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September 21: Song of Solomon 1–3; 2 Corinthians 12


        Song of Solomon 1–3


          Song of Solomon 1–3 (Listen)

1 The Song of Songs, which is Solomon's.
The Bride Confesses Her Love

2   Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!  For your love is better than wine;3     your anointing oils are fragrant;  your name is oil poured out;    therefore virgins love you.4   Draw me after you; let us run.    The king has brought me into his chambers.

  We will exult and rejoice in you;    we will extol your love more than wine;    rightly do they love you.

5   I am very dark, but lovely,    O daughters of Jerusalem,  like the tents of Kedar,    like the curtains of Solomon.6   Do not gaze at me because I am dark,    because the sun has looked upon me.  My mother's sons were angry with me;    they made me keeper of the vineyards,    but my own vineyard I have not kept!7   Tell me, you whom my soul loves,    where you pasture your flock,    where you make it lie down at noon;  for why should I be like one who veils herself    beside the flocks of your companions?
Solomon and His Bride Delight in Each Other

8   If you do not know,    O most beautiful among women,  follow in the tracks of the flock,    and pasture your young goats    beside the shepherds' tents.

9   I compare you, my love,    to a mare among Pharaoh's chariots.10   Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments,    your neck with strings of jewels.

11   We will make for you2 ornaments of gold,    studded with silver.

12   While the king was on his couch,    my nard gave forth its fragrance.13   My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh    that lies between my breasts.14   My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms    in the vineyards of Engedi.

15   Behold, you are beautiful, my love;    behold, you are beautiful;    your eyes are doves.

16   Behold, you are beautiful, my beloved, truly delightful.  Our couch is green;17     the beams of our house are cedar;    our rafters are pine.

2   I am a rose3 of Sharon,    a lily of the valleys.

2   As a lily among brambles,    so is my love among the young women.

3   As an apple tree among the trees of the forest,    so is my beloved among the young men.  With great delight I sat in his shadow,    and his fruit was sweet to my taste.4   He brought me to the banqueting house,4    and his banner over me was love.5   Sustain me with raisins;    refresh me with apples,    for I am sick with love.6   His left hand is under my head,    and his right hand embraces me!7   I adjure you,5 O daughters of Jerusalem,    by the gazelles or the does of the field,  that you not stir up or awaken love    until it pleases.
The Bride Adores Her Beloved

8   The voice of my beloved!    Behold, he comes,  leaping over the mountains,    bounding over the hills.9   My beloved is like a gazelle    or a young stag.  Behold, there he stands    behind our wall,  gazing through the windows,    looking through the lattice.10   My beloved speaks and says to me:  “Arise, my love, my beautiful one,    and come away,11   for behold, the winter is past;    the rain is over and gone.12   The flowers appear on the earth,    the time of singing6 has come,  and the voice of the turtledove    is heard in our land.13   The fig tree ripens its figs,    and the vines are in blossom;    they give forth fragrance.  Arise, my love, my beautiful one,    and come away.14   O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,    in the crannies of the cliff,  let me see your face,    let me hear your voice,  for your voice is sweet,    and your face is lovely.15   Catch the foxes7 for us,    the little foxes  that spoil the vineyards,    for our vineyards are in blossom.”

16   My beloved is mine, and I am his;    he grazes8 among the lilies.17   Until the day breathes    and the shadows flee,  turn, my beloved, be like a gazelle    or a young stag on cleft mountains.9
The Bride's Dream

3   On my bed by night  I sought him whom my soul loves;    I sought him, but found him not.2   I will rise now and go about the city,    in the streets and in the squares;  I will seek him whom my soul loves.    I sought him, but found him not.3   The watchmen found me    as they went about in the city.  “Have you seen him whom my soul loves?”4   Scarcely had I passed them    when I found him whom my soul loves.  I held him, and would not let him go    until I had brought him into my mother's house,    and into the chamber of her who conceived me.5   I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,    by the gazelles or the does of the field,  that you not stir up or awaken love    until it pleases.
Solomon Arrives for the Wedding

6   What is that coming up from the wilderness    like columns of smoke,  perfumed with myrrh and frankincense,    with all the fragrant powders of a merchant?7   Behold, it is the litter10 of Solomon!  Around it are sixty mighty men,    some of the mighty men of Israel,8   all of them wearing swords    and expert in war,  each with his sword at his thigh,    against terror by night.9   King Solomon made himself a carriage11    from the wood of Lebanon.10   He made its posts of silver,    its back of gold, its seat of purple;  its interior was inlaid with love    by the daughters of Jerusalem.11   Go out, O daughters of Zion,    and look upon King Solomon,  with the crown with which his mother crowned him    on the day of his wedding,    on the day of the gladness of his heart.

[1] 1:2 The translators have added speaker identifications based on the gender and number of the Hebrew words

[2] 1:11 The Hebrew for you is feminine singular

[3] 2:1 Probably a bulb, such as a crocus, asphodel, or narcissus

[4] 2:4 Hebrew the house of wine

[5] 2:7 That is, I put you on oath; so throughout the Song

[6] 2:12 Or pruning

[7] 2:15 Or jackals

[8] 2:16 Or he pastures his flock

[9] 2:17 Or mountains of Bether

[10] 3:7 That is, the couch on which servants carry a king

[11] 3:9 Or sedan chair


        2 Corinthians 12


          2 Corinthians 12 (Listen)
Paul's Visions and His Thorn
12 I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. 3 And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—4 and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. 5 On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses—6 though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. 7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations,1 a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Concern for the Corinthian Church
11 I have been a fool! You forced me to it, for I ought to have been commended by you. For I was not at all inferior to these super-apostles, even though I am nothing. 12 The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works. 13 For in what were you less favored than the rest of the churches, except that I myself did not burden you? Forgive me this wrong!
14 Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 15 I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less? 16 But granting that I myself did not burden you, I was crafty, you say, and got the better of you by deceit. 17 Did I take advantage of you through any of those whom I sent to you? 18 I urged Titus to go, and sent the brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not act in the same spirit? Did we not take the same steps?
19 Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? It is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ, and all for your upbuilding, beloved. 20 For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. 21 I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced.

[1] 12:7 Or hears from me, even because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations. So to keep me from becoming conceited


Source: September 21: Song of Solomon 1–3; 2 Corinthians 12
September 20: Ecclesiastes 10–12; 2 Corinthians 11:16–33


        Ecclesiastes 10–12


          Ecclesiastes 10–12 (Listen)

10   Dead flies make the perfumer's ointment give off a stench;    so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.2   A wise man's heart inclines him to the right,    but a fool's heart to the left.3   Even when the fool walks on the road, he lacks sense,    and he says to everyone that he is a fool.4   If the anger of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your place,    for calmness1 will lay great offenses to rest.
5 There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, as it were an error proceeding from the ruler: 6 folly is set in many high places, and the rich sit in a low place. 7 I have seen slaves on horses, and princes walking on the ground like slaves.

8   He who digs a pit will fall into it,    and a serpent will bite him who breaks through a wall.9   He who quarries stones is hurt by them,    and he who splits logs is endangered by them.10   If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge,    he must use more strength,    but wisdom helps one to succeed.211   If the serpent bites before it is charmed,    there is no advantage to the charmer.

