Harmony of the Gospel (Conservative Version) longer form Chapters 36-42

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Introduction

Index

Thirty-six

Chapter 36 Bible texts

In these days, Peter stood up in the middle of the disciples (and the number of names was about one hundred twenty), and said, “Brothers, it was necessary that this Scripture should be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who was guide to those who took Jesus. For he was counted with us, and received his portion in this ministry. Now this man obtained a field with the reward for his wickedness, and falling headlong, his body burst open, and all his intestines gushed out. It became known to everyone who lived in Jerusalem that in their language that field was called ‘Akeldama,’ that is, ‘The field of blood.’ For it is written in the book of Psalms,

‘Let his habitation be made desolate. Let no one dwell in it;’

and,

‘Let another take his office.’

“Of the men therefore who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, to the day that he was received up from us, of these one must become a witness with us of his resurrection.”

They put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. They prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two you have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas fell away, that he might go to his own place.”

They drew lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was counted with the eleven Apostles.

Now when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all with one accord in one place. Suddenly there came from the heaven a sound like the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. Tongues like fire appeared and were distributed to them, and one sat on each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them the ability to speak.

Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under the heaven. When this sound was heard, the multitude came together and were bewildered, because everyone heard them speaking in his own language. They were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Behold, are not all these who speak Galileans? How do we hear, everyone in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, the parts of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians: we hear them speaking in our languages the mighty works of God!” They were all amazed, and were perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”

Others, mocking, said, “They are filled with new wine.”

But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and spoke out to them, “You men of Judea, and all you who dwell at Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to my words. For these are not drunken, as you suppose, seeing it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what has been spoken through the prophet Joel:

‘It will be in the last days, says God, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions. Your old men will dream dreams. Yes, and on my servants and on my handmaidens in those days, I will pour out my Spirit, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the sky above, and signs on the earth beneath: blood, and fire, and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes. It will be that whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

“Men of Israel, hear these words! Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved by God to you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him among you, even as you yourselves know, him, being delivered up by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by the hand of lawless men, crucified and killed; whom God raised up, having freed him from the agony of death, because it was not possible that he should be held by it. For David says concerning him,

‘I saw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved. Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced. Moreover my flesh also will dwell in hope; because you will not leave my soul in Hades, neither will you allow your Holy One to see decay. You made known to me the ways of life. You will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

“Brothers, I may tell you freely of the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, he would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he foreseeing this spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that his soul was not left in Hades, and his flesh did not see decay. This Jesus God raised up, to which we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted by the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this, which you now see and hear. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself,

‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit by my right hand to the day I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” ’

“Let all the house of Israel therefore know certainly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all who are far off, even as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.”

With many other words he testified, and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!”

Then those who gladly received his word were baptized. There were added that day about three thousand souls. They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and prayer, and were continually in the Temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.

Fear came on every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. All who believed were together, and had all things in common. They sold their possessions and goods, and distributed them to all, according as anyone had need. Day by day, continuing steadfastly with one accord in the Temple, and breaking bread at home, they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. The Lord added to the Assembly day by day those who were being saved.

Peter and John were going up into the Temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. A certain man who was lame from his mother’s womb was being carried, whom they laid daily at the door of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask gifts for the needy of those who entered into the Temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the Temple, he asked to receive gifts for the needy. Peter, fastening his eyes on him, with John, said, “Look at us.”

He listened to them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have, that I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!”

He took him by the right hand and raised him up. Immediately his feet and his ankle bones received strength. Leaping up, he stood and began to walk. He entered with them into the Temple, walking, leaping, and praising God. All the people saw him walking and praising God. They recognized him, that it was he who used to sit begging for gifts for the needy at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple. They were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

As the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering. When Peter saw it, he responded to the people, “You men of Israel, why do you marvel at this man? Why do you fasten your eyes on us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made him walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up, and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had determined to release him. But you denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, to which we are witnesses. By faith in his name, his name has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which is through him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

“Now, brothers, I know that you did this in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But the things which God announced by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, so that there may come times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send Christ Jesus, who was ordained for you before, whom heaven must receive up to the times of restoration of all things, which God spoke long ago by the mouth of his holy prophets. For Moses indeed said to the fathers,

‘The Lord God will raise up a prophet for you from among your brothers, like me. You shall listen to him in all things whatever he says to you. It will be that every soul that will not listen to that prophet will be utterly destroyed from among the people.’

“Yes, and all the prophets from Samuel and those who followed after, as many as have spoken, they also told of these days. You are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘All the families of the earth will be blessed through your offspring.’ God, having raised up his servant Jesus, sent him to you first to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your wickedness.”

As they spoke to the people, the priests and the captain of the Temple and the Sadducees came to them, being annoyed because they taught the people and proclaimed in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. They laid hands on them, and put them in custody to the next day, for it was now evening. But many of those who heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.

In the morning, their rulers, elders, and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem. Annas the high priest was there, with Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and as many as were relatives of the high priest. When they had stood Peter and John in the middle of them, they inquired, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?”

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “You rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, if we are examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, may it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, this man stands here before you whole. He is ‘the stone which was regarded as worthless by you, the builders, which has become the head of the corner.’ There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven that is given among men, by which we must be saved!”

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled. They recognized that they had been with Jesus. Seeing the man who was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, saying, “What shall we do to these men? Because indeed a notable miracle has been done through them, as can be plainly seen by all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But so that this spreads no further among the people, let us threaten them, that from now on they do not speak to anyone in this name.”

They called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, judge for yourselves, for we cannot help telling the things which we saw and heard.”

When they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people; for everyone glorified God for that which was done. For the man on whom this miracle of healing was performed was more than forty years old.

Being let go, they came to their own company and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. When they heard it, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, “O Lord, you are God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who by the mouth of your servant, David, said,

‘Why do the nations rage, and the peoples plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth take a stand, and the rulers take council together, against the Lord, and against his Anointed.’

“For truly, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together against your holy servant, Jesus, whom you anointed, to do whatever your hand and your council foreordained to happen. Now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of your holy Servant Jesus.”

When they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were gathered together. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

The multitude of those who believed were of one heart and soul. Not one of them claimed that anything of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. With great power, the Apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Great grace was on them all. For neither was there among them any who lacked, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the Apostles’ feet, and distribution was made to each, according as anyone had need. Joses, who by the Apostles was also called Barnabas (which is, being interpreted, Son of Encouragement), a Levite, a man of Cyprus by race, having a field, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira, his wife, sold a possession, and kept back part of the price, his wife also being aware of it, then brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the price of the land? While you kept it, did it not remain your own? After it was sold, was it not in your power? How is it that you have conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God.”

Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and died. Great fear came on all who heard these things. The young men arose and wrapped him up, and they carried him out and buried him. About three hours later, his wife, not knowing what had happened, came in. Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.”

She said, “Yes, for so much.”

But Peter asked her, “How is it that you have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.”

She fell down immediately at his feet and died. The young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her by her husband. Great fear came on the whole Assembly, and on all who heard these things.

By the hands of the Apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. They were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. None of the rest dared to join them, however the people honored them. More believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women. They even carried out the sick into the streets, and laid them on cots and mattresses, so that as Peter came by, at the least his shadow might overshadow some of them. The multitude also came together from the cities around Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits: and they were all healed.

But the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy and laid hands on the Apostles, then put them in public custody. But an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors by night, and brought them out and said, “Go stand and speak in the Temple to the people all the words of this Life.”

When they heard this, they entered into the Temple about daybreak and taught. But the high priest came, and those who were with him, and called the council together, and all the Senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. But the officers who came did not find them in the prison. They returned and reported, “We found the prison shut and locked, and the guards standing before the doors, but when we opened them, we found no one inside!”

Now when the high priest, the captain of the Temple, and the chief priests heard these words, they were very perplexed about them and what might become of this. One came and told them, “Behold, the men whom you put in prison are in the Temple, standing and teaching the people.”

Then the captain went with the officers, and brought them without violence, for they were afraid that the people might stone them. When they had brought them, they set them before the council. The high priest questioned them, saying, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? Behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and intend to bring this man’s blood on us.”

But Peter and the Apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you killed, hanging him on a tree. God exalted him with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, to give repentance to Israel, and remission of sins. We are his witnesses of these things; and so also is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

But they, when they heard this, were cut to the heart, and were determined to kill them. But one stood up in the council, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, honored by all the people, and commanded to put the Apostles out for a little while. He said to them, “You men of Israel, be careful concerning these men, what you are about to do. For before these days Theudas rose up, making himself out to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves. He was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were dispersed, and came to nothing. After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the enrollment, and drew away some people after him. He also perished, and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered abroad. Now I tell you, stay away from these men, and leave them alone. For if this counsel or this work is of men, it will be overthrown. But if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow it, and you would be found even to be fighting against God!”

They agreed with him. Summoning the Apostles, they beat them and commanded them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. They therefore departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for Jesus’s name. Every day, in the Temple and at home, they never stopped teaching and preaching Jesus, the Christ, the Anointed One of God.

Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, a complaint arose from the Hellenists against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily service. The twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not appropriate for us to forsake the word of God and serve tables. Therefore select from among you, brothers, seven men of good report, full of the Holy Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will continue steadfastly in prayer and in the ministry of the word.”

These words pleased the whole multitude. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch; whom they set before the apostles. When they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. The word of God increased and the number of the disciples greatly multiplied in Jerusalem. A great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.

Stephen, full of faith and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. But some of those who were of the synagogue called “The Libertines”, and of the Cyrenians, of the Alexandrians, and of those of Cilicia and Asia arose, disputing with Stephen. They were not able to withstand the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke. Then they secretly induced men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.”

They stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes, and came against him and seized him, then brought him in to the council, and set up false witnesses who said, “This man never stops speaking blasphemous words against this holy place and the law. For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place, and will change the customs which Moses delivered to us.”

All who sat in the council, fastening their eyes on him, saw his face like it was the face of an angel. The high priest said, “Are these things so?”

He said, “Brothers and Fathers, listen. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, ‘Get out of your land and away from your relatives, and come into a land which I will show you.’ Then he came out of the land of the Chaldaeans and lived in Haran. From there, when his father was dead, God moved him into this land, where you are now living. He gave him no inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on. He promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his offspring after him, when he still had no child. God spoke in this way: that his offspring would live as aliens in a strange land, and that they would be enslaved and mistreated for four hundred years. ‘I will judge the nation to which they will be in bondage,’ said God, ‘and after that they will come out, and serve me in this place.’ He gave him the covenant of circumcision. So Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day. Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs.

“The patriarchs, moved with jealousy against Joseph, sold him into Egypt. God was with him, and delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt. He made him governor over Egypt and all his house. Now a famine came over all the land of Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction. Our fathers found no food. But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers the first time. On the second time Joseph was made known to his brothers, and Joseph’s race was revealed to Pharaoh. Joseph sent and summoned Jacob, his father, and all his relatives, seventy-five souls. Jacob went down into Egypt and he died, himself and our fathers, and they were brought back to Shechem, and laid in the tomb that Abraham bought for a price in silver from the children of Hamor of Shechem.

“But as the time of the promise came close which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt, until there arose a different king, who did not know Joseph. The same took advantage of our race, and mistreated our fathers, and forced them to throw out their babies, so that they would not stay alive. At that time Moses was born, and was exceedingly handsome. He was nourished three months in his father’s house. When he was thrown out, Pharaoh’s daughter took him up and reared him as her own son. Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. He was mighty in his words and works. But when he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brothers, the children of Israel. Seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him who was oppressed, striking the Egyptian. He supposed that his brothers understood that God, by his hand, was giving them deliverance; but they did not understand.

“The day following, he appeared to them as they fought, and urged them to be at peace again, saying, ‘Sirs, you are brothers. Why do you wrong one another?’ But he who did his neighbor wrong pushed him away, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? Do you want to kill me, as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’ Moses fled at this saying, and became a stranger in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.

“When forty years were fulfilled, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in a flame of fire in a bush. When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight. As he came close to see, a voice of the Lord came to him, ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ Moses trembled, and dared not look. The Lord said to him, ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you stand is holy ground. I have surely seen the affliction of my people that is in Egypt, and have heard their groaning. I have come down to deliver them. Now come, I will send you into Egypt.’

“This Moses, whom they refused, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’—God has sent him as both a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush. This man led them out, having worked wonders and signs in Egypt, in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness for forty years. This is that Moses, who said to the children of Israel, ‘The Lord our God will raise up a prophet for you from among your brothers, like me.’ This is he who was in the assembly in the wilderness with the angel that spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers, who received living revelations to give to us, to whom our fathers would not be obedient, but rejected him, and turned back in their hearts to Egypt, saying to Aaron, ‘Make us gods that will go before us, for as for this Moses, who led us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’

"They made a calf in those days, and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their hands. But God turned, and gave them up to serve the army of the sky, as it is written in the book of the prophets, ‘Did you offer to me slain animals and sacrifices forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? You took up the tabernacle of Moloch, the star of your god Rephan, the figures which you made to worship. I will carry you away beyond Babylon.’

“Our fathers had the tabernacle of the testimony in the wilderness, even as he who spoke to Moses commanded him to make it according to the pattern that he had seen; which also our fathers, in their turn, brought in with Joshua when they entered into the possession of the nations, whom God drove out before the face of our fathers, to the days of David, who found favor in the sight of God, and asked to find a habitation for the God of Jacob. But Solomon built him a house. However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says,

‘ “heaven is my throne, and the earth a footstool for my feet. What kind of house will you build me?” says the Lord. “Or what is the place of my rest? Did my hand not make all these things?” ’

“You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit! As your fathers did, so you do. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, of whom you have now become betrayers and murderers. You received the law as it was ordained by angels, and did not keep it!”

Now when they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up steadfastly into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”

But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears, then rushed at him with one accord. They threw him out of the city and stoned him. The witnesses placed their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. They stoned Stephen as he called out, saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!”

He kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!”

When he had said this, he fell asleep.

Saul was consenting to his death.

A great persecution arose against the Assembly which was in Jerusalem in that day. They were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except for the Apostles. Devout men buried Stephen and lamented greatly over him.

But Saul ravaged the Assembly, entering into every house and dragged both men and women off to prison. Therefore, those who were scattered abroad went around preaching the word. They went out, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word by the signs that followed. Amen.

Acts 1:15–2:42
Luke 24:53
Acts 2:43–8:4
Mark 16:20

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Eusebius: Church History: The Ecclesiastical History Of Eusebius Pamphilus: Bishop Of Caesarea, In Palestine (documentacatholicaomnia.eu) pdf

The Works of Flavius Josephus William Whiston, Translator, 1737 (sacred-texts.com)

Suetonius: Twelve Caesars: The Lives of the Twelve Caesars by C. Suetonius Tranquilus; To which are added His Lives of the Grammarians, Rhetoricians, and Poets. The Translation of Alexander Thomson, M.D., Revised and corrected by T. Forester, Esq., A.M. (Gutenberg.org)

Tacitus: The Annals, Written 109 A.C.E. Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb

Early Christian Writings A.D. 30 through 380 (earlychristianwritings.com)

Archaeology and the Book of Acts John McRay, Wheaton College Graduate School, Wheaton, IL 60187 pdf


"...and falling headlong, his body burst open, and all his intestines gushed out..."

Acts 1:18.
Matthew 27:5 says, "he went and hanged himself". There is no contradiction here.
The priests took the thirty pieces of silver and purchased the potter's field where Judas died, very near to Gehenna. The fact that a man was found hanged and his blood gushed out made that field cursed, and therefore no longer marketable; it was, in effect, taken off the market as certainly as if it had been purchased, because of the corpse and the blood which had "purchased" that field, causing it to be set apart; thus, Judas had purchased it at the price of his own blood, and the priests were able to offer the owner of the field a very low price for undesirable property and set it aside as a cemetery for unclean Gentiles ("strangers", "foreigners"). Both texts in Matthew 27:5 and Acts 1:18 provide enough evidence to reconstruct what had happened, and demonstrate that there is no contradiction.
Judas, despairing, had fled; he had gone out of the city to that field, and had fallen headlong off the hill overlooking it into a low-growing tree in the field, hanging himself, his head caught in the branches (see 2 Samuel 18:9; compare 2 Samuel 17:23). His body quickly decayed and burst open (about 2 or 3 days later) and all his bowels gushed out. It is also possible, however unlikely, that when his neck caught in the branch and his body swung forward his abdomen was simultaneously pierced by a thin broken branch projecting from the tree, and he burst open and his blood and the contents of his bowels flowed out, the very same day. He was hanged on a tree, and his body was pierced and burst open. This coming to a bad end was the reward of his wickedness, as Peter said (Acts 1:18). The field would no longer ever be available for sale on the market, because the corpse of Judas in the tree and his blood and bowels gushing out in it from his own body had virtually removed it from any possible consideration as an investment; the owner would not want it, and the resulting reputation it now had as "Akeldama", the field of blood, marked it as no longer marketable ("purchased"). (Numbers 35:33). Knowing its reputation, no customer of that time would be willing to purchase anything produced in that field, or build on it. The priests then took the thirty pieces of silver that Judas had thrown into the treasury, the wage that they had paid him, which they said they could not put into the treasury of the temple because it was the price of blood (Numbers 35:31, 33-34; Deuteronomy 23:18; Malachi 1:13), money now regarded as "unclean" (they certainly did not want it), and they used this unclean price of blood to purchase the unclean field of blood to bury unclean strangers in (Gentiles).
There is no contradiction between the account of Matthew 27:5 and Acts 1:18.

