. 16Don't let your right to eat bring shame to Christ. 17God's kingdom isn't about eating and drinking. It is about pleasing God, about living in peace, and about true happiness. All this comes from the Holy Spirit. 18If you serve Christ in this way, you will please God and be respected by people. 19We should try to live at peace and help each other have a strong faith. 20Don't let your appetite destroy what God has done. All foods are fit to eat, but it is wrong to cause problems for others by what you eat. 21It is best not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else that causes problems for other followers of the Lord. 22What you believe about these things should be kept between you and God. You are fortunate, if your actions don't make you have doubts. 23But if you do have doubts about what you eat, you are going against your beliefs. And you know that is wrong, because anything you do against your beliefs is sin. Please others and not yourself
1As a prisoner of the Lord, I beg you to live in a way that is worthy of the people God has chosen to be his own. 2Always be humble and gentle. Patiently put up with each other and love each other. 3Try your best to let God's Spirit keep your hearts united. Do this by living at peace. 4All of you are part of the same body. There is only one Spirit of God, just as you were given one hope when you were chosen to be God's people. 5We have only one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. 6There is one God who is the Father of all people. Not only is God above all others, but he works by using all of us, and he lives in all of us. 7Christ has generously divided out his gifts to us. 8As the Scriptures say, When he went up to the highest place, he led away many prisoners and gave gifts to people. 9When it says, he went up, it means that Christ had been deep in the earth. 10This also means that the one who went deep into the earth is the same one who went into the highest heaven, so that he would fill the whole universe. 11Christ chose some of us to be apostles, prophets, missionaries, pastors, and teachers, 12so that his people would learn to serve and his body would grow strong. 13This will continue until we are united by our faith and by our understanding of the Son of God. Then we will be mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him. 14We must stop acting like children. We must not let deceitful people trick us by their false teachings, which are like winds that toss us around from place to place. 15Love should always make us tell the truth. Then we will grow in every way and be more like Christ, the head 16of the body. Christ holds it together and makes all its parts work perfectly, as it grows and becomes strong because of love. The old life and the new life 17As a follower of the Lord, I order you to stop living like stupid, godless people. 18Their minds are in the dark, and they are stubborn and ignorant and have missed out on the life that comes from God. They no longer have any feelings about what is right, 19and they are so greedy that they do all kinds of indecent things. 20But that isn't what you were taught about Jesus Christ. He is the truth, and you heard about him and learnt about him. 22You were told that your foolish desires will destroy you and that you must give up your old way of life with all its bad habits. 23Let the Spirit change your way of thinking 24and make you into a new person. You were created to be like God, and so you must please him and be truly holy. Rules for the new life 25We are part of the same body. Stop lying and start telling each other the truth. 26Don't get so angry that you sin. Don't go to bed angry 27and don't give the devil a chance. 28If you are a thief, stop stealing. Be honest and work hard, so you will have something to give to people in need. 29Stop all your dirty talk. Say the right thing at the right time and help others by what you say. 30Don't make God's Spirit sad. The Spirit makes you sure that some day you will be free from your sins. 31Stop being bitter and angry with others. Don't yell at one another or curse each other or ever be rude. 32Instead, be kind and merciful, and forgive others, just as God forgave you because of Christ.
1You stupid Galatians! I told you exactly how Jesus Christ was nailed to a cross. Has someone now put an evil spell on you? 2I want to know only one thing. How were you given God's Spirit? Was it by obeying the Law of Moses or by hearing about Christ and having faith in him? 3How can you be so stupid? Do you think that by yourself you can complete what God's Spirit started in you? 4Have you gone through all this for nothing? Is it all really for nothing? 5God gives you his Spirit and works miracles in you. But does he do this because you obey the Law of Moses or because you have heard about Christ and have faith in him? 6The Scriptures say that God accepted Abraham because Abraham had faith. 7And so, you should understand that everyone who has faith is a child of Abraham. 8Long ago the Scriptures said that God would accept the Gentiles because of their faith. That's why God told Abraham the good news that all nations would be blessed because of him. 9This means that everyone who has faith will share in the blessings that were given to Abraham because of his faith. 10Anyone who tries to please God by obeying the Law is under a curse. The Scriptures say, Everyone who doesn't obey everything in the Law is under a curse. 11No one can please God by obeying the Law. The Scriptures also say, The people God accepts because of their faith will live. 12The Law isn't based on faith. It promises life only to people who obey its commands. 13But Christ rescued us from the Law's curse, when he became a curse in our place. This is because the Scriptures say that anyone who is nailed to a tree is under a curse. 14And because of what Jesus Christ has done, the blessing that was promised to Abraham was taken to the Gentiles. This happened so that by faith we would be given the promised Holy Spirit. The Law and the promise 15My friends, I will use an everyday example to explain what I mean. Once someone agrees to something, no one else can change or cancel the agreement. 16That is how it is with the promises God made to Abraham and his descendant. The promises were not made to many descendants, but only to one, and that one is Christ. 17What I am saying is that the Law cannot change or cancel God's promise that was made 430 years before the Law was given. 18If we have to obey the Law in order to receive God's blessings, those blessings don't really come to us because of God's promise. But God was kind to Abraham and made him a promise. 19What is the use of the Law? It was given later to show that we sin. But it was only supposed to last until the coming of that descendant who was given the promise. In fact, angels gave the Law to Moses, and he gave it to the people. 20There is only one God, and the Law did not come directly from him. Slaves and children 21Does the Law disagree with God's promises? No, it doesn't! If any law could give life to us, we could become acceptable to God by obeying that law. 22But the Scriptures say that sin controls everyone, so that God's promises will be for anyone who has faith in Jesus Christ. 23The Law controlled us and kept us under its power until the time came when we would have faith. 24In fact, the Law was our teacher. It was supposed to teach us until we had faith and were acceptable to God. 25But once a person has learnt to have faith, there is no more need to have the Law as a teacher. 26All of you are God's children because of your faith in Christ Jesus. 27And when you were baptized, it was as though you had put on Christ in the same way you put on new clothes. 28Faith in Christ Jesus is what makes each of you equal with each other, whether you are a Jew or a Greek, a slave or a free person, a man or a woman. 29So if you belong to Christ, you are now part of Abraham's family, and you will be given what God has promised.
1My friends, you asked me about spiritual gifts. 2I want you to remember that before you became followers of the Lord, you were led in all the wrong ways by idols that cannot even talk. 3Now I want you to know that if you are led by God's Spirit, you will say that Jesus is Lord, and you will never curse Jesus. 4There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but they all come from the same Spirit. 5There are different ways to serve the same Lord, 6and we can each do different things. Yet the same God works in all of us and helps us in everything we do. 7The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving others. 8Some of us can speak with wisdom, while others can speak with knowledge, but these gifts come from the same Spirit. 9To others the Spirit has given great faith or the power to heal the sick 10or the power to perform mighty miracles. Some of us are prophets, and some of us recognize when God's Spirit is present. Others can speak different kinds of languages, and still others can tell what these languages mean. 11But it is the Spirit who does all this and decides which gifts to give to each of us. One body with many parts 12The body of Christ has many different parts, just as any other body does. 13Some of us are Jews, and others are Gentiles. Some of us are slaves, and others are free. But God's Spirit baptized each of us and made us part of the body of Christ. Now we each drink from that same Spirit. 14Our bodies don't have just one part. They have many parts. 15Suppose a foot says, I'm not a hand, and so I'm not part of the body. Wouldn't the foot still belong to the body? 16Or suppose an ear says, I'm not an eye, and so I'm not part of the body. Wouldn't the ear still belong to the body? 17If our bodies were only an eye, we couldn't hear a thing. And if they were only an ear, we couldn't smell a thing. 18But God has put all parts of our body together in the way that he decided is best. 19A body isn't really a body, unless there is more than one part. 20It takes many parts to make a single body. 21That's why the eyes cannot say they don't need the hands. That's also why the head cannot say it doesn't need the feet. 22In fact, we cannot get along without the parts of the body that seem to be the weakest. 23We take special care to dress up some parts of our bodies. We are modest about our personal parts, 24but we don't have to be modest about other parts. God put our bodies together in such a way that even the parts that seem the least important are valuable. 25He did this to make all parts of the body work together smoothly, with each part caring about the others. 26If one part of our body hurts, we hurt all over. If one part of our body is honoured, the whole body will be happy. 27Together you are the body of Christ. Each one of you is part of his body. 28First, God chose some people to be apostles and prophets and teachers for the church. But he also chose some to perform miracles or heal the sick or help others or be leaders or speak different kinds of languages. 29Not everyone is an apostle. Not everyone is a prophet. Not everyone is a teacher. Not everyone can perform miracles. 30Not everyone can heal the sick. Not everyone can speak different kinds of languages. Not everyone can tell what these languages mean. 31I want you to desire the best gifts. So I will show you a much better way. Love
1My friends, you asked me about spiritual gifts. 2I want you to remember that before you became followers of the Lord, you were led in all the wrong ways by idols that cannot even talk. 3Now I want you to know that if you are led by God's Spirit, you will say that Jesus is Lord, and you will never curse Jesus. 4There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but they all come from the same Spirit. 5There are different ways to serve the same Lord, 6and we can each do different things. Yet the same God works in all of us and helps us in everything we do. 7The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving others. 8Some of us can speak with wisdom, while others can speak with knowledge, but these gifts come from the same Spirit. 9To others the Spirit has given great faith or the power to heal the sick 10or the power to perform mighty miracles. Some of us are prophets, and some of us recognize when God's Spirit is present. Others can speak different kinds of languages, and still others can tell what these languages mean. 11But it is the Spirit who does all this and decides which gifts to give to each of us. One body with many parts 12The body of Christ has many different parts, just as any other body does. 13Some of us are Jews, and others are Gentiles. Some of us are slaves, and others are free. But God's Spirit baptized each of us and made us part of the body of Christ. Now we each drink from that same Spirit. 14Our bodies don't have just one part. They have many parts. 15Suppose a foot says, I'm not a hand, and so I'm not part of the body. Wouldn't the foot still belong to the body? 16Or suppose an ear says, I'm not an eye, and so I'm not part of the body. Wouldn't the ear still belong to the body? 17If our bodies were only an eye, we couldn't hear a thing. And if they were only an ear, we couldn't smell a thing. 18But God has put all parts of our body together in the way that he decided is best. 19A body isn't really a body, unless there is more than one part. 20It takes many parts to make a single body. 21That's why the eyes cannot say they don't need the hands. That's also why the head cannot say it doesn't need the feet. 22In fact, we cannot get along without the parts of the body that seem to be the weakest. 23We take special care to dress up some parts of our bodies. We are modest about our personal parts, 24but we don't have to be modest about other parts. God put our bodies together in such a way that even the parts that seem the least important are valuable. 25He did this to make all parts of the body work together smoothly, with each part caring about the others. 26If one part of our body hurts, we hurt all over. If one part of our body is honoured, the whole body will be happy. 27Together you are the body of Christ. Each one of you is part of his body. 28First, God chose some people to be apostles and prophets and teachers for the church. But he also chose some to perform miracles or heal the sick or help others or be leaders or speak different kinds of languages. 29Not everyone is an apostle. Not everyone is a prophet. Not everyone is a teacher. Not everyone can perform miracles. 30Not everyone can heal the sick. Not everyone can speak different kinds of languages. Not everyone can tell what these languages mean. 31I want you to desire the best gifts. So I will show you a much better way. Love
1My friends, you are spiritual. So if someone is trapped in sin, you should gently lead that person back to the right path. But watch out, and don't be tempted yourself. 2You obey the law of Christ when you offer each other a helping hand. 3If you think you are better than others, when you really aren't, you are wrong. 4Do your own work well, and then you will have something to be proud of. But don't compare yourself with others. 5We each must carry our own load. 6Share every good thing you have with anyone who teaches you what God has said. 7You cannot fool God, so don't make a fool of yourself! You will harvest what you plant. 8If you follow your selfish desires, you will harvest destruction, but if you follow the Spirit, you will harvest eternal life. 9Don't get tired of helping others. You will be rewarded when the time is right, if you don't give up. 10We should help people whenever we can, especially if they are followers of the Lord. 11You can see what big letters I make when I write with my own hand. 12Those people who are telling you to get circumcised are only trying to show how important they are. And they don't want to get into trouble for preaching about the cross of Christ. 13They are circumcised, but they don't obey the Law of Moses. All they want is to boast about having you circumcised. 14But I will never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his cross, the world is dead as far as I am concerned, and I am dead as far as the world is concerned. 15It doesn't matter if you are circumcised or not. All that matters is that you are a new person. 16If you follow this rule, you will belong to God's true people. God will treat you with undeserved kindness and will bless you with peace. 17On my own body are scars that prove I belong to Christ Jesus. So I don't want anyone to bother me any more. 18My friends, I pray that the Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you! Amen.
1Dear friends, God is good. So I beg you to offer your bodies to him as a living sacrifice, pure and pleasing. That's the most sensible way to serve God. 2Don't be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to him. 3I realize how kind God has been to me, and so I tell each of you not to think you are better than you really are. Use good sense and measure yourself by the amount of faith that God has given you. 4A body is made up of many parts, and each of them has its own use. 5That's how it is with us. There are many of us, but we are each part of the body of Christ, as well as part of one another. 6God has also given each of us different gifts to use. If we can prophesy, we should do it according to the amount of faith we have. 7If we can serve others, we should serve. If we can teach, we should teach. 8If we can encourage others, we should encourage them. If we can give, we should be generous. If we are leaders, we should do our best. If we are good to others, we should do it cheerfully. Rules for Christian living 9Be sincere in your love for others. Hate everything that is evil and hold tight to everything that is good. 10Love each other as brothers and sisters and honour others more than you do yourself. 11Never give up. Eagerly follow the Holy Spirit and serve the Lord. 12Let your hope make you glad. Be patient in time of trouble and never stop praying. 13Take care of God's needy people and welcome strangers into your home. 14Ask God to bless everyone who ill-treats you. Ask him to bless them and not to curse them. 15When others are happy, be happy with them, and when they are sad, be sad. 16Be friendly with everyone. Don't be proud and feel that you are cleverer than others. Make friends with ordinary people. 17Don't ill-treat someone who has ill-treated you. But try to earn the respect of others, 18and do your best to live at peace with everyone. 19Dear friends, don't try to get even. Let God take revenge. In the Scriptures the Lord says, I am the one to take revenge and pay them back. 20The Scriptures also say, If your enemies are hungry, give them something to eat. And if they are thirsty, give them something to drink. This will be the same as piling burning coals on their heads. 21Don't let evil defeat you, but defeat evil with good. Obey rulers
1Dear friends, God is good. So I beg you to offer your bodies to him as a living sacrifice, pure and pleasing. That's the most sensible way to serve God. 2Don't be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to him. 3I realize how kind God has been to me, and so I tell each of you not to think you are better than you really are. Use good sense and measure yourself by the amount of faith that God has given you. 4A body is made up of many parts, and each of them has its own use. 5That's how it is with us. There are many of us, but we are each part of the body of Christ, as well as part of one another. 6God has also given each of us different gifts to use. If we can prophesy, we should do it according to the amount of faith we have. 7If we can serve others, we should serve. If we can teach, we should teach. 8If we can encourage others, we should encourage them. If we can give, we should be generous. If we are leaders, we should do our best. If we are good to others, we should do it cheerfully. Rules for Christian living 9Be sincere in your love for others. Hate everything that is evil and hold tight to everything that is good. 10Love each other as brothers and sisters and honour others more than you do yourself. 11Never give up. Eagerly follow the Holy Spirit and serve the Lord. 12Let your hope make you glad. Be patient in time of trouble and never stop praying. 13Take care of God's needy people and welcome strangers into your home. 14Ask God to bless everyone who ill-treats you. Ask him to bless them and not to curse them. 15When others are happy, be happy with them, and when they are sad, be sad. 16Be friendly with everyone. Don't be proud and feel that you are cleverer than others. Make friends with ordinary people. 17Don't ill-treat someone who has ill-treated you. But try to earn the respect of others, 18and do your best to live at peace with everyone. 19Dear friends, don't try to get even. Let God take revenge. In the Scriptures the Lord says, I am the one to take revenge and pay them back. 20The Scriptures also say, If your enemies are hungry, give them something to eat. And if they are thirsty, give them something to drink. This will be the same as piling burning coals on their heads. 21Don't let evil defeat you, but defeat evil with good. Obey rulers
1What if I could speak all languages of humans and of angels? If I did not love others, I would be nothing more than a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2What if I could prophesy and understand all secrets and all knowledge? And what if I had faith that moved mountains? I would be nothing, unless I loved others. 3What if I gave away all that I owned and let myself be burnt alive? I would gain nothing, unless I loved others. 4Love is kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, proud, or 5rude. Love isn't selfish or quick-tempered. It doesn't keep a record of wrongs that others do. 6Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil. 7Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting. 8Love never fails! Everyone who prophesies will stop, and unknown languages will no longer be spoken. All that we know will be forgotten. 9We don't know everything, and our prophecies are not complete. 10But what is perfect will some day appear, and what isn't perfect will then disappear. 11When we were children, we thought and reasoned as children do. But when we grew up, we stopped our childish ways. 12Now all we can see of God is like a cloudy picture in a mirror. Later we will see him face to face. We don't know everything, but then we will, just as God completely understands us. 13For now there are faith, hope, and love. But of these three, the greatest is love. Speaking unknown languages and prophesying
1Dear friends, don't believe everyone who claims to have the Spirit of God. Test them all to find out if they really do come from God. Many false prophets have already gone out into the world, 2and you can know which ones come from God. His Spirit says that Jesus Christ had a truly human body. 3But when someone doesn't say this about Jesus, you know that person has a spirit that doesn't come from God and is the enemy of Christ. You knew that this enemy was coming into the world and now is already here. 4Children, you belong to God, and you have defeated these enemies. God's Spirit is in you and is more powerful than the one that is in the world. 5These enemies belong to this world, and the world listens to them, because they speak its language. 6We belong to God, and everyone who knows God will listen to us. But the people who don't know God won't listen to us. That is how we can tell the Spirit that speaks the truth from the one that tells lies. 7My dear friends, we must love each other. Love comes from God, and when we love each other, it shows that we have been given new life. We are now God's children, and we know him. 8God is love, and anyone who doesn't love others has never known him. 9God showed his love for us when he sent his only Son into the world to give us life. 10Real love isn't our love for God, but his love for us. God sent his Son to be the sacrifice by which our sins are forgiven. 11Dear friends, since God loved us this much, we must love each other. 12No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is truly in our hearts. 13God has given us his Spirit. That is how we know that we are one with him, just as he is one with us. 14God sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world. We saw his Son and are now telling others about him. 15God stays united with everyone who openly says that Jesus is the Son of God. That's how we stay united with God 16and are sure that God loves us. God is love. If we keep on loving others, we will stay united in our hearts with God, and he will stay united with us. 17If we truly love others and live as Christ did in this world, we won't be worried about the day of judgment. 18A real love for others will chase those worries away. The thought of being punished is what makes us afraid. It shows that we have not really learnt to love. 19We love because God loved us first. 20But if we say we love God and don't love each other, we are liars. We cannot see God. So how can we love God, if we don't love the people we can see? 21The commandment that God has given us is: Love God and love each other!