12   The words of a wise man's mouth win him favor,3    but the lips of a fool consume him.13   The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness,    and the end of his talk is evil madness.14   A fool multiplies words,    though no man knows what is to be,    and who can tell him what will be after him?15   The toil of a fool wearies him,    for he does not know the way to the city.

16   Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child,    and your princes feast in the morning!17   Happy are you, O land, when your king is the son of the nobility,    and your princes feast at the proper time,    for strength, and not for drunkenness!18   Through sloth the roof sinks in,    and through indolence the house leaks.19   Bread is made for laughter,    and wine gladdens life,    and money answers everything.20   Even in your thoughts, do not curse the king,    nor in your bedroom curse the rich,  for a bird of the air will carry your voice,    or some winged creature tell the matter.
Cast Your Bread upon the Waters

11   Cast your bread upon the waters,    for you will find it after many days.2   Give a portion to seven, or even to eight,    for you know not what disaster may happen on earth.3   If the clouds are full of rain,    they empty themselves on the earth,  and if a tree falls to the south or to the north,    in the place where the tree falls, there it will lie.4   He who observes the wind will not sow,    and he who regards the clouds will not reap.
5 As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb4 of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.
6 In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.
7 Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun.
8 So if a person lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember that the days of darkness will be many. All that comes is vanity.5
9 Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.
10 Remove vexation from your heart, and put away pain6 from your body, for youth and the dawn of life are vanity.
Remember Your Creator in Your Youth
12 Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”; 2 before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain, 3 in the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those who look through the windows are dimmed, 4 and the doors on the street are shut—when the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low—5 they are afraid also of what is high, and terrors are in the way; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along,7 and desire fails, because man is going to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets—6 before the silver cord is snapped, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, 7 and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. 8 Vanity8 of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity.
Fear God and Keep His Commandments
9 Besides being wise, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs with great care. 10 The Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth.
11 The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. 12 My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.9 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, with10 every secret thing, whether good or evil.

[1] 10:4 Hebrew healing

[2] 10:10 Or wisdom is an advantage for success

[3] 10:12 Or are gracious

[4] 11:5 Some Hebrew manuscripts, Targum; most Hebrew manuscripts As you do not know the way of the wind, or how the bones grow in the womb

[5] 11:8 The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath”; also verse 10 (see note on 1:2)

[6] 11:10 Or evil

[7] 12:5 Or is a burden

[8] 12:8 The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath” (three times in this verse); see note on 1:2

[9] 12:13 Or the duty of all mankind

[10] 12:14 Or into the judgment on


        2 Corinthians 11:16–33


          2 Corinthians 11:16–33 (Listen)
Paul's Sufferings as an Apostle
16 I repeat, let no one think me foolish. But even if you do, accept me as a fool, so that I too may boast a little. 17 What I am saying with this boastful confidence, I say not as the Lord would1 but as a fool. 18 Since many boast according to the flesh, I too will boast. 19 For you gladly bear with fools, being wise yourselves! 20 For you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face. 21 To my shame, I must say, we were too weak for that!
But whatever anyone else dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast of that. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food,2 in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?
30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. 32 At Damascus, the governor under King Aretas was guarding the city of Damascus in order to seize me, 33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped his hands.

[1] 11:17 Greek not according to the Lord

[2] 11:27 Or often in fasting


Source: September 20: Ecclesiastes 10–12; 2 Corinthians 11:16–33
September 19: Ecclesiastes 7–9; 2 Corinthians 11:1–15


        Ecclesiastes 7–9


          Ecclesiastes 7–9 (Listen)
The Contrast of Wisdom and Folly

7   A good name is better than precious ointment,    and the day of death than the day of birth.2   It is better to go to the house of mourning    than to go to the house of feasting,  for this is the end of all mankind,    and the living will lay it to heart.3   Sorrow is better than laughter,    for by sadness of face the heart is made glad.4   The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,    but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.5   It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise    than to hear the song of fools.6   For as the crackling of thorns under a pot,    so is the laughter of the fools;    this also is vanity.17   Surely oppression drives the wise into madness,    and a bribe corrupts the heart.8   Better is the end of a thing than its beginning,    and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.9   Be not quick in your spirit to become angry,    for anger lodges in the heart2 of fools.10   Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?”    For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.11   Wisdom is good with an inheritance,    an advantage to those who see the sun.12   For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money,    and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it.13   Consider the work of God:    who can make straight what he has made crooked?
14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.
15 In my vain3 life I have seen everything. There is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his evildoing. 16 Be not overly righteous, and do not make yourself too wise. Why should you destroy yourself? 17 Be not overly wicked, neither be a fool. Why should you die before your time? 18 It is good that you should take hold of this, and from that withhold not your hand, for the one who fears God shall come out from both of them.
19 Wisdom gives strength to the wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city.
20 Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.
21 Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. 22 Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others.
23 All this I have tested by wisdom. I said, “I will be wise,” but it was far from me. 24 That which has been is far off, and deep, very deep; who can find it out?
25 I turned my heart to know and to search out and to seek wisdom and the scheme of things, and to know the wickedness of folly and the foolishness that is madness. 26 And I find something more bitter than death: the woman whose heart is snares and nets, and whose hands are fetters. He who pleases God escapes her, but the sinner is taken by her. 27 Behold, this is what I found, says the Preacher, while adding one thing to another to find the scheme of things—28 which my soul has sought repeatedly, but I have not found. One man among a thousand I found, but a woman among all these I have not found. 29 See, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.
Keep the King's Command

8   Who is like the wise?    And who knows the interpretation of a thing?  A man's wisdom makes his face shine,    and the hardness of his face is changed.
2 I say:4 Keep the king's command, because of God's oath to him.5 3 Be not hasty to go from his presence. Do not take your stand in an evil cause, for he does whatever he pleases. 4 For the word of the king is supreme, and who may say to him, “What are you doing?” 5 Whoever keeps a command will know no evil thing, and the wise heart will know the proper time and the just way.6 6 For there is a time and a way for everything, although man's trouble7 lies heavy on him. 7 For he does not know what is to be, for who can tell him how it will be? 8 No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death. There is no discharge from war, nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it. 9 All this I observed while applying my heart to all that is done under the sun, when man had power over man to his hurt.
Those Who Fear God Will Do Well
10 Then I saw the wicked buried. They used to go in and out of the holy place and were praised8 in the city where they had done such things. This also is vanity.9 11 Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil. 12 Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God, because they fear before him. 13 But it will not be well with the wicked, neither will he prolong his days like a shadow, because he does not fear before God.
Man Cannot Know God's Ways
14 There is a vanity that takes place on earth, that there are righteous people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked, and there are wicked people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity. 15 And I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun.
16 When I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done on earth, how neither day nor night do one's eyes see sleep, 17 then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find it out.
Death Comes to All
9 But all this I laid to heart, examining it all, how the righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the hand of God. Whether it is love or hate, man does not know; both are before him. 2 It is the same for all, since the same event happens to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil,10 to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As the good one is, so is the sinner, and he who swears is as he who shuns an oath. 3 This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that the same event happens to all. Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. 4 But he who is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. 5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and forever they have no more share in all that is done under the sun.
Enjoy Life with the One You Love
7 Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.
8 Let your garments be always white. Let not oil be lacking on your head.
9 Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain11 life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might,12 for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.
Wisdom Better Than Folly
11 Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all. 12 For man does not know his time. Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and like birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of man are snared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them.
13 I have also seen this example of wisdom under the sun, and it seemed great to me. 14 There was a little city with few men in it, and a great king came against it and besieged it, building great siegeworks against it. 15 But there was found in it a poor, wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that poor man. 16 But I say that wisdom is better than might, though the poor man's wisdom is despised and his words are not heard.
17 The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools. 18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.