"...the mighty works of God !..."

Acts 2:11.
Most likely psalms of praise, all containing the phrase "...the works of your hands...he does great things...the deeds of the LORD...the works of the LORD..."
Psalms 8, 23, 24, 29, 30, 33, 34, 45, 46, 47, 65, 66, 67, 68, 76, 87, 91, 93, 96, 98, 99, 100, 103, 104, 105, 107, 111, 112, 113, 115, 117, 135, 136, 145, 147, 148, 150.

"They are filled with new wine... these are not drunken, as you suppose"

Acts 2:13-15.
This text is an evident Bible proof that "new wine" does not mean non-alcoholic grape juice. No one has ever become drunk on grape juice. The crowd mocked their ecstatic behavior as simply a result of being drunk with new wine. Scripture thus testifies that people can become drunk on new wine.
Compare the following KJV texts and the multiple commentaries on them:
  • Isaiah 65:8 "Thus saith the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants' sakes, that I may not destroy them all." (boldface emphasis added)
  • Hosea 4:11 "Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart."
    Grape juice does not have this effect.
  • Joel 1:5 "Awake, ye drunkards, and weep; and howl, all ye drinkers of wine, because of the new wine, for it is cut off from your mouth."
    Drunkards and wine drinkers do not grieve when the supply of grape juice is cut off.
See Wine fermentation (morethanorganic.com)
It is a well-known fact that the juice in grape clusters ferments into alcoholic wine on the vine when the grapes have been damaged, producing new wine. This happens even when the skins are only lightly broken. The natural yeast begins to change the sugars into alcohol.
The context of the whole of Isaiah 65 is the threat of God to destroy a "rebellious people" (verse 2), similar to Jeremiah's basket of figs that are so bad they are very bad (Jeremiah 24:1-8; 29:17-19, 28), yet he will not utterly destroy all of them. Jerusalem is similar to a cluster of grapes that has been damaged and is about to be destroyed by the vintner as useless, but some fermenting new wine is unexpectedly found in it that can be saved as wine, so the cluster is not utterly destroyed: "Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it". Given this context within Isaiah 65, if the new wine in the cluster is instead only non-alcoholic 'must' as so many commentators have suggested, then the cluster is not only not bad but is even good in appearance, and it does not at all qualify for destruction but is obviously fit for harvesting along with all the other clusters. But this interpretation that the clusters are full of must and therefore good, not bad, takes the verse totally out of context, and it takes away from the meaning of the words—a people so rebellious against God, so vile and loathsome in his sight, so bad in appearance that they unquestionably merit complete destruction; but against all expectation, some good (new wine) is still found, which can still be saved. This is the reason for the sudden outcry, "Destroy it not!". Grapes on the vine containing sweet must are not obvious candidates for immediate destruction in the eyes of a skilled vintner; but others which look totally bad, like those in Isaiah, are apparently fit only for destruction, and the only thing keeping them from destruction is the new wine they contain. (Compare Genesis 18:23-32; Matthew 9:17).
See Proof texting and Revelation 22:19.

"they were cut to the heart"

Acts 2:37.
An image suggestive of circumcision.
Their hearts were circumcised by the preaching of Peter.
Compare Jeremiah 4:4; Joel 2:12-13; John 15:3; 2 Corinthians 7:10; Colossians 2:11-14.

"The Lord added to the Assembly day by day those who were being saved."

Acts 2:47b
WEB translation of Έκκλησία ecclesia.
KJV "And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.". See interlinear text of Acts 2:47.
The World English Bible (WEB) translation, which is the primary but not exclusive basis for the English text of this Harmony of the Bible (Conservative Version), deliberately substitutes words that do not have explicitly Catholic and Orthodox connotations, words which many translators regard as synonyms "free of ecclesiastical baggage". The word ecclesia "churches" is avoided by the WEB and rendered instead as "assemblies". The phrase "bishops and deacons" (Greek ἐπισκόποις καὶ διακόνοις episkopois kai diakonois, from singular episcopos and diaconos, plural episcopes and diacones) is replaced by "overseers and servants" (Philippians 1:1). The reason for this is apparently based on the influence of Evangelical Christianity on biblical scholarship, representing an anti-clerical (clergy), anti-ecclesial (church), anti-Orthodox, anti-Catholic prejudice which ostensibly claims a more literal accuracy of interpretation, a prejudice and claim traceable back to William Tyndale and his translation of the New Testament.
However, most English translations instead render the actual meanings of the Greek words according to direct equivalence as "bishops and deacons" and "church" and "churches", instead of using euphemistic synonyms that grammatically divorce the New Testament from ancient Christian usage. These direct equivalence versions include the Wycliffe WYC, Douay-Rheims DR, King James Version KJV, Revised Standard Version RSV, Bible in Basic English BBE, The Webster Bible TWB, New Revised Standard Version NRSV, New American Bible NAB, New American Bible, Revised Edition NABRE, GOD'S WORD Translation GWT, Jubilee Bible 2000, Third Millenium Bible TMB. See for example multiple translations of
Philippians 1:1 and commentaries.
Compare other texts throughout the New Testament that speak of Bishops, Deacons, Church and Churches.

"...the hour of prayer, the ninth hour."

Acts 3:1.
Midafternoon prayer, the ninth hour of the day after sunrise, about 1500 hrs, 3 pm. This is the same hour Jesus expired on the cross. Matthew 27:46-50; Mark 15:34-38; Luke 23:44-46.

"...Annas the high priest was there, with Caiaphas, John, Alexander..."

Acts 4:6
See multiple commentaries on Acts 4:6. According to Josephus, "Annas" is the same name as "Ananus": Wars 2.12.6, 2.17.2, 4.3.7, 4.3.9-10, 4.5.2; Antiquities 18.2.1-2, 20.5.2, 20.9.1 .

"Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, judge for yourselves"

Acts 4:19
This is the argument also of Christian heretics against those who reject the authority of those who are over them in the Lord (Hebrews 13:17). It was also the argument of the Protestant Reformers against the authority of the Catholic Church. The fundamental difference between them and the Apostles is the fact that here with the Apostles a "notable miracle" (and others afterward as well) authenticated both their preaching and doctrine about Jesus being the Messiah of God, and their authority as God's own authorized representatives before the Sanhedrin and the people.
"What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle has been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it". Acts 4:16 KJV
One of the principles of discernment of the Catholic and Orthodox churches is the undeniable fact that Heretics, Moslems, Protestant Reformers, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and New Age prophets and gurus do all have this one thing in common, that they have historically offered no outstanding and undeniable documented miracles as evidence that they speak for God against the authority of the established orthodox catholic Christian church (Romans 13:1-2). Instead they see them as offering only specious reasoning from the scriptures, or new scriptures and revelations, which they assert are inspired by the Holy Spirit, by God, by an angel of God, or by resurrected and ascended masters of esoteric truths, and as presenting no other proof beyond their claims that they are in fact authorized representatives of God. The Catholic and Orthodox churches look to this evident historical fact, and to the promises of Jesus to remain with us (Matthew 28:19-20), to send the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth forever (John 14:16-17; 16:12-14), and to Apostolic succession and long-established Christian apostolic traditions as the basis for their rejection of claims by others to speak for God in opposition to their doctrines and dogmas.

"to do whatever your hand and your council foreordained to happen."

Acts 4:28.
Any suggestion that God made people commit the evil of crucifying Christ by foreordaining what they were to do makes God the sinner and makes him a wicked god who foreordains and causes the evil that people do. See Pantheism and Monism. In this view these have no choice: it has been foreordained by God that these particular individuals should do this, and Judas was commanded and foreordained by God from all eternity to betray Christ and damn his own soul. Compare Calvinism. Thus God the Father as the Prime Mover, working in them and through them, is the ultimate persecutor and executioner of His only-begotten Son. This is a false view.
Constant Christian tradition teaches instead that God who alone is good, in whom is no evil, foreknew what men would freely choose to do out of their own evil inclinations to sin. And knowing all of this beforehand, God had already—pre-emptively—preordained from all eternity what Christ should do in response to their willful resistance in the darkness of their minds (he is "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" Revelation 13:8 KJV; "which was slain from the beginning of the world" DR). Far from causing their evil, the Lord allowed them freedom to act, and they did. Compare Genesis 50:20 and commentaries. He humbled himself, endured the mockery of betrayal and the cross; and by ignoring the shame and horror of crucifixion he emptied himself of every right to dignity, surrendered himself to death, and by his complete sacrifice of himself he freely made complete reparation to the Father for all the selfish rebellion of all the sin of the world. He destroyed the power of death, cast down the proud accuser, the devil, and brought everlasting praise to the name of the Lord.
The hand and council of the Lord foreordained that all men should be set free from the domination of the devil and thus be able to turn from evil, and called them to choose righteousness and salvation through submission to his will and render a holy sacrifice of thanksgiving for his sacrifice of love—all of this is whatever his hand and his council had foreordained should happen for the salvation of the world.
All who choose to reject him are themselves rejected, unless they turn and repent. All has happened in accordance with all that his hand and his council foreordained to happen. All who long for salvation, and seek what is good, he will save from the wrath that will come upon all who resist him, upon all those who through their own choosing delight in doing evil by exalting their own will over the will of God. All who live lives of evil and then turn away from the evil they had in hand to do he will also save (Ezekiel 18). This is all whatever his hand and his council foreordained to happen, that all souls are free to choose to do the good instead of the evil—to the glory of his name.
Acts 17:30 "he commands all men everywhere to repent" not only the elect.
2 Peter 3:9 "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
Compare Genesis 1:27 and
Ephesians 2:10 and commentaries
See also
Romans 2:6-16 and James 1:13-15.
Ezekiel 18:21 and commentaries
Ezekiel 18:22 and commentaries.
see article Arminianism.
Compare Catholic Encyclopedia articles Predestination and Salvation.

"Theudas rose up...After him Judas the Galilean"

Acts 5:36-37.
Many critics see this as an historical error made by Luke. However, Luke faithfully reports what Gamaliel said. Luke is not responsible for the historical sequence presented by the speaker. Theudas is also a very common name at the time of Jesus and the apostles. It is not impossible that there were many insurrectionists with that name, so that the Theudas Gamaliel was talking about was about the time of the birth of Jesus, a few years before the A.D. 6-7 census of Judas the Galilean under Quirinius, and not the more notorious one slain much later by Fadus in the account of Josephus of an insurrection that took place with a huge multitude ten years after this speech by Gamaliel.
It is also possible that the learned Rabban Gamaliel is presenting another Theudas with four hundred men as first in rank of importance for consideration as an example, and Judas the Galilean as coming after him in significance. This same kind of sequencing of significance is also found in the Talmud. Moses, for example, comes first in dignity, as the Lawgiver of God, and after him comes Abraham, the father of nations. But Abraham comes after Melchizedek, the priest of God Most High, as ranking before Abraham and to whom Abraham paid tithes and honor. "It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior" Hebrews 7:7-10 RSV. There is no error in the rabbinical argument of first considering Theudas and his four hundred men, who perished. After him comes Judas the Galilean and those he drew after him, who also perished. And now the case of the twelve apostles of Jesus, who was crucified.
See multiple commentaries on Acts 5:36.

"He said, “Brothers and Fathers, listen."

Stephen, "full of grace and power", whose opponents "could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke", calls them "Fathers". Acts 6:8, 10; 7:2. He does not say to them, "My Fathers".
The Bible, in the New Testament, demonstrates in many passages that it is not against the word of Jesus Christ Himself to address men as "Father" and as "Fathers". Jesus said, "Call no man your father upon the earth." Matthew 23:9 There is a difference. See the following scripture passages (King James Version):
1 Corinthians 4:15 "begotten"
Ephesians 3:14-15
Philippians 2:22
1 Thessalonians 2:10-12
1 Timothy 5:1 KJV
(compare 1 Timothy 5:1 RSVCE
1 John 2:13-14
"Call no man on earth your father" Matthew 23:9.
Jesus did not say, "Call no man on earth, 'father' ".
See the interlinear English and Greek text and multiple commentaries on Matthew 23:9. Jesus does not say, "Do not be called fathers". In the next verse 10, he says, "Neither be called masters". The meaning of this text (23:9) is that no male parent is to be regarded as the true father of any son or daughter naturally sired by him, as middle eastern cultural tradition taught each child to regard him—with absolute claim to their personal loyalty and obedience, above and apart from any other consideration of affection, respect, duty and reverence they might owe to another, to mother or sibling or spouse or children or friend or comrade-in-arms or teacher or commander or king or country, or even life itself. Students who came to regard their teachers and rabbis with reverent affection and loyalty, even awe, for imparting the knowledge of Torah to them, were traditionally encouraged to address them as "my father" and to regard them as their spiritual fathers, and they were delighted to be so addressed. Jesus is setting them free of the tradition of unquestioning imitation of those abusers of legitimate Jewish authority who set aside the substance of the teaching of Moses and the scriptures for the sake of their own self-promoting customs and ritual traditions.
This text in Matthew has been cited as condemning any use of the word "father" as an address or title of respect to any man, as if it said, "Call no man on earth, 'father'...". However, against this defective reading of the meaning of the text, and apart from the fact that a word has been removed by such a reading (interpretation) of the text, multiple passages in sacred scripture itself demonstrate that the apostles and disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ themselves addressed others as "father" and were called "father". St. Paul told the Corinthians that though they had many guides, he was their father through the gospel, and he also said he was a father to Timothy; and in many of his epistles he addresses the members of the congregations as "my children". There is a substantial difference in saying "my father" and simply saying "Father". For example, no Catholic says to a priest, "my father, ... ", but says instead, "Father", as a traditional title of respect. In the same way, for example, St. Stephen addressed the high priest and members of the council as "fathers", and John explicitly addresses the fathers of the Christian community as "fathers". See Acts 7:2, 22:1; 1 John 2:12-14; 1 Corinthians 4:14-15; Philippians 2:22; 1 Thessalonians 2:11; Hebrews 13:17. Most translations of Matthew 23:9 faithfully say "your father"; but others explicitly omit the word ὑμῶν "your" in translation as an anti-Catholic reading, an omission which has no grammatical basis and cannot be justified according to the New Testament Greek text of Matthew 23:9
9 καὶ πατέρα μὴ καλέσητε ὑμῶν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς· εἷς γάρ ἐστιν ὁ πατήρ ὑμῶν, ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς. (boldface emphasis added)
Omitting to include in translation a doctrinally significant word that is present in every extant manuscript of this verse in Matthew is a deliberate act involving substantial alteration of the meaning of the scriptural text, an act which every Bible-believing Christian condemns.
See Jeremiah 8:8 and Revelation 22:19.
Here is a list of some of the more widely published and distributed English translations which exclude the word "your" in Matthew 23:9, among their other violations of the Bible:
  • NIV New International Version
  • NLT New Living Translation
  • ISV International Standard Version
  • ABE Aramaic Bible in English
Compare multiple versions of Matthew 23:9.
It is better to adjust our understanding to the scripture, than to adjust the scripture to our understanding.

In those days, Peter stood amongst the disciples, and said to them (about one hundred twenty in all), "My brothers, the scripture needed to be fulfilled, which David prophesied by the Divine Guide, that Judas should should guide those who arrested Jesus. For he was one of us, and a part of our ministry. He purchased a field with the payment he received for his betrayal, and fell, bursting apart with his organs gushing out. All those who lived in Jerusalem knew these things, which is why that field is now called Aceldama, which in their language means 'the field of blood.' It is written in the book of Psalms, 'Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man live there', and 'his holy office be taken by another'. Therefore, out of these men, who have stood with us as long as the Lord Jesus came among us, from His baptism by John, to the day he was taken up from us, we must choose one to be ordained as one of us, witnesses of his resurrection."

Two were nominated, Joseph called Barabbas, also known as Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, saying, "Lord, who knows the hearts of all men, show us which of these two you have chosen, so he may take his place in this ministry and his apostleship, which, due to his sins, Judas has left and gone to Hell."

And they drew lots, and the lot favored Matthias, and so he came to be counted with the other eleven apostles.

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place when suddenly there came a sound from heaven like a great wind, and it filled the whole house they were in. There appeared to them tongues of fire which separated and came upon each of them, and they were all filled with the Divine Guide, and began to speak other languages, as the Guide gave them the ability.

And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. At this time, there were Jews in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven, devout men all. When these things were heard about town, the crowds came together, and were amazed, because every man heard the apostles speak in his own language. And they marvelled, saying to one another, "Are not all these men who speak to us Galileans? Then how come each of us hear each of these men in our own language from our birthplace? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Mesopotamians, Judeans, Cappadocians, those from Pontus and Asia, Phyrgia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the area around Cyrene in Libya, and Rome, Jews and gentiles, Cretans and Arabians, we all hear them speak in our own languages the wonderful works of God."