1I feel so empty inside like someone starving for grapes or figs, after the vines and trees have all been picked clean. 2No one is loyal to God; no one does right. Everyone is brutal and eager to deceive everyone else. 3People cooperate to commit crime. Judges and leaders demand bribes, and rulers cheat in court. 4The most honest of them is worse than a thorn patch. Your doom has come! Lookouts sound the warning, and everyone panics. 5Don't trust anyone, not even your best friend, and be careful what you say to the one you love. 6Sons refuse to respect their own fathers, daughters rebel against their own mothers, and daughters-in-law despise their mothers-in-law. Your family is now your enemy. 7But I trust the Lord God to save me, and I will wait for him to answer my prayer. 8My enemies, don't be glad because of my troubles! I may have fallen, but I will get up; I may be sitting in the dark, but the Lord is my light. 9I have sinned against the Lord . And so I must endure his anger, until he comes to my defence. But I know that I will see him making things right for me and leading me to the light. 10You, my enemies, said, The Lord God is helpless. Now each of you will be disgraced and put to shame. I will see you trampled like mud in the street. A bright future 11Towns of Judah, the day is coming when your walls will be rebuilt, and your boundaries enlarged. 12People will flock to you from Assyria and Egypt, from Babylonia and everywhere else. 13Those nations will suffer disaster because of what they did. Micah's prayer and the Lord 's answer 14Lead your people, Lord ! Come and be our shepherd. Grasslands surround us, but we live in a forest. So lead us to Bashan and Gilead, and let us find pasture as we did long ago. 15I, the Lord , will work miracles just as I did when I led you out of Egypt. 16Nations will see this and be ashamed because of their helpless armies. They will be in shock, unable to speak or hear, 17because of their fear of me, your Lord and God. Then they will come trembling, crawling out of their fortresses like insects or snakes, lapping up the dust. No one is like God The people said: 18Our God, no one is like you. We are all that is left of your chosen people, and you freely forgive our sin and guilt. You don't stay angry for ever; you're glad to have pity 19and pleased to be merciful. You will trample on our sins and throw them in the sea. 20You will keep your word and be faithful to Jacob and to Abraham, as you promised our ancestors many years ago.
1Everyone in the council got up and led Jesus off to Pilate. 2They started accusing him and said, We caught this man trying to get our people to riot and to stop paying taxes to the Emperor. He also claims that he is the Messiah, our king. 3Pilate asked Jesus, Are you the king of the Jews? Those are your words, Jesus answered. 4Pilate told the chief priests and the crowd, I don't find him guilty of anything. 5But they all kept on saying, He has been teaching and causing trouble all over Judea. He started in Galilee and has now come all the way here. Jesus is brought before Herod 6When Pilate heard this, he asked, Is this man from Galilee? 7After Pilate learnt that Jesus came from the region ruled by Herod, he sent him to Herod, who was in Jerusalem at that time. 8For a long time Herod had wanted to see Jesus and was very happy because he finally had this chance. He had heard many things about Jesus and hoped to see him perform a miracle. 9Herod asked him a lot of questions, but Jesus did not answer. 10Then the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses stood up and accused him of all kinds of bad things. 11Herod and his soldiers made fun of Jesus and insulted him. They put a fine robe on him and sent him back to Pilate. 12That same day Herod and Pilate became friends, even though they had been enemies before this. The death sentence (Matthew 27.15-26; Mark 15.6-15; John 18.3919.16) 13Pilate called together the chief priests, the leaders, and the people. 14He told them, You brought Jesus to me and said he was a troublemaker. But I have questioned him here in front of you, and I have not found him guilty of anything that you say he has done. 15Herod didn't find him guilty either and sent him back. This man doesn't deserve to be put to death! 16I will just have him beaten with a whip and set free. 18But the whole crowd shouted, Kill Jesus! Give us Barabbas! 19Now Barabbas was in jail because he had started a riot in the city and had murdered someone. 20Pilate wanted to set Jesus free, so he spoke again to the crowds. 21But they kept shouting, Nail him to a cross! Nail him to a cross! 22Pilate spoke to them a third time, But what crime has he done? I have not found him guilty of anything for which he should be put to death. I will have him beaten with a whip and set free. 23The people kept on shouting as loud as they could for Jesus to be put to death. 24Finally, Pilate gave in. 25He freed the man who was in jail for rioting and murder, because he was the one the crowd wanted to be set free. Then Pilate handed Jesus over for them to do what they wanted with him. Jesus is nailed to a cross (Matthew 27.31-44; Mark 15.21-32; John 19.17-27) 26As Jesus was being led away, some soldiers grabbed hold of a man from Cyrene named Simon. He was coming in from the fields, but they put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27A large crowd was following Jesus, and in the crowd a lot of women were crying and weeping for him. 28Jesus turned to the women and said: Women of Jerusalem, don't cry for me! Cry for yourselves and for your children. 29Some day people will say, Women who never had children are really fortunate! 30At that time everyone will say to the mountains, Fall on us! They will say to the hills, Hide us! 31If this can happen when the wood is green, what do you think will happen when it is dry? 32Two criminals were led out to be put to death with Jesus. 33When the soldiers came to the place called The Skull, they nailed Jesus to a cross. They also nailed the two criminals to crosses, one on each side of Jesus. 34Jesus said, Father, forgive these people! They don't know what they're doing. While the crowd stood there watching Jesus, the soldiers gambled for his clothes. The leaders insulted him by saying, He saved others. Now he should save himself, if he really is God's chosen Messiah! 36The soldiers made fun of Jesus and brought him some wine. 37They said, If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself! 38Above him was a sign that said, This is the King of the Jews. 39One of the criminals hanging there also insulted Jesus by saying, Aren't you the Messiah? Save yourself and save us! 40But the other criminal told the first one off, Don't you fear God? Aren't you getting the same punishment as this man? 41We got what was coming to us, but he didn't do anything wrong. 42Then he said to Jesus, Remember me when you come into power! 43Jesus replied, I promise that today you will be with me in paradise. The death of Jesus (Matthew 27.45-56; Mark 15.33-41; John 19.28-30) 44Around midday the sky turned dark and stayed that way until the middle of the afternoon. 45The sun stopped shining, and the curtain in the temple split down the middle. 46Jesus shouted, Father, I put myself in your hands! Then he died. 47When the Roman officer saw what had happened, he praised God and said, Jesus must really have been a good man! 48A crowd had gathered to see the terrible sight. Then after they had seen it, they felt brokenhearted and went home. 49All Jesus' close friends and the women who had come with him from Galilee stood at a distance and watched. Jesus is buried (Matthew 27.57-61; Mark 15.42-47; John 19.38-42) 50There was a man named Joseph, who was from Arimathea in Judea. Joseph was a good and honest man, and he was eager for God's kingdom to come. He was also a member of the Jewish council, but he did not agree with what they had decided. 52Joseph went to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. 53He took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in fine cloth. Then he put it in a tomb that had been cut out of solid rock and had never been used. 54It was Friday, and the Sabbath was about to begin. 55The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and watched how Jesus' body was placed in the tomb. 56Then they went to prepare some sweet-smelling spices for his burial. But on the Sabbath they rested, as the Law of Moses commands. Jesus is alive (Matthew 28.1-10; Mark 16.1-8; John 20.1-10)
1When you do good deeds, don't try to show off. If you do, you won't get a reward from your Father in heaven. 2When you give to the poor, don't blow a loud horn. That's what show-offs do in the meeting places and on the street corners, because they are always looking for praise. I can assure you that they already have their reward. 3When you give to the poor, don't let anyone know about it. 4Then your gift will be given in secret. Your Father knows what is done in secret, and he will reward you. Prayer (Luke 11.2-4) Jesus continued: 5When you pray, don't be like those show-offs who love to stand up and pray in the meeting places and on the street corners. They do this just to look good. I can assure you that they already have their reward. 6When you pray, go into a room alone and close the door. Pray to your Father in private. He knows what is done in private, and he will reward you. 7When you pray, don't talk on and on as people do who don't know God. They think God likes to hear long prayers. 8Don't be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask. 9You should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, help us to honour your name. 10Come and set up your kingdom, so that everyone on earth will obey you, as you are obeyed in heaven. 11Give us our food for today. 12Forgive us for doing wrong, as we forgive others. 13Keep us from being tempted and protect us from evil. 14If you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, your Father in heaven will forgive you. 15But if you don't forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. Worshipping God by going without eating Jesus continued: 16When you go without eating, don't try to look gloomy as those show-offs do when they go without eating. I can assure you that they already have their reward. 17Instead, comb your hair and wash your face. 18Then others won't know that you are going without eating. But your Father sees what is done in private, and he will reward you. Treasures in heaven (Luke 12.33,34) Jesus continued: 19Don't store up treasures on earth! Moths and rust can destroy them, and thieves can break in and steal them. 20Instead, store up your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy them, and thieves cannot break in and steal them. 21Your heart will always be where your treasure is. Light (Luke 11.34-36) Jesus continued: 22Your eyes are like a window for your body. When they are good, you have all the light you need. 23But when your eyes are bad, everything is dark. If the light inside you is dark, you are in the dark. Money (Luke 16.13) Jesus continued: 24You cannot be the slave of two masters! You will like one more than the other or be more loyal to one than the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Worry (Luke 12.22-31) Jesus continued: 25I tell you not to worry about your life. Don't worry about having something to eat, drink, or wear. Isn't life more than food or clothing? 26Look at the birds in the sky! They don't plant or harvest. They don't even store grain in barns. Yet your Father in heaven takes care of them. Aren't you worth more than birds? 27Can worry make you live longer? 28Why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow. They don't work hard to make their clothes. 29But I tell you that Solomon with all his wealth wasn't as well clothed as one of them. 30God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown into a fire tomorrow. He will surely do even more for you! Why do you have such little faith? 31Don't worry and ask yourselves, Will we have anything to eat? Will we have anything to drink? Will we have any clothes to wear? 32Only people who don't know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father in heaven knows that you need all these. 33But more than anything else, put God's work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well. 34Don't worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself. You have enough to worry about today. Judging others (Luke 6.37,38,41,42) Jesus said:
1You have been raised to life with Christ. Now set your heart on what is in heaven, where Christ rules at God's right side. 2Think about what is up there, not about what is here on earth. 3You died, which means that your life is hidden with Christ, who sits beside God. 4Christ gives meaning to your life, and when he appears, you will also appear with him in glory. 5Don't be controlled by your body. Kill every desire for the wrong kind of sex. Don't be immoral or indecent or have evil thoughts. Don't be greedy, which is the same as worshipping idols. 6God is angry with people who disobey him by doing these things. 7And that is exactly what you did, when you lived among people who behaved in this way. 8But now you must stop doing such things. You must stop being angry, hateful, and evil. You must no longer say insulting or cruel things about others. 9And stop lying to each other. You have given up your old way of life with its habits. 10Each of you is now a new person. You are becoming more and more like your Creator, and you will understand him better. 11It doesn't matter if you are a Greek or a Jew, or if you are circumcised or not. You may even be a barbarian or a Scythian, and you may be a slave or a free person. Yet Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. 12God loves you and has chosen you as his own special people. So be gentle, kind, humble, meek, and patient. 13Put up with each other, and forgive anyone who does you wrong, just as Christ has forgiven you. 14Love is more important than anything else. It is what ties everything completely together. 15Each one of you is part of the body of Christ, and you were chosen to live together in peace. So let the peace that comes from Christ control your thoughts. And be grateful. 16Let the message about Christ completely fill your lives, while you use all your wisdom to teach and instruct each other. With thankful hearts, sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. 17Whatever you say or do should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks to God the Father because of him. Some rules for Christian living 18A wife must put her husband first. This is her duty as a follower of the Lord. 19A husband must love his wife and not abuse her. 20Children must always obey their parents. This pleases the Lord. 21Parents, don't be hard on your children. If you are, they might give up. 22Slaves, you must always obey your earthly masters. Try to please them at all times, and not just when you think they are watching. Honour the Lord and serve your masters with your whole heart. 23Do your work willingly, as though you were serving the Lord himself, and not just your earthly master. 24In fact, the Lord Christ is the one you are really serving, and you know that he will reward you. 25But Christ has no favourites! He will punish evil people, just as they deserve.
1I am telling you this to keep you from being afraid. 2You will be chased out of the Jewish meeting places. And the time will come when people will kill you and think they are doing God a favour. 3They will do these things because they don't know either the Father or me. 4I am saying this to you now, so that when the time comes, you will remember what I have said. The work of the Holy Spirit Jesus continued: I was with you at the first, and so I didn't tell you these things. 5But now I am going back to the Father who sent me, and none of you asks me where I am going. 6You are very sad from hearing all this. 7But I tell you that I am going to do what is best for you. That is why I am going away. The Holy Spirit cannot come to help you until I leave. But after I am gone, I will send the Spirit to you. 8The Spirit will come and show the people of this world the truth about sin and God's justice and the judgment. 9The Spirit will show them that they are wrong about sin, because they didn't have faith in me. 10They are wrong about God's justice, because I am going to the Father, and you won't see me again. 11And they are wrong about the judgment, because God has already judged the ruler of this world. 12I have much more to say to you, but right now it would be more than you could understand. 13The Spirit shows what is true and will come and guide you into the full truth. The Spirit doesn't speak on his own. He will tell you only what he has heard from me, and he will let you know what is going to happen. 14The Spirit will bring glory to me by taking my message and telling it to you. 15Everything that the Father has is mine. That is why I have said that the Spirit takes my message and tells it to you. Sorrow will turn into joy 16Jesus told his disciples, For a little while you won't see me, but after a while you will see me. 17They said to each other, What does Jesus mean by saying that for a little while we won't see him, but after a while we will see him? What does he mean by saying that he is going to the Father? 18What is this little while that he is talking about? We don't know what he means. 19Jesus knew that they had some questions, so he said: You are wondering what I meant when I said that for a little while you won't see me, but after a while you will see me. 20I tell you for certain that you will cry and be sad, but the world will be happy. You will be sad, but later you will be happy. 21When a woman is about to give birth, she is in great pain. But after it is all over, she forgets the pain and is happy, because she has brought a child into the world. 22You are now very sad. But later I will see you, and you will be so happy that no one will be able to change the way you feel. 23When that time comes, you won't have to ask me about anything. I tell you for certain that the Father will give you whatever you ask for in my name. 24You have not asked for anything in this way before, but now you must ask in my name. Then it will be given to you, so that you will be completely happy. 25I have used examples to explain to you what I have been talking about. But the time will come when I will speak to you plainly about the Father and will no longer use examples like these. 26You will ask the Father in my name, and I won't have to ask him for you. 27God the Father loves you because you love me, and you believe that I have come from him. 28I came from the Father into the world, but I am leaving the world and returning to the Father. 29The disciples said, Now you are speaking plainly to us! You are not using examples. 30At last we know that you understand everything, and we don't have any more questions. Now we believe that you truly have come from God. 31Jesus replied: Do you really believe me? 32The time will come and is already here when all of you will be scattered. Each of you will go back home and leave me by myself. But the Father will be with me, and I won't be alone. 33I have told you this, so that you might have peace in your hearts because of me. While you are in the world, you will have to suffer. But cheer up! I have defeated the world. Jesus prays
1Church leaders, I am writing to encourage you. I too am a leader, as well as a witness to Christ's suffering, and I will share in his glory when it is shown to us. 2Just as shepherds watch over their sheep, you must watch over everyone God has placed in your care. Do it willingly in order to please God, and not simply because you think you must. Let it be something you want to do, instead of something you do merely to make money. 3Don't be bossy to those people who are in your care, but set an example for them. 4Then when Christ the Chief Shepherd returns, you will be given a crown that will never lose its glory. 5All you young people should obey your elders. In fact, everyone should be humble towards everyone else. The Scriptures say, God opposes proud people, but he helps everyone who is humble. 6Be humble in the presence of God's mighty power, and he will honour you when the time comes. 7God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to him. 8Be on your guard and stay awake. Your enemy, the devil, is like a roaring lion, prowling around to find someone to attack. 9But you must resist the devil and stay strong in your faith. You know that all over the world the Lord's followers are suffering just as you are. 10But God shows undeserved kindness to everyone. That's why he appointed Christ Jesus to choose you to share in his eternal glory. You will suffer for a while, but God will make you complete, steady, strong, and firm. 11God will be in control for ever! Amen. 12Silvanus helped me write this short letter, and I consider him a faithful follower of the Lord. I wanted to encourage you and tell you how kind God really is, so that you will keep on having faith in him. 13Greetings from the Lord's followers in Babylon. They are God's chosen ones. Mark, who is like a son to me, sends his greetings too. 14Give each other a warm greeting. I pray that God will give peace to everyone who belongs to Christ.