[1] 7:6 The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath” (see note on 1:2)

[2] 7:9 Hebrew in the bosom

[3] 7:15 The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath” (see note on 1:2)

[4] 8:2 Hebrew lacks say

[5] 8:2 Or because of your oath to God

[6] 8:5 Or and judgment

[7] 8:6 Or evil

[8] 8:10 Some Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Vulgate; most Hebrew manuscripts forgotten

[9] 8:10 The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath”; also twice in verse 14 (see note on 1:2)

[10] 9:2 Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate; Hebrew lacks and the evil

[11] 9:9 The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath” (see note on 1:2)

[12] 9:10 Or finds to do with your might, do it


        2 Corinthians 11:1–15


          2 Corinthians 11:1–15 (Listen)
Paul and the False Apostles
11 I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! 2 For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. 3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. 5 Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles. 6 Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.
7 Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached God's gospel to you free of charge? 8 I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you. 9 And when I was with you and was in need, I did not burden anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied my need. So I refrained and will refrain from burdening you in any way. 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine will not be silenced in the regions of Achaia. 11 And why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!
12 And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

Source: September 19: Ecclesiastes 7–9; 2 Corinthians 11:1–15
Devotions & Studies / September 18: Ecclesiastes 4–6; 2 Corinthians 10
« Last post by |CoR| Cool_Hand_Luke on September 19, 2018, 12:23:52 AM »
September 18: Ecclesiastes 4–6; 2 Corinthians 10


        Ecclesiastes 4–6


          Ecclesiastes 4–6 (Listen)
Evil Under the Sun
4 Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them. 2 And I thought the dead who are already dead more fortunate than the living who are still alive. 3 But better than both is he who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.
4 Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man's envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity1 and a striving after wind.
5 The fool folds his hands and eats his own flesh.
6 Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.
7 Again, I saw vanity under the sun: 8 one person who has no other, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, “For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?” This also is vanity and an unhappy business.
9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
13 Better was a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who no longer knew how to take advice. 14 For he went from prison to the throne, though in his own kingdom he had been born poor. 15 I saw all the living who move about under the sun, along with that2 youth who was to stand in the king's3 place. 16 There was no end of all the people, all of whom he led. Yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and a striving after wind.
Fear God
5 Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. 2  Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. 3 For a dream comes with much business, and a fool's voice with many words.
4 When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. 5 It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. 6 Let not your mouth lead you4 into sin, and do not say before the messenger5 that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands? 7 For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity;6 but7 God is the one you must fear.
The Vanity of Wealth and Honor
8 If you see in a province the oppression of the poor and the violation of justice and righteousness, do not be amazed at the matter, for the high official is watched by a higher, and there are yet higher ones over them. 9 But this is gain for a land in every way: a king committed to cultivated fields.8
10 He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. 11 When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes? 12 Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep.
13 There is a grievous evil that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owner to his hurt, 14 and those riches were lost in a bad venture. And he is father of a son, but he has nothing in his hand. 15 As he came from his mother's womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand. 16 This also is a grievous evil: just as he came, so shall he go, and what gain is there to him who toils for the wind? 17 Moreover, all his days he eats in darkness in much vexation and sickness and anger.
18 Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment9 in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. 19 Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God. 20 For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.
6 There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy on mankind: 2 a man to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing of all that he desires, yet God does not give him power to enjoy them, but a stranger enjoys them. This is vanity;10 it is a grievous evil. 3 If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with life's good things, and he also has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. 4 For it comes in vanity and goes in darkness, and in darkness its name is covered. 5 Moreover, it has not seen the sun or known anything, yet it finds rest rather than he. 6 Even though he should live a thousand years twice over, yet enjoy11 no good—do not all go to the one place?
7 All the toil of man is for his mouth, yet his appetite is not satisfied.12 8 For what advantage has the wise man over the fool? And what does the poor man have who knows how to conduct himself before the living? 9 Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the appetite: this also is vanity and a striving after wind.
10 Whatever has come to be has already been named, and it is known what man is, and that he is not able to dispute with one stronger than he. 11 The more words, the more vanity, and what is the advantage to man? 12 For who knows what is good for man while he lives the few days of his vain13 life, which he passes like a shadow? For who can tell man what will be after him under the sun?

[1] 4:4 The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath”; also verses 7, 8, 16 (see note on 1:2)

[2] 4:15 Hebrew the second

[3] 4:15 Hebrew his

[4] 5:6 Hebrew your flesh

[5] 5:6 Or angel

[6] 5:7 The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath”; also verse 10 (see note on 1:2)

[7] 5:7 Or For when dreams and vanities increase, words also grow many; but

[8] 5:9 The meaning of the Hebrew verse is uncertain

[9] 5:18 Or and see good

[10] 6:2 The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath”; also verses 4, 9, 11 (see note on 1:2)

[11] 6:6 Or see

[12] 6:7 Hebrew filled

[13] 6:12 The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath” (see note on 1:2)


        2 Corinthians 10


          2 Corinthians 10 (Listen)
Paul Defends His Ministry
10 I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!—2 I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
7 Look at what is before your eyes. If anyone is confident that he is Christ's, let him remind himself that just as he is Christ's, so also are we. 8 For even if I boast a little too much of our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be ashamed. 9 I do not want to appear to be frightening you with my letters. 10 For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account.” 11 Let such a person understand that what we say by letter when absent, we do when present. 12 Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.
13 But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even to you. 14 For we are not overextending ourselves, as though we did not reach you. For we were the first to come all the way to you with the gospel of Christ. 15 We do not boast beyond limit in the labors of others. But our hope is that as your faith increases, our area of influence among you may be greatly enlarged, 16 so that we may preach the gospel in lands beyond you, without boasting of work already done in another's area of influence. 17 “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 18 For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.

Source: September 18: Ecclesiastes 4–6; 2 Corinthians 10
Devotions & Studies / September 17: Ecclesiastes 1–3; 2 Corinthians 9
« Last post by |CoR| Cool_Hand_Luke on September 18, 2018, 06:20:01 AM »
September 17: Ecclesiastes 1–3; 2 Corinthians 9


        Ecclesiastes 1–3


          Ecclesiastes 1–3 (Listen)
All Is Vanity
1 The words of the Preacher,1 the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

2   Vanity2 of vanities, says the Preacher,    vanity of vanities! All is vanity.3   What does man gain by all the toil    at which he toils under the sun?4   A generation goes, and a generation comes,    but the earth remains forever.5   The sun rises, and the sun goes down,    and hastens3 to the place where it rises.6   The wind blows to the south    and goes around to the north;  around and around goes the wind,    and on its circuits the wind returns.7   All streams run to the sea,    but the sea is not full;  to the place where the streams flow,    there they flow again.8   All things are full of weariness;    a man cannot utter it;  the eye is not satisfied with seeing,    nor the ear filled with hearing.9   What has been is what will be,    and what has been done is what will be done,    and there is nothing new under the sun.10   Is there a thing of which it is said,    “See, this is new”?  It has been already    in the ages before us.11   There is no remembrance of former things,4    nor will there be any remembrance  of later things5 yet to be    among those who come after.
The Vanity of Wisdom
12 I the Preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I applied my heart6 to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 14 I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity7 and a striving after wind.8

15   What is crooked cannot be made straight,    and what is lacking cannot be counted.
16 I said in my heart, “I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me, and my heart has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 And I applied my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a striving after wind.