They all were amazed, and doubted their ears, saying to each other, "What could this mean?" Others mocked the apostles, saying, "These men are drunk!"
(Note: Conservative Bible translation avoids the actual words of the Bible text, "full of new wine", because of the teaching that new wine in the Bible is always non-alcoholic grape juice; but no one ever got drunk on grape juice.)

But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and said to the men, "Men of Judea, and all who are here in Jerusalem, hear me: For these men with me are not drunk as you might think, as it is only the third hour of the day. This is instead the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel, 'It shall happen that in the last days,' said God, 'I will pour out my spirit upon all men, and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men dream dreams. And on my servants and handmaidens I will pour my spirit, and they shall prophesy, and I will show wonders in heaven and signs on Earth, blood, fire, and smoke, the sun shall go dark and the moon turned to blood before the great day of the Lord comes, and whoever calls on the Lord shall be saved.'

"Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man who proved He was God with miracles and wonders and signs, which God did through Him while He was among you, as you know. Jesus, gifted to us with God's recommendation and prior knowledge, was taken by you, and crucified and murdered with the help of others; yet God raised Him up, casting off the pain of death, because it was impossible for death's grip to hold Jesus. David spoke about Him, 'I foresee the Lord at my side, on my right hand, that I shall not be dethroned, so my soul rejoiced and my voice filled with gladness, and my body can rest with hope. Because you won't leave my soul in hell, and you won't allow your Holy One to be corrupted. You have taught me the ways of Life and you will me joyful with your approval.'

"Men and brothers, I wish to speak freely to you about the Patriarch David. He is dead and buried and his tomb remains to this day. Being a prophet, he knew that God had promised him that as one of his own descendants, he would raise Christ to sit on his throne. When he saw this he talked about Christ's resurrection. His soul wasn't left in hell and his body didn't decay. God has raised Jesus up to heaven. We are all eyewitnesses of this.

"So, sitting exalted at God's right hand, and having received the promise of the Divine Guide from the Father, He has revealed this which you are seeing and hearing. Because David hasn't ascended into the heavens. Instead, he said, 'The Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand, until I make you a footstool out of your enemies.' So let all of Israel be certain that God has made Jesus himself, the man you crucified, Lord and Christ."

When the people heard this, their souls were touched, and they asked Peter and the apostles, "what should we do?"

Then Peter told them, "Every one of you should repent and get baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you'll receive the gift of the Divine Guide. Because the Promise is for you and your children, and your distant descendants, as many as our Lord God should call to him."

He continued to testify and compel them with a great variety of speech, "Save yourselves from this cursed generation."

The people who happily accepted his message were baptized. Three thousand souls were saved that very day. They steadfastly followed the apostles' doctrines and committed themselves to the fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayer.

and were continuously in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.

They were all struck with fear, as the apostles performed incredible achievements and showed signs. Everyone who believed was together and shared values, faith, and the truth. They sold their possessions and gave them to others, as every man must, and continuing to practice their faith in the temple, breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with contentedness and a shared heart. They praised God, and were favored by all the people. And everyday the Lord added people who were saved to the church.

At 3 PM, the hour of prayer, Peter and John went into the temple together and a man who had been crippled since birth was carried to the "Beautiful" gate of the temple to ask change of those entering, as he was daily. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked for change. Peter stared at the man with John, and said, "Look at us."

The man looked, expecting to receive something from them. Then Peter said, "I have neither silver nor gold, but I shall give you what I have: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk."

And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And the man leaped up, and walked with them into the temple, jumping and praising God. All the people saw him walking and praising God, and they knew that it was the beggar who sat at the "Beautiful" gate of the temple, and they were amazed at what had happened to him.

While the newly healed man looked at Peter and John, the other people congregated on Solomon's porch, amazed. Peter saw this, and asked them, "Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Why do you look at us so intently, as if it was by our own power that we made him walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and our fathers has given his son, Jesus Christ, great glory, the very man you turned over to Pilate, and denied mercy for when he was to be released. You denied the Holy and Just One, wanting to free a murderer. You killed the Prince of Life, who we have seen resurrected by God. Faith in the name of Jesus has healed this man, who is known to you. His sturdy faith has given him his stability in your presence.

"Brothers, I know you and your rulers have acted in ignorance. But all of the things which God told us about through the mouths of His prophets, especially that Christ would suffer, He has fulfilled. So repent and convert to the truth, so your sins may be obliterated when the Lord's presence brings a time of great refreshing. And He will send Jesus Christ, who they were talking about when they preached: 'he must stay in heaven until the times for setting everything right,' which God said through the mouth of every one of His holy prophets since the beginning of the world.

"Moses told the fathers, 'the Lord your God will bring you a prophet from your brothers, much like me. Listen to whatever he will tell you.' And it is certain that every person who closes his ears to that prophet will be destroyed. Yes, and all the prophets who have spoken since Samuel have foretold the same thing of this era. You are the prophets' children, part of the covenant God made with our fathers when He said to Abraham, 'all of the people descended from your seed will bless the earth.'

"Raising His son Jesus, God sent him to you in order to bless you, by turning all of you away from your sinful lifestyles."

While they were talking to the people, the priests, the skeptics, and the temple captain came to them. They were upset that they were teaching the people and preaching Jesus' doctrine that the dead would be resurrected. It was evening, and they seized them and imprisoned them until the following day. Nonetheless, many of the listeners opened their minds and believed, about five thousand men.

So the following day, the rulers, elders, writers, Annas, high priest, Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and many of the high priest's family gathered in Jerusalem. Bringing them out where all could see, they asked, "By whose authority, and in whose name have you been acting?"

Peter, filled with the Divine Guide, replied, "Rulers of the people, elders of Israel, if we're being scrutinized today for the charity we've done to this crippled man, newly made well, you should all understand, and so should all the Israelites, that it is through the power of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who you crucified but God resurrected. Through him, this man stands healed. He is the stone which was valued as worthless by you builders, but has become the cornerstone. Salvation cannot be had through anyone else. There is no other name under heaven known to men with which we can be saved."

When the people saw the fortitude of Peter and John, and realized they were unschooled, untrained men, the elitists were staggered. They learned that they had been with Jesus. And as they saw the evidence of the cured man standing with them, they couldn't say anything to discredit it. But when he ordered them to leave the council, they discussed this among themselves, saying, "What should we do with these men? The great miracle they performed can be seen by everyone in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But we don't want this news to spread, so let's threaten them, so they won't speak to anyone else in the name of Jesus."

And they called them, and ordered them not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. Peter and John answered them, "Ask yourselves - is it right to listen to you instead of to God? We must talk about the things which we have seen and heard."

After further threatening Jesus' apostles, they let them go, because they couldn't find a way to punish them since the people of the city glorified God and were thankful for the miracle that was done. The man on whom the miracle was performed was older than forty. Once they were released, they returned among friends and explained what the chief priests and the elders had said.

After they heard it, they praised God with unanimity, "Lord, you are God. You have made heaven, earth, the oceans, and everything in them. You said through the mouth of your servant David, 'Why does the heathen rage and the people imagine petty things? The governments rose up together against the Lord God and against Christ.'

"It's true, Herod and Pontius Pilate and the gentiles and the Israelis got together and plotted against your holy, anointed son Jesus, to do what you had already determined would happen. Lord, look how they threaten! Please bless your servants with such courage that they will spread your truth. Stretch out your hand to heal men, and have awesome signs and wonders performed in Jesus' holy name."

After they had prayed, the place where they had congregated shook and they were filled up with the Divine Guide, so they went out and spoke God's truth with courage.

The crowd which believed had the same heart and mind. None of them claimed that any of their possessions were their own, but they held them together. The apostles testified to the resurrection of Lord Jesus with great fortitude, and all of them were blessed by grace. Nor was anyone impoverished, for those who owned property and houses sold them, and were generous with the money they made, presenting them to the apostles so they might be distributed among those who were needy. The Levite Joses, called Barnabas by the apostles (meaning "the son of consolation"), who was from Cyprus, owned land, so he sold it and brought the money he made to lay it before them.

Then a man named Ananias and his wife Sapphira sold something they owned, but they deceitfully kept some of the profit, while bringing the rest and giving it to the apostles. Peter demanded, "Ananias, why has Satan persuaded you to lie to the Divine Guide and keep some of the money for yourself? When you still possessed it, wasn't it yours? After you sold it, weren't you in charge of it? Why have you conspired to do this? You haven't lied to we men, but to God."

When Ananias heard this, he fell down, dead, and everyone watching was overcome by fear. The young men got up, wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him. About three hours later his wife came in, though she didn't know what had happened. Peter asked her, "Did you sell the land for this price?"

To which she replied, "Yes, for that price."

Peter then said, "Why have you agreed to tempt the Lord's Spirit? See them? They have buried your husband and will carry you out as well."

She too fell down at his feet, dead. The young entered to find her dead, and went to bury her with her husband. The people who saw this at the church, and those who heard about it were amazed and frightened.

The people saw the apostles perform many great wonders, all gathered at a place known as "Solomon's Porch." But no one else dared to join them, even though they were greatly honored. However, countless men and women came to believe in the Lord. They even brought the sick people into the streets on beds and couches so that they might at least see the shadow of Peter as he passed. Countless people also came from the cities near Jerusalem with their sick families and people suffering from dirty minds, and they were all healed of their affliction.

The high priest and those with him, his fellow skeptics, were furious at this, so they seized the apostles and threw them in jail. But the Lord's angel freed them during the night, and told them, "Go stand in the temple, and tell the people the true message of life!"

They went into the temple the next morning to teach. The high priest came with his fellows to call a council of Israel's senate. They called for the apostles to be brought from prison. The officers found that they had escaped, and told the council of this: "The prison was locked tight when we found it, and the jailers were on duty, but no one was inside the cell."

The high priest, captain of the temple, and the chief priests were troubled by this, not knowing what it entailed. Then a man stepped forward and said, "The men you imprisoned are in the temple right now, teaching the people."

The temple captain and his officers went to the temple and brought them back without being violent, since they feared the people might stone them. They brought them before the council, and the high priest said, "Didn't we command you not to teach in Jesus' name? Look, you're filling Jerusalem with your doctrines and want to blame us for this man's death."

But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God, not men. The God of our fathers reared Jesus, who you crucified and killed. God has honored him with a place at his right hand, and has made him Prince and Savior, forgiving Israel its sins, if it repents. We saw these things, as did the Divine Guide, which God give people who obey him."

The priests were appalled by this, and conspired to murder the apostles.

Gamaliel the Pharisee, knowledgeable in the law and well respected, stood and commanded that the apostles be put outside. He said "Men of Israel, be careful in deciding what to do with these men. Remember when Theudas, who boasted about his importance, rose up. Four hundred men joined him, and all were slain and scattered. It came to nothing. Then Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of taxation, and drew a mob after him. He too died, and they were all dispersed. So I advise you, leave these men alone and do not kill them. If their plot is man-made, it will come to nothing. If it's from God, however, you cannot stop it. Worse it will be if you fight against God."

They agreed with him, and after calling the apostles in and beating them, commanded them not to speak the name of Jesus, and set them free. So the apostles left the council, rejoicing that they were worthy enough to suffer for Jesus' name. And each day in the temple and every house they came to, they continued to teach and preach the name of Jesus Christ.

Back then, while the number of disciples grew at an incredible rate, some Grecians muttered about the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected by their activities. So the twelve called the throngs of disciples in and said, "it is not reasonable to abandon God's word and serve tables. So, brothers, find among yourselves seven men who are known to be honest, full of the Divine Guide and his wisdom, who we can put in charge of this. But we will continue to pray assiduously and do the ministry of the Lord's word."

This speech was well received by all, and they chose Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas (an evangelist from Antioch), who were full of faith and the Divine Guide. They brought them to the apostles, and after praying, put their hands on them. The word of God spread, and the number of disciples grew exponentially in Jerusalem, with a multitude of priests obedient and faithful.

Stephen, who was full of God's faith and power, performed great wonders and signs for the people. Some people from the synagogue of the Libertines, Cyrenians, Alexandrians, Cilicia and Asia, began arguing with Stephen. But they could not reproach the wisdom and the spirit of his words. So they paid men deceitfully claim, "We've heard him speak blasphemies against God and Moses."

They roused the mob, the elders, and the intellectuals, who seized him and brought him to the council. They brought perjurers, who claimed "He won't stop speaking blasphemies against this holy place and the law itself. We've heard him say that Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this temple and change the very laws brought by Moses."

But those who were in the council, staring into his face, saw it was like the face of an angel.

The high priest asked, "Is this true?"

He replied, "Men, brothers, fathers, listen! Glorious God appeared to our father, Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he went to Charran, and said to him, 'Get out of your country, and away from your people, and go to the land which I'll show you.'

"So he left the land of the Chaldeans and stayed in Charran. Since then, when his father had died, he came to this land, where we now live.

"But God didn't let him inherit it, not even to set foot on. Instead, he promised it would be his to possess, and his children's after him, though he had none. God told him that his descendants would travel in a strange land and be enslaved and mistreated for four hundred years. 'I will the judge the nation which enslaves them,' said God. After they escape they will serve me here.'

"He gave them the circumcision law. So Abraham had a son, Isaac, and circumcised him when he was eight days old, and Isaac had a son, Jacob, from who descended the twelve patriarchs. But the jealous patriarchs sold Joseph as a slave in Egypt, but God stayed with him. God brought him safe from all of his trials, and blessed him with wisdom, which was seen by the Pharaoh of Egypt, who made Joseph governor of Egypt and his household.

"A famine swept over Egypt and Chanaan, and our forefathers were starved for lack of food. Jacob heard that there was a surplus of corn in Egypt, so he sent our fathers there.

"Then Joseph was revealed to his brothers again, and his family introduced to the Pharaoh. Then Joseph had his father brought to him with his extended family, seventy five people. So Jacob traveled to Egypt, and lived there, with our forefathers, until he died. He was carried to Sychem and laid in the tomb Abraham had purchased from Emmor's sons at a price.

"Once the time to make good God's promise to Abraham arrived, the population multiplied in Egypt, until another leader came to power, who didn't know Joseph. He deceived our people and convinced our fathers to do evil, so that they expelled their young children, submitting them to death. During this time, Moses was born and was very virtuous. His father raised him for 3 months.

"When he was expelled, the Pharaoh's daughter took him in, and raised him as her own son. Moses became wise in Egyptian knowledge, with great power of speech and action.

"When he was forty years old, he had a great desire to visit his brothers, the sons of Israel. Seeing one of them wrongly assaulted, he defended him, and killed the Egyptian who assaulted him. He thought his brothers would have realized by now that God was using him to save them, but they didn't, so the next day he came to them the next day as they worked and said 'Gentlemen, you are brothers, so why do you harm one another?'

"But the one harming his neighbor pushed him aside, saying, 'Who made you our king and court? Are you going to kill me, like you killed the Egyptian yesterday?'

"Moses ran when he heard this, and settled in the foreign land of Madian, and had two sons.

"Once forty years had passed, he saw an angel of the Lord appear in the desert around Sina in a blazing bush. When he saw it, he was awestruck, and when he walked closer, heard the Lord's voice: 'I am the God of your forefathers, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.' Moses trembled, and didn't dare look up.

"Then God told him, 'Take off your shoes, because you're standing on holy ground. I've seen how my people are oppressed in Egypt, heard their cries, and have arrived to save them. Now, I'm sending you to Egypt.'

"To Moses, who they had sent away and said, 'Who made you our king and court,' God appeared as a burning bush, and guided with an angelic hand to rule over them and save them. He led them out of Egypt, after performing great signs and accomplishments in Egypt, at the Red Sea, and in the desert for forty years. This is the same Moses who told the sons of Israel that 'Lord God will give bring a profit from your brothers much like me, who you should listen to.'

"This is the man who was worshiping in the desert when an Angel came to him on Mount Sinai, who brought prophecies to us. This is the man our ancestors disobeyed and expelled, desiring the slavery of Egypt. They told Aaron, 'Build us some idols to take with us. But Moses, the man who saved us from Egypt, we don't care about him.' So they made a golden calf and offered it sacrifices, proud of what they had made.

"So God let them do as they wished, fulfilling prophecies: 'Nation of Israel, have you sacrificed animals to me during your forty years of wandering the desert? No. You prayed in Moloch's temples, and your false god Remphan's, idols you made just to worship. For this, I will take you past Babylon.'

"Our ancestors had a temple of faith in that desert, as God had told Moses to do, according to his building directions. Then our forefathers gave it up to the gentiles along with Jesus, and God threw them out in front of our forefathers, and it's been here since the time of David, who was blessed by God and wanted to find a temple for the God of Jacob. But it was Solomon who ended up building it."

"'But the Highest doesn't live in handmade temples,' said the prophet. 'My throne is heaven, but earth is my footstool. How can you possibly build me a house?' says the Lord, 'how will I rest there? Have I not made everything with my own hands?'"

"You closed-minded and rule-flaunting men, why do you resist the Divine Guide just like your fathers? Your fathers persecuted all of my prophets, didn't they? And they killed anyone who foretold the Just One's arrival. You have heard the law from the mouths of angels, but ignored it."