1When you do good deeds, don't try to show off. If you do, you won't get a reward from your Father in heaven. 2When you give to the poor, don't blow a loud horn. That's what show-offs do in the meeting places and on the street corners, because they are always looking for praise. I can assure you that they already have their reward. 3When you give to the poor, don't let anyone know about it. 4Then your gift will be given in secret. Your Father knows what is done in secret, and he will reward you. Prayer (Luke 11.2-4) Jesus continued: 5When you pray, don't be like those show-offs who love to stand up and pray in the meeting places and on the street corners. They do this just to look good. I can assure you that they already have their reward. 6When you pray, go into a room alone and close the door. Pray to your Father in private. He knows what is done in private, and he will reward you. 7When you pray, don't talk on and on as people do who don't know God. They think God likes to hear long prayers. 8Don't be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask. 9You should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, help us to honour your name. 10Come and set up your kingdom, so that everyone on earth will obey you, as you are obeyed in heaven. 11Give us our food for today. 12Forgive us for doing wrong, as we forgive others. 13Keep us from being tempted and protect us from evil. 14If you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, your Father in heaven will forgive you. 15But if you don't forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. Worshipping God by going without eating Jesus continued: 16When you go without eating, don't try to look gloomy as those show-offs do when they go without eating. I can assure you that they already have their reward. 17Instead, comb your hair and wash your face. 18Then others won't know that you are going without eating. But your Father sees what is done in private, and he will reward you. Treasures in heaven (Luke 12.33,34) Jesus continued: 19Don't store up treasures on earth! Moths and rust can destroy them, and thieves can break in and steal them. 20Instead, store up your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy them, and thieves cannot break in and steal them. 21Your heart will always be where your treasure is. Light (Luke 11.34-36) Jesus continued: 22Your eyes are like a window for your body. When they are good, you have all the light you need. 23But when your eyes are bad, everything is dark. If the light inside you is dark, you are in the dark. Money (Luke 16.13) Jesus continued: 24You cannot be the slave of two masters! You will like one more than the other or be more loyal to one than the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Worry (Luke 12.22-31) Jesus continued: 25I tell you not to worry about your life. Don't worry about having something to eat, drink, or wear. Isn't life more than food or clothing? 26Look at the birds in the sky! They don't plant or harvest. They don't even store grain in barns. Yet your Father in heaven takes care of them. Aren't you worth more than birds? 27Can worry make you live longer? 28Why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow. They don't work hard to make their clothes. 29But I tell you that Solomon with all his wealth wasn't as well clothed as one of them. 30God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown into a fire tomorrow. He will surely do even more for you! Why do you have such little faith? 31Don't worry and ask yourselves, Will we have anything to eat? Will we have anything to drink? Will we have any clothes to wear? 32Only people who don't know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father in heaven knows that you need all these. 33But more than anything else, put God's work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well. 34Don't worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself. You have enough to worry about today. Judging others (Luke 6.37,38,41,42) Jesus said:
1About that time Emperor Augustus gave orders for the names of all the people to be listed in record books. 2These first records were made when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3Everyone had to go to their own home town to be listed. 4So Joseph had to leave Nazareth in Galilee and go to Bethlehem in Judea. Long ago Bethlehem had been King David's home town, and Joseph went there because he was from David's family. 5Mary was engaged to Joseph and travelled with him to Bethlehem. She was soon going to have a baby, 6and while they were there, 7she gave birth to her firstborn son. She dressed him in baby clothes and laid him on a bed of hay, because there was no room for them in the inn. The shepherds 8That night in the fields near Bethlehem some shepherds were guarding their sheep. 9All at once an angel came down to them from the Lord, and the brightness of the Lord's glory flashed around them. The shepherds were frightened. 10But the angel said, Don't be afraid! I have good news for you, which will make everyone happy. 11This very day in King David's home town a Saviour was born for you. He is Christ the Lord. 12You will know who he is, because you will find him dressed in baby clothes and lying on a bed of hay. 13Suddenly many other angels came down from heaven and joined in praising God. They said: 14Praise God in heaven! Peace on earth to everyone who pleases God. 15After the angels had left and gone back to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, Let's go to Bethlehem and see what the Lord has told us about. 16They hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and they saw the baby lying on a bed of hay. 17When the shepherds saw Jesus, they told his parents what the angel had said about him. 18Everyone listened and was surprised. 19But Mary kept thinking about all this and wondering what it meant. 20As the shepherds returned to their sheep, they were praising God and saying wonderful things about him. Everything they had seen and heard was just as the angel had said. 21Eight days later Jesus' parents did for him what the Law of Moses commands. And they named him Jesus, just as the angel had told Mary when he promised she would have a baby. Simeon praises the Lord 22The time came for Mary and Joseph to do what the Law of Moses says a mother is supposed to do after her baby is born. They took Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem and presented him to the Lord, 23just as the Law of the Lord says, Each firstborn baby boy belongs to the Lord. 24The Law of the Lord also says that parents have to offer a sacrifice, giving at least a pair of doves or two young pigeons. So that is what Mary and Joseph did. 25At this time a man named Simeon was living in Jerusalem. Simeon was a good man. He loved God and was waiting for God to save the people of Israel. God's Spirit came to him 26and told him that he would not die until he had seen Christ the Lord. 27When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple to do what the Law of Moses says should be done for a new baby, the Spirit told Simeon to go into the temple. 28Simeon took the baby Jesus in his arms and praised God, 29Lord, I am your servant, and now I can die in peace, because you have kept your promise to me. 30With my own eyes I have seen what you have done to save your people, 31and foreign nations will also see this. 32Your mighty power is a light for all nations, and it will bring honour to your people Israel. 33Jesus' parents were surprised at what Simeon had said. 34Then he blessed them and told Mary, This child of yours will cause many people in Israel to fall and others to stand. The child will be like a warning sign. Many people will reject him, 35and you, Mary, will suffer as though you had been stabbed by a dagger. But all this will show what people are really thinking. Anna speaks about the child Jesus 36The prophet Anna was also there in the temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. In her youth she had been married for seven years, but her husband had died. 37And now she was eighty-four years old. Night and day she served God in the temple by praying and often going without eating. 38At that time Anna came in and praised God. She spoke about the child Jesus to everyone who hoped for Jerusalem to be set free. The return to Nazareth 39After Joseph and Mary had done everything that the Law of the Lord commands, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. 40The child Jesus grew. He became strong and wise, and God blessed him. The boy Jesus in the temple 41Every year Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem for Passover. 42And when Jesus was twelve years old, they all went there as usual for the celebration. 43After Passover his parents left, but they did not know that Jesus had stayed on in the city. 44They thought he was travelling with some other people, and they went a whole day before they started looking for him. 45When they could not find him with their relatives and friends, they went back to Jerusalem and started looking for him there. 46Three days later they found Jesus sitting in the temple, listening to the teachers and asking them questions. 47Everyone who heard him was surprised at how much he knew and at the answers he gave. 48When his parents found him, they were amazed. His mother said, Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been very worried, and we have been searching for you! 49Jesus answered, Why did you have to look for me? Didn't you know that I would be in my Father's house? 50But they did not understand what he meant. 51Jesus went back to Nazareth with his parents and obeyed them. His mother kept on thinking about all that had happened. 52Jesus became wise, and he grew strong. God was pleased with him and so were the people. The preaching of John the Baptist (Matthew 3.1-12; Mark 1.1-8; John 1.19-28)
1If our faith is strong, we should be patient with the Lord's followers whose faith is weak. We should try to please them instead of ourselves. 2We should think of their good and try to help them by doing what pleases them. 3Even Christ did not try to please himself. But as the Scriptures say, The people who insulted you also insulted me. 4And the Scriptures were written to teach and encourage us by giving us hope. 5God is the one who makes us patient and cheerful. I pray that he will help you live at peace with each other, as you follow Christ. 6Then all of you together will praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The good news is for Jews and Gentiles 7Honour God by accepting each other, as Christ has accepted you. 8I tell you that Christ came as a servant of the Jews to show that God has kept the promises he made to their famous ancestors. Christ also came, 9so that the Gentiles would praise God for being kind to them. It is just as the Scriptures say, I will tell the nations about you, and I will sing praises to your name. 10The Scriptures also say to the Gentiles, Come and celebrate with God's people. 11Again the Scriptures say, Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles. All you nations, come and worship him. 12Isaiah says, Someone from David's family will come to power. He will rule the nations, and they will put their hope in him. 13I pray that God, who gives hope, will bless you with complete happiness and peace because of your faith. And may the power of the Holy Spirit fill you with hope. Paul's work as a missionary 14My friends, I am sure that you are very good and that you have all the knowledge you need to teach each other. 15But I have spoken to you plainly and have tried to remind you of some things. God was so kind to me! 16He chose me to be a servant of Christ Jesus for the Gentiles and to do the work of a priest in the service of his good news. God did this so that the Holy Spirit could make the Gentiles into a holy offering, pleasing to him. 17Because of Christ Jesus, I can take pride in my service for God. 18In fact, all I will talk about is how Christ let me speak and work, so that the Gentiles would obey him. 19Indeed, I will tell how Christ performed miracles and wonders by the power of the Holy Spirit. I have preached the good news about him all the way from Jerusalem to Illyricum. 20But I have always tried to preach where people have never heard about Christ. I am like a builder who doesn't build on anyone else's foundation. 21It is just as the Scriptures say, All who haven't been told about him will see him, and those who haven't heard about him will understand. Paul's plan to visit Rome 22My work has always kept me from coming to see you. 23Now there is nothing left for me to do in this part of the world, and for years I have wanted to visit you. 24So I plan to stop off on my way to Spain. Then after a short, but refreshing, stay with you, I hope you will quickly send me on. 25I am now on my way to Jerusalem to deliver the money that the Lord's followers in Macedonia and Achaia collected for God's needy people. 27This is something they really wanted to do. But sharing their money with the Jews was also like paying back a debt, because the Jews had already shared their spiritual blessings with the Gentiles. 28After I have safely delivered this money, I will visit you and then go on to Spain. 29And when I do arrive in Rome, I know it will be with the full blessings of Christ. 30My friends, by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the love that comes from the Holy Spirit, I beg you to pray sincerely with me and for me. 31Pray that God will protect me from the unbelievers in Judea, and that his people in Jerusalem will be pleased with what I am doing. 32Ask God to let me come to you and have a pleasant and refreshing visit. 33I pray that God, who gives peace, will be with all of you. Amen. Personal greetings
1We humans make plans, but the Lord has the final word. 2We may think we know what is right, but the Lord is the judge of our motives. 3Share your plans with the Lord , and you will succeed. 4The Lord has a reason for everything he does, and he lets evil people live only to be punished. 5The Lord doesn't like anyone who is conceited you can be sure they will be punished. 6If we truly love God, our sins will be forgiven; if we show him respect, we will keep away from sin. 7When we please the Lord , even our enemies make friends with us. 8It's better to be honest and poor than to be dishonest and rich. 9We make our own plans, but the Lord decides where we will go. 10Rulers speak with authority and are never wrong. 11The Lord doesn't like it when we cheat in business. 12Justice makes rulers powerful. They should hate evil 13and like honesty and truth. 14An angry ruler can put you to death. So be wise! Don't make one angry. 15When a ruler is happy and pleased with you, it's like refreshing rain, and you will live. 16It's much better to be wise and sensible than to be rich. 17God's people avoid evil ways, and they protect themselves by watching where they go. 18Too much pride will destroy you. 19You are better off being humble and poor than getting rich from what you take by force. 20If you know what you're doing, you will prosper. God blesses everyone who trusts him. 21Good judgment proves that you are wise, and if you speak kindly, you can teach others. 22Good sense is a fountain that gives life, but fools are punished by their foolishness. 23You can persuade others if you are wise and speak sensibly. 24Kind words are like honey they cheer you up and make you feel strong. 25Sometimes what seems right is really a road to death. 26The hungrier you are, the harder you work. 27Worthless people plan trouble. Even their words burn like a flaming fire. 28Gossip is no good! It causes hard feelings and comes between friends. 29Don't trust violent people. They will mislead you to do the wrong thing. 30When someone winks or grins behind your back, trouble is on the way. 31Grey hair is a glorious crown worn by those who have lived right. 32Controlling your temper is better than being a hero who captures a city. 33We make our own decisions, but the Lord alone determines what happens. Our thoughts are tested by the Lord
1From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus. God himself chose me to be an apostle, and he gave me the promised life that Jesus Christ makes possible. 2Timothy, you are like a dear child to me. I pray that God our Father and our Lord Christ Jesus will be kind and merciful to you and will bless you with peace! 3Night and day I mention you in my prayers. I am always grateful for you, as I pray to the God my ancestors and I have served with a clear conscience. 4I remember how you cried, and I want to see you, because that will make me truly happy. 5I also remember the genuine faith of your mother Eunice. Your grandmother Lois had the same sort of faith, and I am sure that you have it as well. 6So I ask you to make full use of the gift that God gave you when I placed my hands on you. Use it well. 7God's Spirit doesn't make cowards out of us. The Spirit gives us power, love, and self-control. 8Don't be ashamed to speak for our Lord. And don't be ashamed of me, just because I am in jail for serving him. Use the power that comes from God and join with me in suffering for telling the good news. 9God saved us and chose us to be his holy people. We did nothing to deserve this, but God planned it because he is so kind. Even before time began God planned for Christ Jesus to show kindness to us. 10Now Christ Jesus has come to show us the kindness of God. Christ our Saviour defeated death and brought us the good news. It shines like a light and offers life that never ends. 11My work is to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher. 12That's why I am suffering now. But I am not ashamed! I know the one I have faith in, and I am sure that he can guard until the last day what he has trusted me with. 13Now follow the example of the correct teaching I gave you, and let the faith and love of Christ Jesus be your model. 14You have been trusted with a wonderful treasure. Guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit, who lives within you. 15You know that everyone in Asia has turned against me, especially Phygelus and Hermogenes. 16I pray that the Lord will be kind to the family of Onesiphorus. He often cheered me up and wasn't ashamed of me when I was put in jail. 17Then after he arrived in Rome, he searched everywhere until he found me. 18I pray that the Lord Jesus will ask God to show mercy to Onesiphorus on the day of judgment. You know how much he helped me in Ephesus.
1Here are more of Solomon's proverbs. They were copied by the officials of King Hezekiah of Judah. 2God is praised for being mysterious; rulers are praised for explaining mysteries. 3Who can fully understand the thoughts of a ruler? They reach beyond the sky and go deep in the earth. 4Silver must be purified before it can be used to make something of value. 5Evil people must be removed before anyone can rule with justice. 6Don't try to seem important in the court of a ruler. 7It's better for the ruler to give you a high position than for you to be embarrassed in front of royal officials. Be sure you are right 8before you sue someone, or you might lose your case and be embarrassed. 9When you and someone else can't get along, don't gossip about it. 10Others will find out, and your reputation will then be ruined. 11The right word at the right time is like precious gold set in silver. 12Listening to good advice is worth much more than jewellery made of gold. 13A messenger you can trust is just as refreshing as cool water in summer. 14Broken promises are worse than rain clouds that don't bring rain. 15Patience and gentle talk can convince a ruler and overcome any problem. 16Eating too much honey can make you sick. 17Don't visit friends too often, or they will get tired of it and start hating you. 18Telling lies about friends is like attacking them with clubs and swords and sharp arrows. 19A friend you can't trust in times of trouble is like having a toothache or a sore foot. 20Singing to someone in deep sorrow is like pouring vinegar in an open cut. 21If your enemies are hungry, give them something to eat. And if they are thirsty, give them something to drink. 22This will be the same as piling burning coals on their heads. And the Lord will reward you. 23As surely as rain blows in from the north, anger is caused by cruel words. 24It's better to stay outside on the roof of your house than to live inside with a nagging wife. 25Good news from far away refreshes like cold water when you are thirsty. 26When a good person gives in to the wicked, it's like dumping rubbish in a stream of clear water. 27Don't eat too much honey or always want praise. 28Losing self-control leaves you as helpless as a city without a wall. Don't be a fool
1After Jesus left, he went to Judea and then on to the other side of the River Jordan. Once again large crowds came to him, and as usual, he taught them. 2Some Pharisees wanted to test Jesus. So they came up to him and asked if it was right for a man to divorce his wife. 3Jesus asked them, What does the Law of Moses say about that? 4They answered, Moses allows a man to write out divorce papers and send his wife away. 5Jesus replied, Moses gave you this law because you are so heartless. 6But in the beginning God made a man and a woman. 7That's why a man leaves his father and mother and gets married. 8He becomes like one person with his wife. Then they are no longer two people, but one. 9And no one should separate a couple that God has joined together. 10When Jesus and his disciples were back in the house, they asked him about what he had said. 11He told them, A man who divorces his wife and marries someone else is unfaithful to his wife. 12A woman who divorces her husband and marries again is also unfaithful. Jesus blesses little children (Matthew 19.13-15; Luke 18.15-17) 13Some people brought their children to Jesus so that he could bless them by placing his hands on them. But his disciples told the people to stop bothering him. 14When Jesus saw this, he became angry and said, Let the children come to me! Don't try to stop them. People who are like these little children belong to the kingdom of God. 15I promise you that you cannot get into God's kingdom, unless you accept it the way a child does. 16Then Jesus took the children in his arms and blessed them by placing his hands on them. A rich man (Matthew 19.16-30; Luke 18.18-30) 17As Jesus was walking down a road, a man ran up to him. He knelt down, and asked, Good teacher, what can I do to have eternal life? 18Jesus replied, Why do you call me good? Only God is good. 19You know the commandments. Do not murder. Be faithful in marriage. Do not steal. Do not tell lies about others. Do not cheat. Respect your father and mother. 20The man answered, Teacher, I have obeyed all these commandments since I was a young man. 21Jesus looked closely at the man. He liked him and said, There's one thing you still need to do. Go and sell everything you own. Give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come with me. 22When the man heard Jesus say this, he went away gloomy and sad because he was very rich. 23Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, It's hard for rich people to get into God's kingdom! 24The disciples were shocked to hear this. So Jesus told them again, It's terribly hard to get into God's kingdom! 25In fact, it's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to get into God's kingdom. 26Jesus' disciples were even more amazed. They asked each other, How can anyone ever be saved? 27Jesus looked at them and said, There are some things that people cannot do, but God can do anything. 28Peter replied, Remember, we left everything to be your followers! 29Jesus told him: You can be sure that anyone who gives up home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or land for me and for the good news 30will be rewarded. In this world they will be given a hundred times as many houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and pieces of land, though they will also be ill-treated. And in the world to come, they will have eternal life. 31But many who are now first will be last, and many who are now last will be first. Jesus again tells about his death (Matthew 20.17-19; Luke 18.31-34) 32The disciples were confused as Jesus led them towards Jerusalem, and his other followers were afraid. Once again, Jesus took the twelve disciples aside and told them what was going to happen to him. He said: 33We are now on our way to Jerusalem where the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses. They will sentence him to death and hand him over to foreigners, 34who will make fun of him and spit on him. They will beat him and kill him. But three days later he will rise to life. The request of James and John (Matthew 20.20-28) 35James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to Jesus and asked, Teacher, will you do us a favour? 36Jesus asked them what they wanted, 37and they answered, When you come into your glory, please let one of us sit at your right side and the other at your left. 38Jesus told them, You don't really know what you're asking! Are you able to drink from the cup that I must soon drink from or be baptized as I must be baptized? 39Yes, we are! James and John answered. Then Jesus replied, You certainly will drink from the cup from which I must drink. And you will be baptized just as I must! 40But it isn't for me to say who will sit at my right side and at my left. That is for God to decide. 41When the ten other disciples heard this, they were angry with James and John. 42But Jesus called the disciples together and said: You know that those foreigners who call themselves kings like to order their people around. And their great leaders have full power over the people they rule. 43But don't act like them. If you want to be great, you must be the servant of all the others. 44And if you want to be first, you must be everyone's slave. 45The Son of Man did not come to be a slave master, but a slave who will give his life to rescue many people. Jesus heals blind Bartimaeus (Matthew 20.29-34; Luke 18.35-43) 46Jesus and his disciples went to Jericho. And as they were leaving, they were followed by a large crowd. A blind beggar called Bartimaeus son of Timaeus was sitting beside the road. 47When he heard that it was Jesus from Nazareth, he shouted, Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me! 48Many people told the man to stop, but he shouted even louder, Son of David, have pity on me! 49Jesus stopped and said, Call him over! They called out to the blind man and said, Don't be afraid! Come on! He is calling for you. 50The man threw off his coat as he jumped up and ran to Jesus. 51Jesus asked, What do you want me to do for you? The blind man answered, Master, I want to see! 52Jesus told him, You may go. Your eyes are healed because of your faith. Straight away the man could see, and he went down the road with Jesus. Jesus enters Jerusalem (Matthew 21.1-11; Luke 19.28-40; John 12.12-19)
1The next time that Jesus went into the meeting place, a man with a crippled hand was there. 2The Pharisees wanted to accuse Jesus of doing something wrong, and they kept watching to see if Jesus would heal him on the Sabbath. 3Jesus told the man to stand up where everyone could see him. 4Then he asked, On the Sabbath should we do good deeds or evil deeds? Should we save someone's life or destroy it? But no one said a word. 5Jesus was angry as he looked around at the people. Yet he felt sorry for them because they were so stubborn. Then he told the man, Stretch out your hand. He did, and his bad hand was healed. 6The Pharisees left. And straight away they started making plans with Herod's followers to kill Jesus. Large crowds come to Jesus 7Jesus led his disciples down to the shore of the lake. Large crowds followed him from Galilee, Judea, 8and Jerusalem. People came from Idumea, as well as other places east of the River Jordan. They also came from the region around the cities of Tyre and Sidon. All these crowds came because they had heard what Jesus was doing. 9He even had to tell his disciples to get a boat ready to keep him from being crushed by the crowds. 10After Jesus had healed many people, the other sick people begged him to let them touch him. 11And whenever any evil spirits saw Jesus, they would fall to the ground and shout, You are the Son of God! 12But Jesus warned the spirits not to tell who he was. Jesus chooses his twelve apostles (Matthew 10.1-4; Luke 6.12-16) 13Jesus decided to ask some of his disciples to go up on a mountain with him, and they went. 14Then he chose twelve of them to be his apostles, so that they could be with him. He also wanted to send them out to preach 15and to force out demons. 16Simon was one of the twelve, and Jesus named him Peter. 17There were also James and John, the two sons of Zebedee. Jesus called them Boanerges, which means Thunderbolts. 18Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus were also apostles. The others were Simon, known as the Eager One, 19and Judas Iscariot, who later betrayed Jesus. Jesus and the ruler of demons (Matthew 12.22-32; Luke 11.14-23; 12.10) 20Jesus went back home, and once again such a large crowd gathered that there was no chance even to eat. 21When Jesus' family heard what he was doing, they thought he was mad and went to get him under control. 22Some teachers of the Law of Moses came from Jerusalem and said, This man is under the power of Beelzebul, the ruler of demons! He is even forcing out demons with the help of Beelzebul. 23Jesus told the people to gather around him. Then he spoke to them in riddles and said: How can Satan force himself out? 24A nation whose people fight each other won't last very long. 25And a family that fights won't last long either. 26So if Satan fights against himself, that will be the end of him. 27How can anyone break into the house of a strong man and steal his things, unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can take everything. 28I promise you that any of the sinful things you say or do can be forgiven, no matter how terrible those things are. 29But if you speak against the Holy Spirit, you can never be forgiven. That sin will be held against you for ever. 30Jesus said this because the people were saying that he had an evil spirit in him. Jesus' mother and brothers (Matthew 12.46-50; Luke 8.19-21) 31Jesus' mother and brothers came and stood outside. Then they sent someone with a message for him to come out to them. 32The crowd that was sitting around Jesus told him, Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside and want to see you. 33Jesus asked, Who is my mother and who are my brothers? 34Then he looked at the people sitting around him and said, Here are my mother and my brothers. 35Anyone who obeys God is my brother or sister or mother. A story about a farmer (Matthew 13.1-9; Luke 8.4-8)
1As a prisoner of the Lord, I beg you to live in a way that is worthy of the people God has chosen to be his own. 2Always be humble and gentle. Patiently put up with each other and love each other. 3Try your best to let God's Spirit keep your hearts united. Do this by living at peace. 4All of you are part of the same body. There is only one Spirit of God, just as you were given one hope when you were chosen to be God's people. 5We have only one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. 6There is one God who is the Father of all people. Not only is God above all others, but he works by using all of us, and he lives in all of us. 7Christ has generously divided out his gifts to us. 8As the Scriptures say, When he went up to the highest place, he led away many prisoners and gave gifts to people. 9When it says, he went up, it means that Christ had been deep in the earth. 10This also means that the one who went deep into the earth is the same one who went into the highest heaven, so that he would fill the whole universe. 11Christ chose some of us to be apostles, prophets, missionaries, pastors, and teachers, 12so that his people would learn to serve and his body would grow strong. 13This will continue until we are united by our faith and by our understanding of the Son of God. Then we will be mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him. 14We must stop acting like children. We must not let deceitful people trick us by their false teachings, which are like winds that toss us around from place to place. 15Love should always make us tell the truth. Then we will grow in every way and be more like Christ, the head 16of the body. Christ holds it together and makes all its parts work perfectly, as it grows and becomes strong because of love. The old life and the new life 17As a follower of the Lord, I order you to stop living like stupid, godless people. 18Their minds are in the dark, and they are stubborn and ignorant and have missed out on the life that comes from God. They no longer have any feelings about what is right, 19and they are so greedy that they do all kinds of indecent things. 20But that isn't what you were taught about Jesus Christ. He is the truth, and you heard about him and learnt about him. 22You were told that your foolish desires will destroy you and that you must give up your old way of life with all its bad habits. 23Let the Spirit change your way of thinking 24and make you into a new person. You were created to be like God, and so you must please him and be truly holy. Rules for the new life 25We are part of the same body. Stop lying and start telling each other the truth. 26Don't get so angry that you sin. Don't go to bed angry 27and don't give the devil a chance. 28If you are a thief, stop stealing. Be honest and work hard, so you will have something to give to people in need. 29Stop all your dirty talk. Say the right thing at the right time and help others by what you say. 30Don't make God's Spirit sad. The Spirit makes you sure that some day you will be free from your sins. 31Stop being bitter and angry with others. Don't yell at one another or curse each other or ever be rude. 32Instead, be kind and merciful, and forgive others, just as God forgave you because of Christ.