18   For in much wisdom is much vexation,    and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.
The Vanity of Self-Indulgence
2 I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But behold, this also was vanity.9 2 I said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, “What use is it?” 3 I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine—my heart still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life. 4 I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. 5 I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. 6 I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. 7 I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. 8 I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines,10 the delight of the sons of man.
9 So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. 10 And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. 11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.
The Vanity of Living Wisely
12 So I turned to consider wisdom and madness and folly. For what can the man do who comes after the king? Only what has already been done. 13 Then I saw that there is more gain in wisdom than in folly, as there is more gain in light than in darkness. 14 The wise person has his eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I perceived that the same event happens to all of them. 15 Then I said in my heart, “What happens to the fool will happen to me also. Why then have I been so very wise?” And I said in my heart that this also is vanity. 16 For of the wise as of the fool there is no enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How the wise dies just like the fool! 17 So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind.
The Vanity of Toil
18 I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, 19 and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. 20 So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, 21 because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22 What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? 23 For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity.
24 There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment11 in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, 25 for apart from him12 who can eat or who can have enjoyment? 26 For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.
A Time for Everything
3 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

2   a time to be born, and a time to die;  a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;3   a time to kill, and a time to heal;  a time to break down, and a time to build up;4   a time to weep, and a time to laugh;  a time to mourn, and a time to dance;5   a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;  a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;6   a time to seek, and a time to lose;  a time to keep, and a time to cast away;7   a time to tear, and a time to sew;  a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;8   a time to love, and a time to hate;  a time for war, and a time for peace.
The God-Given Task
9 What gain has the worker from his toil? 10 I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; 13 also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God's gift to man.
14 I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. 15 That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.13
From Dust to Dust
16 Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness. 17 I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work. 18 I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but beasts. 19 For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity.14 20 All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return. 21 Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth? 22 So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot. Who can bring him to see what will be after him?

[1] 1:1 Or Convener, or Collector; Hebrew Qoheleth (so throughout Ecclesiastes)

[2] 1:2 The Hebrew term hebel, translated vanity or vain, refers concretely to a “mist,” “vapor,” or “mere breath,” and metaphorically to something that is fleeting or elusive (with different nuances depending on the context). It appears five times in this verse and in 29 other verses in Ecclesiastes

[3] 1:5 Or and returns panting

[4] 1:11 Or former people

[5] 1:11 Or later people

[6] 1:13 The Hebrew term denotes the center of one's inner life, including mind, will, and emotions

[7] 1:14 The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath” (see note on 1:2)

[8] 1:14 Or a feeding on wind; compare Hosea 12:1 (also in Ecclesiastes 1:17; 2:11, 17, 26; 4:4, 6, 16; 6:9)

[9] 2:1 The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath”; also verses 11, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 26 (see note on 1:2)

[10] 2:8 The meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain

[11] 2:24 Or and make his soul see good

[12] 2:25 Some Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Syriac; most Hebrew manuscripts apart from me

[13] 3:15 Hebrew what has been pursued

[14] 3:19 The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath” (see note on 1:2)


        2 Corinthians 9


          2 Corinthians 9 (Listen)
The Collection for Christians in Jerusalem
9 Now it is superfluous for me to write to you about the ministry for the saints, 2 for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year. And your zeal has stirred up most of them. 3 But I am sending1 the brothers so that our boasting about you may not prove empty in this matter, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be. 4 Otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated—to say nothing of you—for being so confident. 5 So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the gift2 you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction.3
The Cheerful Giver
6 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully4 will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency5 in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9 As it is written,

  “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;    his righteousness endures forever.”
10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13 By their approval of this service, they6 will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14 while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15 Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

[1] 9:3 Or I have sent

[2] 9:5 Greek blessing; twice in this verse

[3] 9:5 Or a gift expecting something in return; Greek greed

[4] 9:6 Greek with blessings; twice in this verse

[5] 9:8 Or all contentment

[6] 9:13 Or you


Source: September 17: Ecclesiastes 1–3; 2 Corinthians 9
Devotions & Studies / September 16: Proverbs 30–31; 2 Corinthians 8
« Last post by |CoR| Cool_Hand_Luke on September 17, 2018, 06:08:51 AM »
September 16: Proverbs 30–31; 2 Corinthians 8


        Proverbs 30–31


          Proverbs 30–31 (Listen)
The Words of Agur
30 The words of Agur son of Jakeh. The oracle.1

  The man declares, I am weary, O God;    I am weary, O God, and worn out.22   Surely I am too stupid to be a man.    I have not the understanding of a man.3   I have not learned wisdom,    nor have I knowledge of the Holy One.4   Who has ascended to heaven and come down?    Who has gathered the wind in his fists?  Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment?    Who has established all the ends of the earth?  What is his name, and what is his son's name?    Surely you know!

5   Every word of God proves true;    he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.6   Do not add to his words,    lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.

7   Two things I ask of you;    deny them not to me before I die:8   Remove far from me falsehood and lying;    give me neither poverty nor riches;    feed me with the food that is needful for me,9   lest I be full and deny you    and say, “Who is the LORD?”  or lest I be poor and steal    and profane the name of my God.

10   Do not slander a servant to his master,    lest he curse you, and you be held guilty.

11   There are those3 who curse their fathers    and do not bless their mothers.12   There are those who are clean in their own eyes    but are not washed of their filth.13   There are those—how lofty are their eyes,    how high their eyelids lift!14   There are those whose teeth are swords,    whose fangs are knives,  to devour the poor from off the earth,    the needy from among mankind.

15   The leech has two daughters:    Give and Give.4  Three things are never satisfied;    four never say, “Enough”:16   Sheol, the barren womb,    the land never satisfied with water,    and the fire that never says, “Enough.”

17   The eye that mocks a father    and scorns to obey a mother  will be picked out by the ravens of the valley    and eaten by the vultures.

18   Three things are too wonderful for me;    four I do not understand:19   the way of an eagle in the sky,    the way of a serpent on a rock,  the way of a ship on the high seas,    and the way of a man with a virgin.

20   This is the way of an adulteress:    she eats and wipes her mouth    and says, “I have done no wrong.”

21   Under three things the earth trembles;    under four it cannot bear up:22   a slave when he becomes king,    and a fool when he is filled with food;23   an unloved woman when she gets a husband,    and a maidservant when she displaces her mistress.