When the people heard this, their very souls were shaken, and looked on in frustration. But he was full of the Divine God, and saw God's glory in heaven, with Jesus standing on God's right hand. He said, "Look, I see the heavens open, and the Son of Man stands at God's right hand."

They shouted loudly, plugged their ears, and ran at him together. They threw him out of the city and stoned him. Those who witnessed it set their clothes at the feet of a young man, Saul. They stoned Stephen while he declared to God, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!"

He knelt and cried out, "Lord, don't blame them with this sin." He then passed away.

Saul agreed to his execution, and the Christians of Jerusalem were direly persecuted, just as those in the lands of Judaea and Samaria, though not the apostles. Faithful men carried Stephen to be buried, and wept over his body. But Saul acted tyrannically toward the church, dragging Christians from every house to throw them in prison, so the men scattered across the lands traveled preaching the gospel.

(Conservative Bible Mark 16:20 not translated. See Conservative Bible Mark 9-16 (Translated) Chapter 16 KJV.)

Thirty-seven

Chapter 37 Bible texts

Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven, went down to the city of Samaria, and proclaimed to them the Christ. The multitudes listened with one accord to the things that were spoken by Philip, when they heard and saw the signs which he did. For unclean spirits came out of many of those who had them. They came out, crying with a loud voice. Many who had been paralyzed and lame were healed. There was great joy in that city.

But there was a certain man, Simon by name, who used to practice sorcery in the city, and amazed the people of Samaria, making himself out to be some great one, to whom they all listened, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is that Great Power of God.”

They listened to him, because for a long time he had amazed them with his sorceries. But when they believed Philip preaching good news concerning God’s Kingdom and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Simon himself also believed. Being baptized, he continued with Philip. Seeing signs and great miracles occurring, he was amazed.

Now when the Apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit; for as yet he had fallen on none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of Christ Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

Now when Simon saw that the Holy Spirit was given through the laying on of the Apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give me also this power, that whomever I lay my hands on may receive the Holy Spirit.”

But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Repent therefore of this, your wickedness, and ask God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.”

Simon answered, “Pray for me to the Lord, that none of the things which you have spoken happen to me.”

They therefore, when they had testified and spoken the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the Good News to many villages of the Samaritans.

But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise, and go toward the south to the way that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert road.”

He arose and went; and behold, there was a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was over all her treasure, who had come to Jerusalem to worship. He was returning and sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah. The Spirit said to Philip, “Go near, and join yourself to this chariot.”

Philip ran to him, and heard him reading aloud Isaiah the prophet, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?”

He said, “How can I, unless someone explains it to me?”

He begged Philip to come up and sit with him. Now the passage of the Scripture which he was reading was this,

“He was led as a sheep to the slaughter. As a lamb before his shearer is silent, so he does not open his mouth. In his humiliation, his judgment was taken away. Who will declare His generation? For his life is taken from the earth.”

The eunuch answered Philip, “Who is the prophet talking about? About himself, or about someone else?”

Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture, preached to him Jesus. As they went on the way, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Behold, here is water. What is keeping me from being baptized?”

And Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may."

And he replied, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."

He commanded the chariot to stand still, and they both went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him any more, for he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus (anciently called Ashdod). Passing through, he preached the Good News to all the cities, before he came to Caesarea.

Now you have heard of Saul's way of living in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure he persecuted the Assembly of God and ravaged it. He had advanced in the Jews’ religion beyond many of his own age among his countrymen, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of his fathers.

But Saul, still breathing threats and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, about A.D. 36 went to the high priest, and asked for letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Remember the words of the Lord, how he said, "Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God."

We understand Saul's heart according to what is written by the sweet Psalmist of Israel in the Book of Psalms, one hundred nineteen. And we know the mercy of the Lord. Think of his zeal for the law. (The scriptures are not open to the understanding of fools, nor are they read by those impatient to be entertained.)

Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
who walk according to the law of the LORD.
Blessed are those who keep his statutes, 
who seek him with their whole heart.
Yes, they do nothing wrong. 
They walk in his ways.
You have commanded your precepts,
 that we should fully obey them.
Oh that my ways were steadfast
 to obey your statutes!
Then I would not be disappointed,
 when I consider all of your commandments.
I will give thanks to you with uprightness of heart,
 when I learn your righteous judgments.
I will observe your statutes.
 Do not utterly forsake me.
How can a young man keep his way pure?
 By living according to your word.
With my whole heart, I have sought you.
 Do not let me wander from your commandments.
I have hidden your word in my heart,
 that I might not sin against you.
Blessed are you, LORD.
 Teach me your statutes.
With my lips,
 I have declared all the ordinances of your mouth.
I have rejoiced in the way of your testimonies,
 as much as in all riches.
I will meditate on your precepts,
 and consider your ways.
I will delight myself in your statutes.
 I will not forget your word.
Do good to your servant.
 I will live and I will obey your word.
Open my eyes,
 that I may see wondrous things out of your law.
I am a stranger on the earth.
 Do not hide your commandments from me.
My soul is consumed with longing
for your ordinances at all times.
You have rebuked the proud who are cursed,
 who wander from your commandments.
Take reproach and contempt away from me,
 for I have kept your statutes.
Though princes sit and slander me,
 your servant will meditate on your statutes.
Indeed your statutes are my delight,
 and my counselors.
My soul is laid low in the dust.
 Revive me according to your word!
I declared my ways, and you answered me.
 Teach me your statutes.
Let me understand the teaching of your precepts!
 Then I will meditate on your wondrous works.
My soul is weary with sorrow:
 strengthen me according to your word.
Keep me from the way of deceit.
 Grant me your law graciously!
I have chosen the way of truth.
 I have set your ordinances before me.
I cling to your statutes, LORD.
 Do not let me be disappointed.
I run in the path of your commandments,
 for you have set my heart free.
Teach me, LORD, the way of your statutes.
 I will keep them to the end.
Give me understanding, and I will keep your law.
 Yes, I will obey it with my whole heart.
Direct me in the path of your commandments,
 for I delight in them.
Turn my heart toward your statutes,
 not toward selfish gain.
Turn my eyes away from looking at worthless things.
 Revive me in your ways.
Fulfill your promise to your servant,
 that you may be feared.
Take away my disgrace that I dread,
 for your ordinances are good.
Behold, I long for your precepts!
 Revive me in your righteousness.
Let your loving kindness also come to me, LORD,
 your salvation, according to your word.
So I will have an answer for him who reproaches me,
 for I trust in your word.
Do not snatch the word of truth out of my mouth,
 for I put my hope in your ordinances.
So I will obey your law continually,
 forever and ever.
I will walk in liberty,
 for I have sought your precepts.
I will also speak of your statutes before kings,
 and will not be disappointed.
I will delight myself in your commandments,
 because I love them.
I reach out my hands for your commandments, which I love.
 I will meditate on your statutes.
Remember your word to your servant,
 because you gave me hope.
This is my comfort in my affliction,
 for your word has revived me.
The arrogant mock me excessively, but I do not swerve from your law.
I remember your ordinances of old, LORD,
 and have comforted myself.
Indignation has taken hold on me,
 because of the wicked who forsake your law.
Your statutes have been my songs,
 in the house where I live.
I have remembered your name, LORD, in the night,
 and I obey your law.
This is my way,
 that I keep your precepts.
The LORD is my portion.
 I promised to obey your words.
I sought your favor with my whole heart.
 Be merciful to me according to your word.
I considered my ways,
 and turned my steps to your statutes.
I will hurry, and not delay,
 to obey your commandments.
The ropes of the wicked bind me,
 but I will not forget your law.
At midnight I will rise to give thanks to you,
 because of your righteous ordinances.
I am a friend of all those who fear you,
 of those who observe your precepts.
The earth is full of your loving kindness, LORD.
 Teach me your statutes.
Do good to your servant,
 according to your word, LORD.
Teach me good judgment and knowledge,
 for I believe in your commandments.
Before I was afflicted, I went astray;
 but now I observe your word.
You are good, and do good.
 Teach me your statutes.
The proud have smeared a lie upon me.
 With my whole heart, I will keep your precepts.
Their heart is as callous as the fat,
 but I delight in your law.
It is good for me that I have been afflicted,
 that I may learn your statutes.
The law of your mouth is better to me
than thousands of pieces of gold and silver.
Your hands have made me and formed me.
 Give me understanding, that I may learn your commandments.
Those who fear you will see me and be glad,
 because I have put my hope in your word.
LORD, I know that your judgments are righteous,
 that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
Please let your loving kindness be for my comfort,
 according to your word to your servant.
Let your tender mercies come to me, that I may live;
 for your law is my delight.
Let the proud be disappointed, for they have overthrown me wrongfully.
 I will meditate on your precepts.
Let those who fear you turn to me.
 They will know your statutes.
Let my heart be blameless toward your decrees,
 that I may not be disappointed.
My soul faints for your salvation.
 I hope in your word.
My eyes fail for your word.
 I say, “When will you comfort me?”
For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke.
 I do not forget your statutes.
How many are the days of your servant?
 When will you execute judgment on those who persecute me?
The proud have dug pits for me,
 contrary to your law.
All of your commandments are faithful.
 They persecute me wrongfully. Help me!
They had almost wiped me from the earth,
 but I did not forsake your precepts.
Preserve my life according to your loving kindness,
 so I will obey the statutes of your mouth.
LORD, your word
is settled in heaven forever.
Your faithfulness is to all generations.
 You have established the earth, and it remains.
Your laws remain to this day,
 for all things serve you.
Unless your law had been my delight,
 I would have perished in my affliction.
I will never forget your precepts,
 for with them, you have revived me.
I am yours.
 Save me, for I have sought your precepts.
The wicked have waited for me, to destroy me.
 I will consider your statutes.
I have seen a limit to all perfection,
 but your commands are boundless.
How I love your law!
 It is my meditation all day.
Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies,
 for your commandments are always with me.
I have more understanding than all my teachers,
 for your testimonies are my meditation.
I understand more than the aged,
 because I have kept your precepts.
I have kept my feet from every evil way,
 that I might observe your word.
I have not turned aside from your ordinances,
 for you have taught me.
How sweet are your promises to my taste,
 more than honey to my mouth!
Through your precepts, I get understanding;
 therefore I hate every false way.
Your word is a lamp to my feet,
 and a light for my path.
I have sworn, and have confirmed it,
 that I will obey your righteous ordinances.
I am afflicted very much.
 Revive me, LORD, according to your word.
Accept, I beg you, the willing offerings of my mouth.
 LORD, teach me your ordinances.
My soul is continually in my hand,
 yet I will not forget your law.
The wicked have laid a snare for me,
 yet I have not gone astray from your precepts.
I have taken your testimonies as a heritage forever,
 for they are the joy of my heart.
I have set my heart to perform your statutes forever,
 even to the end.
I hate double-minded men,
 but I love your law.
You are my hiding place and my shield.
 I hope in your word.
Depart from me, you evildoers,
 that I may keep the commandments of my God.
Uphold me according to your word, that I may live.
 Let me not be ashamed of my hope.
Hold me up, and I will be safe,
 and will have respect for your statutes continually.
You reject all those who stray from your statutes,
 for their deceit is in vain.
You put away all the wicked of the earth like dross.
 Therefore I love your testimonies.
My flesh trembles for fear of you.
 I am afraid of your judgments.
I have done what is just and righteous.
 Do not leave me to my oppressors.
Ensure your servant’s well-being.
 Do not let the proud oppress me.
My eyes fail looking for your salvation,
 for your righteous word.
Deal with your servant according to your loving kindness.
 Teach me your statutes.
I am your servant. Give me understanding,
 that I may know your testimonies.
It is time to act, LORD,
 for they break your law.
Therefore I love your commandments more than gold,
 yes, more than pure gold.
Therefore I consider all of your precepts to be right.
 I hate every false way.
Your testimonies are wonderful,
 therefore my soul keeps them.
The entrance of your words gives light.
 It gives understanding to the simple.
I opened my mouth wide and panted,
 for I longed for your commandments.
Turn to me, and have mercy on me,
 as you always do to those who love your name.
Establish my footsteps in your word.
 Do not let any iniquity have dominion over me.
Redeem me from the oppression of man,
 so I will observe your precepts.
Make your face shine on your servant.
 Teach me your statutes.
Streams of tears run down my eyes,
 because they do not observe your law.
You are righteous, LORD.
 Your judgments are upright.
You have commanded your statutes in righteousness.
 They are fully trustworthy.
My zeal wears me out,
 because my enemies ignore your words.
Your promises have been thoroughly tested,
 and your servant loves them.
I am small and despised.
 I do not forget your precepts.
Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness.
 Your law is truth.
Trouble and anguish have taken hold of me.
 Your commandments are my delight.
Your testimonies are righteous forever.
 Give me understanding, that I may live.
I have called with my whole heart. Answer me, LORD!
 I will keep your statutes.
I have called to you. Save me!
 I will obey your statutes.
I rise before dawn and cry for help.
 I put my hope in your words.
My eyes stay open through the night watches,
 that I might meditate on your word.
Hear my voice according to your loving kindness.
 Revive me, LORD, according to your ordinances.
They draw near who follow after wickedness.
 They are far from your law.
You are near, LORD.
 All your commandments are truth.
Of old I have known from your testimonies,
 that you have founded them forever.
Consider my affliction, and deliver me,
 for I do not forget your law.
Plead my cause, and redeem me!
 Revive me according to your promise.
Salvation is far from the wicked,
 for they do not seek your statutes.
Great are your tender mercies, LORD.
 Revive me according to your ordinances.
Many are my persecutors and my adversaries.
 I have not swerved from your testimonies.
I look at the faithless with loathing,
 because they do not observe your word.
Consider how I love your precepts.
 Revive me, LORD, according to your loving kindness.
All of your words are truth.
 Every one of your righteous ordinances endures forever.
Princes have persecuted me without a cause,
 but my heart stands in awe of your words.
I rejoice at your word,
 as one who finds great plunder.
I hate and abhor falsehood.
 I love your law.
Seven times a day, I praise you,
 because of your righteous ordinances.
Those who love your law have great peace.
 Nothing causes them to stumble.
I have hoped for your salvation, LORD.
 I have done your commandments.
My soul has observed your testimonies.
 I love them exceedingly.
I have obeyed your precepts and your testimonies,
 for all my ways are before you.
Let my cry come before you, LORD.
 Give me understanding according to your word.
Let my supplication come before you.
 Deliver me according to your word.
Let my lips utter praise,
 for you teach me your statutes.
Let my tongue sing of your word,
 for all your commandments are righteousness.
Let your hand be ready to help me,
 for I have chosen your precepts.
I have longed for your salvation, LORD.
 Your law is my delight.
Let my soul live, that I may praise you.
 Let your ordinances help me.
I have gone astray like a lost sheep.
 Seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.

As he traveled, he got close to Damascus, and suddenly a light from the sky shone around him. He fell on the earth, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

He said, “Who are you, Lord?”

The Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise up, and enter into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

The men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the sound, but seeing no one. Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened, he saw no one. They led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. He was without sight for three days, and neither ate nor drank.

Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias!”

He said, “Behold, it is me, Lord.”

The Lord said to him, “Arise, and go to the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judah for one named Saul, a man of Tarsus. For behold, he is praying, and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in, and laying his hands on him, that he might receive his sight.”

But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he did to your saints at Jerusalem. Here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.”

But the Lord said to him, “Go your way, for he is my chosen vessel to bear my name before the nations and kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”

Ananias departed, and entered into the house. Laying his hands on him, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord, who appeared to you on the road by which you came, has sent me, that you may receive your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

Immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he received his sight. Ananias said, “The God of our fathers has appointed you to know his will, and to see the Righteous One, and to hear a voice from his mouth. For you will be a witness for him to all men of what you have seen and heard. Now why do you wait? Arise, be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”

He arose and was baptized. He took food and was strengthened.

But when it was the good pleasure of God, who separated him from his mother’s womb and called him through his grace to reveal his Son in him, that he might preach him among the Gentiles, he did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, nor did he go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before him, but he went away into Arabia. Then he returned to Damascus.

Saul stayed several days with the disciples who were at Damascus.

Immediately in the synagogues he proclaimed the Christ, the Anointed One, that he is the Son of God. All who heard him were amazed, and said, “Is this not he who in Jerusalem made havoc of those who called on this name? And he had come here intending to bring them bound before the chief priests!”

But Saul increased more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived at Damascus, proving that this is the Christ, the Anointed One.

Now about this same time Tiberius Caesar died, A.D. 37, and after him Gaius Caligula was made Emperor of Rome.

Then after three years, when many days were fulfilled, about A.D. 40, the Jews conspired together to kill Saul. In Damascus the governor under King Aretas guarded the Damascenes’ city, desiring to arrest him. But their plot became known to Saul. They watched the gates both day and night that they might kill him, but his disciples took him by night, and let him down through the wall, lowering him in a basket. He was let down in a basket through a window by the wall, and escaped his hands. Then he went up to Jerusalem to visit Peter.