1A kind answer soothes angry feelings, but harsh words stir them up. 2Words of wisdom come from the wise, but fools speak foolishness. 3The Lord sees everything, whether good or bad. 4Kind words are good medicine, but deceitful words can really hurt. 5Don't be a fool and disobey your parents. Be clever! Accept correction. 6Good people become wealthy, but those who are evil will lose what they have. 7Words of wisdom make good sense; the thoughts of a fool make no sense at all. 8The Lord is disgusted by gifts from the wicked, but it makes him happy when his people pray. 9The Lord is disgusted with all who do wrong, but he loves everyone who does right. 10If you turn from the right way, you will be punished; if you refuse correction, you will die. 11If the Lord can see everything in the world of the dead, he can see in our hearts. 12Those who sneer at others don't like to be corrected, and they won't ask help from someone with sense. 13Happiness makes you smile; sorrow can crush you. 14Anyone with good sense is eager to learn more, but fools are hungry for foolishness. 15The poor have a hard life, but being content is as good as an endless feast. 16It's better to obey the Lord and have only a little, than to be very rich and terribly confused. 17A simple meal with love is better than a feast where there is hatred. 18Losing your temper causes a lot of trouble, but staying calm settles arguments. 19Being lazy is like walking in a thorn patch, but everyone who does right walks on a smooth road. 20Children with good sense make their parents happy, but foolish children are hateful to them. 21Stupidity brings happiness to senseless fools, but everyone with good sense follows the straight path. 22Without good advice everything goes wrong it takes careful planning for things to go right. 23Giving the right answer at the right time makes everyone happy. 24All who are wise follow a road that leads upward to life and away from death. 25The Lord destroys the homes of those who are proud, but he protects the property of widows. 26The Lord hates evil thoughts, but kind words please him. 27Being greedy causes trouble for your family, but you protect yourself by refusing bribes. 28Good people think before they answer, but the wicked speak evil without ever thinking. 29The Lord never even hears the prayers of the wicked, but he answers the prayers of all who obey him. 30A friendly smile makes you happy, and good news makes you feel strong. 31Healthy correction is good, and if you accept it, you will be wise. 32You hurt only yourself by rejecting instruction, but it makes good sense to accept it. 33Showing respect to the Lord will make you wise, and being humble will bring honour to you. The Lord has the final word
1Jesus said to his disciples, Don't be worried! Have faith in God and have faith in me. 2There are many rooms in my Father's house. I wouldn't tell you this, unless it was true. I am going there to prepare a place for each of you. 3After I have done this, I will come back and take you with me. Then we will be together. 4You know the way to where I am going. 5Thomas said, Lord, we don't even know where you are going! How can we know the way? 6I am the way, the truth, and the life! Jesus answered. Without me, no one can go to the Father. 7If you had known me, you would have known the Father. But from now on, you do know him, and you have seen him. 8Philip said, Lord, show us the Father. That is all we need. 9Jesus replied: Philip, I have been with you for a long time. Don't you know who I am? If you have seen me, you have seen the Father. How can you ask me to show you the Father? 10Don't you believe that I am one with the Father and that the Father is one with me? What I say isn't said on my own. The Father who lives in me does these things. 11Have faith in me when I say that the Father is one with me and that I am one with the Father. Or else have faith in me simply because of the things I do. 12I tell you for certain that if you have faith in me, you will do the same things that I am doing. You will do even greater things, now that I am going back to the Father. 13Ask me, and I will do whatever you ask. This way the Son will bring honour to the Father. 14I will do whatever you ask me to do. The Holy Spirit is promised 15Jesus said to his disciples: If you love me, you will do as I command. 16Then I will ask the Father to send you the Holy Spirit who will help you and always be with you. 17The Spirit will show you what is true. The people of this world cannot accept the Spirit, because they don't see or know him. But you know the Spirit, who is with you and will keep on living in you. 18I won't leave you like orphans. I will come back to you. 19In a little while the people of this world won't be able to see me, but you will see me. And because I live, you will live. 20Then you will know that I am one with the Father. You will know that you are one with me, and I am one with you. 21If you love me, you will do what I have said, and my Father will love you. I will also love you and show you what I am like. 22The other Judas, not Judas Iscariot, then spoke up and asked, Lord, what do you mean by saying that you will show us what you are like, but you will not show the people of this world? 23Jesus replied: If anyone loves me, they will obey me. Then my Father will love them, and we will come to them and live in them. 24But anyone who doesn't love me, won't obey me. What they have heard me say doesn't really come from me, but from the Father who sent me. 25I have told you these things while I am still with you. 26But the Holy Spirit will come and help you, because the Father will send the Spirit to take my place. The Spirit will teach you everything and will remind you of what I said while I was with you. 27I give you peace, the kind of peace that only I can give. It isn't like the peace that this world can give. So don't be worried or afraid. 28You have already heard me say that I am going and that I will also come back to you. If you really love me, you should be glad that I am going back to the Father, because he is greater than I am. 29I am telling you this before I leave, so that when it does happen, you will have faith in me. 30I cannot speak with you much longer, because the ruler of this world is coming. But he has no power over me. 31I obey my Father, so that everyone in the world might know that I love him. It is time for us to go now. Jesus is the true vine
1Dear friends, God is good. So I beg you to offer your bodies to him as a living sacrifice, pure and pleasing. That's the most sensible way to serve God. 2Don't be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to him. 3I realize how kind God has been to me, and so I tell each of you not to think you are better than you really are. Use good sense and measure yourself by the amount of faith that God has given you. 4A body is made up of many parts, and each of them has its own use. 5That's how it is with us. There are many of us, but we are each part of the body of Christ, as well as part of one another. 6God has also given each of us different gifts to use. If we can prophesy, we should do it according to the amount of faith we have. 7If we can serve others, we should serve. If we can teach, we should teach. 8If we can encourage others, we should encourage them. If we can give, we should be generous. If we are leaders, we should do our best. If we are good to others, we should do it cheerfully. Rules for Christian living 9Be sincere in your love for others. Hate everything that is evil and hold tight to everything that is good. 10Love each other as brothers and sisters and honour others more than you do yourself. 11Never give up. Eagerly follow the Holy Spirit and serve the Lord. 12Let your hope make you glad. Be patient in time of trouble and never stop praying. 13Take care of God's needy people and welcome strangers into your home. 14Ask God to bless everyone who ill-treats you. Ask him to bless them and not to curse them. 15When others are happy, be happy with them, and when they are sad, be sad. 16Be friendly with everyone. Don't be proud and feel that you are cleverer than others. Make friends with ordinary people. 17Don't ill-treat someone who has ill-treated you. But try to earn the respect of others, 18and do your best to live at peace with everyone. 19Dear friends, don't try to get even. Let God take revenge. In the Scriptures the Lord says, I am the one to take revenge and pay them back. 20The Scriptures also say, If your enemies are hungry, give them something to eat. And if they are thirsty, give them something to drink. This will be the same as piling burning coals on their heads. 21Don't let evil defeat you, but defeat evil with good. Obey rulers
1Be careful what you do when you enter the house of God. Some fools go there to offer sacrifices, even though they haven't sinned. But it's best just to listen when you go to worship. 2Don't talk before you think or make promises to God without thinking them through. God is in heaven, and you are on earth, so don't talk too much. 3If you keep thinking about something, you will dream about it. If you talk too much, you will say the wrong thing. 4God doesn't like fools. So don't be slow to keep your promises to God. 5It's better not to make a promise at all than to make one and not keep it. 6Don't let your mouth get you in trouble! And don't say to the worship leader, I didn't mean what I said. God can destroy everything you have worked for, so don't say something that makes God angry. 7Respect and obey God! Daydreaming leads to a lot of senseless talk. 8Don't be surprised if the poor of your country are abused, and injustice takes the place of justice. After all, the lower officials must do what the higher ones order them to do. 9And since the king is the highest official, he benefits most from the taxes paid on the land. 10If you love money and wealth, you will never be satisfied with what you have. This doesn't make sense either. 11The more you have, the more everyone expects from you. Your money won't do you any goodothers will just spend it for you. 12If you have to work hard for a living, you can rest well at night, even if you don't have much to eat. But if you are rich, you can't even sleep. 13I have seen something terribly unfair. People get rich, but it does them no good. 14Suddenly they lose everything in a bad business deal, then have nothing to leave for their children. 15They came into this world naked, and when they die, they will be just as naked. They can't take anything with them, and they won't have anything to show for all their work. 16That's terribly unfair. They leave the world just as they came into it. They gained nothing from running after the wind. 17Besides all this, they are always gloomy at mealtimes, and they are troubled, sick, and bitter. 18What is the best thing to do in the short life that God has given us? I think we should enjoy eating, drinking, and working hard. This is what God intends us to do. 19Suppose you are very rich and able to enjoy everything you own. Then go ahead and enjoy working hardthis is God's gift to you. 20God will keep you so happy that you won't have time to worry about each day. Don't depend on wealth
1Be careful what you do when you enter the house of God. Some fools go there to offer sacrifices, even though they haven't sinned. But it's best just to listen when you go to worship. 2Don't talk before you think or make promises to God without thinking them through. God is in heaven, and you are on earth, so don't talk too much. 3If you keep thinking about something, you will dream about it. If you talk too much, you will say the wrong thing. 4God doesn't like fools. So don't be slow to keep your promises to God. 5It's better not to make a promise at all than to make one and not keep it. 6Don't let your mouth get you in trouble! And don't say to the worship leader, I didn't mean what I said. God can destroy everything you have worked for, so don't say something that makes God angry. 7Respect and obey God! Daydreaming leads to a lot of senseless talk. 8Don't be surprised if the poor of your country are abused, and injustice takes the place of justice. After all, the lower officials must do what the higher ones order them to do. 9And since the king is the highest official, he benefits most from the taxes paid on the land. 10If you love money and wealth, you will never be satisfied with what you have. This doesn't make sense either. 11The more you have, the more everyone expects from you. Your money won't do you any goodothers will just spend it for you. 12If you have to work hard for a living, you can rest well at night, even if you don't have much to eat. But if you are rich, you can't even sleep. 13I have seen something terribly unfair. People get rich, but it does them no good. 14Suddenly they lose everything in a bad business deal, then have nothing to leave for their children. 15They came into this world naked, and when they die, they will be just as naked. They can't take anything with them, and they won't have anything to show for all their work. 16That's terribly unfair. They leave the world just as they came into it. They gained nothing from running after the wind. 17Besides all this, they are always gloomy at mealtimes, and they are troubled, sick, and bitter. 18What is the best thing to do in the short life that God has given us? I think we should enjoy eating, drinking, and working hard. This is what God intends us to do. 19Suppose you are very rich and able to enjoy everything you own. Then go ahead and enjoy working hardthis is God's gift to you. 20God will keep you so happy that you won't have time to worry about each day. Don't depend on wealth
1Joshua called the tribes of Israel together for a meeting at Shechem. He made the leaders, including the old men, the judges, and the officials, come up and stand near the sacred tent. 2Then Joshua told everyone to listen to this message from the Lord , the God of Israel: Long ago your ancestors lived on the other side of the River Euphrates, and they worshipped other gods. This continued until the time of your ancestor Terah and his two sons, Abraham and Nahor. 3But I brought Abraham across the River Euphrates and led him through the land of Canaan. I blessed him by giving him Isaac, the first in a line of many descendants. 4Then I gave Isaac two sons, Jacob and Esau. I let Esau live in the hill country of Mount Seir, but your ancestor Jacob and his children went to live in Egypt. 5Later I sent Moses and his brother Aaron to help your people, and I made all those horrible things happen to the Egyptians. I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, but the Egyptians got in their chariots and on their horses and chased your ancestors, catching up with them at the Red Sea. 7Your people cried to me for help, so I put a dark cloud between them and the Egyptians. Then I opened up the sea and let your people walk across on dry ground. But when the Egyptians tried to follow, I commanded the sea to swallow them, and they drowned while you watched. You lived in the desert for a long time, 8then I brought you into the land east of the River Jordan. The Amorites were living there, and they fought you. But with my help, you defeated them, wiped them out, and took their land. 9King Balak decided that his nation Moab would go to war against you, so he asked Balaam to come and put a curse on you. 10But I wouldn't listen to Balaam, and I rescued you by making him bless you instead of curse you. 11You crossed the River Jordan and came to Jericho. The rulers of Jericho fought you, and so did the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. I helped you defeat them all. 12Your enemies ran from you, but not because you had swords and bows and arrows. I made your enemies panic and run away, as I had done with the two Amorite kings east of the River Jordan. 13You didn't have to work for this landI gave it to you. Now you live in towns you didn't build, and you eat grapes and olives from vineyards and trees you didn't plant. 14Then Joshua told the people: Worship the Lord , obey him, and always be faithful. Get rid of the idols your ancestors worshipped when they lived on the other side of the River Euphrates and in Egypt. 15But if you don't want to worship the Lord , then choose now! Will you worship the same idols your ancestors did? Or since you're living on land that once belonged to the Amorites, perhaps you'll worship their gods. I won't. My family and I are going to worship and obey the Lord ! 16The people answered: We could never worship other gods or stop worshipping the Lord . 17The Lord is our God. We were slaves in Egypt as our ancestors had been, but we saw the Lord work miracles to set our people free and to bring us out of Egypt. Even though other nations were all around us, the Lord protected us wherever we went. 18And when we fought the Amorites and the other nations that lived in this land, the Lord made them run away. Yes, we will worship and obey the Lord , because the Lord is our God. 19Joshua said: The Lord is fearsome; he is the one true God, and I don't think you are able to worship and obey him in the ways he demands. You would have to be completely faithful, and if you sin or rebel, he won't let you get away with it. 20If you turn your backs on the Lord and worship the gods of other nations, the Lord will turn against you. He will make terrible things happen to you and wipe you out, even though he had been good to you before. 21But the people shouted, We won't worship any other gods. We will worship and obey only the Lord ! 22Joshua said, You have heard yourselves say that you will worship and obey the Lord . Isn't that true? Yes, it's true, they answered. 23Joshua said, But you still have some idols, like those the other nations worship. Get rid of your idols! You must decide once and for all that you really want to obey the Lord God of Israel. 24The people said, The Lord is our God, and we will worship and obey only him. 25Joshua helped Israel make an agreement with the Lord that day at Shechem. Joshua made laws for Israel 26and wrote them down in The Book of the Law of Godbk*. Then he set up a large stone under the oak tree at the place of worship in Shechem 27and told the people, Look at this stone. It has heard everything that the Lord has said to us. Our God can call this stone as a witness if we ever reject him. 28Joshua sent everyone back to their homes. Joshua, Joseph, and Eleazar are buried 29Not long afterwards, the Lord 's servant Joshua died at the age of one hundred and ten. 30The Israelites buried him in his own land at Timnath-Serah, north of Mount Gaash in the hill country of Ephraim. 31As long as Joshua lived, Israel worshipped and obeyed the Lord . There were other leaders old enough to remember everything that the Lord had done for Israel. And for as long as these men lived, Israel continued to worship and obey the Lord . 32When the people of Israel left Egypt, they brought the bones of Joseph along with them. They took the bones to the town of Shechem and buried them in the field that Jacob had bought for one hundred pieces of silver from Hamor, the founder of Shechem. The town and the field both became part of the land belonging to the descendants of Joseph. 33When Eleazar the priest died, he was buried in the hill country of Ephraim on a hill that belonged to his son Phinehas.