24   Four things on earth are small,    but they are exceedingly wise:25   the ants are a people not strong,    yet they provide their food in the summer;26   the rock badgers are a people not mighty,    yet they make their homes in the cliffs;27   the locusts have no king,    yet all of them march in rank;28   the lizard you can take in your hands,    yet it is in kings' palaces.

29   Three things are stately in their tread;    four are stately in their stride:30   the lion, which is mightiest among beasts    and does not turn back before any;31   the strutting rooster,5 the he-goat,    and a king whose army is with him.6

32   If you have been foolish, exalting yourself,    or if you have been devising evil,    put your hand on your mouth.33   For pressing milk produces curds,    pressing the nose produces blood,    and pressing anger produces strife.
The Words of King Lemuel
31 The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him:

2   What are you doing, my son?7 What are you doing, son of my womb?    What are you doing, son of my vows?3   Do not give your strength to women,    your ways to those who destroy kings.4   It is not for kings, O Lemuel,    it is not for kings to drink wine,    or for rulers to take strong drink,5   lest they drink and forget what has been decreed    and pervert the rights of all the afflicted.6   Give strong drink to the one who is perishing,    and wine to those in bitter distress;87   let them drink and forget their poverty    and remember their misery no more.8   Open your mouth for the mute,    for the rights of all who are destitute.99   Open your mouth, judge righteously,    defend the rights of the poor and needy.
The Woman Who Fears the Lord

10   10 An excellent wife who can find?    She is far more precious than jewels.11   The heart of her husband trusts in her,    and he will have no lack of gain.12   She does him good, and not harm,    all the days of her life.13   She seeks wool and flax,    and works with willing hands.14   She is like the ships of the merchant;    she brings her food from afar.15   She rises while it is yet night    and provides food for her household    and portions for her maidens.16   She considers a field and buys it;    with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.17   She dresses herself11 with strength    and makes her arms strong.18   She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.    Her lamp does not go out at night.19   She puts her hands to the distaff,    and her hands hold the spindle.20   She opens her hand to the poor    and reaches out her hands to the needy.21   She is not afraid of snow for her household,    for all her household are clothed in scarlet.1222   She makes bed coverings for herself;    her clothing is fine linen and purple.23   Her husband is known in the gates    when he sits among the elders of the land.24   She makes linen garments and sells them;    she delivers sashes to the merchant.25   Strength and dignity are her clothing,    and she laughs at the time to come.26   She opens her mouth with wisdom,    and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.27   She looks well to the ways of her household    and does not eat the bread of idleness.28   Her children rise up and call her blessed;    her husband also, and he praises her:29   “Many women have done excellently,    but you surpass them all.”30   Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,    but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.31   Give her of the fruit of her hands,    and let her works praise her in the gates.

[1] 30:1 Or Jakeh, the man of Massa

[2] 30:1 Revocalization; Hebrew The man declares to Ithiel, to Ithiel and Ucal

[3] 30:11 Hebrew There is a generation; also verses 12, 13, 14

[4] 30:15 Or “Give, give,” they cry

[5] 30:31 Or the magpie, or the greyhound; Hebrew girt-of-loins

[6] 30:31 Or against whom there is no rising up

[7] 31:2 Hebrew What, my son?

[8] 31:6 Hebrew those bitter in soul

[9] 31:8 Hebrew are sons of passing away

[10] 31:10 Verses 10–31 are an acrostic poem, each verse beginning with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet

[11] 31:17 Hebrew She girds her loins

[12] 31:21 Or in double thickness


        2 Corinthians 8


          2 Corinthians 8 (Listen)
Encouragement to Give Generously
8 We want you to know, brothers,1 about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 2 for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, 4 begging us earnestly for the favor2 of taking part in the relief of the saints—5 and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. 6 Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. 7 But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you3—see that you excel in this act of grace also.
8 I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. 10 And in this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it. 11 So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have. 12 For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. 13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness 14 your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. 15 As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”
Commendation of Titus
16 But thanks be to God, who put into the heart of Titus the same earnest care I have for you. 17 For he not only accepted our appeal, but being himself very earnest he is going4 to you of his own accord. 18 With him we are sending5 the brother who is famous among all the churches for his preaching of the gospel. 19 And not only that, but he has been appointed by the churches to travel with us as we carry out this act of grace that is being ministered by us, for the glory of the Lord himself and to show our good will. 20 We take this course so that no one should blame us about this generous gift that is being administered by us, 21 for we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord's sight but also in the sight of man. 22 And with them we are sending our brother whom we have often tested and found earnest in many matters, but who is now more earnest than ever because of his great confidence in you. 23 As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker for your benefit. And as for our brothers, they are messengers6 of the churches, the glory of Christ. 24 So give proof before the churches of your love and of our boasting about you to these men.

[1] 8:1 Or brothers and sisters

[2] 8:4 The Greek word charis can mean favor or grace or thanks, depending on the context

[3] 8:7 Some manuscripts in your love for us

[4] 8:17 Or he went

[5] 8:18 Or we sent; also verse 22

[6] 8:23 Greek apostles


Source: September 16: Proverbs 30–31; 2 Corinthians 8
Devotions & Studies / September 15: Proverbs 28–29; 2 Corinthians 7
« Last post by |CoR| Cool_Hand_Luke on September 16, 2018, 12:22:28 AM »
September 15: Proverbs 28–29; 2 Corinthians 7


        Proverbs 28–29


          Proverbs 28–29 (Listen)

28   The wicked flee when no one pursues,    but the righteous are bold as a lion.2   When a land transgresses, it has many rulers,    but with a man of understanding and knowledge,    its stability will long continue.3   A poor man who oppresses the poor    is a beating rain that leaves no food.4   Those who forsake the law praise the wicked,    but those who keep the law strive against them.5   Evil men do not understand justice,    but those who seek the LORD understand it completely.6   Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity    than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.7   The one who keeps the law is a son with understanding,    but a companion of gluttons shames his father.8   Whoever multiplies his wealth by interest and profit1    gathers it for him who is generous to the poor.9   If one turns away his ear from hearing the law,    even his prayer is an abomination.10   Whoever misleads the upright into an evil way    will fall into his own pit,    but the blameless will have a goodly inheritance.11   A rich man is wise in his own eyes,    but a poor man who has understanding will find him out.12   When the righteous triumph, there is great glory,    but when the wicked rise, people hide themselves.13   Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper,    but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.14   Blessed is the one who fears the LORD2 always,    but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.15   Like a roaring lion or a charging bear    is a wicked ruler over a poor people.16   A ruler who lacks understanding is a cruel oppressor,    but he who hates unjust gain will prolong his days.17   If one is burdened with the blood of another,    he will be a fugitive until death;3    let no one help him.18   Whoever walks in integrity will be delivered,    but he who is crooked in his ways will suddenly fall.19   Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread,    but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty.20   A faithful man will abound with blessings,    but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.21   To show partiality is not good,    but for a piece of bread a man will do wrong.22   A stingy man4 hastens after wealth    and does not know that poverty will come upon him.23   Whoever rebukes a man will afterward find more favor    than he who flatters with his tongue.24   Whoever robs his father or his mother    and says, “That is no transgression,”    is a companion to a man who destroys.25   A greedy man stirs up strife,    but the one who trusts in the LORD will be enriched.26   Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool,    but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.27   Whoever gives to the poor will not want,    but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.28   When the wicked rise, people hide themselves,    but when they perish, the righteous increase.29   He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck,    will suddenly be broken beyond healing.2   When the righteous increase, the people rejoice,    but when the wicked rule, the people groan.3   He who loves wisdom makes his father glad,    but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.4   By justice a king builds up the land,    but he who exacts gifts5 tears it down.5   A man who flatters his neighbor    spreads a net for his feet.6   An evil man is ensnared in his transgression,    but a righteous man sings and rejoices.7   A righteous man knows the rights of the poor;    a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.8   Scoffers set a city aflame,    but the wise turn away wrath.9   If a wise man has an argument with a fool,    the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.10   Bloodthirsty men hate one who is blameless    and seek the life of the upright.611   A fool gives full vent to his spirit,    but a wise man quietly holds it back.12   If a ruler listens to falsehood,    all his officials will be wicked.13   The poor man and the oppressor meet together;    the LORD gives light to the eyes of both.14   If a king faithfully judges the poor,    his throne will be established forever.15   The rod and reproof give wisdom,    but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.16   When the wicked increase, transgression increases,    but the righteous will look upon their downfall.17   Discipline your son, and he will give you rest;    he will give delight to your heart.18   Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint,7    but blessed is he who keeps the law.19   By mere words a servant is not disciplined,    for though he understands, he will not respond.20   Do you see a man who is hasty in his words?    There is more hope for a fool than for him.21   Whoever pampers his servant from childhood    will in the end find him his heir.822   A man of wrath stirs up strife,    and one given to anger causes much transgression.23   One's pride will bring him low,    but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.24   The partner of a thief hates his own life;    he hears the curse, but discloses nothing.25   The fear of man lays a snare,    but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.26   Many seek the face of a ruler,    but it is from the LORD that a man gets justice.27   An unjust man is an abomination to the righteous,    but one whose way is straight is an abomination to the wicked.