When Saul had come to Jerusalem, when he had returned to Jerusalem, he tried to join himself to the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the Apostles, and declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus; and he stayed with Peter, who is also called Cephas, the Rock, fifteen days. But of the other Apostles he saw no one except James, the Lord’s brother. He was with them entering into Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus. He spoke and disputed against the Hellenists, but they were seeking to kill him.

The brothers heard it. And while Saul prayed in the Temple, he fell into a trance, and saw Jesus saying to him, “Hurry and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not receive from you testimony concerning me.”

He said, “Lord, they themselves know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue those who believed in you. When the blood of Stephen, your witness, was shed, I also was standing by, consenting to his death, and guarding the cloaks of those who killed him.’

He said to Saul, “Depart, for I will send you out far from here to the Gentiles.”

When the brothers knew it, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him off to Tarsus.

So the assemblies throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace, and were built up. They were multiplied, walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit.

Then Saul came to the regions of Syria and Cilicia. He was still unknown by face to the assemblies of Judea which were in Christ, but they only heard: “He who once persecuted us now preaches the faith that he once tried to destroy.”

So they glorified God in him. He testifies that he knew a man in Christ, (whether in the body, he does not know, or whether out of the body, he does not know; God knows), such a one caught up into the third heaven. He knows such a man (whether in the body, or outside of the body, he does not know; God knows), how he was caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. On behalf of this man he will boast, but on his own behalf he will not boast, except for his own weaknesses.

As Peter went throughout all those parts, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda. There he found a certain man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden for eight years, because he was paralyzed. Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed!”

Immediately he arose. All who lived at Lydda and in Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord.

Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which when translated, means Dorcas, which means, Gazelle. This woman was full of good works and acts of mercy which she did. In those days, she became sick, and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. As Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them. Peter got up and went with them. When he had come, they brought him into the upper room. All the widows stood by him weeping, and showing the coats and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them. Peter sent them all out, and knelt down and prayed. Turning to the body, he said, “Tabitha, get up!”

She opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. He gave her his hand, and raised her up. Calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. He stayed many days in Joppa with a tanner named Simon.

Now there was a certain man in Caesarea, Cornelius by name, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, a devout man, and one who feared God with all his house, who generously gave alms, gifts for the needy to the people, and always prayed to God. At about the ninth hour of the day, he clearly saw in a vision an angel of God coming to him, a man standing before him in bright clothing, and saying to him, “Cornelius!”

He, fastening his eyes on him, and being frightened, said, “What is it, Lord?”

He said to him, “Your prayers and your gifts to the needy have gone up for a memorial before God. Now send men to Joppa, and get Simon, who is also called Peter. He lodges with a tanner named Simon, whose house is by the seaside.”

When the angel who spoke to him had departed, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier of those who waited on him continually. Having explained everything to them, he sent them to Joppa.

Now on the next day as they were on their journey, and got close to the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray at about noon. He became hungry and desired to eat, but while they were preparing, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and a certain container descending to him, like a great sheet let down by four corners on the earth, in which were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild animals, reptiles, and birds of the sky. A voice came to him, “Rise, Peter, kill and eat!”

But Peter said, “Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.”

A voice came to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed, you must not call unclean.”

Again he saw heaven opened and a certain container descending to him, like a great sheet let down by four corners on the earth, in which were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild animals, reptiles, and birds of the sky.

A voice came to him, “Rise, Peter, kill and eat!”

But Peter said, “Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.”

A voice came to him again, “What God has cleansed, you must not call unclean.”

Again he saw heaven opened and a certain container descending to him, like a great sheet let down by four corners on the earth, in which were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild animals, reptiles, and birds of the sky.

A voice came to him, “Rise, Peter, kill and eat!”

But Peter said, “Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.”

A voice came to him again, “What God has cleansed, you must not call unclean.”

This was done three times, and immediately the vessel was received up into heaven.

Now while Peter was very perplexed in himself what the vision which he had seen might mean, behold, the men who were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon’s house, stood before the gate, and called and asked whether Simon, who was also called Peter, was lodging there. While Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men seek you. But arise, get down, and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.”

Peter went down to the men, and said, “Behold, I am he whom you seek. Why have you come?”

They said, “Cornelius, a centurion, a righteous man and one who fears God, and well spoken of by all the nation of the Jews, was directed by a holy angel to invite you to his house, and to listen to what you say.”

So he called them in and provided a place to stay.

On the next day Peter arose and went out with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him. On the next day they entered into Caesarea. Cornelius was waiting for them, having called together his relatives and his near friends. When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, fell down at his feet, and worshiped him.

But Peter raised him up, saying, “Stand up! I myself am also a man.”

As he talked with him, he went in and found many gathered together. He said to them, “You yourselves know how it is an unlawful thing for a man who is a Jew to join himself or come to one of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean. Therefore also I came without complaint when I was sent for. I ask therefore, why did you send for me?”

Cornelius said, “Four days ago, I was fasting up to this hour, and at the ninth hour, I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer is heard, and your gifts to the needy are remembered in the sight of God. Send therefore to Joppa, and summon Simon, who is also called Peter. He lodges in the house of a tanner named Simon, by the seaside. When he comes, he will speak to you.’ Therefore I sent to you at once, and it was good of you to come. Now therefore we are all here present in the sight of God to hear all things that have been commanded you by God.”

Peter opened his mouth and said, “Truly I perceive that God does not show favoritism; but in every nation he who fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him. The word which he sent to the children of Israel, preaching good news of peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all—you yourselves know what happened, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; even Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses of everything he did both in the country of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they also killed, hanging him on a tree. God raised him up the third day, and gave him to be revealed, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen before by God, to us, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that this is he who is appointed by God as the Judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him, that through his name everyone who believes in him will receive remission of sins.”

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who heard the word. They of the circumcision who believed were amazed, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was also poured out on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in other languages and magnifying God. Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers. Then Peter answered, “Can anyone forbid these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just like us.”

He commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay some days.

Now the Apostles and the brothers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. When Peter had come up to Jerusalem, those who were of the circumcision contended with him, saying, “You went in to uncircumcised men, and ate with them!”

But Peter began, and explained to them in order, saying, “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision: a certain container descending, like it was a great sheet let down from heaven by four corners. It came as far as me. When I had looked intently at it, I considered, and saw the four-footed animals of the earth, wild animals, creeping things, and birds of the sky. I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter, kill and eat!’ But I said, ‘Not so, Lord, for nothing unholy or unclean has ever entered into my mouth.’ But a voice answered me the second time out of heaven, ‘What God has cleansed, you do not call unclean.’ This was done three times, and all were drawn up again into heaven. Behold, immediately three men stood before the house where I was, having been sent from Caesarea to me. The Spirit told me to go with them, without discriminating. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered into the man’s house. He told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, and saying to him, ‘Send to Joppa, and get Simon, who is called Peter, who will speak to you words by which you will be saved, you and all your house.’ As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, even as on us at the beginning. I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John indeed baptized in water, but you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit.’ If then God gave to them the same gift as us, when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I, that I could withstand God?”

When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life!”

They therefore who were scattered abroad by the oppression that arose about Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except to Jews only. But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus. The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord. The report concerning them came to the ears of the Assembly which was in Jerusalem. They sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch, who, when he had come, and had seen the grace of God, was glad. He exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they should remain near to the Lord. For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith, and many people were added to the Lord.

Barnabas went out to Tarsus to look for Saul. When he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they were gathered together with the Assembly, and taught many people. The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.

About this time, in A.D. 41, Caligula died, and Claudius was made emperor of Rome. Tiberius Caesar had already died in A.D. 37, and after him Gaius Caligula had become Emperor of Rome, about the time of Saul's conversion. And now four years later Caligula died by assassination, and the Praetorian Guard made Claudius emperor, and he reigned for over thirteen years, A.D. 41 through 54.

Now in these days, prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them named Agabus stood up, and indicated by the Spirit that there should be a great famine all over the world, and this took place in the days of Claudius. As any of the disciples had plenty, each determined to send relief to the brothers who lived in Judea; which they also did, sending it to the Presbyters by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.

Now about that time, King Herod stretched out his hands to oppress some of the Assembly. He killed James, the brother of John, with the sword. When he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread, also called Passover. When he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of four soldiers each to guard him, intending to bring him out to the people after the Passover. Peter therefore was kept in the prison, but constant prayer was made by the Assembly to God for him. The same night when Herod was about to bring him out, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains. Guards in front of the door kept the prison.

And behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side, and woke him up, saying, “Stand up quickly!”

His chains fell off from his hands. The angel said to him, “Get dressed and put on your sandals.”

He did so. He said to him, “Put on your cloak, and follow me.”

And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he saw a vision. When they were past the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened to them by itself. They went out, and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him. When Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I truly know that the Lord has sent out his angel and delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from everything the Jewish people were expecting.”

Thinking about that, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was called Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. When Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a maid named Rhoda came to answer. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she did not open the gate for joy, but ran in, and reported that Peter was standing in front of the gate. They said to her, “You are crazy!”

But she insisted that it was so. They said, “It is his angel.”

But Peter continued knocking. When they had opened, they saw him, and were amazed. But he, beckoning to them with his hand to be silent, declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. He said, “Tell these things to James, and to the brothers.”

Then he departed, and went to another place.

Now as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers about what had become of Peter. When Herod had sought for him, and did not find him, he examined the guards, and commanded that they should be put to death. He went down from Judea to Caesarea, and stayed there.

Now Herod was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon. They came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus, the king’s personal aide, their friend, they asked for peace, because their country depended on the king’s country for food. On an appointed day, Herod dressed himself in royal clothing, sat on the throne, and gave a speech to them. The people shouted, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!”

Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died. But the word of God grew and multiplied.

Herod Agrippa the First had ruled A.D. 41-44. His son Herod Agrippa the Second succeeded him.

Barnabas and Saul returned to Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their service, also taking with them John who was called Mark.

Now in the Assembly that was at Antioch there were some prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen the foster brother of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they served the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Separate Barnabas and Saul for me, for the work to which I have called them.”

Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia. From there they sailed to Cyprus. When they were at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. They had also John Mark as their attendant. When they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Bar Jesus, who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of understanding. This man summoned Barnabas and Saul, and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn aside the proconsul from the faith. But Saul, who is also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fastened his eyes on him, and said, “Full of all deceit and all cunning, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? Now, behold, the hand of the Lord is on you, and you will be blind, not seeing the sun for a season!”

Immediately a mist and darkness fell on him. He went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand. Then the proconsul, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord.

Now Paul and his company set sail from Paphos, and came to Perga in Pamphylia. John Mark departed from them and returned to Jerusalem. But they, passing on from Perga, came to Antioch of Pisidia. They went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and sat down. After the reading of the law and the prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, speak.”

Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, “Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen. The God of this people chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they stayed as aliens in the land of Egypt, and with an uplifted arm, he led them out of it. For a period of about forty years he put up with them in the wilderness. When he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land for an inheritance, for about four hundred fifty years. After these things he gave them judges up to Samuel the prophet. Afterward they asked for a king, and God gave to them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. When he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, to whom he also testified, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’ From this man’s offspring, God has brought salvation to Israel according to his promise, before his coming, when John had first preached the baptism of repentance to Israel. As John was fulfilling his course, he said, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. But behold, one comes after me the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.’

“Brothers, children of the stock of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, the word of this salvation is sent out to you. For those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they did not know him, nor the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him. Though they found no cause for death, they still asked Pilate to have him killed. When they had fulfilled all things that were written about him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead, and he was seen for many days by those who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses to the people. We bring you good news of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled the same to us, their children, in that he raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second psalm,

“ ‘You are my Son. Today I have become your father.’

“Concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he has spoken thus: ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’ Therefore, he says also in another psalm, ‘You will not allow your Holy One to see decay.’ For David, after he had in his own generation served the counsel of God, fell asleep, and was laid with his fathers, and saw decay. But he whom God raised up saw no decay. Be it known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man is proclaimed to you remission of sins, and by him everyone who believes is justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses. Beware therefore, lest that come on you which is spoken in the prophets:

“ ‘Behold, you scoffers, and wonder, and perish; for I work a work in your days, a work which you will in no way believe, if one declares it to you.’ ”

So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. Now when the synagogue broke up, many of the Jews and of the devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas; who, speaking to them, urged them to continue in the grace of God.

The next Sabbath almost the whole city was gathered together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with jealousy, and contradicted the things which were spoken by Paul, and blasphemed. Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, and said, “It was necessary that God’s word should be spoken to you first. Since indeed you thrust it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. For so has the Lord commanded us, saying,

“ ‘I have set you as a light for the Gentiles, that you should bring salvation to the uttermost parts of the earth.’ ”

As the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of God. As many as were appointed to eternal life believed. The Lord’s word was spread abroad throughout all the region. But the Jews stirred up the devout and prominent women and the chief men of the city, and stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and threw them out of their borders, outside the city limits. But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came to Iconium. The disciples were filled with joy with the Holy Spirit.

In Iconium, they entered together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spoke that a great multitude both of Jews and of Greeks believed. But the disbelieving Jews stirred up and embittered the souls of the Gentiles against the brothers. Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who testified to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. But the multitude of the city was divided. Part sided with the Jews, and part with the Apostles. When some of both the Gentiles and the Jews, with their rulers, made a violent attempt to mistreat and stone them, they became aware of it, and fled to the cities of Lycaonia, Lystra, Derbe, and the surrounding region. There they preached the Good News.

At Lystra a certain man sat, impotent in his feet, unable to stand, a cripple from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. He was listening to Paul speaking, who, fastening eyes on him, and seeing that he had faith to be made whole, said with a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet!”

He leaped up and walked. When the multitude saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voice, saying in the language of Lycaonia, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!”

They called Barnabas “Jupiter”, and Paul “Mercury”, because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Jupiter, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, and would have made a sacrifice along with the multitudes. But when the Apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of it, they tore their clothes, and sprang into the multitude, crying out, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to the living God, who made the sky and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them; who in the generations gone by allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. Yet he did not leave himself without witness, in that he did good and gave you rains from the sky and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.”

Even saying these things, they hardly stopped the multitudes from making a sacrifice to them. But some Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there, and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul, and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But as the disciples stood around him, he rose up, and entered into the city. For where two or more are gathered in his name, there is Jesus in the midst of them.

On the next day he went out with Barnabas to Derbe. When they had preached the Good News to that city, and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, confirming the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that through much tribulation we must enter into God’s Kingdom. When they had appointed Presbyters for them in every Assembly, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they had believed.

They passed through Pisidia, and came to Pamphylia. When they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia. From there they sailed to Antioch, from where they had been committed to the grace of God for the work which they had fulfilled. When they had arrived, and had gathered the Assembly together, they reported all the things that God had done with them, and that he had opened a door of faith to the nations, to the Gentiles. This was about A.D. 44-45. They stayed there with the disciples for a long time.

About A.D. 50, some men came down from Judea and taught the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised after the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”

Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small discord and discussion with them, they appointed Paul and Barnabas, and some others of them, to go up to Jerusalem to the Apostles and Presbyters about this question. They, being sent on their way by the Assembly, passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles. They caused great joy to all the brothers.

Paul later testified,

"I know a man in Christ, who fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I do not know, or whether out of the body, I do not know; God knows), such a one caught up into the third heaven. I know such a man (whether in the body, or outside of the body, I do not know; God knows), how he was caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter."
"Then after a period of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus also with me. I went up by revelation, and I laid before them the Good News which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately before those who were respected, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain."

When they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the Assembly and the Apostles and the Presbyters, and they reported all things that God had done with them. But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.”

The Apostles and the Presbyters were gathered together to see about this matter. Paul wrote of this afterward to the assemblies of Galatia, saying,

"But not even Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. This was because of the false brothers secretly brought in, who stole in to spy out the liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage, to whom we gave no place in the way of subjection, not for an hour, that the truth of the Good News might continue with you."

When there had been much discussion, Peter rose up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that a good while ago God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the Good News, and believe. God, who knows the heart, testified about them, giving them the Holy Spirit, just like he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. Now therefore why do you test God, that you should put a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they are.”

All the multitude kept silence, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul reporting what signs and wonders God had done among the nations, the Gentiles, through them. After they were silent, James answered, “Brothers, listen to me. Simeon has reported how God first visited the nations, to take out of them a people for his name. This agrees with the words of the prophets. As it is written,

“ ‘After these things I will return. I will again build the tabernacle of David, which has fallen. I will again build its ruins. I will set it up, that the rest of men may seek after the Lord; all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord, who does all these things. All of God’s works are known to him from eternity.’

“Therefore my judgment is that we do not trouble those from among the Gentiles who turn to God, but that we write to them that they abstain from the pollution of idols, from sexual immorality, from what is strangled, and from blood. For Moses from generations of old has in every city those who preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”

Then it seemed good to the Apostles and the Presbyters, with the whole Assembly, to choose men out of their company, and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas: Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, chief men among the brothers. They wrote these things by their hand:

The Apostles, the Presbyters, and the brothers, to the brothers who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: greetings. Because we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, "You must be circumcised and keep the law," to whom we gave no commandment; it seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose out men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who themselves will also tell you the same things by word of mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay no greater burden on you than these necessary things: that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality, from which if you keep yourselves, it will be well with you. Farewell.