1Don't condemn others, and God won't condemn you. 2God will be as hard on you as you are on others! He will treat you exactly as you treat them. 3You can see the speck in your friend's eye, but you don't notice the log in your own eye. 4How can you say, My friend, let me take the speck out of your eye, when you don't see the log in your own eye? 5You're nothing but show-offs! First, take the log out of your own eye. Then you can see how to take the speck out of your friend's eye. 6Don't give to dogs what belongs to God. They will only turn and attack you. Don't throw pearls down in front of pigs. They will trample all over them. Ask, search, knock (Luke 11.9-13) Jesus continued: 7Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8Everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who searches will find. And the door will be opened for everyone who knocks. 9Would any of you give your hungry child a stone, if the child asked for some bread? 10Would you give your child a snake if the child asked for a fish? 11As bad as you are, you still know how to give good gifts to your children. But your heavenly Father is even more ready to give good things to people who ask. 12Treat others as you want them to treat you. This is what the Law and the Prophets are all about. The narrow gate (Luke 13.24) Jesus continued: 13Go in through the narrow gate. The gate to destruction is wide, and the road that leads there is easy to follow. A lot of people go through that gate. 14But the gate to life is very narrow. The road that leads there is so hard to follow that only a few people find it. A tree and its fruit (Luke 6.43-45) Jesus continued: 15Watch out for false prophets! They dress up like sheep, but inside they are wolves who have come to attack you. 16You can tell what they are by what they do. No one picks grapes or figs from thorn bushes. 17A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. 19Every tree that produces bad fruit will be chopped down and burnt. 20You can tell who the false prophets are by their deeds. A warning (Luke 13.26,27) Jesus continued: 21Not everyone who calls me their Lord will get into the kingdom of heaven. Only the ones who obey my Father in heaven will get in. 22On the day of judgment many will call me their Lord. They will say, We preached in your name, and in your name we forced out demons and performed many miracles. 23But I will tell them, I will have nothing to do with you! Get out of my sight, you evil people! Two builders (Luke 6.47-49) Jesus continued: 24Anyone who hears and obeys these teachings of mine is like a wise person who built a house on solid rock. 25Rain poured down, rivers flooded, and winds beat against that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on solid rock. 26Anyone who hears my teachings and doesn't obey them is like a foolish person who built a house on sand. 27The rain poured down, the rivers flooded, and the winds blew and beat against that house. Finally, it fell with a crash. 28When Jesus finished speaking, the crowds were surprised at his teaching. 29He taught them like someone with authority, and not like their teachers of the Law of Moses. Jesus heals a man (Mark 1.40-45; Luke 5.12-16)
1Don't condemn others, and God won't condemn you. 2God will be as hard on you as you are on others! He will treat you exactly as you treat them. 3You can see the speck in your friend's eye, but you don't notice the log in your own eye. 4How can you say, My friend, let me take the speck out of your eye, when you don't see the log in your own eye? 5You're nothing but show-offs! First, take the log out of your own eye. Then you can see how to take the speck out of your friend's eye. 6Don't give to dogs what belongs to God. They will only turn and attack you. Don't throw pearls down in front of pigs. They will trample all over them. Ask, search, knock (Luke 11.9-13) Jesus continued: 7Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8Everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who searches will find. And the door will be opened for everyone who knocks. 9Would any of you give your hungry child a stone, if the child asked for some bread? 10Would you give your child a snake if the child asked for a fish? 11As bad as you are, you still know how to give good gifts to your children. But your heavenly Father is even more ready to give good things to people who ask. 12Treat others as you want them to treat you. This is what the Law and the Prophets are all about. The narrow gate (Luke 13.24) Jesus continued: 13Go in through the narrow gate. The gate to destruction is wide, and the road that leads there is easy to follow. A lot of people go through that gate. 14But the gate to life is very narrow. The road that leads there is so hard to follow that only a few people find it. A tree and its fruit (Luke 6.43-45) Jesus continued: 15Watch out for false prophets! They dress up like sheep, but inside they are wolves who have come to attack you. 16You can tell what they are by what they do. No one picks grapes or figs from thorn bushes. 17A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. 19Every tree that produces bad fruit will be chopped down and burnt. 20You can tell who the false prophets are by their deeds. A warning (Luke 13.26,27) Jesus continued: 21Not everyone who calls me their Lord will get into the kingdom of heaven. Only the ones who obey my Father in heaven will get in. 22On the day of judgment many will call me their Lord. They will say, We preached in your name, and in your name we forced out demons and performed many miracles. 23But I will tell them, I will have nothing to do with you! Get out of my sight, you evil people! Two builders (Luke 6.47-49) Jesus continued: 24Anyone who hears and obeys these teachings of mine is like a wise person who built a house on solid rock. 25Rain poured down, rivers flooded, and winds beat against that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on solid rock. 26Anyone who hears my teachings and doesn't obey them is like a foolish person who built a house on sand. 27The rain poured down, the rivers flooded, and the winds blew and beat against that house. Finally, it fell with a crash. 28When Jesus finished speaking, the crowds were surprised at his teaching. 29He taught them like someone with authority, and not like their teachers of the Law of Moses. Jesus heals a man (Mark 1.40-45; Luke 5.12-16)
1Welcome all the Lord's followers, even those whose faith is weak. Don't criticize them for having beliefs that are different from yours. 2Some think it is all right to eat anything, while those whose faith is weak will eat only vegetables. 3But you should not criticize others for eating or for not eating. After all, God welcomes everyone. 4What right do you have to criticize someone else's servants? Only their Lord can decide if they are doing right, and the Lord will make sure that they do right. 5Some of the Lord's followers think one day is more important than another. Others think all days are the same. But each of you should make up your own mind. 6Any followers who count one day more important than another day do it to honour their Lord. And any followers who eat meat give thanks to God, just like the ones who don't eat meat. 7Whether we live or die, it must be for God, rather than for ourselves. 8Whether we live or die, it must be for the Lord. Alive or dead, we still belong to the Lord. 9This is because Christ died and rose to life, so that he would be the Lord of the dead and of the living. 10Why do you criticize other followers of the Lord? Why do you look down on them? The day is coming when God will judge all of us. 11In the Scriptures God says, I swear by my very life that everyone will kneel down and praise my name! 12And so, each of us must give an account to God for what we do. Don't cause problems for others 13We must stop judging others. We must also make up our minds not to upset anyone's faith. 14The Lord Jesus has made it clear to me that God considers all foods fit to eat. But if you think some foods are unfit to eat, then for you they are not fit. 15If you are hurting others by the foods you eat, you are not guided by love. Don't let your appetite destroy someone Christ died for. 16Don't let your right to eat bring shame to Christ. 17God's kingdom isn't about eating and drinking. It is about pleasing God, about living in peace, and about true happiness. All this comes from the Holy Spirit. 18If you serve Christ in this way, you will please God and be respected by people. 19We should try to live at peace and help each other have a strong faith. 20Don't let your appetite destroy what God has done. All foods are fit to eat, but it is wrong to cause problems for others by what you eat. 21It is best not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else that causes problems for other followers of the Lord. 22What you believe about these things should be kept between you and God. You are fortunate, if your actions don't make you have doubts. 23But if you do have doubts about what you eat, you are going against your beliefs. And you know that is wrong, because anything you do against your beliefs is sin. Please others and not yourself
1My children, I am writing this so that you won't sin. But if you do sin, Jesus Christ always does the right thing, and he will speak to the Father for us. 2Christ is the sacrifice that takes away our sins and the sins of all the world's people. 3When we obey God, we are sure that we know him. 4But if we claim to know him and don't obey him, we are lying and the truth isn't in our hearts. 5We truly love God only when we obey him as we should, and then we know that we belong to him. 6If we say we are his, we must follow the example of Christ. 7My dear friends, I am not writing to give you a new commandment. It is the same one that you were first given, and it is the message you heard. 8But it really is a new commandment, and you know its true meaning, just as Christ does. You can see the darkness fading away and the true light already shining. 9If we claim to be in the light and hate someone, we are still in the dark. 10But if we love others, we are in the light, and we don't cause problems for them. 11If we hate others, we are living and walking in the dark. We don't know where we are going, because we can't see in the dark. 12Children, I am writing to you, because your sins have been forgiven in the name of Christ. 13Parents, I am writing to you, because you have known the one who was there from the beginning. Young people, I am writing to you, because you have defeated the evil one. 14Children, I am writing to you, because you have known the Father. Parents, I am writing to you, because you have known the one who was there from the beginning. Young people, I am writing to you, because you are strong. God's message is firm in your hearts, and you have defeated the evil one. 15Don't love the world or anything that belongs to the world. If you love the world, you cannot love the Father. 16Our foolish pride comes from this world, and so do our selfish desires and our desire to have everything we see. None of this comes from the Father. 17The world and the desires it causes are disappearing. But if we obey God, we will live for ever. The enemy of Christ 18Children, this is the last hour. You heard that the enemy of Christ would appear at this time, and many of Christ's enemies have already appeared. So we know that the last hour is here. 19These people came from our own group, yet they were not part of us. If they had been part of us, they would have stayed with us. But they left, which proves that they did not belong to our group. 20Christ, the Holy One, has blessed you, and now all of you understand. 21I did not need to write to you about the truth, since you already know it. You also know that liars do not belong to the truth. 22And a liar is anyone who says that Jesus isn't truly Christ. Anyone who says this is an enemy of Christ and rejects both the Father and the Son. 23If we reject the Son, we reject the Father. But if we say that we accept the Son, we have the Father. 24Keep thinking about the message you first heard, and you will always be one in your heart with the Son and with the Father. 25The Son has promised us eternal life. 26I am writing to warn you about those people who are misleading you. 27But Christ has blessed you with the Holy Spirit. Now the Spirit stays in you, and you don't need any teachers. The Spirit is truthful and teaches you everything. So stay united in your heart with Christ, just as the Spirit has taught you to do. Children of God 28Children, stay united in your hearts with Christ. Then when he returns, we will have confidence and won't have to hide in shame. 29You know that Christ always does right and that everyone who does right is a child of God.
1Christ has set us free! This means we are really free. Now hold on to your freedom and don't ever become slaves of the Law again. 2I, Paul, promise you that Christ won't do you any good if you get circumcised. 3If you do, you must obey the whole Law. 4And if you try to please God by obeying the Law, you have cut yourself off from Christ and his wonderful kindness. 5But the Spirit makes us sure that God will accept us because of our faith in Christ. 6If you are a follower of Christ Jesus, it makes no difference whether you are circumcised or not. All that matters is your faith that makes you love others. 7You were doing so well until someone made you turn from the truth. 8And that person was certainly not sent by the one who chose you. 9A little yeast can change a whole batch of dough, 10but you belong to the Lord. That makes me certain that you will do what I say, instead of what someone else tells you to do. Whoever is causing trouble for you will be punished. 11My friends, if I still preach that people need to be circumcised, why am I in so much trouble? The message about the cross would no longer be a problem, if I told people to be circumcised. 12I wish that everyone who is upsetting you would not only get circumcised, but would cut off much more! 13My friends, you were chosen to be free. So don't use your freedom as an excuse to do anything you want. Use it as an opportunity to serve each other with love. 14All that the Law says can be summed up in the command to love others as much as you love yourself. 15But if you keep attacking each other like wild animals, you had better watch out or you will destroy yourselves. God's Spirit and our own desires 16If you are guided by the Spirit, you won't obey your selfish desires. 17The Spirit and your desires are enemies of each other. They are always fighting each other and keeping you from doing what you feel you should. 18But if you obey the Spirit, the Law of Moses has no control over you. 19People's desires make them give in to immoral ways, filthy thoughts, and shameful deeds. 20They worship idols, practise witchcraft, hate others, and are hard to get along with. People become jealous, angry, and selfish. They not only argue and cause trouble, but they are 21envious. They get drunk, carry on at wild parties, and do other evil things as well. I told you before, and I am telling you again: no one who does these things will share in the blessings of God's kingdom. 22God's Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, 23gentle, and self-controlled. There is no law against behaving in any of these ways. 24And because we belong to Christ Jesus, we have killed our selfish feelings and desires. 25God's Spirit has given us life, and so we should follow the Spirit. 26But don't be conceited or make others jealous by claiming to be better than they are. Help each other
1From Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ. To everyone who shares with us in the privilege of believing that our God and Saviour Jesus Christ will do what is just and fair. 2I pray that God will be kind to you and will let you live in perfect peace! May you keep learning more and more about God and our Lord Jesus. 3We have everything we need to live a life that pleases God. It was all given to us by God's own power, when we learnt that he had invited us to share in his wonderful goodness. 4God made great and marvellous promises, so that his nature would become part of us. Then we could escape our evil desires and the corrupt influences of this world. 5Do your best to improve your faith. You can do this by adding goodness, understanding, 6self-control, patience, devotion to God, 7concern for others, and love. 8If you keep growing in this way, it will show that what you know about our Lord Jesus Christ has made your lives useful and meaningful. 9But if you don't grow, you are like someone who is nearsighted or blind, and you have forgotten that your past sins are forgiven. 10My friends, you must do all you can to show that God has really chosen and selected you. If you keep on doing this, you won't stumble and fall. 11Then our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ will give you a glorious welcome into his kingdom that will last for ever. 12You are holding firmly to the truth that you were given. But I am still going to remind you of these things. 13In fact, I think I should keep on reminding you until I leave this body. 14And our Lord Jesus Christ has already told me that I will soon leave it behind. 15That is why I am doing my best to make sure that each of you remembers all this after I am gone. 16When we told you about the power and the return of our Lord Jesus Christ, we were not telling clever stories that someone had made up. But with our own eyes we saw his true greatness. 17God, our great and wonderful Father, truly honoured him by saying, This is my own dear Son, and I am pleased with him. 18We were there with Jesus on the holy mountain and heard this voice speak from heaven. 19All this makes us even more certain that what the prophets said is true. So you should pay close attention to their message, as you would to a lamp shining in some dark place. You must keep on paying attention until daylight comes and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20But you need to realize that no one alone can understand any of the prophecies in the Scriptures. 21The prophets did not think these things up on their own, but they were guided by the Spirit of God.
1The Spirit of the Lord God has taken control of me! The Lord has chosen and sent me to tell the oppressed the good news, to heal the brokenhearted, and to announce freedom for prisoners and captives. 2This is the year when the Lord God will show kindness to us and punish our enemies. The Lord has sent me to comfort those who mourn, 3especially in Jerusalem. He sent me to give them flowers in place of their sorrow, olive oil in place of tears, and joyous praise in place of broken hearts. They will be called Trees of Justice, planted by the Lord to honour his name. 4Then they will rebuild cities that have been in ruins for many generations. 5They will hire foreigners to take care of their sheep and their vineyards. 6But they themselves will be priests and servants of the Lord our God. The treasures of the nations will belong to them, and they will be famous. 7They were terribly insulted and horribly ill-treated; now they will be greatly blessed and joyful for ever. The Lord loves justice 8I, the Lord , love justice! But I hate robbery and injustice. My people, I solemnly promise to reward you with an eternal agreement. 9Your descendants will be known in every nation. All who see them will realize that they have been blessed, by me, the Lord . Celebrate and shout 10I celebrate and shout because of my Lord God. His saving power and justice are the very clothes I wear. They are more beautiful than the jewellery worn by a bride or a groom. 11The Lord will bring about justice and praise in every nation on earth, like flowers blooming in a garden. Jerusalem will be saved
1Jesus Christ came from the family of King David and also from the family of Abraham. And this is a list of his ancestors. 2From Abraham to King David, his ancestors were: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah and his brothers (Judah's sons were Perez and Zerah, and their mother was Tamar), Hezron; Ram, Amminadab, Nahshon, Salmon, Boaz (his mother was Rahab), Obed (his mother was Ruth), Jesse, and King David. 6From David to the time of the exile in Babylonia, the ancestors of Jesus were: David, Solomon (his mother had been Uriah's wife), Rehoboam, Abijah, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Jehoram; Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah, and Jehoiachin and his brothers. 12From the exile to the birth of Jesus, his ancestors were: Jehoiachin, Shealtiel, Zerubbabel, Abiud, Eliakim, Azor, Zadok, Achim; Eliud, Eleazar, Matthan, Jacob, and Joseph, the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus, who is called the Messiah. 17There were fourteen generations from Abraham to David. There were also fourteen from David to the exile in Babylonia and fourteen more to the birth of the Messiah. The birth of Jesus (Luke 2.1-7) 18This is how Jesus Christ was born. A young woman named Mary was engaged to Joseph from King David's family. But before they were married, she learnt that she was going to have a baby by God's Holy Spirit. 19Joseph was a good man and did not want to embarrass Mary in front of everyone. So he decided to call off the wedding quietly. 20While Joseph was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, Joseph, the baby that Mary will have is from the Holy Spirit. Go ahead and marry her. 21Then after her baby is born, name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. 22So the Lord's promise came true, just as the prophet had said, 23A virgin will have a baby boy, and he will be called Immanuel, which means God is with us. 24After Joseph woke up, he and Mary were soon married, just as the Lord's angel had told him to do. 25But they did not sleep together before her baby was born. Then Joseph named him Jesus. The wise men
1People of Israel, you must celebrate Passover in the month of Abib, because one night in that month years ago, the Lord your God rescued you from Egypt. 2The Passover sacrifice must be a cow, a sheep, or a goat, and you must offer it at the place where the Lord chooses to be worshipped. 3Eat all the meat of the Passover sacrifice that same night. But don't serve bread made with yeast at the Passover meal. Serve the same kind of thin bread that you ate when you were slaves suffering in Egypt and when you had to leave Egypt quickly. As long as you live, this thin bread will remind you of the day you left Egypt. For seven days following Passover, don't make any bread with yeast. In fact, there should be no yeast anywhere in Israel. 5Don't offer the Passover sacrifice in any town where you happen to live. 6It must be offered at the place where the Lord chooses to be worshipped. Kill the sacrifice at sunset, the time of day when you left Egypt. 7Then cook it and eat it there at the place of worship, returning to your tents the next morning. 8Eat thin bread for the next six days. Then on the seventh day, don't do any work. Instead, come together and worship the Lord . The Harvest Festival (Exodus 34.22; Leviticus 23.15-21) Moses said to Israel: 9Seven weeks after you start your grain harvest, 10go to the place where the Lord chooses to be worshipped and celebrate the Harvest Festival in honour of the Lord your God. Bring him an offering as large as you can afford, depending on how big a harvest he has given you. Be sure to take along your sons and daughters and all your servants. Also invite the poor, including Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows. 12Remember that you used to be slaves in Egypt, so obey these laws. The Festival of Shelters (Leviticus 23.33-43; Numbers 29.12-38) Moses said to Israel: 13After you have finished the grain harvest and the grape harvest, take your sons and daughters and all your servants to the place where the Lord chooses to be worshipped. Celebrate the Festival of Shelters for seven days. Also invite the poor, including Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows. The Lord will give you big harvests and make you successful in everything you do. You will be completely happy, so celebrate this festival in honour of the Lord your God. Three festivals at the place of worship (Exodus 23.14-17) Moses said: 16Each year there are three festivals when all Israelite men must go to the place where the Lord chooses to be worshipped. These are the Festival of Thin Bread, the Harvest Festival, and the Festival of Shelters. And don't forget to take along a gift for the Lord . 17The bigger the harvest the Lord gives you, the bigger your gift should be. Treat everyone with justice Moses said to Israel: 18After you are settled in the towns that you will receive from the Lord your God, the people in each town must appoint judges and other officers. Those of you who become judges must be completely fair when you make legal decisions, even if someone important is involved. Don't take bribes to give unfair decisions. Bribes keep people who are wise from seeing the truth and turn honest people into liars. 20People of Israel, if you want to enjoy a long and successful life, make sure that everyone is treated with justice in the land the Lord is giving you. Don't set up sacred poles or stones Moses said to Israel: 21When you build the altar for offering sacrifices to the Lord your God, don't set up a sacred pole for the worship of the goddess Asherah. 22And don't set up a sacred stone! The Lord hates these things. Sacrifices that have something wrong with them Moses said to Israel:
1Many people have tried to tell the story of what God has done among us. 2They wrote what we had been told by the ones who were there in the beginning and saw what happened. 3So I made a careful study of everything and then decided to write and tell you exactly what took place. Honourable Theophilus, 4I have done this to let you know the truth about what you have heard. An angel tells about the birth of John 5When Herod was king of Judea, there was a priest called Zechariah from the priestly group of Abijah. His wife Elizabeth was from the family of Aaron. 6Both of them were good people and pleased the Lord God by obeying all that he had commanded. 7But they did not have children. Elizabeth could not have any, and both Zechariah and Elizabeth were already old. 8One day Zechariah's group of priests were on duty, and he was serving God as a priest. 9According to the custom of the priests, he had been chosen to go into the Lord's temple that day and to burn incense, 10while the people stood outside praying. 11All at once an angel from the Lord appeared to Zechariah at the right side of the altar. 12Zechariah was confused and afraid when he saw the angel. 13But the angel told him: Don't be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayers. Your wife Elizabeth will have a son, and you must name him John. 14His birth will make you very happy, and many people will be glad. 15Your son will be a great servant of the Lord. He must never drink wine or beer, and the power of the Holy Spirit will be with him from the time he is born. 16John will lead many people in Israel to turn back to the Lord their God. 17He will go ahead of the Lord with the same power and spirit that Elijah had. And because of John, parents will be more thoughtful of their children. And people who now disobey God will begin to think as they ought to. That is how John will get people ready for the Lord. 18Zechariah said to the angel, How will I know this is going to happen? My wife and I are both very old. 19The angel answered, I am Gabriel, God's servant, and I was sent to tell you this good news. 20You have not believed what I have said. So you will not be able to say a thing until all this happens. But everything will take place when it is supposed to. 21The crowd was waiting for Zechariah and kept wondering why he was staying so long in the temple. 22When he did come out, he could not speak, and they knew he had seen a vision. He motioned to them with his hands, but did not say a thing. 23When Zechariah's time of service in the temple was over, he went home. 24Soon after that, his wife was expecting a baby, and for five months she did not leave the house. She said to herself, 25What the Lord has done for me will keep people from looking down on me. An angel tells about the birth of Jesus 26One month later God sent the angel Gabriel to the town of Nazareth in Galilee 27with a message for a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to Joseph from the family of King David. 28The angel greeted Mary and said, You are truly blessed! The Lord is with you. 29Mary was confused by the angel's words and wondered what they meant. 30Then the angel told Mary, Don't be afraid! God is pleased with you, 31and you will have a son. His name will be Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of God Most High. The Lord God will make him king, as his ancestor David was. 33He will rule the people of Israel for ever, and his kingdom will never end. 34Mary asked the angel, How can this happen? I am not married! 35The angel answered, The Holy Spirit will come down to you, and God's power will come over you. So your child will be called the holy Son of God. 36Your relative Elizabeth is also going to have a son, even though she is old. No one thought she could ever have a baby, but in three months she will have a son. 37Nothing is impossible for God! 38Mary said, I am the Lord's servant! Let it happen as you have said. And the angel left her. Mary visits Elizabeth 39A short time later Mary hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea. 40She went into Zechariah's home, where she greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, her baby moved within her. The Holy Spirit came upon Elizabeth. 42Then in a loud voice she said to Mary: God has blessed you more than any other woman! He has also blessed the child you will have. 43Why should the mother of my Lord come to me? 44As soon as I heard your greeting, my baby became happy and moved within me. 45The Lord has blessed you because you believed that he will keep his promise. Mary's song of praise 46Mary said: With all my heart I praise the Lord, 47and I am glad because of God my Saviour. 48He cares for me, his humble servant. From now on, all people will say God has blessed me. 49God All-Powerful has done great things for me, and his name is holy. 50He always shows mercy to everyone who worships him. 51The Lord has used his powerful arm to scatter those who are proud. 52He drags strong rulers from their thrones and puts humble people in places of power. 53God gives the hungry good things to eat, and sends the rich away with nothing. 54He helps his servant Israel and is always merciful to his people. 55The Lord made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his family for ever! 56Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months. Then she went back home. The birth of John the Baptist 57When Elizabeth's son was born, 58her neighbours and relatives heard how kind the Lord had been to her, and they too were glad. 59Eight days later they did for the child what the Law of Moses commands. They were going to name him Zechariah, after his father. 60But Elizabeth said, No! His name is John. 61The people argued, No one in your family has ever been named John. 62So they motioned to Zechariah to find out what he wanted to name his son. 63Zechariah asked for a writing tablet. Then he wrote, His name is John. Everyone was amazed. 64Straight away Zechariah started speaking and praising God. 65All the neighbours were frightened because of what had happened, and everywhere in the hill country people kept talking about these things. 66Everyone who heard about this wondered what this child would grow up to be. They knew that the Lord was with him. Zechariah praises the Lord 67The Holy Spirit came upon Zechariah, and he began to speak: 68Praise the Lord, the God of Israel! He has come to save his people. 69Our God has given us a mighty Saviour from the family of David his servant. 70Long ago the Lord promised by the words of his holy prophets 71to save us from our enemies and from everyone who hates us. 72God said he would be kind to our people and keep his sacred promise. 73He told our ancestor Abraham 74that he would rescue us from our enemies. Then we could serve him without fear, 75by being holy and good as long as we live. 76You, my son, will be called a prophet of God in heaven above. You will go ahead of the Lord to get everything ready for him. 77You will tell his people that they can be saved when their sins are forgiven. 78God's love and kindness will shine upon us like the sun that rises in the sky. 79On us who live in the dark shadow of death this light will shine to guide us into a life of peace. 80As John grew up, God's Spirit gave him great power. John lived in the desert until the time he was sent to the people of Israel. The birth of Jesus (Matthew 1.18-25)
1Jesus got into a boat and crossed back over to the town where he lived. 2Some people soon brought to him a crippled man lying on a mat. When Jesus saw how much faith they had, he said to the crippled man, My friend, don't worry! Your sins are forgiven. 3Some teachers of the Law of Moses said to themselves, Jesus must think he is God! 4But Jesus knew what was in their minds, and he said, Why are you thinking such evil things? 5Is it easier for me to tell this crippled man that his sins are forgiven or to tell him to get up and walk? 6But I will show you that the Son of Man has the right to forgive sins here on earth. So Jesus said to the man, Get up! Pick up your mat and go on home. 7The man got up and went home. 8When the crowds saw this, they were afraid and praised God for giving such authority to people. Jesus chooses Matthew (Mark 2.13-17; Luke 5.27-32) 9As Jesus was leaving, he saw a tax collector named Matthew sitting at the place for paying taxes. Jesus said to him, Come with me. Matthew got up and went with him. 10Later, Jesus and his disciples were having dinner at Matthew's house. Many tax collectors and other sinners were also there. 11Some Pharisees asked Jesus' disciples, Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and other sinners? 12Jesus heard them and answered, Healthy people don't need a doctor, but sick people do. 13Go and learn what the Scriptures mean when they say, Instead of offering sacrifices to me, I want you to be merciful to others. I didn't come to invite good people to be my followers. I came to invite sinners. People ask about going without eating (Mark 2.18-22; Luke 5.33-39) 14One day some followers of John the Baptist came and asked Jesus, Why do we and the Pharisees often go without eating, while your disciples never do? 15Jesus answered: The friends of a bridegroom don't go without eating while he is still with them. But the time will come when he will be taken from them. Then they will go without eating. 16No one uses a new piece of cloth to patch old clothes. The patch would shrink and tear a bigger hole. 17No one pours new wine into old wineskins. The wine would swell and burst the old skins. Then the wine would be lost, and the skins would be ruined. New wine must be put into new wineskins. Both the skins and the wine will then be safe. A dying girl and a sick woman (Mark 5.21-43; Luke 8.40-56) 18While Jesus was still speaking, an official came and knelt in front of him. The man said, My daughter has just died! Please come and place your hand on her. Then she will live again. 19Jesus and his disciples got up and went with the man. 20A woman who had been bleeding for twelve years came up behind Jesus and barely touched his clothes. 21She had said to herself, If I can just touch his clothes, I will get well. 22Jesus turned. He saw the woman and said, Don't worry! You are now well because of your faith. At that moment she was healed. 23When Jesus went into the home of the official and saw the musicians and the crowd of mourners, 24he said, Get out of here! The little girl isn't dead. She is just asleep. Everyone started laughing at Jesus. 25But after the crowd had been sent out of the house, Jesus went to the girl's bedside. He took her by the hand and helped her up. 26News about this spread all over that part of the country. Jesus heals two blind men 27As Jesus was walking along, two blind men began following him and shouting, Son of David, have pity on us! 28After Jesus had gone indoors, the two blind men came up to him. He asked them, Do you believe I can make you well? Yes, Lord, they answered. 29Jesus touched their eyes and said, Because of your faith, you will be healed. 30They were able to see, and Jesus strictly warned them not to tell anyone about him. 31But they left and talked about him to everyone in that part of the country. Jesus heals a man who could not talk 32As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, some people brought to him a man who could not talk because a demon was in him. 33After Jesus had forced the demon out, the man started talking. The crowds were so amazed that they began saying, Nothing like this has ever happened in Israel! 34But the Pharisees said, The leader of the demons gives him the power to force out demons. Jesus has pity on people 35Jesus went to every town and village. He taught in their meeting places and preached the good news about God's kingdom. Jesus also healed every kind of disease and sickness. 36When he saw the crowds, he felt sorry for them. They were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37He said to his disciples, A large crop is in the fields, but there are only a few workers. 38Ask the Lord in charge of the harvest to send out workers to bring it in. Jesus chooses his twelve apostles (Mark 3.13-19; Luke 6.12-16)
1Please help the king to be honest and fair just like you, our God. 2Let him be honest and fair with all your people, especially the poor. 3Let peace and justice rule every mountain and hill. 4Let the king defend the poor, rescue the homeless, and crush everyone who hurts them. 5Let the king live for ever like the sun and the moon. 6Let him be as helpful as rain that refreshes the meadows and the ground. 7Let the king be fair with everyone, and let there be peace until the moon falls from the sky. 8Let his kingdom reach from sea to sea, from the River Euphrates across all the earth. 9Force the desert tribes to accept his rule, and make his enemies crawl in the dust. 10Force the rulers of Tarshish and of the islands to pay taxes to him. Make the kings of Sheba and of Seba bring gifts. 11Make other rulers bow down and all nations serve him. 12Do this because the king rescues the homeless when they cry out, and he helps everyone who is poor and in need. 13The king has pity on the weak and the helpless and protects those in need. 14He cares when they suffer, and he saves them from cruel and violent deaths. 15Long live the king! Give him gold from Sheba. Always pray for the king and praise him each day. 16Let cities overflow with food and hills be covered with grain, just like Mount Lebanon. Let the people in the cities prosper like wild flowers. 17May the glory of the king shine brightly for ever like the sun in the sky. Let him make nations prosper and learn to praise him. 18Lord God of Israel, we praise you. Only you can work miracles. 19We will always praise your glorious name. Let your glory be seen everywhere on earth. Amen and amen. 20This ends the prayers of David, the son of Jesse. (Psalms 7389) (A psalm by Asaph.) God is good
1You, Lord God, are my protector. Rescue me and keep me safe from all who chase me. 2Or else they will rip me apart like lions attacking a victim, and no one will save me. 3I am innocent, Lord God! 4I have not betrayed a friend or had pity on an enemy who attacks for no reason. 5If I have done any of this, then let my enemies chase and capture me. Let them trample me to death and leave me in the dirt. 6Get angry, Lord God! Do something! Attack my furious enemies. See that justice is done. 7Make the nations come to you, as you sit on your throne above them all. 8Our Lord , judge the nations! Judge me and show that I am honest and innocent. 9You know every heart and mind, and you always do right. Now make violent people stop, but protect all of us who obey you. 10You, God, are my shield, the protector of everyone whose heart is right. 11You see that justice is done, and each day you take revenge. 12Whenever your enemies refuse to change their ways, you sharpen your sword and string your bow. 13Your deadly arrows are ready with flaming tips. 14An evil person is like a woman about to give birth to a hateful, deceitful, and rebellious child. 15Such people dig a deep hole, then fall in it themselves. 16The trouble they cause comes back on them, and their heads are crushed by their own evil deeds. 17I will praise you, Lord ! You always do right. I will sing about you, the Lord Most High. (A psalm by David for the music leader. ) The wonderful name of the Lord
1Please help me, Lord ! All who were faithful and all who were loyal have disappeared. 2Everyone tells lies, and no one is sincere. 3Won't you chop off all flattering tongues that boast so loudly? 4They say to themselves, We are great speakers. No one else has a chance. 5But you, Lord , tell them, I will do something! The poor are ill-treated and helpless people moan. I'll rescue all who suffer. 6Our Lord , you are true to your promises, and your word is like silver heated seven times in a fiery furnace. 7You will protect us and always keep us safe from those people. 8But all who are wicked will keep on strutting, while everyone praises their shameless deeds. (A psalm by David for the music leader.) A prayer for the Lord 's help
1I am Isaiah, the son of Amoz. And this is the message that I was given about Judah and Jerusalem when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were the kings of Judah: A guilty nation 2The Lord has said, Listen, heaven and earth! The children I raised have turned against me. 3Oxen and donkeys know who owns and feeds them, but my people won't ever learn. 4Israel, you are a sinful nation loaded down with guilt. You are wicked and corrupt and have turned from the Lord , the holy God of Israel. 5Why be punished more? Why not give up your sin? Your head is badly bruised, and you are weak all over. 6From your head to your toes there isn't a healthy spot. Bruises, cuts, and open sores go without care or oil to ease the pain. A country in ruins 7Your country lies in ruins; your towns are in ashes. Foreigners and strangers take and destroy your land while you watch. 8Enemies surround Jerusalem, alone like a hut in a vineyard or in a cucumber field. 9Zion would have disappeared like Sodom and Gomorrah, if the Lord All-Powerful had not let a few of its people survive. Justice, not sacrifices 10You are no better than the leaders and people of Sodom and Gomorrah! So listen to the Lord God: 11Your sacrifices mean nothing to me. I am sick of your offerings of rams and choice cattle; I don't like the blood of bulls or lambs or goats. 12Who asked you to bring all this when you come to worship me? Stay out of my temple! 13Your sacrifices are worthless, and incense is disgusting. I can't stand the evil you do on your New Moon Festivals or on your Sabbaths and other times of worship. 14I hate your New Moon Festivals and all others as well. They are a heavy burden I am tired of carrying. 15No matter how much you pray, I won't listen. You are too violent. 16Wash yourselves clean! I am disgusted with your filthy deeds. Stop doing wrong 17and learn to live right. See that justice is done. Defend widows and orphans and help those in need. An invitation from the Lord 18I, the Lord , invite you to come and talk it over. Your sins are scarlet red, but they will be whiter than snow or wool. 19If you willingly obey me, the best crops in the land will be yours. 20But if you turn against me, your enemies will kill you. I, the Lord , have spoken. The Lord condemns Jerusalem 21Jerusalem, you are like an unfaithful wife. Once your judges were honest and your people lived right; now you are a city full of murderers. 22Your silver is fake, and your wine is watered down. 23Your leaders have rejected me to become friends of crooks; your rulers are looking for gifts and bribes. Widows and orphans never get a fair trial. 24I am the Lord All-Powerful, the mighty ruler of Israel, and I make you a promise: you are now my enemy, and I will show my anger by taking revenge on you. 25I will punish you terribly and burn away everything that makes you unfit to worship me. 26Jerusalem, I will choose judges and advisers like those you had before. Your new name will be Justice and Faithfulness. The Lord will save Jerusalem 27Jerusalem, you will be saved by showing justice; Zion's people who turn to me will be saved by doing right. 28But those rebellious sinners who turn against me, the Lord , will all disappear. 29You will be made ashamed of those groves of trees where you worshipped idols. 30You will be like a grove of trees dying in a drought. 31Your strongest leaders will be like dry wood set on fire by their idols. No one will be able to help, as they all go up in flames. Peace that lasts for ever
1The Lord said to his people: Come and present your case to the hills and mountains. 2Israel, I am bringing charges against you I call upon the mountains and the earth's firm foundation to be my witnesses. 3My people, have I wronged you in any way at all? Please tell me. 4I rescued you from Egypt, where you were slaves. I sent Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to be your leaders. 5Don't forget the evil plans of King Balak of Moab or what Balaam son of Beor said to him. Remember how I, the Lord , saved you many times on your way from Acacia to Gilgal. True obedience 6What offering should I bring when I bow down to worship the Lord God Most High? Should I try to please him by sacrificing calves a year old? 7Will thousands of sheep or rivers of olive oil make God satisfied with me? Should I sacrifice to the Lord my firstborn child as payment for my terrible sins? 8The Lord God has told us what is right and what he demands: See that justice is done, let mercy be your first concern, and humbly obey your God. Cheating and violence 9I am the Lord , and it makes sense to respect my power to punish. So listen to my message for the city of Jerusalem: 10You store up stolen treasures and use dishonest scales. 11But I, the Lord , will punish you for cheating with weights and with measures. 12You rich people are violent, and everyone tells lies. 13Because of your sins, I will wound you and leave you ruined and defenceless. 14You will eat, but still be hungry; you will store up goods, but lose everything I, the Lord , will let it all be captured in war. 15You won't harvest what you plant or use the oil from your olive trees or drink the wine from grapes you grow. 16Jerusalem, this will happen because you followed the sinful example of kings Omri and Ahab. Now I will destroy you and your property. Then the people of every nation will make fun and insult you. Israel is corrupt
1Listen, nation of Israel, to my mournful message: 2you, dearest Israel, have fallen, never to rise again you lie deserted in your own land, with no one to help you up. 3The Lord God has warned, From every ten soldiers only one will be left; from a thousand troops, only a hundred will survive. 4The Lord keeps saying, Israel, turn back to me and you will live! 5Don't go to Gilgal or Bethel or even to Beersheba. Gilgal will be dragged away, and Bethel will end up as nothing. 6Turn back to the Lord , you descendants of Joseph, and you will live. If you don't, the Lord will attack like fire. Bethel will burn to the ground, and no one can save it. 7You people are doomed! You twist the truth and trample on justice. 8But the Lord created the stars and put them in place. He turns darkness to dawn and daylight to darkness; he scoops up the ocean and empties it on the earth. 9God destroys mighty soldiers and strong fortresses. Choose good instead of evil! The Lord said: 10You people hate judges and honest witnesses; 11you abuse the poor and demand heavy taxes from them. You have built expensive homes, but you won't enjoy them; you have planted vineyards, but you will get no wine. 12I am the Lord , and I know your terrible sins. You cheat honest people and take bribes; you rob the poor of justice. 13Times are so evil that anyone with good sense will keep quiet. 14If you really want to live, you must stop doing wrong and start doing right. I, the Lord God All-Powerful, will then be on your side, just as you claim I am. 15Choose good instead of evil! See that justice is done. Perhaps I, the Lord All-Powerful, will be kind to what's left of your people. Judgment is coming 16This is what the Lord has sworn: Noisy crying will be heard in every town and street. Even farmers will be told to mourn for the dead, together with those who are paid to mourn. 17Your vineyards will be filled with crying and weeping, because I will punish you. I, the Lord , have spoken! When the Lord judges 18You look forward to the day when the Lord comes to judge. But you are in for trouble! It won't be a time of sunshine; all will be darkness. 19You will run from a lion, only to meet a bear. You will escape to your house, rest your hand on the wall, and be bitten by a snake. 20The day when the Lord judges will be dark, very dark, without a ray of light. What the Lord demands 21I, the Lord , hate and despise your religious celebrations and your times of worship. 22I won't accept your offerings or animal sacrifices not even your very best. 23No more of your noisy songs! I won't listen when you play your harps. 24But let justice and fairness flow like a river that never runs dry. 25Israel, for forty years you wandered in the desert, without bringing offerings or sacrifices to me. 26Now you will have to carry the two idols you made Sakkuth, the one you call king, and Kaiwan, the one you built in the shape of a star. 27I will force you to march as captives beyond Damascus. I, the Lord God All-Powerful, have spoken! Israel will be punished
1I, the Lord All-Powerful, have something else to say to you priests. 2You had better take seriously the need to honour my name. Otherwise, when you give a blessing, I will turn it into a curse. In fact, I have already done this, because you haven't taken to heart your duties as priests. 3I will punish your descendants and rub your faces in the manure from your animal sacrifices, and then be done with you. 4I am telling you this, so I can continue to keep my agreement with your ancestor Levi. 5I blessed him with a full life, as I had promised, and he kept his part of the agreement by honouring me and respecting my name. 6He taught the truth and never told lies, and he led a lot of people to turn from sin, because he obeyed me and lived right. 7You priests should be eager to spread knowledge, and everyone should come to you for instruction, because you speak for me, the Lord All-Powerful. 8But you have turned your backs on me. Your teachings have led others to do sinful things, and you have broken the agreement I made with your ancestor Levi. 9So I caused everyone to hate and despise you, because you disobeyed me and failed to treat all people alike. 10Don't you know that we all have God as our Father? Didn't the one God create each of us? Then why do you cheat each other by breaking the agreement God made with your ancestors? 11You people in Judah and Jerusalem have been unfaithful to the Lord . You have disgraced the temple that he loves, and you have committed the disgusting sin of worshipping other gods. 12I pray that the Lord will no longer let those who are guilty belong to his people, even if they eagerly decide to offer the Lord a gift. 13And what else are you doing? You cry noisily and flood the Lord 's altar with your tears, because he isn't pleased with your offerings and refuses to accept them. 14And why isn't God pleased? It's because he knows that each of you men has been unfaithful to the wife you married when you were young. You promised that she would be your partner, but now you have broken that promise. 15Didn't God create you to become like one person with your wife? And why did he do this? It was so you would have children, and then lead them to become God's people. Don't ever be unfaithful to your wife. 16The Lord God All-Powerful of Israel hates anyone who is cruel enough to divorce his wife. So take care never to be unfaithful! 17You have worn out the Lord with your words. And yet, you ask, How did we do that? You did it by saying, The Lord is pleased with evil and doesn't care about justice. The promised messenger
1From Paul, chosen by God to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, and from Timothy, who is also a follower. To God's church in Corinth and to all God's people in Achaia. 2I pray that God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace! Paul gives thanks 3Praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! The Father is a merciful God, who always gives us comfort. 4He comforts us when we are in trouble, so that we can share that same comfort with others in trouble. 5We share in the terrible sufferings of Christ, but also in the wonderful comfort he gives. 6We suffer in the hope that you will be comforted and saved. And because we are comforted, you will also be comforted, as you patiently endure suffering like ours. 7You never disappoint us. You suffered as much as we did, and we know that you will be comforted as we were. 8My friends, I want you to know what a hard time we had in Asia. Our sufferings were so horrible and so unbearable that death seemed certain. 9In fact, we felt sure that we were going to die. But this made us stop trusting in ourselves and start trusting God, who raises the dead to life. 10God saved us from the threat of death, and we are sure that he will do it again and again. 11Please help us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks for the blessings we receive in answer to all these prayers. Paul's change of plans 12We can be proud of our clear conscience. We have always lived honestly and sincerely, especially when we were with you. And we were guided by God's wonderful kindness instead of by the wisdom of this world. 13I am not writing anything you cannot read and understand. I hope you will understand it completely, 14just as you already partly understand us. Then when our Lord Jesus returns, you can be as proud of us as we are of you. 15I was so sure of your pride in us that I had planned to visit you first of all. In this way you would have the blessing of two visits from me. 16Once on my way to Macedonia and again on my return from there. Then you could send me on to Judea. 17Do you think I couldn't make up my mind about what to do? Or do I seem like someone who says Yes or No simply to please others? 18God can be trusted, and so can I, when I say that our answer to you has always been Yes and never No. 19This is because Jesus Christ the Son of God is always Yes and never No. And he is the one that Silas, Timothy, and I told you about. 20Christ says Yes to all of God's promises. That's why we have Christ to say Amen for us to the glory of God. 21And so God makes it possible for you and us to stand firmly together with Christ. God is also the one who chose us 22and put his Spirit in our hearts to show that we belong only to him. 23God is my witness that I stayed away from Corinth, just to keep from being hard on you. 24We are not bosses who tell you what to believe. We are working with you to make you glad, because your faith is strong.