[1] 28:8 That is, profit that comes from charging interest to the poor

[2] 28:14 Hebrew lacks the Lord

[3] 28:17 Hebrew until the pit

[4] 28:22 Hebrew A man whose eye is evil

[5] 29:4 Or who taxes heavily

[6] 29:10 Or but the upright seek his soul

[7] 29:18 Or the people are discouraged

[8] 29:21 The meaning of the Hebrew word rendered his heir is uncertain


        2 Corinthians 7


          2 Corinthians 7 (Listen)
7 Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body1 and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.
Paul's Joy
2 Make room in your hearts2 for us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one. 3 I do not say this to condemn you, for I said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. 4 I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy.
5 For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within. 6 But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7 and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more. 8 For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it—though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. 9 As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.
10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 11 For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter. 12 So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the one who did the wrong, nor for the sake of the one who suffered the wrong, but in order that your earnestness for us might be revealed to you in the sight of God. 13 Therefore we are comforted.
And besides our own comfort, we rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. 14 For whatever boasts I made to him about you, I was not put to shame. But just as everything we said to you was true, so also our boasting before Titus has proved true. 15 And his affection for you is even greater, as he remembers the obedience of you all, how you received him with fear and trembling. 16 I rejoice, because I have complete confidence in you.

[1] 7:1 Greek flesh

[2] 7:2 Greek lacks in your hearts


Source: September 15: Proverbs 28–29; 2 Corinthians 7
Devotions & Studies / September 14: Proverbs 25–27; 2 Corinthians 6
« Last post by |CoR| Cool_Hand_Luke on September 15, 2018, 06:01:48 AM »
September 14: Proverbs 25–27; 2 Corinthians 6


        Proverbs 25–27


          Proverbs 25–27 (Listen)
More Proverbs of Solomon
25 These also are proverbs of Solomon which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied.

2   It is the glory of God to conceal things,    but the glory of kings is to search things out.3   As the heavens for height, and the earth for depth,    so the heart of kings is unsearchable.4   Take away the dross from the silver,    and the smith has material for a vessel;5   take away the wicked from the presence of the king,    and his throne will be established in righteousness.6   Do not put yourself forward in the king's presence    or stand in the place of the great,7   for it is better to be told, “Come up here,”    than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.

  What your eyes have seen8     do not hastily bring into court,1  for2 what will you do in the end,    when your neighbor puts you to shame?9   Argue your case with your neighbor himself,    and do not reveal another's secret,10   lest he who hears you bring shame upon you,    and your ill repute have no end.

11   A word fitly spoken    is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.12   Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold    is a wise reprover to a listening ear.13   Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest    is a faithful messenger to those who send him;    he refreshes the soul of his masters.14   Like clouds and wind without rain    is a man who boasts of a gift he does not give.

15   With patience a ruler may be persuaded,    and a soft tongue will break a bone.16   If you have found honey, eat only enough for you,    lest you have your fill of it and vomit it.17   Let your foot be seldom in your neighbor's house,    lest he have his fill of you and hate you.18   A man who bears false witness against his neighbor    is like a war club, or a sword, or a sharp arrow.19   Trusting in a treacherous man in time of trouble    is like a bad tooth or a foot that slips.20   Whoever sings songs to a heavy heart    is like one who takes off a garment on a cold day,    and like vinegar on soda.21   If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat,    and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink,22   for you will heap burning coals on his head,    and the LORD will reward you.23   The north wind brings forth rain,    and a backbiting tongue, angry looks.24   It is better to live in a corner of the housetop    than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.25   Like cold water to a thirsty soul,    so is good news from a far country.26   Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain    is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.27   It is not good to eat much honey,    nor is it glorious to seek one's own glory.328   A man without self-control    is like a city broken into and left without walls.26   Like snow in summer or rain in harvest,    so honor is not fitting for a fool.2   Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying,    a curse that is causeless does not alight.3   A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey,    and a rod for the back of fools.4   Answer not a fool according to his folly,    lest you be like him yourself.5   Answer a fool according to his folly,    lest he be wise in his own eyes.6   Whoever sends a message by the hand of a fool    cuts off his own feet and drinks violence.7   Like a lame man's legs, which hang useless,    is a proverb in the mouth of fools.8   Like one who binds the stone in the sling    is one who gives honor to a fool.9   Like a thorn that goes up into the hand of a drunkard    is a proverb in the mouth of fools.10   Like an archer who wounds everyone    is one who hires a passing fool or drunkard.411   Like a dog that returns to his vomit    is a fool who repeats his folly.12   Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes?    There is more hope for a fool than for him.13   The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road!    There is a lion in the streets!”14   As a door turns on its hinges,    so does a sluggard on his bed.15   The sluggard buries his hand in the dish;    it wears him out to bring it back to his mouth.16   The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes    than seven men who can answer sensibly.17   Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own    is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears.18   Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death19   is the man who deceives his neighbor    and says, “I am only joking!”20   For lack of wood the fire goes out,    and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.21   As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire,    so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.22   The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;    they go down into the inner parts of the body.23   Like the glaze5 covering an earthen vessel    are fervent lips with an evil heart.24   Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips    and harbors deceit in his heart;25   when he speaks graciously, believe him not,    for there are seven abominations in his heart;26   though his hatred be covered with deception,    his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.27   Whoever digs a pit will fall into it,    and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling.28   A lying tongue hates its victims,    and a flattering mouth works ruin.27   Do not boast about tomorrow,    for you do not know what a day may bring.2   Let another praise you, and not your own mouth;    a stranger, and not your own lips.3   A stone is heavy, and sand is weighty,    but a fool's provocation is heavier than both.4   Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming,    but who can stand before jealousy?5   Better is open rebuke    than hidden love.6   Faithful are the wounds of a friend;    profuse are the kisses of an enemy.7   One who is full loathes honey,    but to one who is hungry everything bitter is sweet.8   Like a bird that strays from its nest    is a man who strays from his home.9   Oil and perfume make the heart glad,    and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.610   Do not forsake your friend and your father's friend,    and do not go to your brother's house in the day of your calamity.  Better is a neighbor who is near    than a brother who is far away.11   Be wise, my son, and make my heart glad,    that I may answer him who reproaches me.12   The prudent sees danger and hides himself,    but the simple go on and suffer for it.13   Take a man's garment when he has put up security for a stranger,    and hold it in pledge when he puts up security for an adulteress.714   Whoever blesses his neighbor with a loud voice,    rising early in the morning,    will be counted as cursing.15   A continual dripping on a rainy day    and a quarrelsome wife are alike;16   to restrain her is to restrain the wind    or to grasp8 oil in one's right hand.17   Iron sharpens iron,    and one man sharpens another.918   Whoever tends a fig tree will eat its fruit,    and he who guards his master will be honored.19   As in water face reflects face,    so the heart of man reflects the man.20   Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied,    and never satisfied are the eyes of man.21   The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold,    and a man is tested by his praise.22   Crush a fool in a mortar with a pestle    along with crushed grain,    yet his folly will not depart from him.