Paul wrote later of what followed, saying,

"But from those who were reputed to be important—whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God does not show partiality to man—they, I say, who were respected imparted nothing to me, but to the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the Good News for the uncircumcised, even as Peter with the Good News for the circumcised—for he who worked through Peter in the apostleship with the circumcised also worked through me with the Gentiles—and when they perceived the grace that was given to me, James and Cephas and John, those who were reputed to be pillars, gave to Barnabas and me the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcision. They only asked us to remember the poor—which very thing I was also zealous to do."

So, when they were sent off, they came to Antioch. Having gathered the multitude together, they delivered the Letter. When they had read it, they rejoiced over the encouragement. Judas and Silas, also being prophets themselves, encouraged the brothers with many words, and confirmed them. After they had spent some time there, they were sent back with greetings from the brothers to the Apostles. But it seemed good to Silas to remain there. But Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also. Afterward, Peter also came down from Jerusalem to Antioch.

Paul later wrote,

“When Peter came to Antioch, I resisted him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before some people came from James, he ate with the Gentiles. But when they came, he drew back and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they did not walk uprightly according to the truth of the Good News, I said to Peter before them all, ‘If you, being a Jew, live as the Gentiles do, and not as the Jews do, why do you compel the Gentiles to live as the Jews do?
“ ‘We, being Jews by nature, and not Gentile sinners, yet knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the law, because no flesh will be justified by the works of the law. But if while we sought to be justified in Christ, we ourselves also were found sinners, is Christ a servant of sin? Certainly not! For if I build up again those things which I destroyed, I prove myself a law-breaker. For I, through the law, died to the law, that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. That life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me. I do not reject the grace of God. For if righteousness is through the law, then Christ died for nothing!’ ”

But afterward, Paul repented that he had reproached Peter; for when he had grown in maturity, he said to those in Corinth,

“To the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became as weak, that I might gain the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some.”

He also said,

“Give no occasion for stumbling, whether to Jews, or to Greeks, or to the Assembly of God; even as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of the many, that they may be saved.”

This is what Peter was doing, and Paul had rebuked him for it.

And Paul said to those in Rome,

“Now accept one who is weak in faith, but not for disputes over opinions. One man has faith to eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Do not let him who eats despise him who does not eat. Do not let him who does not eat judge him who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you who judge another’s servant? To his own lord he stands or falls. Yes, he will be made to stand, for God has power to make him stand. One man esteems one day as more important. Another esteems every day alike. Let each man be fully assured in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks. He who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. For none of us lives to himself, and none dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord. Or if we die, we die to the Lord. If therefore we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died, rose, and lived again, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written,
‘ “As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘to me every knee will bow. Every tongue will confess to God.” ’
So then each one of us will give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another any more, but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block in his brother’s way, or an occasion for falling. I know, and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean of itself; except that to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.”

He also said,

“It is good to not eat meat, drink wine, nor do anything by which your brother stumbles, is offended, or is made weak. Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not judge himself in that which he approves.”
“Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each one of us please his neighbor for that which is good, to be building him up.”

This is what Peter was doing, and Paul had rebuked him for it. You see how he repented.

Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.

Acts 8:5–40
Galatians 1:13-14 adapted (third person)
Acts 9:1-2
John 16:2
Romans 10:2 "zeal for God"
2 Samuel 23:1c
"...the sweet psalmist of Israel"
Psalm 119
Acts 9:3-19a
Acts 22:14-16
Galatians 1:15-17
Acts 9:19b-22
Galatians 1:18a
after three years
Acts 9:23
2 Corinthians 11:32
Acts 9:24-25
2 Corinthians 11:33
Galatians 1:18b
I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas
Acts 9:26-27
Galatians 1:18c
and remained with him fifteen days
Galatians 1:19
Acts 9:28-29
Acts 22:17-21
Acts 9:30-31
2 Corinthians 12:2a,c-5 adapted
(chronological sequence—omit "fourteen years ago")
Galatians 1:21-24
Acts 9:32–10:46a
1 Corinthians 14:22
Acts 10:46b–14:20a
Matthew 18:20
Acts 14:20b–15:3
2 Corinthians 12:2-4
who fourteen years ago
Galatians 2:1-2
after fourteen years
Acts 15:4-6
Galatians 2:3-5
Acts 15:7-29
Galatians 2:6-10 adapted
Acts 15:30-35
Galatians 2:11-21
1 Corinthians 9:20-22
1 Corinthians 10:32-33
Romans 14:1-14
Romans 14:21-22
Romans 15:1-2
Acts 15:35

Compare
World English Bible text
Greek original text
Latin Vulgate text
NRSV text
Scofield Reference Bible (1917 Edition)
Conservative Bible text
multiple versions of any verse
multiple commentaries any passage
interlinear Bible: Hebrew, Greek, English
Bible maps (click initial letter of place name)
Maps of Paul's journeys:

CHRONOLOGY OF THE ACTS AND EPISTLES OF THE NEW TESTAMENT See the following articles:

Eusebius: Church History: The Ecclesiastical History Of Eusebius Pamphilus: Bishop Of Caesarea, In Palestine (documentacatholicaomnia.eu) pdf

The Works of Flavius Josephus William Whiston, Translator, 1737 (sacred-texts.com)

Suetonius: Twelve Caesars: The Lives of the Twelve Caesars by C. Suetonius Tranquilus; To which are added His Lives of the Grammarians, Rhetoricians, and Poets. The Translation of Alexander Thomson, M.D., Revised and corrected by T. Forester, Esq., A.M. (Gutenberg.org)

Tacitus: The Annals, Written 109 A.C.E. Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb

Early Christian Writings A.D. 30 through 380 (earlychristianwritings.com)

Archaeology and the Book of Acts John McRay, Wheaton College Graduate School, Wheaton, IL 60187 pdf


"Philip the evangelist, one of the seven"

An amplification of Acts 8:5.
He was not the apostle Philip, but one of the first seven deacons "men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom...and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicholaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands upon them." (Acts 6:1-6).
Luke identifies him as "Philip the evangelist, one of the seven...he had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied" Acts 21:8-9.
If this Philip was the Apostle, there would have been no need for Peter and John to come down to Samaria "that they might receive the Holy Spirit." For 8:18 states clearly, "that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands." See the context, Acts 8:14-20; see also Simony, the sinful purchase of an ecclesiastical office of the church, in this case the apostolic office of episcopus, or chief presiding bishop in the church. See Confirmation.

"...there was a certain man, Simon by name, who used to practice sorcery in the city"

Acts 8:9.
Simon Magus, later the father or founder of Gnosticism. Simon is the name associated with the sin of Simony.
See multiple commentaries on Acts 8:9 and 8:18.
Simon is also profiled by the early fourth century church historian Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History.
See linked text at —
Church History (Book II) Chapter 13. Simon Magus (newadvent.org) (scroll down to Chapter 13).
See also the following articles:

"This man is that Great Power of God."

Acts 8:10
In the mystical teachings of the Kabbalah, the "Great Power" is called Geburah (Power, Strength), one of the Ten Sephirot or Emanations of the Ein Soph, the unknowable Godhead. In Gnosticism this Gevurah is a living power, like God, as are all of the Ten Sephirot. Simon was being hailed by the Samaritans as the embodiment of that divine aspect of God.
This is almost identical to the Hindu theology of the Avatar, an embodiment of one of the gods, usually Vishnu, of whom Krishna was supposed to be one avatar or manifestation. The Syrian tyrant Antiochus IV, in 175 B.C., claimed the title "Epiphanes" (Greek, lit. "manifestation", 1 Maccabees 1:10), just as the Roman emperor Domitian also, in A.D. 94-96, referred to himself as "Dominus et Deus" (Latin, lit. "Lord and God"), Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, Domitian 13.
The false claim about Simon Magus being "that power of God which is called Great" (RSV) is countered by Paul's declaration in his Epistle to the Colossians:
Jesus Christ is the embodiment of "all the fullness of God" and the "image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation": "for in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily."
Colossians 1:15-19; 2:8-9 and 18-19; 1 John 1:1-4.
See also John 1:1-3, 10, 18; Hebrews 1:1-2:18; Revelation 22:16, 13, 6.
The Gospel of John, the Letter to the Colossians, and the Epistle to the Hebrews are especially outstanding primary sources in answer to the explicit claims of Gnosticism and the New age movement.
Jesus said to Thomas, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me." John 14:6.
Peter said to the Sanhedrin, "There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12.
See the following Christian sources proclaiming Jesus as the only way of salvation:
other doctrinal statements:

"he met an Ethiopian"

Acts 8:26-39.
Apparently an Ethiopian Jew of the Beta Israel.
The passage of Isaiah that the Ethiopian eunuch was reading is from the Septuagint. He had gone to Jerusalem to worship at the Temple. Ethiopian Jews are the only Jewish community today who still accept the Septuagint (minus Ecclesiasticus)—see Theopedia – Septuagint. The Beit Israel never accepted the limited Palestinian Canon adopted in the second through sixth centuries by Palestinian rabbinical authorities, and never accepted the Masoretic Text as defined by the Masoretes. They also reject Jesus as Messiah and all of the Christian writings of the New Testament.
The Ethiopian eunuch in the court of the Candace was the first missionary of Christ to the Beit Israel in Axum. The Aksumite Empire of Africa converted to Christianity in the fourth century (Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church). The government then began a policy of oppressing the Beit Israel, those Ethiopian Jews who rejected Jesus and blasphemed him as a sorcerer, magician, and blasphemer, denouncing him as an evil prophet and founder of a false religion.
See also

"the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians"

Acts 8:27.
This is a ruling title, not a name.
The New Testament does not include the article "the", which has been inserted here as a clarifying amplification of the text. The Bible also speaks of Pharaoh as a title of the ruler of Egypt without the article, and Caesar as emperor without the article. Kandake is the more proper translation of the title of the queen of Meroë. See Candace/Kandake.

"Philip opened his mouth"

Acts 8:35.
More generally the biblical expression "opening the mouth" signifies an open and unrestrained expression of thought out of the depths of the heart and mind. Here the scriptural expression signifies a solemn prophetic utterance of divine origin.
See Matthew 5:2. Also Numbers 22:28; Nehemiah 8:5; Ezekiel 3:2-4; 24:27; 33:22-23; Daniel 10:16; Zecharish 13:1 "there shall be a fountain opened" (compare Sirach 24:33 "I will again pour out teaching like prophecy").
Compare Judges 11:35-36; Job 3:1; Daniel 10:16; Acts 10:34; Revelation 13:6.

"Now you have heard of Saul's way of living in time past in the Jews’ religion..."

Acts 9:1; Galatians 1:13-14.
Saul of Tarsus, who became the Apostle Paul.
See the excellent general article
St. Paul (newadvent.org).

"We understand Saul's heart according to what is written..." in Psalm 119.

This psalm has been inserted here in accordance with the purpose of a Harmony of the Gospel, for increasing understanding of the context of the scriptures in the account of Saul's journey toward Damascus. See the brief articles Harmony of the Gospel and Redaction.
Psalm 119 in the English King James Bible is Psalm 118 in the Greek Septuagint and the Douay-Rheims Bible according to the division and enumeration of the Psalms in the Latin Vulgate of St. Jerome.
Anyone who has known genuinely devout and observant Orthodox rabbis finds in this psalm essentially a profound expression of their characteristically reverent regard for and attitude toward the Torah of the Tanakh and the Talmud, even while they resolutely reject the claims of Christianity regarding Jesus.
The reading of this psalm in the context of Saul's zeal for the "traditions of my ancestors", together with the fact that he "surpassed in observance of the law all of his contemporaries", and was a "Pharisee of the Pharisees" (Galatians 1:13-14; Philippians 3:5-6; Acts 23:6; 26:5), gives the reader deeper insight into his motivation for persecuting the Christians. It also contains the thoughts in the heart of Jesus himself, confronted by the opposition of wicked hypocrites, who was persecuted and wrongly accused, whom no one could convict of sin, whose total confidence (hope) and purpose was in doing the will of his Father in heaven, according to the heart of what he had revealed to Moses in the law of holiness, goodness, justice, mercy and righteousness. Paul later wrote, "He had mercy on me because I acted ignorantly in unbelief." 1 Timothy 1:12-16. And the statement in Psalm 119:46 about giving testimony before kings, is a foreshadowing of Paul's ministry before king Agrippa and Nero (Acts 25:13–26:32; KJV 2 Timothy subscription after 4:22 kingjamesbibleonline.org).
Psalm 119 is fully expressive of the devotion in the heart of every Christian who loves the Bible as the inspired Word of God to man, revealing the message and Person of Jesus Christ the Son of God, Messiah of Israel and Savior of mankind, the Way and the Truth and the Life. See
1 John 4:21–5:5;
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14;
John 14:23-24;
Matthew 7:21-27;
Mark 12:28-33; and
John 17:3.
See also
Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) Part One: The Profession of Faith, Article III, Sacred Scripture (scborromeo.org). "Through all the words of Sacred Scripture, God speaks only one single Word, his one Utterance in whom he expresses himself completely." CCC 102.

"(The scriptures are not open to the understanding of fools, nor are they read by those impatient to be entertained.)"

—Michael Paul Heart.
See Acts 28:26-27, 2 Timothy 4:3-4
and 2 Peter 3:16-17
See Bible Verses About Fools (kingjamesbibleonline.org)

"They led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus."

Acts 9:8.
They were journeying on foot, not on horseback.
A horse is not mentioned. Artists have portrayed Saul falling off his "high horse" as an imaginative dramatic device [1]. Because of such images many people think the Bible says he fell from a horse.
"...led him by the hand...". Compare Acts 13:11.
If they were traveling by horse, the most convenient strategy would be to seat Saul again on his mount, the men with him again remounting their horses, and one of them taking the reins of his mount to lead him into the city. It would be almost impossible to lead a blinded man anywhere by hand if he was mounted on a horse. The alternative view, that they were all on horseback, suggests that they all dismounted and proceeded on foot, leading their horses, and Paul himself being led by hand.
This is highly unlikely. It was rare for Jews to travel on horseback. Occasionally they travelled on long journeys by horse-drawn wheeled vehicles, but most often walking, with the aid of a sturdy staff which could also be used as a defensive weapon against robbers. Jesus himself traveled the roads of Galilee, Samria and Judea by foot. The customary mode of travel over long distances was with a group, traveling on foot. A lone traveler was at risk (see Luke 10:30).
"Jewish traditions from the Second Temple era equated the riding of horses with collaboration with the Greek and Roman enemies...the riding of a horse was seen as a dangerous betrayal of religious principles." —Horse Sense (From the Sources by Eliezar Segal.)