1I don't need to write to you about the time or date when all this will happen. 2You know that the Lord's return will be as a thief coming at night. 3People will think they are safe and secure. But destruction will suddenly strike them like the pains of a woman about to give birth. And they won't escape. 4My dear friends, you don't live in darkness, and so that day won't surprise you like a thief. 5You belong to the light and live in the day. We don't live in the night or belong to the dark. 6Others may sleep, but we should stay awake and be alert. 7People sleep during the night, and some even get drunk. 8But we belong to the day. So we must stay sober and let our faith and love be like a suit of armour. Our firm hope that we will be saved is our helmet. 9God doesn't intend to punish us, but wants us to be saved by our Lord Jesus Christ. 10Christ died for us, so that we could live with him, whether we are alive or dead when he comes. 11That's why you must encourage and help each other, just as you are already doing. 12My friends, we ask you to be thoughtful of your leaders who work hard and tell you how to live for the Lord. 13Show them great respect and love because of their work. Try to get along with each other. 14My friends, we beg you to warn anyone who isn't living right. Encourage anyone who feels left out, help all who are weak, and be patient with everyone. 15Don't be hateful to people, just because they are hateful to you. Rather, be good to each other and to everyone else. 16Always be joyful 17and never stop praying. 18Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do. 19Don't turn away God's Spirit 20or ignore prophecies. 21Put everything to the test. Accept what is good 22and don't have anything to do with evil. 23I pray that God, who gives peace, will make you completely holy. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept healthy and faultless until our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 24The one who chose you can be trusted, and he will do this. 25Friends, please pray for us. 26Give the Lord's followers a warm greeting. 27In the name of the Lord I beg you to read this letter to all his followers. 28I pray that our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you!
1From Paul, chosen by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from Timothy, who is also a follower. 2To God's people who live in Colossae and are faithful followers of Christ. I pray that God our Father will be kind to you and will bless you with peace! 3Each time we pray for you, we thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 4We have heard of your faith in Christ and of your love for all God's people, 5because what you hope for is kept safe for you in heaven. You first heard about this hope when you believed the true message, which is the good news. 6The good news is spreading all over the world with great success. It has spread in that same way among you, ever since the first day you learnt the truth about God's wonderful kindness 7from our good friend Epaphras. He works together with us for Christ and is a faithful worker for you. 8He is also the one who told us about the love that God's Spirit has given you. 9We have not stopped praying for you since the first day we heard about you. In fact, we always pray that God will show you everything he wants you to do and that you may have all the wisdom and understanding that his Spirit gives. 10Then you will live a life that honours the Lord, and you will always please him by doing good deeds. You will come to know God even better. 11His glorious power will make you patient and strong enough to endure anything, and you will be truly happy. 12I pray that you will be grateful to God for letting you have part in what he has promised his people in the kingdom of light. 13God rescued us from the dark power of Satan and brought us into the kingdom of his dear Son, 14who forgives our sins and sets us free. 15Christ is exactly like God, who cannot be seen. He is the firstborn Son, superior to all creation. 16Everything was created by him, everything in heaven and on earth, everything seen and unseen, including all forces and powers, and all rulers and authorities. All things were created by God's Son, and everything was made for him. 17God's Son was before all else, and by him everything is held together. 18He is the head of his body, which is the church. He is the very beginning, the first to be raised from death, so that he would be above all others. 19God himself was pleased to live fully in his Son. 20And God was pleased for him to make peace by sacrificing his blood on the cross, so that all beings in heaven and on earth would be brought back to God. 21You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things. 22But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent. 23But you must stay deeply rooted and firm in your faith. You must not give up the hope you received when you heard the good news. It was preached to everyone on earth, and I myself have become a servant of this message. Paul's service to the church 24I am glad that I can suffer for you. I am pleased also that in my own body I can continue the suffering of Christ for his body, the church. 25God's plan was to make me a servant of his church and to send me to preach his complete message to you. 26For many ages this message was kept secret from everyone, but now it has been explained to God's people. 27God did this because he wanted you Gentiles to understand his wonderful and glorious mystery. And the mystery is that Christ lives in you, and he is your hope of sharing in God's glory. 28We announce the message about Christ, and we use all our wisdom to warn and teach everyone, so that all Christ's followers will grow and become mature. 29That's why I work so hard and use the mighty power he gives me.
1If you belong to Christ Jesus, you won't be punished. 2The Holy Spirit will give you life that comes from Christ Jesus and will set you free from sin and death. 3The Law of Moses cannot do this, because our selfish desires make the Law weak. But God set you free when he sent his own Son to be like us sinners and to be a sacrifice for our sin. God used Christ's body to condemn sin. 4He did this, so that we would do what the Law commands by obeying the Spirit instead of our own desires. 5People who are ruled by their desires think only of themselves. Everyone who is ruled by the Holy Spirit thinks about spiritual things. 6If our minds are ruled by our desires, we will die. But if our minds are ruled by the Spirit, we will have life and peace. 7Our desires fight against God, because they do not and cannot obey God's laws. 8If we follow our desires, we cannot please God. 9You are no longer ruled by your desires, but by God's Spirit, who lives in you. People who don't have the Spirit of Christ in them don't belong to him. 10But Christ lives in you. So you are alive because God has accepted you, even though your bodies must die because of your sins. 11Yet God raised Jesus to life! God's Spirit now lives in you, and he will raise you to life by his Spirit. 12My dear friends, we must not live to satisfy our desires. 13If you do, you will die. But you will live, if by the help of God's Spirit you say No to your desires. 14Only those people who are led by God's Spirit are his children. 15God's Spirit doesn't make us slaves who are afraid of him. Instead, we become his children and call him our Father. 16God's Spirit makes us sure that we are his children. 17His Spirit lets us know that together with Christ we will be given what God has promised. We will also share in the glory of Christ, because we have suffered with him. A wonderful future for God's people 18I am sure that what we are suffering now cannot compare with the glory that will be shown to us. 19In fact, all creation is eagerly waiting for God to show who his children are. 20Meanwhile, creation is confused, but not because it wants to be confused. God made it this way in the hope 21that creation would be set free from decay and would share in the glorious freedom of his children. 22We know that all creation is still groaning and is in pain, like a woman about to give birth. 23The Spirit makes us sure about what we will be in the future. But now we groan silently, while we wait for God to show that we are his children. This means that our bodies will also be set free. 24And this hope is what saves us. But if we already have what we hope for, there is no need to keep on hoping. 25However, we hope for something we have not yet seen, and we patiently wait for it. 26In certain ways we are weak, but the Spirit is here to help us. For example, when we don't know what to pray for, the Spirit prays for us in ways that cannot be put into words. 27All our thoughts are known to God. He can understand what is in the mind of the Spirit, as the Spirit prays for God's people. 28We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him. They are the ones God has chosen for his purpose, 29and he has always known who his chosen ones would be. He had decided to let them become like his own Son, so that his Son would be the first of many children. 30God then accepted the people he had already decided to choose, and he has shared his glory with them. God's love 31What can we say about all this? If God is on our side, can anyone be against us? 32God did not keep back his own Son, but he gave him for us. If God did this, won't he freely give us everything else? 33If God says his chosen ones are acceptable to him, can anyone bring charges against them? 34Or can anyone condemn them? No indeed! Christ died and was raised to life, and now he is at God's right side, speaking to him for us. 35Can anything separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble, suffering, and hard times, or hunger and nakedness, or danger and death? 36It is exactly as the Scriptures say, For you we face death all day long. We are like sheep on their way to be butchered. 37In everything we have won more than a victory because of Christ who loves us. 38I am sure that nothing can separate us from God's lovenot life or death, not angels or spirits, not the present or the future, 39and not powers above or powers below. Nothing in all creation can separate us from God's love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord! God's choice of Israel
1The apostles were still talking to the people, when some priests, the captain of the temple guard, and some Sadducees arrived. 2These men were angry because the apostles were teaching the people that the dead would be raised from death, just as Jesus had been raised from death. 3It was already late in the afternoon, and they arrested Peter and John and put them in jail for the night. 4But a lot of people who had heard the message believed it. So by now there were about five thousand followers of the Lord. 5The next morning the leaders, the elders, and the teachers of the Law of Moses met in Jerusalem. 6The high priest Annas was there, as well as Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and other members of the high priest's family. 7They brought in Peter and John and made them stand in the middle while they questioned them. They asked, By what power and in whose name have you done this? 8Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and told the nation's leaders and the elders: 9You are questioning us today about a kind deed in which a crippled man was healed. 10But there is something we must tell you and everyone else in Israel. This man is standing here completely well because of the power of Jesus Christ from Nazareth. You put Jesus to death on a cross, but God raised him to life. 11He is the stone that you builders thought was worthless, and now he is the most important stone of all. 12Only Jesus has the power to save! His name is the only one in all the world that can save anyone. 13The officials were amazed to see how brave Peter and John were, and they knew that these two apostles were only ordinary men and not well educated. The officials were certain that these men had been with Jesus. 14But they could not deny what had happened. The man who had been healed was standing there with the apostles. 15The officials commanded them to leave the council room. Then the officials said to each other, 16What can we do with these men? Everyone in Jerusalem knows about this miracle, and we cannot say it didn't happen. 17But to keep this thing from spreading, we will warn them never again to speak to anyone about the name of Jesus. 18So they called the two apostles back in and told them that they must never, for any reason, teach anything about the name of Jesus. 19Peter and John answered, Do you think God wants us to obey you or to obey him? 20We cannot keep quiet about what we have seen and heard. 21The officials could not find any reason to punish Peter and John. So they threatened them and let them go. The man who was healed by this miracle was more than forty years old, and everyone was praising God for what had happened. Peter and others pray for courage 23As soon as Peter and John had been set free, they went back and told the others everything that the chief priests and the leaders had said to them. 24When the rest of the Lord's followers heard this, they prayed together and said: Master, you created heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. 25And by the Holy Spirit you spoke to our ancestor David. He was your servant, and you told him to say: Why are all the Gentiles so furious? Why do people make foolish plans? 26The kings of earth prepare for war, and the rulers join together against the Lord and his Messiah. 27Here in Jerusalem, Herod and Pontius Pilate got together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel. Then they turned against your holy Servant Jesus, your chosen Messiah. 28They did what you in your power and wisdom had already decided would happen. 29Lord, listen to their threats! We are your servants. So make us brave enough to speak your message. 30Show your mighty power, as we heal people and perform miracles and wonders in the name of your holy Servant Jesus. 31After they had prayed, the meeting place shook. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and bravely spoke God's message. Sharing possessions 32The group of followers all felt the same way about everything. None of them claimed that their possessions were their own, and they shared everything they had with each other. 33In a powerful way the apostles told everyone that the Lord Jesus was now alive. God greatly blessed his followers, 34and no one went in need of anything. Everyone who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money 35to the apostles. Then they would give the money to anyone who needed it. 36Joseph was one of the followers who had sold a piece of property and brought the money to the apostles. He was a Levite from Cyprus, and the apostles called him Barnabas, which means one who encourages others. Peter condemns Ananias and Sapphira
1The Law of Moses is like a shadow of the good things to come. This shadow isn't the good things themselves, because it cannot free people from sin by the sacrifices that are offered year after year. 2If there were worshippers who already have their sins washed away and their consciences made clear, there would not be any need to go on offering sacrifices. 3But the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sins. It only reminds people of their sins from one year to the next. 5When Christ came into the world, he said to God, Sacrifices and offerings are not what you want, but you have given me my body. 6No, you are not pleased with animal sacrifices and offerings for sin. 7Then Christ said, And so, my God, I have come to do what you want, as the Scriptures say. 8The Law teaches that offerings and sacrifices must be made because of sin. But why did Christ mention these things and say that God did not want them? 9Well, it was to do away with offerings and sacrifices and to replace them. That is what he meant by saying to God, I have come to do what you want. 10So we are made holy because Christ obeyed God and offered himself once for all. 11The priests do their work each day, and they keep on offering sacrifices that can never take away sins. 12But Christ offered himself as a sacrifice that is good for ever. Now he is sitting at God's right side, 13and he will stay there until his enemies are put under his power. 14By his one sacrifice he has for ever set free from sin the people he brings to God. 15The Holy Spirit also speaks of this by telling us that the Lord said, 16When the time comes, I will make an agreement with them. I will write my laws on their minds and hearts. 17Then I will forget about their sins and no longer remember their evil deeds. 18When sins are forgiven, there is no more need to offer sacrifices. Encouragement and warning 19My friends, the blood of Jesus gives us courage to enter the most holy place 20by a new way that leads to life! And this way takes us through the curtain that is Christ himself. 21We have a great high priest who is in charge of God's house. 22So let's come near God with pure hearts and a confidence that comes from having faith. Let's keep our hearts pure, our consciences free from evil, and our bodies washed with clean water. 23We must hold tightly to the hope that we say is ours. After all, we can trust the one who made the agreement with us. 24We should keep on encouraging each other to be thoughtful and to do helpful things. 25Some people have got out of the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that. We should keep on encouraging each other, especially since you know that the day of the Lord's coming is getting closer. 26No sacrifices can be made for people who decide to sin after they find out about the truth. 27They are God's enemies, and all they can look forward to is a terrible judgment and a furious fire. 28If two or more witnesses accused someone of breaking the Law of Moses, that person could be put to death. 29But it is much worse to dishonour God's Son and to disgrace the blood of the promise that made us holy. And it is just as bad to insult the Holy Spirit, who shows us mercy. 30We know that God has said he will punish and take revenge. We also know that the Scriptures say the Lord will judge his people. 31It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God! 32Don't forget all the hard times you went through when you first received the light. 33Sometimes you were abused and ill-treated in public, and at other times you shared in the sufferings of others. 34You were kind to people in jail. And you gladly let your possessions be taken away, because you knew you had something better, something that would last for ever. 35Keep on being brave! It will bring you great rewards. 36Learn to be patient, so that you will please God and be given what he has promised. 37As the Scriptures say, God is coming soon! It won't be very long. 38The people God accepts will live because of their faith. But he isn't pleased with anyone who turns back. 39We are not like those people who turn back and get destroyed. We will keep on having faith until we are saved.