23   Know well the condition of your flocks,    and give attention to your herds,24   for riches do not last forever;    and does a crown endure to all generations?25   When the grass is gone and the new growth appears    and the vegetation of the mountains is gathered,26   the lambs will provide your clothing,    and the goats the price of a field.27   There will be enough goats' milk for your food,    for the food of your household    and maintenance for your girls.

[1] 25:8 Or presence of a noble, as your eyes have seen. 8Do not go hastily out to court

[2] 25:8 Hebrew or else

[3] 25:27 The meaning of the Hebrew line is uncertain

[4] 26:10 Or hires a fool or passersby

[5] 26:23 By revocalization; Hebrew silver of dross

[6] 27:9 Or and so does the sweetness of a friend that comes from his earnest counsel

[7] 27:13 Hebrew a foreign woman; a slight emendation yields (compare Vulgate; see also 20:16) foreigners

[8] 27:16 Hebrew to meet with

[9] 27:17 Hebrew sharpens the face of another


        2 Corinthians 6


          2 Corinthians 6 (Listen)
6 Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For he says,

  “In a favorable time I listened to you,    and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”
Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 3 We put no obstacle in anyone's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4 but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5 beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6 by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; 7 by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8 through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.
11 We have spoken freely to you,1 Corinthians; our heart is wide open. 12 You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. 13 In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also.
The Temple of the Living God
14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 What accord has Christ with Belial?2 Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,

  “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,    and I will be their God,    and they shall be my people.17   Therefore go out from their midst,    and be separate from them, says the Lord,  and touch no unclean thing;    then I will welcome you,18   and I will be a father to you,    and you shall be sons and daughters to me,  says the Lord Almighty.”

[1] 6:11 Greek Our mouth is open to you

[2] 6:15 Greek Beliar


Source: September 14: Proverbs 25–27; 2 Corinthians 6
Devotions & Studies / September 13: Proverbs 23–24; 2 Corinthians 5
« Last post by |CoR| Cool_Hand_Luke on September 14, 2018, 12:27:32 AM »
September 13: Proverbs 23–24; 2 Corinthians 5


        Proverbs 23–24


          Proverbs 23–24 (Listen)

23   When you sit down to eat with a ruler,    observe carefully what1 is before you,2   and put a knife to your throat    if you are given to appetite.3   Do not desire his delicacies,    for they are deceptive food.4   Do not toil to acquire wealth;    be discerning enough to desist.5   When your eyes light on it, it is gone,    for suddenly it sprouts wings,    flying like an eagle toward heaven.6   Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy;2    do not desire his delicacies,7   for he is like one who is inwardly calculating.3    “Eat and drink!” he says to you,    but his heart is not with you.8   You will vomit up the morsels that you have eaten,    and waste your pleasant words.9   Do not speak in the hearing of a fool,    for he will despise the good sense of your words.10   Do not move an ancient landmark    or enter the fields of the fatherless,11   for their Redeemer is strong;    he will plead their cause against you.12   Apply your heart to instruction    and your ear to words of knowledge.13   Do not withhold discipline from a child;    if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.14   If you strike him with the rod,    you will save his soul from Sheol.15   My son, if your heart is wise,    my heart too will be glad.16   My inmost being4 will exult    when your lips speak what is right.17   Let not your heart envy sinners,    but continue in the fear of the LORD all the day.18   Surely there is a future,    and your hope will not be cut off.

19   Hear, my son, and be wise,    and direct your heart in the way.20   Be not among drunkards5    or among gluttonous eaters of meat,21   for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty,    and slumber will clothe them with rags.

22   Listen to your father who gave you life,    and do not despise your mother when she is old.23   Buy truth, and do not sell it;    buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.24   The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice;    he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him.25   Let your father and mother be glad;    let her who bore you rejoice.

26   My son, give me your heart,    and let your eyes observe6 my ways.27   For a prostitute is a deep pit;    an adulteress7 is a narrow well.28   She lies in wait like a robber    and increases the traitors among mankind.

29   Who has woe? Who has sorrow?    Who has strife? Who has complaining?  Who has wounds without cause?    Who has redness of eyes?30   Those who tarry long over wine;    those who go to try mixed wine.31   Do not look at wine when it is red,    when it sparkles in the cup    and goes down smoothly.32   In the end it bites like a serpent    and stings like an adder.33   Your eyes will see strange things,    and your heart utter perverse things.34   You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea,    like one who lies on the top of a mast.835   “They struck me,” you will say,9 “but I was not hurt;    they beat me, but I did not feel it.  When shall I awake?    I must have another drink.”24   Be not envious of evil men,    nor desire to be with them,2   for their hearts devise violence,    and their lips talk of trouble.

3   By wisdom a house is built,    and by understanding it is established;4   by knowledge the rooms are filled    with all precious and pleasant riches.5   A wise man is full of strength,    and a man of knowledge enhances his might,6   for by wise guidance you can wage your war,    and in abundance of counselors there is victory.7   Wisdom is too high for a fool;    in the gate he does not open his mouth.

8   Whoever plans to do evil    will be called a schemer.9   The devising10 of folly is sin,    and the scoffer is an abomination to mankind.

10   If you faint in the day of adversity,    your strength is small.11   Rescue those who are being taken away to death;    hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.12   If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,”    does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?  Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it,    and will he not repay man according to his work?

13   My son, eat honey, for it is good,    and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.14   Know that wisdom is such to your soul;    if you find it, there will be a future,    and your hope will not be cut off.

15   Lie not in wait as a wicked man against the dwelling of the righteous;    do no violence to his home;16   for the righteous falls seven times and rises again,    but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.