"Brother Saul..." Acts 9:17
(and further on)
"James, the Lord's brother" Galatians 1:19
(and further on)
"When the brothers knew it..." Acts 9:30

The Greek word for "brother" adelphos and for "brothers" adelphoi all through the New Testament is always the same word, and it is used broadly in reference to male siblings born from the same womb, having the same mother, in reference to male relatives having different mothers but the same father, in reference to male relatives having different sets of parents, both mothers and fathers, in reference to male members of the same family group or members of a larger clan, to male members of the same tribe in Israel, to all descendants of Jacob (who was given the name Israel), and in reference to men who, while physically unrelated, share a common bond of mutual affection, struggle, dedication, political affiliation, or religion.
Paul's letters to the men and women of the congregations of the churches also includes women as "brothers" in Christ, believers, using the same word adelphoi, making them equally heirs of salvation as sons of God by the adoption of saving grace through the blood of Jesus Christ. See
Romans 1:13; 7:1, 4; 8:12, 29; 10:1; 11:25; 12:1; 15:14-15, 30; 16:17;
1 Corinthians 1:10-11, 26; 2:1; 3:1, 3; 4:6; 10:1; 11:2, 33; 12:1; 14:6, 20, 26, 39; 15:1, 6, 50, 58; 16:15, 20;
2 Corinthians 1:8; 8:1; 13:11;
Galatians 1:2, 11; 3:15; 4:12, 28, 31; 5:11, 13; 6:18;
Ephesians 6:10, 23;
Philippians 1:12, 14; 3:1, 13, 17; 4:1, 8, 21-22;
Colossians 1:2; 4:15;
1 Thessalonians 1:4; 2:1, 9, 14, 17; 3:7; 4:1, 10, 13; 5:1, 4, 12, 14, 25-27;
2 Thessalonians 1:3; 2:1, 13, 15; 3:1, 6, 13;
1 Timothy 4:6
2 Timothy 4:21;
Titus 2:1-5, 11-13; 3:1-2.
See also
Hebrews 2:11-13, 17-18; 3:1, 12; 7:5; 10:19-25; 13:22;
James 1:2, 16, 19-22; 2:1, 5, 14; 3:10-13; 4:11; 5:7, 9-10, 12, 19-20;
1 Peter 1:22; 3:8-9; 5:9;
2 Peter 1:10-11;
1 John 2:7; 3:13-14, 16;
Revelation 6:9-11; 12:10; 19:9-10.
See article The Translation of Αδελφος and Αδελφοι: A Response to Mark Strauss and I. Howard Marshall, by Michael D. Marlowe, 2004 (bible-researcher.com)
Compare especially Galatians 3:25-29. See multiple commentaries on Galatians 3:26
Public worship readings of the Epistles of the New Testament often amplify the intended meaning of the sacred author by reading "brothers and sisters" for the implicitly inclusive adelphoi "brothers". This is for the benefit of those who are unaware of this fact, to correct any impression in the minds and hearts of the hearers that the teachings in the Epistles were addressed exclusively to men, except where women are explicitly mentioned and addressed.
Literally, the Greek adelphos and adelphoi both mean "of the womb"—"[males] of the [same] womb" (see Strong's number 80). However, the one hundred twenty "brothers", adelphoi, of Acts 1:15-16, "brethren" in Catholic Bibles and in the King James Version, could not all have been born from the same woman. The same applies to those entire bodies of the assemblies or congregations of the churches to whom Paul and James and Peter and John addressed their epistles, both men and women.
On this basis, according to the text of the Bible, Protestant Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christians using the principle of sola scriptura cannot disprove the tradition and the dogmatic assertion of the Orthodox and Catholic Churches:
that the brothers of Jesus, James, Joses, Simon, and Judas (and his sisters), that the brothers of Jesus James, Joseph, Simon, and Jude (and his sisters), were not born of Mary's womb but were nevertheless closely related to him "according to the flesh" (Romans 1:3).
In A.D. 382/3 St. Jerome complained that Helvidius interpreted Matthew 1:25 to mean that Mary had other children, noting especially that this was an entirely "novel" interpretation, a new idea never suggested before the fourth century. The Perpetual Virginity of Blessed Mary: Against Helvidius, by St. Jerome (cin.org)
Moreover, it is utterly inappropriate to suggest from this text (Matthew 1:25) that Joseph "a just man", was eagerly awaiting an opportunity to have sex with Mary as soon as possible after Jesus was born.
In the sixteenth century the chief Protestant Reformers, Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, defended the traditional claim that Mary had only one child, Jesus. John Calvin, in his Commentary on Matthew called them "pig-headed and stupid" who interpret the gospel of Matthew 1:25 to imply that Mary had other children (Calvin's Commentary on Matthew 1:1-25).
See discussion of both sides of the controversy based on scripture proof texts:
The word in Colossians is actually the singular form ἀνεψιὸς anepsios, and it occurs only once in the entire Bible: it is not one example among many. The linked article above by Michael D. Marlowe, "The Translation of Αδελφος and Αδελφοι", also clearly demonstrates on the basis of Greek linguistics and cultural usage, and from the Bible, that these words do include the meaning of "cousin/s" and "relative/s". Moreover, anepsios, anepsioi is not the only Greek term that can be translated "cousins", "kindred".
See interlinear texts:
Colossians 4:10 ἀνεψιὸς anepsios
"Aristarchus my fellow-prisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas" KJV —"Mark, the cousin of Barnabas" RSVCE
Luke 1:36 συγγενίς syngenis
"And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age" KJV —"And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son" RSVCE[
Luke 1:58 συγγενεῖς syngeneis
"And her neighbors and her cousins heard" KJV —"And her neighbors and kinsfolk heard" RSVCE

"you will be a witness for him to all men of what you have seen and heard"

Acts 22:15.
These are the words of Ananias to Paul when he was baptized (Acts 9:17-19). See Timeline of the Apostle Paul (blueletterbible.org)

"Arise, be baptized, and wash away your sins

Acts 22:16b.
This is one of many texts cited by the Christian majority as proof that baptism actually washes away sins "by water and the word".
The ancient apostolic Christian churches traditionally read this as a clear and plain statement of the effect of Baptism, interpreting it as a sacrament ex opere operato instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ as the application of his blood to the soul of the redeemed, to wash away the inherited guilt, shame and defect of the original sin of Adam, and all sins committed before Baptism—as long as the recipient of the sacrament puts no obstacle in the way of the action of the grace of salvation bestowed by God through the sacrament. This is according to the literal sense of scripture. "Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?" This teaching goes back as far as the second century (Tertullian, On Baptism).
See Catholic Encyclopedia: Sacraments.
Other traditions since the sixteenth century deny that baptism removes sin, but rather fully covers the corrupted soul in the sight of God with the blood of Jesus Christ, making the vile sinner fully as presentable and acceptable to Him as Jesus Himself while the soul remains corrupt within itself.
Others read it as a metaphor, interpreting Baptism as an ordinance of the Christian religion, a formal public witness, an affirmation or testimony before God and man of personal dedication to Jesus Christ as savior, in lawful obedience to his command, and a legal decree of amnesty from eternal punishment. This form of the doctrine of baptism has been characterized by its critics as equivalent to a judge declaring innocent a repentant man dying of STD from prostitutes, and doing nothing to heal him of the fatal disease. The critics miss the fact that this teaching emphasizes that it is Jesus himself who heals the disease of sin by his conversion of the sinner, while it emphasizes that baptism of itself is an outward formality that does nothing to the soul.
The sacramental theology of ex opere operato has been repudiated as pagan magic by Protestant theology. See analysis in The Concept of Ex-Opere-Operato: Efficacy in the Fathers as Evidence of Magic in Early Christianity. E. G. Weltin. click the PDF.
These doctrinal teachings of Christian Fundamentalism firmly oppose the literal meaning of the words of Saint Peter "even baptism doth also now save us...by the resurrection of Jesus Christ" KJV (1 Peter 3:21). Christian denominational traditions that reject the Catholic and Orthodox literal reading of the text explain that it does not actually mean what it appears to say on the surface, and that it should instead be understood by what professional biblical criticism calls "accomodation", an accommodated reading (see Cafeteria Christian: Proof texts "Yes, that's what it says, but what it means is..."). Although Peter says that baptism now saves us, there are many who say that baptism does not save us. Although the Bible says that baptism washes away sins, there are many who say that baptism does not wash away sins.
See the following texts with commentaries:

"Now about this same time Tiberius Caesar died, A.D. 37, and after him Gaius Caligula was made Emperor of Rome."

See the following articles:

"When Saul had come to Jerusalem, when he had returned to Jerusalem..."

Three texts are redacted here. Acts 9:24-25; 2 Corinthians 11:33; Galatians 1:18b. The awkward construction of this sentence is from including the accounts as given in the Bible by Luke and by Paul. The text here in this Harmony is drawn from the WEB translation.

"Italian Regiment"

Acts 10:1.
Also called the Italian Cohort, in the KJV the "Italian band". This was an archery unit of the Roman army, known outside of the Bible as Cohors II Italica, which was stationed in Caesarea.
1,000 men, probably mustered in Italy, composed this unit, which was afterward transferred to the Middle East. The surviving documented mention of this regiment is dated to A.D. 69 (Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary 2003, Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, Tennesee, p. 853). This dating of the documented evidence of its existence does not however prove that it was not in Caesarea before that date at the time of St. Peter's visit to Cornelius. Textual criticism has satisfactorily established the historical reliability of Acts, though some scholars (today a minority) still regard it and the Gospel of Luke as historically unreliable. Consult the abundant multitude of online and published material critiquing the "accuracy of Luke and Acts".

"He saw heaven opened...This was done three times"

Acts 10:9-16.
The text is here explicitly repeated as an amplification of verse 16 "This was done three times". The text does not say that the voice spoke to him three times, but says that what happened, the whole vision, was done three times, "happened three times" (RSV). See multiple versions of Acts 10:16 and commentaries.

"the Holy Spirit fell on all those who heard the word...They of the circumcision who believed were amazed."

Acts 10:44-45.
In Luke's second volume of the Gospel, Acts of the Apostles, he records three episodes of speaking in tongues: Acts 2:8; 10:44-45; 19:2-7. The term for ecstatic speech in tongues is "glossolalia". In each instance of speaking in tongues there were present those who did not yet know and believe the fullness of the Gospel, although they were Christian believers.
  • In Acts 2:8 the devout Jews who believed Moses and the prophets did not yet believe in Christ. They were unbelievers. The Holy Spirit was poured out on the disciples, they spoke in tongues, and when Peter explained the significance of what happened and what it meant, the devout Jews believed this sign and they believed in Christ.
  • In Acts 10:44-45 the Judaizers (Jews who believed in Jesus but held to the covenant of Sinai) were amazed that the Holy Spirit was given to Gentiles (non-Jews), because they had not believed this could happen. They were unbelievers, although they believed in Christ. The Holy Spirit came on the Gentiles, they spoke in tongues, and the Judaizing Christians (the circumcision party) were amazed. Peter testified to those who objected, that the Holy Spirit had come on the Gentiles "as he had come on us at the beginning", and they suddenly understood what they had never believed, that "even the Gentiles had been granted repentance unto life", and they believed.
  • In Acts 19:2-7 those who had received the baptism of repentance that John the Baptizer had preached, had not even heard or believed that there is a Holy Spirit. They were circumstantially unbelievers, although they believed in Christ. The Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied, and many of those who had only believed in the baptism of John also came to believe, because of this sign.
    (See Mandaean religion, followers of John the Baptist.)
Saint Paul clearly said, "Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers" 1 Corinthians 14:22. It is evidence of the presence of unbelievers within the gathering.
He also said that those who spoke in tongues are not to speak all together at the same time, "If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God" 1 Corinthians 14:28. In answer to those who might plead that they like Jeremiah could not hold it in (Jeremiah 6:11a), Paul firmly declares, "The spirits of the prophets are subject to (the control of) the prophets."
Saint Paul stated most firmly that "If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command. If he ignores this, he should be ignored." 1 Corinthians 14:37-38. The Revised Standard Version, along with several other translations, renders the more literal reading, in legal form: "If any one does not recognize this, he is not recognized." Throughout history, especially in Christianity, groups, sects, and denominations seeking from legitimate, recognized authority official acknowledgement of their claims to legitimacy, "seek to be recognized", seek "recognition". Irenaeus relates that when the notorious Gnostic heretic Marcion approached Bishop Polycarp and said, "Recognize us!", Polycarp replied, "I recognize—I recognize the firstborn of Satan!"
Irenaeus, Against Heretics, Book III, 3.4.
Paul wrote to Titus, whom he appointed Bishop of Crete (1:5) : "A man who is a heretic after the first and second admonition reject, have nothing more to do with him; knowing that he who is such is perverted, and sins, being condemned of himself." (3:10-11) —see multiple commentaries on Titus 3:10 and 3:11.
Many charismatic churches and prayer groups ignore every one of the details of the Lord's command through St. Paul by speaking in tongues together all at once, by interrupting, by not interpreting, and by the fact that those present with foreign cultural and ethnic upbringing do not hear them in their own languages. Individuals also sometimes suddenly interrupt what is being said by another, with an outburst of ecstatic speech (1 Corinthians 14:30). It is very rare, if ever, that the leaders in the beginnings of their charismatic prayer gatherings and worship publicly inquire if anyone present has the gift of interpretation of tongues, and seldom or never does anyone in their gathering ever interpret what anyone has uttered in the charismatic spirit language of tongues. According to the principle of sola scriptura they are ignoring the Lord's command, and they "should be ignored"—"they are not recognized". According to the principle of sola scriptura the presence of tongues is already evidence of unbelief among them, although they claim to believe in Christ. In Luke 6:46 Jesus says, "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do what I say?". In Matthew 7:22-23 he says, "On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers'."
According to Peter (Acts 10:47) the Gentiles had received the Holy Spirit just as the apostles and disciples had received Him on the day of Pentecost, that day when everyone present who heard them speak understood every word they uttered in praising the works of God. The tongues were not unknown languages. Acts 2:8-11.
Charismatic churches and groups in the 20th and 21st centuries assert that, when they speak in unknown tongues as the Spirit gives them utterance, they receive the Holy Spirit just as the apostles and disciples received the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost. But those who are present at these meetings of prayer and praise do not understand what is said (1 Corinthians 14:6-11).
That is not what happened on the day of Pentecost. There came a sound like a powerful wind that filled the place where they were, and there appeared to them tongues as of fire which separated and rested on each one of them. Everyone on that day heard and understood clearly and plainly those who spoke as the Spirit gave them utterance, each in his own native tongue.
If a charismatic praise and prayer and worship meeting has speaking in tongues and does not have the sudden sound of a strong, driving wind, and the appearance of tongues of fire resting on each of them, and ecstatic speech that everyone can understand in their own native languages, then it is evident that they are not receiving the Holy Spirit "in the same way that the apostles and disciples received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost."
Christians who take literally and seriously what Paul says is the Lord's command, understandably regard those churches and groups who ignore the Lord's command as unbiblical and disobedient to God. And they conclude from this, therefore, that these churches and prayer groups cannot be teaching the truth of God but only doctrines of the devil, and that they are led by "ignorant and unstable" persons who distort and twist the Bible to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:14-18). Many observers counter that such a judgment is harsh and intolerant, and they caution that no one should judge another (Matthew 7:1-5). But Jesus demanded "right judgment" (John 7:24). Paul urged the Corinthians to "judge" matters themselves (1 Corinthians 6:2-3). And John warned against false spirits of prophesy (1 John 4:1). Compare 2 Corinthians 11:14-15. The best that can be said of them is what Paul said of the Jews, "I testify that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge." Romans 10:2. They are simply ignorant of scripture and uninformed of the fullness of the truth. See Acts 18:24-26.
Paul said to encourage prophecy, and he said to not forbid speaking in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:39), but he also said that if anyone spoke in an unknown tongue, the hearers could not know what was actually being said, and if there is no one to interpret they should be silent. How can we say "Amen" to undisclosed content? (1 Corinthians 14).
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See also:
When the Bible was completed has been a matter of debate. Three questions are asked:
—was it completed when the Book of Revelation was written? (1st century)
—was it completed when all the books of the Bible had been finally recognized and collected as one Bible (even if some of them are disputed)? (4th century)
—was it completed when the official canon of scripture (the list of all the books of the Bible) had been dogmatically defined and "the debate was finally settled and closed once and for all"? (16th century)
—see Biblical Canon.
The Old Testament demonstrates an ancient history of ecstatic prophetic states under the influence of the Spirit of God which included unknown speech, and the stripping off of their clothes; also a history of false prophets uttering ecstatic speech and messages inspired by a lying spirit.
The seventy elders of the people, including Eldad and Medad.
Numbers 11:24-30
The band of prophets from the high place at Gibeath-elohim, and Saul.
1 Samuel 10:5-13
Samuel and the prophets under him, and the messengers of Saul sent to capture David, and Saul himself.
1 Samuel 19:19-24
The false prophets of Baal, prophesying.
1 Kings 18:19-40
The lying spirit in the mouths of all the prophets of Israel, that was sent to deceive the king.
1 Kings 22:5-23
The sons of Asaph and Heman assigned by David to prophesy with music.
1 Chronicles 25:1-6
Prophets who prophesied, but were not sent by the Lord.
Jeremiah 23:16-32
Compare the warning in Colossians 2:18-19.

"through much tribulation we must enter into God’s Kingdom"

See multiple versions of Acts 14:22.
According to the preaching of St. Paul, Christians are not exempt from tribulation, and only by passing through the tribulation, through much distress, will we enter into God's Kingdom.
See the following texts from the King James Version of the Bible (KJV):
Deuteronomy 4:30
Judges 10:14
1 Samuel 10:19; 26:24
Ecclesiasticus 2:1
Matthew 13:21, 24:21 and 24:29
Mark 13:24
John 16:33
Acts 14:22
Romans 2:9; 5:3; 8:35; 12:12
2 Corinthians 1:4; 7:4
Ephesians 3:13
1 Thessalonians 3:4
2 Thesslonians 1:4, 1:6
Revelation 1:9; 2:9, 2:10, 2:22; 7:14

"But it seemed good to Silas to remain there."

Acts 15:34.
This verse is omitted by some ancient authorities (extant manuscripts). See multiple commentaries on Acts 15:34.

A.D. 33-44.

Apostolic Christian tradition in the East and the West holds that Mary the mother of Jesus "having completed the course of her life on earth" was taken body and soul into heaven by her son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Since the 3rd century Orthodoxy has observed this event as the Dormition and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The tradition is an established matter of ancient record. See Feast of the Assumption (newadvent.org)
See Timeline of Saints (orthodoxwiki.org) and Assumption of Mary.
Compare the following Bible texts:
especially verse 51.
This last listed passage of five verses in 1 Corinthians is read by some as written by Paul from his factual knowledge of the Assumption of Mary as conclusive evidence that "we shall not all sleep".
See the Catholic document Munificentissimus Deus Apostolic Constitution of Pius XII Defining the Dogma of the Assumption, issued November 1, 1950.
Compare 1 Kings 2:19 and Psalm 45.
Orthodox and Catholics who knowingly deny the doctrine of the dormition and bodily assumption of Mary have historically been excommunicated since the early third century. This does not affect members of Christian churches that do not teach this doctrine and know nothing about it.
Historically, no relics of the body of Mary the mother of Jesus are claimed to exist, such as bone, skull, teeth, hair, fingernail clippings. This is highly unusual in light of the traditional cultus (Latin = "devotion, reverence, veneration") of relics of the saints in Orthodoxy and Catholicism, a tradition which the Reformers condemned as superstition and idolatry. (See Relics, Saints, and the Assumption of Mary, by David Anders, "In the whole history of Christendom, no one ever came forth with a putative first class relic of the Blessed Virgin." Anders cites St. John Damascene who died 749.)
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"Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, “Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen...a work which you will in no way believe, if one declares it to you.’