1The apostles were still talking to the people, when some priests, the captain of the temple guard, and some Sadducees arrived. 2These men were angry because the apostles were teaching the people that the dead would be raised from death, just as Jesus had been raised from death. 3It was already late in the afternoon, and they arrested Peter and John and put them in jail for the night. 4But a lot of people who had heard the message believed it. So by now there were about five thousand followers of the Lord. 5The next morning the leaders, the elders, and the teachers of the Law of Moses met in Jerusalem. 6The high priest Annas was there, as well as Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and other members of the high priest's family. 7They brought in Peter and John and made them stand in the middle while they questioned them. They asked, By what power and in whose name have you done this? 8Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and told the nation's leaders and the elders: 9You are questioning us today about a kind deed in which a crippled man was healed. 10But there is something we must tell you and everyone else in Israel. This man is standing here completely well because of the power of Jesus Christ from Nazareth. You put Jesus to death on a cross, but God raised him to life. 11He is the stone that you builders thought was worthless, and now he is the most important stone of all. 12Only Jesus has the power to save! His name is the only one in all the world that can save anyone. 13The officials were amazed to see how brave Peter and John were, and they knew that these two apostles were only ordinary men and not well educated. The officials were certain that these men had been with Jesus. 14But they could not deny what had happened. The man who had been healed was standing there with the apostles. 15The officials commanded them to leave the council room. Then the officials said to each other, 16What can we do with these men? Everyone in Jerusalem knows about this miracle, and we cannot say it didn't happen. 17But to keep this thing from spreading, we will warn them never again to speak to anyone about the name of Jesus. 18So they called the two apostles back in and told them that they must never, for any reason, teach anything about the name of Jesus. 19Peter and John answered, Do you think God wants us to obey you or to obey him? 20We cannot keep quiet about what we have seen and heard. 21The officials could not find any reason to punish Peter and John. So they threatened them and let them go. The man who was healed by this miracle was more than forty years old, and everyone was praising God for what had happened. Peter and others pray for courage 23As soon as Peter and John had been set free, they went back and told the others everything that the chief priests and the leaders had said to them. 24When the rest of the Lord's followers heard this, they prayed together and said: Master, you created heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. 25And by the Holy Spirit you spoke to our ancestor David. He was your servant, and you told him to say: Why are all the Gentiles so furious? Why do people make foolish plans? 26The kings of earth prepare for war, and the rulers join together against the Lord and his Messiah. 27Here in Jerusalem, Herod and Pontius Pilate got together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel. Then they turned against your holy Servant Jesus, your chosen Messiah. 28They did what you in your power and wisdom had already decided would happen. 29Lord, listen to their threats! We are your servants. So make us brave enough to speak your message. 30Show your mighty power, as we heal people and perform miracles and wonders in the name of your holy Servant Jesus. 31After they had prayed, the meeting place shook. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and bravely spoke God's message. Sharing possessions 32The group of followers all felt the same way about everything. None of them claimed that their possessions were their own, and they shared everything they had with each other. 33In a powerful way the apostles told everyone that the Lord Jesus was now alive. God greatly blessed his followers, 34and no one went in need of anything. Everyone who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money 35to the apostles. Then they would give the money to anyone who needed it. 36Joseph was one of the followers who had sold a piece of property and brought the money to the apostles. He was a Levite from Cyprus, and the apostles called him Barnabas, which means one who encourages others. Peter condemns Ananias and Sapphira
1It was before Passover, and Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and to return to the Father. He had always loved his followers in this world, and he loved them to the very end. 2Even before the evening meal started, the devil had made Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, decide to betray Jesus. 3Jesus knew that he had come from God and would go back to God. He also knew that the Father had given him complete power. 4So during the meal Jesus got up, removed his outer garment, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5He put some water into a large bowl. Then he began washing his disciples' feet and drying them with the towel he was wearing. 6But when he came to Simon Peter, that disciple asked, Lord, are you going to wash my feet? 7Jesus answered, You don't really know what I am doing, but later you will understand. 8You will never wash my feet! Peter replied. If I don't wash you, Jesus told him, you don't really belong to me. 9Peter said, Lord, don't wash just my feet. Wash my hands and my head. 10Jesus answered, People who have bathed and are clean all over need to wash just their feet. And you, my disciples, are clean, except for one of you. 11Jesus knew who would betray him. That is why he said, except for one of you. 12After Jesus had washed his disciples' feet and had put his outer garment back on, he sat down again. Then he said: Do you understand what I have done? 13You call me your teacher and Lord, and you should, because that is who I am. 14And if your Lord and teacher has washed your feet, you should do the same for each other. 15I have set the example, and you should do for each other exactly what I have done for you. 16I tell you for certain that servants are not greater than their master, and messengers are not greater than the one who sent them. 17You know these things, and God will bless you, if you do them. 18I am not talking about all of you. I know the ones I have chosen. But what the Scriptures say must come true. And they say, The man who ate with me has turned against me! 19I am telling you this before it all happens. Then when it does happen, you will believe who I am. 20I tell you for certain that anyone who welcomes my messengers also welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Jesus tells what will happen to him (Matthew 26.20-25; Mark 14.17-21; Luke 22.21-23) 21After Jesus had said these things, he was deeply troubled and told his disciples, I tell you for certain that one of you will betray me. 22They were confused about what he meant. And they just stared at each other. 23Jesus' favourite disciple was sitting next to him at the meal, 24and Simon motioned for that disciple to find out which one Jesus meant. 25So the disciple leaned towards Jesus and asked, Lord, which one of us are you talking about? 26Jesus answered, I will dip this piece of bread in the sauce and give it to the one I was talking about. Then Jesus dipped the bread and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27At once Satan took control of Judas. Jesus said, Judas, go quickly and do what you have to do. 28No one at the meal understood what Jesus meant. 29But because Judas was in charge of the money, some of them thought that Jesus had told him to buy something they needed for the festival. Others thought that Jesus had told him to give some money to the poor. 30Judas took the piece of bread and went out. It was already night. The new command 31After Judas had gone, Jesus said: Now the Son of Man will be given glory, and he will bring glory to God. 32Then, after God is given glory because of him, God will bring glory to him, and God will do it very soon. 33My children, I will be with you for a little while longer. Then you will look for me, but you won't find me. I tell you just as I told the people, You cannot go where I am going. 34But I am giving you a new command. You must love each other, just as I have loved you. 35If you love each other, everyone will know that you are my disciples. Peter's promise (Matthew 26.31-35; Mark 14.27-31; Luke 22.31-34) 36Simon Peter asked, Lord, where are you going? Jesus answered, You can't go with me now, but later on you will. 37Peter asked, Lord, why can't I go with you now? I would die for you! 38Would you really die for me? Jesus asked. I tell you for certain that before a cock crows, you will say three times that you don't even know me. Jesus is the way to the Father
1There was a man named Nicodemus who was a Pharisee and a Jewish leader. 2One night he went to Jesus and said, Sir, we know that God has sent you to teach us. You could not perform these miracles, unless God were with you. 3Jesus replied, I tell you for certain that you must be born from above before you can see God's kingdom! 4Nicodemus asked, How can a grown man ever be born a second time? 5Jesus answered: I tell you for certain that before you can get into God's kingdom, you must be born not only by water, but by the Spirit. 6Humans give life to their children. Yet only God's Spirit can change you into a child of God. 7Don't be surprised when I say that you must be born from above. 8Only God's Spirit gives new life. The Spirit is like the wind that blows wherever it wants to. You can hear the wind, but you don't know where it comes from or where it is going. 9How can this be? Nicodemus asked. 10Jesus replied: How can you be a teacher of Israel and not know these things? 11I tell you for certain that we know what we are talking about because we have seen it ourselves. But none of you will accept what we say. 12If you don't believe when I talk to you about things on earth, how can you possibly believe if I talk to you about things in heaven? 13No one has gone up to heaven except the Son of Man, who came down from there. 14And the Son of Man must be lifted up, just as that metal snake was lifted up by Moses in the desert. 15Then everyone who has faith in the Son of Man will have eternal life. 16God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die. 17God did not send his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent him to save them! 18No one who has faith in God's Son will be condemned. But everyone who doesn't have faith in him has already been condemned for not having faith in God's only Son. 19The light has come into the world, and people who do evil things are judged guilty because they love the dark more than the light. 20People who do evil hate the light and won't come to the light, because it clearly shows what they have done. 21But everyone who lives by the truth will come to the light, because they want others to know that God is really the one doing what they do. Jesus and John the Baptist 22Later, Jesus and his disciples went to Judea, where he stayed with them for a while and was baptizing people. 23John had not yet been put in jail. He was at Aenon near Salim, where there was a lot of water, and people were coming there for John to baptize them. 25John's followers got into an argument with a Jewish man about a ceremony of washing. 26They went to John and said, Rabbi, you spoke about a man when you were with him east of the Jordan. He is now baptizing people, and everyone is going to him. 27John replied: No one can do anything unless God in heaven allows it. 28Surely you remember how I told you that I am not the Messiah. I am only the one sent ahead of him. 29At a wedding the groom is the one who gets married. The best man is glad just to be there and to hear the groom's voice. That's why I am so glad. 30Jesus must become more important, while I become less important. The one who comes from heaven John continued: 31God's Son comes from heaven and is above all others. Everyone who comes from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks about earthly things. The one who comes from heaven is above all others. 32He speaks about what he has seen and heard, and yet no one believes him. 33But everyone who does believe him has shown that God is truthful. 34The Son was sent to speak God's message, and he has been given the full power of God's Spirit. 35The Father loves the Son and has given him everything. 36Everyone who has faith in the Son has eternal life. But no one who rejects him will ever share in that life, and God will be angry with them for ever.
1The kingdom of heaven is like what happened one night when ten girls took their oil lamps and went to a wedding to meet the groom. 2Five of the girls were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps, but no extra oil. 4The ones who were wise took along extra oil for their lamps. 5The groom was late arriving, and the girls became drowsy and fell asleep. 6Then in the middle of the night someone shouted, Here's the groom! Come to meet him! 7When the girls got up and started getting their lamps ready, 8the foolish ones said to the others, Let us have some of your oil! Our lamps are going out. 9The girls who were wise answered, There's not enough oil for all of us! Go and buy some for yourselves. 10While the foolish girls were on their way to get some oil, the groom arrived. The girls who were ready went into the wedding, and the doors were closed. 11Later the other girls returned and shouted, Sir, sir! Open the door for us! 12But the groom replied, I don't even know you! 13So, my disciples, always be ready! You don't know the day or the time when all this will happen. A story about three servants (Luke 19.11-27) Jesus continued: 14The kingdom is also like what happened when a man went away and put his three servants in charge of all he owned. 15The man knew what each servant could do. So he handed five thousand coins to the first servant, two thousand to the second, and one thousand to the third. Then he left the country. 16As soon as the man had gone, the servant with the five thousand coins used them to earn five thousand more. 17The servant who had two thousand coins did the same with his money and earned two thousand more. 18But the servant with one thousand coins dug a hole and hid his master's money in the ground. 19Some time later the master of those servants returned. He called them in and asked what they had done with his money. 20The servant who had been given five thousand coins brought them in with the five thousand that he had earned. He said, Sir, you gave me five thousand coins, and I have earned five thousand more. 21Wonderful! his master replied. You are a good and faithful servant. I left you in charge of only a little, but now I will put you in charge of much more. Come and share in my happiness! 22Next, the servant who had been given two thousand coins came in and said, Sir, you gave me two thousand coins, and I have earned two thousand more. 23Wonderful! his master replied. You are a good and faithful servant. I left you in charge of only a little, but now I will put you in charge of much more. Come and share in my happiness! 24The servant who had been given one thousand coins then came in and said, Sir, I know that you are hard to get along with. You harvest what you don't plant and gather crops where you haven't scattered seed. 25I was frightened and went out and hid your money in the ground. Here is every single coin! 26The master of the servant told him, You are lazy and good-for-nothing! You know that I harvest what I don't plant and gather crops where I haven't scattered seed. 27You could have at least put my money in the bank, so that I could have earned interest on it. 28Then the master said, Now your money will be taken away and given to the servant with ten thousand coins! 29Everyone who has something will be given more, and they will have more than enough. But everything will be taken from those who don't have anything. 30You are a worthless servant, and you will be thrown out into the dark where people will cry and grit their teeth in pain. The final judgment Jesus continued: 31When the Son of Man comes in his glory with all his angels, he will sit on his royal throne. 32The people of all nations will be brought before him, and he will separate them, as shepherds separate their sheep from their goats. 33He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34Then the king will say to those on his right, My father has blessed you! Come and receive the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world was created. 35When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat, and when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was a stranger, you welcomed me, 36and when I was naked, you gave me clothes to wear. When I was sick, you took care of me, and when I was in jail, you visited me. 37Then the ones who pleased the Lord will ask, When did we give you something to eat or drink? 38When did we welcome you as a stranger or give you clothes to wear 39or visit you while you were sick or in jail? 40The king will answer, Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me. 41Then the king will say to those on his left, Get away from me! You are under God's curse. Go into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels! 42I was hungry, but you did not give me anything to eat, and I was thirsty, but you did not give me anything to drink. 43I was a stranger, but you did not welcome me, and I was naked, but you did not give me any clothes to wear. I was sick and in jail, but you did not take care of me. 44Then the people will ask, Lord, when did we fail to help you when you were hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in jail? 45The king will say to them, Whenever you failed to help any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you failed to do it for me. 46Then Jesus said, Those people will be punished for ever. But the ones who pleased God will have eternal life. The plot to kill Jesus (Mark 14.1,2; Luke 22.1,2; John 11.45-53)
1If you are a slave, you should respect and honour your owner. This will keep people from saying bad things about God and about our teaching. 2If any of you slaves have owners who are followers, you should show them respect. After all, they are also followers of Christ, and he loves them. So you should serve and help them the best you can. False teaching and true wealth These are the things you must teach and tell the people to do. 3Anyone who teaches something different disagrees with the correct and godly teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ. 4Those people who disagree are proud of themselves, but they don't really know a thing. Their minds are sick, and they like to argue over words. They cause jealousy, disagreements, unkind words, evil suspicions, 5and nasty quarrels. They have wicked minds and have missed out on the truth. These people think religion is supposed to make you rich. 6And religion does make your life rich, by making you content with what you have. 7We didn't bring anything into this world, and we won't take anything with us when we leave. 8So we should be satisfied just to have food and clothes. 9People who want to be rich fall into all sorts of temptations and traps. They are caught by foolish and harmful desires that drag them down and destroy them. 10The love of money causes all kinds of trouble. Some people want money so much that they have given up their faith and caused themselves a lot of pain. Fighting a good fight for the faith 11Timothy, you belong to God, so keep away from all these evil things. Try your best to please God and to be like him. Be faithful, loving, dependable, and gentle. 12Fight a good fight for the faith and claim eternal life. God offered it to you when you clearly told about your faith, while so many people listened. 13Now I ask you to make a promise. Make it in the presence of God, who gives life to all, and in the presence of Jesus Christ, who openly told Pontius Pilate about his faith. 14Promise to obey completely and fully all that you have been told until our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 15The glorious God is the only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords. At the time that God has already decided, he will send Jesus Christ back again. 16Only God lives for ever! And he lives in light that no one can come near. No human has ever seen God or ever can see him. God will be honoured, and his power will last for ever. Amen. 17Warn the rich people of this world not to be proud or to trust in wealth that is easily lost. Tell them to have faith in God, who is rich and blesses us with everything we need to enjoy life. 18Instruct them to do as many good deeds as they can and to help everyone. Remind the rich to be generous and share what they have. 19This will lay a solid foundation for the future, so that they will know what true life is like. 20Timothy, guard what God has placed in your care! Don't pay any attention to that godless and stupid talk that sounds clever but really isn't. 21Some people have even lost their faith by believing this talk. I pray that the Lord will be kind to all of you!
1People of Israel, you must celebrate Passover in the month of Abib, because one night in that month years ago, the Lord your God rescued you from Egypt. 2The Passover sacrifice must be a cow, a sheep, or a goat, and you must offer it at the place where the Lord chooses to be worshipped. 3Eat all the meat of the Passover sacrifice that same night. But don't serve bread made with yeast at the Passover meal. Serve the same kind of thin bread that you ate when you were slaves suffering in Egypt and when you had to leave Egypt quickly. As long as you live, this thin bread will remind you of the day you left Egypt. For seven days following Passover, don't make any bread with yeast. In fact, there should be no yeast anywhere in Israel. 5Don't offer the Passover sacrifice in any town where you happen to live. 6It must be offered at the place where the Lord chooses to be worshipped. Kill the sacrifice at sunset, the time of day when you left Egypt. 7Then cook it and eat it there at the place of worship, returning to your tents the next morning. 8Eat thin bread for the next six days. Then on the seventh day, don't do any work. Instead, come together and worship the Lord . The Harvest Festival (Exodus 34.22; Leviticus 23.15-21) Moses said to Israel: 9Seven weeks after you start your grain harvest, 10go to the place where the Lord chooses to be worshipped and celebrate the Harvest Festival in honour of the Lord your God. Bring him an offering as large as you can afford, depending on how big a harvest he has given you. Be sure to take along your sons and daughters and all your servants. Also invite the poor, including Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows. 12Remember that you used to be slaves in Egypt, so obey these laws. The Festival of Shelters (Leviticus 23.33-43; Numbers 29.12-38) Moses said to Israel: 13After you have finished the grain harvest and the grape harvest, take your sons and daughters and all your servants to the place where the Lord chooses to be worshipped. Celebrate the Festival of Shelters for seven days. Also invite the poor, including Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows. The Lord will give you big harvests and make you successful in everything you do. You will be completely happy, so celebrate this festival in honour of the Lord your God. Three festivals at the place of worship (Exodus 23.14-17) Moses said: 16Each year there are three festivals when all Israelite men must go to the place where the Lord chooses to be worshipped. These are the Festival of Thin Bread, the Harvest Festival, and the Festival of Shelters. And don't forget to take along a gift for the Lord . 17The bigger the harvest the Lord gives you, the bigger your gift should be. Treat everyone with justice Moses said to Israel: 18After you are settled in the towns that you will receive from the Lord your God, the people in each town must appoint judges and other officers. Those of you who become judges must be completely fair when you make legal decisions, even if someone important is involved. Don't take bribes to give unfair decisions. Bribes keep people who are wise from seeing the truth and turn honest people into liars. 20People of Israel, if you want to enjoy a long and successful life, make sure that everyone is treated with justice in the land the Lord is giving you. Don't set up sacred poles or stones Moses said to Israel: 21When you build the altar for offering sacrifices to the Lord your God, don't set up a sacred pole for the worship of the goddess Asherah. 22And don't set up a sacred stone! The Lord hates these things. Sacrifices that have something wrong with them Moses said to Israel:
1As thousands of people crowded around Jesus and were stepping on each other, he told his disciples: Be sure to guard against the dishonest teaching of the Pharisees! It is their way of fooling people. 2Everything that is hidden will be found out, and every secret will be known. 3Whatever you say in the dark will be heard when it is day. Whatever you whisper in a closed room will be shouted from the housetops. The one to fear (Matthew 10.28-31) Jesus continued: 4My friends, don't be afraid of people. They can kill you, but after that, there is nothing else they can do. 5God is the one you must fear. Not only can he take your life, but he can throw you into hell. God is certainly the one you should fear! 6Five sparrows are sold for just two pennies, but God doesn't forget a single one of them. 7Even the hairs on your head are counted. So don't be afraid! You are worth much more than many sparrows. Telling others about Christ (Matthew 10.32,33; 12.32; 10.19,20) Jesus continued: 8If you tell others that you belong to me, the Son of Man will tell God's angels that you are my followers. 9But if you reject me, you will be rejected in front of them. 10If you speak against the Son of Man, you can be forgiven, but if you speak against the Holy Spirit, you cannot be forgiven. 11When you are brought to trial in the Jewish meeting places or before rulers or officials, don't worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say. 12At that time the Holy Spirit will tell you what to say. A rich fool 13A man in a crowd said to Jesus, Teacher, tell my brother to give me my share of what our father left us when he died. 14Jesus answered, Who gave me the right to settle arguments between you and your brother? 15Then he said to the crowd, Don't be greedy! Owning a lot of things won't make your life safe. 16So Jesus told them this story: A rich man's farm produced a big crop, 17and he said to himself, What can I do? I don't have a place large enough to store everything. 18Later, he said, Now I know what I'll do. I'll tear down my barns and build bigger ones, where I can store all my grain and other goods. 19Then I'll say to myself, You have stored up enough good things to last for years to come. Live it up! Eat, drink, and enjoy yourself. 20But God said to him, You fool! Tonight you will die. Then who will get what you have stored up? 21This is what happens to people who store up everything for themselves, but are poor in the sight of God. Worry (Matthew 6.25-34) 22Jesus said to his disciples: I tell you not to worry about your life! Don't worry about having something to eat or wear. 23Life is more than food or clothing. 24Look at the crows! They don't plant or harvest, and they don't have storehouses or barns. But God takes care of them. You are much more important than any birds. 25Can worry make you live longer? 26If you don't have power over small things, why worry about everything else? 27Look how the wild flowers grow! They don't work hard to make their clothes. But I tell you that Solomon with all his wealth wasn't as well clothed as one of these flowers. 28God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown into a fire tomorrow. Won't he do even more for you? You have such little faith! 29Don't keep worrying about having something to eat or drink. 30Only people who don't know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father knows what you need. 31But put God's work first, and these things will be yours as well. Treasures in heaven (Matthew 6.19-21) Jesus continued: 32My little group of disciples, don't be afraid! Your Father wants to give you the kingdom. 33Sell what you have and give the money to the poor. Make yourselves money bags that never wear out. Make sure your treasure is safe in heaven, where thieves cannot steal it and moths cannot destroy it. 34Your heart will always be where your treasure is. Faithful and unfaithful servants (Matthew 24.45-51) Jesus continued: 35Be ready and keep your lamps burning 36just like those servants who wait up for their master to return from a wedding feast. As soon as he comes and knocks, they open the door for him. 37Servants are fortunate if their master finds them awake and ready when he comes! I promise you that he will get ready and make his servants sit down so that he can serve them. 38Those servants are really fortunate if their master finds them ready, even though he comes late at night or early in the morning. 39You would not let a thief break into your home, if you knew when the thief was coming. 40So always be ready! You don't know when the Son of Man will come. 41Peter asked Jesus, Did you say this just for us or for everyone? 42The Lord answered: Who are faithful and wise servants? Who are the ones the master will put in charge of giving the other servants their food supplies at the proper time? 43Servants are fortunate if their master comes and finds them doing their job. 44A servant who is always faithful will be put in charge of everything the master owns. 45But suppose one of the servants thinks that the master won't return until late. Suppose that servant starts beating all the other servants and eats and drinks and gets drunk. 46If that happens, the master will come on a day and at a time when the servant least expects him. That servant will then be punished and thrown out with the servants who cannot be trusted. 47If servants are not ready or willing to do what their master wants them to do, they will be beaten hard. 48But servants who don't know what their master wants them to do will not be beaten so hard for doing wrong. If God has been generous with you, he will expect you to serve him well. But if he has been more than generous, he will expect you to serve him even better. Not peace, but trouble (Matthew 10.34-36) Jesus continued: 49I came to set fire to the earth, and I wish it were already on fire! 50I am going to be put to a hard test. And I will have to suffer a lot of pain until it is over. 51Do you think that I came to bring peace to earth? No indeed! I came to make people choose sides. 52A family of five will be divided, with two of them against the other three. 53Fathers and sons will turn against one another, and mothers and daughters will do the same. Mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law will also turn against each other. Knowing what to do (Matthew 16.2,3; 5.25,26) 54Jesus said to all the people: As soon as you see a cloud coming up in the west, you say, It's going to rain, and it does. 55When the south wind blows, you say, It's going to get hot, and it does. 56Are you trying to fool someone? You can predict the weather by looking at the earth and sky, but you don't really know what's going on right now. 57Why don't you understand the right thing to do? 58When someone accuses you of something, try to settle things before you are taken to court. If you don't, you will be dragged before the judge. Then the judge will hand you over to the jailer, and you will be locked up. 59You won't get out until you have paid the last penny you owe. Turn back to God