17   Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,    and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles,18   lest the LORD see it and be displeased,    and turn away his anger from him.

19   Fret not yourself because of evildoers,    and be not envious of the wicked,20   for the evil man has no future;    the lamp of the wicked will be put out.

21   My son, fear the LORD and the king,    and do not join with those who do otherwise,22   for disaster will arise suddenly from them,    and who knows the ruin that will come from them both?
More Sayings of the Wise
23 These also are sayings of the wise.

  Partiality in judging is not good.24   Whoever says to the wicked, “You are in the right,”    will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations,25   but those who rebuke the wicked will have delight,    and a good blessing will come upon them.26   Whoever gives an honest answer    kisses the lips.

27   Prepare your work outside;    get everything ready for yourself in the field,    and after that build your house.

28   Be not a witness against your neighbor without cause,    and do not deceive with your lips.29   Do not say, “I will do to him as he has done to me;    I will pay the man back for what he has done.”

30   I passed by the field of a sluggard,    by the vineyard of a man lacking sense,31   and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns;    the ground was covered with nettles,    and its stone wall was broken down.32   Then I saw and considered it;    I looked and received instruction.33   A little sleep, a little slumber,    a little folding of the hands to rest,34   and poverty will come upon you like a robber,    and want like an armed man.

[1] 23:1 Or who

[2] 23:6 Hebrew whose eye is evil

[3] 23:7 Or for as he calculates in his soul, so is he

[4] 23:16 Hebrew My kidneys

[5] 23:20 Hebrew those who drink too much wine

[6] 23:26 Or delight in

[7] 23:27 Hebrew a foreign woman

[8] 23:34 Or of the rigging

[9] 23:35 Hebrew lacks you will say

[10] 24:9 Or scheming


        2 Corinthians 5


          2 Corinthians 5 (Listen)
Our Heavenly Dwelling
5 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3 if indeed by putting it on1 we may not be found naked. 4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
The Ministry of Reconciliation
11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. 12 We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.2 The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling3 the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

[1] 5:3 Some manuscripts putting it off

[2] 5:17 Or creature

[3] 5:19 Or God was in Christ, reconciling


Source: September 13: Proverbs 23–24; 2 Corinthians 5
Devotions & Studies / September 12: Proverbs 21–22; 2 Corinthians 4
« Last post by |CoR| Cool_Hand_Luke on September 13, 2018, 06:03:53 AM »
September 12: Proverbs 21–22; 2 Corinthians 4


        Proverbs 21–22


          Proverbs 21–22 (Listen)

21   The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD;    he turns it wherever he will.2   Every way of a man is right in his own eyes,    but the LORD weighs the heart.3   To do righteousness and justice    is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.4   Haughty eyes and a proud heart,    the lamp1 of the wicked, are sin.5   The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance,    but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.6   The getting of treasures by a lying tongue    is a fleeting vapor and a snare of death.27   The violence of the wicked will sweep them away,    because they refuse to do what is just.8   The way of the guilty is crooked,    but the conduct of the pure is upright.9   It is better to live in a corner of the housetop    than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.10   The soul of the wicked desires evil;    his neighbor finds no mercy in his eyes.11   When a scoffer is punished, the simple becomes wise;    when a wise man is instructed, he gains knowledge.12   The Righteous One observes the house of the wicked;    he throws the wicked down to ruin.13   Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor    will himself call out and not be answered.14   A gift in secret averts anger,    and a concealed bribe,3 strong wrath.15   When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous    but terror to evildoers.16   One who wanders from the way of good sense    will rest in the assembly of the dead.17   Whoever loves pleasure will be a poor man;    he who loves wine and oil will not be rich.18   The wicked is a ransom for the righteous,    and the traitor for the upright.19   It is better to live in a desert land    than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman.20   Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man's dwelling,    but a foolish man devours it.21   Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness    will find life, righteousness, and honor.22   A wise man scales the city of the mighty    and brings down the stronghold in which they trust.23   Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue    keeps himself out of trouble.24   “Scoffer” is the name of the arrogant, haughty man    who acts with arrogant pride.25   The desire of the sluggard kills him,    for his hands refuse to labor.26   All day long he craves and craves,    but the righteous gives and does not hold back.27   The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination;    how much more when he brings it with evil intent.28   A false witness will perish,    but the word of a man who hears will endure.29   A wicked man puts on a bold face,    but the upright gives thought to4 his ways.30   No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel    can avail against the LORD.31   The horse is made ready for the day of battle,    but the victory belongs to the LORD.22   A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,    and favor is better than silver or gold.2   The rich and the poor meet together;    the LORD is the Maker of them all.3   The prudent sees danger and hides himself,    but the simple go on and suffer for it.4   The reward for humility and fear of the LORD    is riches and honor and life.55   Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked;    whoever guards his soul will keep far from them.6   Train up a child in the way he should go;    even when he is old he will not depart from it.7   The rich rules over the poor,    and the borrower is the slave of the lender.8   Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity,    and the rod of his fury will fail.9   Whoever has a bountiful6 eye will be blessed,    for he shares his bread with the poor.10   Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out,    and quarreling and abuse will cease.11   He who loves purity of heart,    and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.12   The eyes of the LORD keep watch over knowledge,    but he overthrows the words of the traitor.13   The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside!    I shall be killed in the streets!”14   The mouth of forbidden7 women is a deep pit;    he with whom the LORD is angry will fall into it.15   Folly is bound up in the heart of a child,    but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.16   Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth,    or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.
Words of the Wise

17   Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise,    and apply your heart to my knowledge,18   for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you,    if all of them are ready on your lips.19   That your trust may be in the LORD,    I have made them known to you today, even to you.20   Have I not written for you thirty sayings    of counsel and knowledge,21   to make you know what is right and true,    that you may give a true answer to those who sent you?

22   Do not rob the poor, because he is poor,    or crush the afflicted at the gate,23   for the LORD will plead their cause    and rob of life those who rob them.24   Make no friendship with a man given to anger,    nor go with a wrathful man,25   lest you learn his ways    and entangle yourself in a snare.26   Be not one of those who give pledges,    who put up security for debts.27   If you have nothing with which to pay,    why should your bed be taken from under you?28   Do not move the ancient landmark    that your fathers have set.29   Do you see a man skillful in his work?    He will stand before kings;    he will not stand before obscure men.

[1] 21:4 Or the plowing

[2] 21:6 Some Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Latin; most Hebrew manuscripts vapor for those who seek death

[3] 21:14 Hebrew a bribe in the bosom

[4] 21:29 Or establishes

[5] 22:4 Or The reward for humility is the fear of the Lord, riches and honor and life

[6] 22:9 Hebrew good

[7] 22:14 Hebrew strange


        2 Corinthians 4


          2 Corinthians 4 (Listen)
The Light of the Gospel
4 Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God,1 we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice2 cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants3 for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Treasure in Jars of Clay
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.
13 Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, 14 knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. 15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self4 is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

[1] 4:1 Greek having this ministry as we have received mercy

[2] 4:2 Greek to walk in

[3] 4:5 Or slaves (for the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see Preface)

[4] 4:16 Greek man


Source: September 12: Proverbs 21–22; 2 Corinthians 4
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