Acts 13:16-41
This homily or sermon is very much like the Letter to the Hebrews traditionally ascribed to Paul as the unknown author. This remarkable resemblance, in language and structure, together with the wording of the textual passage of Hebrews 13:23-24, is part of the reason that Hebrews was often listed with the corpus of Paul's writings to the church.
In Origen's commentaries on the scriptures, cited by Eusebius in his 4th century Church History, Book VI, chapter 25.11-14, he says that the epistle to the Hebrews has not the same vulgarity of style as the apostle Paul and is more pure Greek; but he immediately acknowledges that the thoughts are the apostle's, that the ideas are admirable and in no way inferior to any of the apostolic books, but that the diction and phraseology belong to someone who has recorded what the apostle said and at his own leisure noted down what his master Paul dictated; so that if anyone considers this Epistle to the Hebrews as coming from Paul they should be commended, for the ancient men of the church did not without cause deliver it as Paul's message; but who really wrote it, only God knows. The account that was current, according to some at that time, was that Clement, later the bishop of Rome, wrote the epistle for Paul; but according to others, it was written by Luke, who wrote the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts. It was Luke who recorded the words of Paul to the synagogue in Acts 13:16-41.
There is precedent for this possibility in the New Testament.
Tertius wrote the Epistle to the Romans (Romans 16:22 "I, Tertius, who wrote this letter, greet you in the Lord.").
Paul and Sosthenes addressed the First Epistle to the Corinthians, and only at the end does Paul write his own greeting (1 Corinthians 1:1; 16:21).
2 Corinthians is from Paul and Timothy (2 Corinthians 1:1). The Letter to the Colossians is from Paul and Timothy, but Paul only at the end writes his own greeting (Colossians 4:18).
Both of the epistles to the Thessalonians are from Paul, Silvanus and Timothy, and only at the end of 2 Thessalonians Paul writes his own greeting as his authenticating mark, his imprimatur (2 Thessalonians 3:17).
It seems he may himself have personally written his epistles to Timothy and to Titus. He addresses both men as their father, calling Timothy, "my true child in the faith" and "my beloved child", and calling Titus, "my true child in a common faith" .
Epaphras, Paul's "fellow prisoner", may have written the epistle to Philemon for him (Philemon 23).
Because of minor stylistic differences, some of the letters traditionally ascribed to Paul have been considered by more recent textual critics to have not been authored by him, and thus they appear to them to lack authenticity. Other more conservative experts dismiss this conclusion as speculative, and without sufficient substantial evidence to fully support it. In either case, the doctrinal message of the epistles is primary, no matter who put it in writing. See
In our own day, by way of direct analogy, United States presidents in office, have hired or appointed speech writers, whose primary task is to frame the president's message and ideas with appropriate language. The ideas being presented are the president's, but the style and phraseology used to present them is often that of the writer, while any draft of the speech remains subject to editorial critique and review by the president before the form and the text of the speech are finally approved.
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"About this time, Claudius was made emperor of Rome.... He reigned for over thirteen years, A.D. 41 through 54."

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"abstain...from what is strangled, and from blood."

Acts 15:20.
The Gospels nowhere show that Jesus taught this doctrine before his resurrection.
A.D. 50. This Council of Jerusalem plainly and clearly added to the teaching of Jesus. This in no way demonstrates that they had added their own "traditions of men" on the basis of their own fallible human authority. The apostles of Christ and the leaders they had chosen, "those who were of repute", had not appointed themselves to positions of authority in the Council of Jerusalem, but had been outwardly called, not of themselves, and chosen by others. (see Acts 6:2-6; 11:1-18, 22-23; 13:1-3; 15:2, 6, 22-31; 21:17-25; Galatians 2:1-10; Hebrews 13:17). Jesus had declared to those he had chosen, "He who hears you hears me, and he who hears me hears him who sent me" and "I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come." John 13:20; 14:16-17; 16:12-13; Matthew 10:40; 16:19; 18:17-18 Luke 10:16; Romans 13:1-5; 2 Corinthians 5:20; 10:5-6; 2 Thessalonians 2:15; Hebrews 13:17. "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter." Compare 2 John 12; 3 John 13.
On their authority as apostles of Christ they too also chose and appointed men associated with them as leaders in the church whom they could entrust with the true doctrine (see 1 Corinthians 12:28-30; 1 Timothy 3). Acts 15:28 declares that what "the brethren, both the apostles and elders," had added, was from the Holy Spirit and from them.
Catholic apologists cite the referral of a disputed matter to the authority of a church council in Acts 15, and Paul's word in 2 Thessalonians 2:15, as scripture attesting to the equal authority of the teaching Magisterium preserving and defending both Tradition and Scripture as received and handed down from the apostles, that is, what is taught by word of mouth (written down in later centuries in opposition to heresies) or by letter (the Bible), according to 1 Timothy 3:14-15 and Hebrews 13:17 with 1 John 2:18-19.
"I am writing these instructions to you so that, if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of truth."
"Obey your leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch over your souls..."
"...many antichrists have come; therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us."
See Apostolic succession.
Many Protestant apologists cite the death of the last of the apostles as the end of apostolic authority, and firmly attest to the abiding sufficiency of the divinely preserved and inspired whole of the 66 books of the Bible handed on by them entire as the sovereign rule of faith and practice which the apostles themselves had preached (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Jude 3; 1 Corinthians 13:9-10).
"All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."
"...I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints."
"For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes," (the Bible) "the imperfect will pass away" (human authorities, hierarchy and organized religion).
Thus Protestantism affirms the Bible as having the sole remaining apostolic authority contained in itself alone. As the brethren of Antioch received the authoritative decision of the Council of Jerusalem handed down to them, so the Christian receives the authority of the Bible as the pure word of God handed down from the apostles of Jesus Christ.
See Sola scriptura.
See also Biblical Canon.
Compare 1 Corinthians 4:1-6. In this text Paul uses the example of Apollos and himself, so that the Corinthian believers may learn by them "not to go beyond what is written".
Protestants cite this as proof that Orthodox and Catholics are wrong to claim that the written word of God is not the sole sufficient authority for teaching the Christian doctrine of salvation, and that the rule of faith also includes apostolic tradition and the teaching authority of Bishops and Popes as guardians and preservers of both, as the Magisterium of the church. Apostolic succession and apostolic tradition are regarded by the Protestant faith as the additions and traditions of men, going beyond what is written in the Bible, "teaching for doctrines the commandments of men". This is firmly based on the principle of sola scriptura as defined by the chief leaders of the Protestant Reformation, which rejects any teaching that is not explicitly taught in the Bible, and which they find fully expressed in what is written in 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Deuteronomy 4:2; Revelation 22:18-19.
Orthodox and Catholics respond that what is written in the Bible also includes explicitly holding to both oral and written traditions: "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter", which includes the tradition of obedience to leaders appointed over the faithful by the apostles and obedience to those whom they in turn appointed as shepherds and leaders over the church, who in turn appointed as shepherds and leaders their successors, who appointed as shepherds and leaders those who succeeded them, according to what is written: "Obey your leaders and submit to them", "For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment", "You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, beware lest you be carried away with the error of lawless men and lose your own stability", "First of all you must understand this, that no prophesy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation" (Hebrews 13:17; Romans 13:1-2; 2 Peter 3:17 and 1:20). And they point out that it is beyond doubt that throughout Christian history the chief bishops and Councils of Catholicism and Orthodoxy (Popes and Patriarchs) have exercised authority on earth and still exercise authority over millions of Christians today, whether people accept their authority or not, and that the church itself is defined by the Bible as "the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth" (1 Timothy 2:15). On the basis of the texts of scripture cited here, Catholics and Orthodox are able to claim they have not gone beyond what is written in the word of God, but are obedient to what is written.
It is important to note that the above response is made per sola scriptura to show from scripture evidence for the unity of apostolic tradition and apostolic authority together with the scriptures.
The actual position of the ancient apostolic churches is that the church founded by Jesus Christ and the apostles preceded the writing of the scriptures of the New Testament, and that the traditional teaching of the church is not primarily drawn from the Bible, but rather has always been founded on the living tradition of the Christian community of the body of Christ according to the doctrine and mind of the Holy Spirit constantly leading it into all truth forever, in full accordance with both the promise of Jesus about the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-17; 16:12-15) and the apostolic tradition discernable within the texts of inspired Scripture, which tradition seeks to serve and preserve. This tradition includes the careful discernment of which writings are scriptures genuinely inspired by God, which support and stabilize the doctrines and teaching of apostolic Christianity. The principles guiding the church's discernment of genuinely apostolic writings were first explicitly formulated in the fourth century.
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"When Peter came to Antioch, I resisted him to his face, because he stood condemned."

Galatians 2:11 ff.
Paul later repented of this.
The entire context of this episode, in light of what Paul later wrote to the churches in Corinth and in Rome, shows that what Paul is condemning Peter for doing here in Antioch, he himself later approves! For Peter was doing in Antioch exactly what Paul later commands his own people to do—to accommodate their own behavior to those "who are weak in the faith", to avoid offending them, so that they might be saved.
Years after writing the Letter to the Galatians, in his later counsel to Christians, it becomes evident that Paul has revised his understanding of Peter's pastoral example, and has not only adopted it himself but is counselling his own followers to do the same, so that he now sees Peter was in fact acting rightly in Antioch, as were those, including Barnabas, who also out of respect for Peter imitated his example—to avoid giving offense to the Jewish Christians.
Compare 1 Peter 5:1-6; Matthew 5:21-24 "and there remember that your brother has something against you" (the weaker believer); Matthew 17:24-27; 20:25-28; 2 Timothy 2:23-26.
Paul was also wrong in his treatment of Peter, who was in Christ before him. He does not say that he took Peter aside at any time to admonish him by expressing his concern many times in private out of respect for him. Many Christians with more zeal than humility, and not aware that they are acting with arrogant pride, use the episode of Paul's sudden and unexpected public condemnation of Peter as a pretext to publicly revile and condemn without respect, and without warning, those who are over them in the Lord, for what they see as scandalous violations of the Gospel of grace, and defy their authority as ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). They ignore the commandment of Jesus in Matthew 18:15-17; and also ignore Romans 13:1-2; 1 Timothy 5:1; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 2:13-17; 3:9-17; and Jude 8-10, 14-19.

Philip traveled the city of Samaria, where he preached Christ's message. There, the people had unity of mind, and listened to Philip's words, seeing the signs he showed them. Dirty spirits, wailing out, left the souls of the possessed, and many suffering from epilepsy and the disabled were healed. So the city was filled with joy.

Yet a man named Simon, who had amazed Samaria's citizens with his black magic, claimed that he was a great man. The people respected him, from the low to the high, and said, "This man is powerful through God!"

They always paid attention to him because he had amazed them with magic. Even so, they accepted Philip's preaching about the Kingdom of God, and they were baptized in Jesus Christ's name, man and woman alike! Simon also believed and was baptized. He traveled with Philip, and was amazed by the great deeds and signs he performed.

While the apostles were in Jerusalem, they heard that Samaria had heard God's word, and sent Peter and John to the city. When they arrived, they prayed the citizens would accept the Divine Guide. (As they were only baptized in Lord Jesus' name, and hadn't received the Guide yet) They placed their hands upon them and they accepted the Divine Guide.

Simon, seeing that this was how the Divine Guide was bestowed, offered to pay them. He said, "I want this power too, to be able to give anyone the Divine Guide by placing my hands."

Peter replied, "Your money will die with you, since you think God's gifts can be purchased with mere cash. You don't have a stake or part to play in this matter, since your heart is poor in God's sight. Repent for your sinfulness and pray to God that he might forgive your wicked thoughts. Because I see you are bitter and drowning in sin."

Simon answered, "Pray to the Lord for me, that none of what you mentioned will happen to me."

So the apostles, finished testifying and preaching the Lord's message, returned to Jerusalem and preached in the Samaritan villages.

One of God's angels said to Philip, "Get up and travel south along the road from Jerusalem to the Gaza desert."

So he got up and went, and what did he find but an Ethiopian eunuch with great authority under their queen, Candace. He was in charge of her treasury and had come to Jerusalem to worship. He was returning home, sitting in his chariot reading the prophet Isaiah. The Divine Guide said told Philip, "Get closer. Follow this chariot."

Philip ran toward him and heard him reading from Isaiah, and said "Do you understand that?"

The man replied, "How could I without someone to guide me?"

He motioned Philip to sit beside him. The scripture he was reading was, "He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, like a dumb lamb to be sheared, his mouth closed. He was humiliated and had no justice. No one will ever mention his descendants, as he died."

The eunuch answered, "Who is the prophet talking about? Himself? Someone else?"

Philip began at the same verse and preached the message of Jesus. As they traveled, they reached a body of water. The Eunuch said, "Here's some water. Why can't I be baptized here?"

Philip replied, "If you believe with your whole heart, you can!" He answered, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."

He halted the chariot and they went over to the water, and Philip baptized him. As they were coming out of the water, the Divine Guide transported Philip away, so the Eunuch no longer saw him, but he went along rejoicing. Philip was found in Azotus, and he kept preaching in the cities along the way to Caesarea.

You have head of my behavior in the past, as a Jew, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure, and wasted it; and I rose in the ranks of the Jewish religious establishment, above many of my equals in my own nation, because I was more zealous of the traditions of my fathers.

Saul was still issuing threats and murdering Jesus' disciples, and he went to his high priest. He wanted letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that they might capture any men or women who followed this new Way and bring them to Jerusalem under arrest.

(Psalm 119 Conservative Bible has not been translated. See Conservative Bible Psalms 111-120 (Translated) Psalm 119 KJV )

He was traveling toward Damascus when a bright light from heaven shone around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying, "Saul, why do you persecute me?"

He replied, "Who are you, Lord?"

The Lord replied, "I am the Jesus you persecute. "

Trembling and amazed, he said, "Lord, what do you want me to do?"

The Lord replied, "Get up and go to the city, and you'll be told what to do."

The men traveling with him were speechless as they could hear voice but saw no man. Saul got up from the ground. When he opened his eyes, he saw no man. They led him along to Damascus. He was blind for three days and fasted.

Ananias, a Christian disciple in Damascus, had a vision from God: "Ananias!"

He replied, "Yes, Lord?"

Lord God told him, "Get up and go into the Straight road, and ask at the house of Judas for Saul of Tarsus. He is praying, and he has had a vision of a man named Ananias entering, laying his hands, and restoring his sight."

Ananias replied, "Lord, I've heard stories about him, about the evil things he's done to your saints in Jerusalem! The chief priests gave him the power here to arrest anyone who calls on your name."

The Lord replied, "Go do it. He's a chosen messenger for me, to take my name among the Gentiles, and their leaders, and the Israelites. I will show him what great ordeals he will pass through for me."

Ananias entered the house and laid his hands on him, saying, "Brother Saul, Lord Jesus, who appeared to you along the road, has sent me to restore your sight and fill you with the Divine Guide."

Saul's sight was immediately restored as if his eyes had been scaly.

And he said, "The God of our fathers has chosen you, that you should know His will, and see that Just One, and hear the Voice of His mouth. For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. And now what are you waiting for? Get up, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, and call on the Name of the Lord."

He got up and was baptized. He ate some meat and was stronger.

But when it pleased God, who had separated me from my peers before I left the womb, and called me by His grace, to reveal His Son to me, that I might preach His word among the heathens; immediately I abandoned with flesh and blood. I did not go up to Jerusalem to confer with those who had been apostles before me; instead, I went into Arabia, and returned to Damascus.

Saul stayed with the disciples in Damascus for several days.

He immediately preached Christ's word in the temples, that he is God's Son. His listeners were amazed, "Isn't this the man who killed Christians in Jerusalem, and was coming here to haul them back to the chief priests?"

Saul grew in his faith and angered the Damascus Jews by proving Christ was Lord.

Then after three years

After a number of days, the Jews plotted to kill him.

In Damascus, the governor under King Aretas guarded the city of the Damacenes in order to capture me. But Saul knew of their trap, so they waited night and day to kill him. The disciples snuck him out by night, letting him down a wall in a basket.

But I escaped his hands by being let down the wall through a window in a basket.

I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter,

Saul came to Jerusalem, and wanted to join the disciples, but they were afraid, and didn't believe he was a disciple. However, Barnabas brought him before the apostles and declared how he had seen Jesus on the road, and spoken to him, and preached with great power in Damascus in Jesus' name.

and lived with him for fifteen days. But I saw no other apostles, except James, brother of the Lord.

So he joined them in their journeys through Jerusalem.

He spoke openly the name of Lord Jesus and debated against the Grecians, though they sought to kill him.

And it happened that when I had gotten back to Jerusalem, even while I was praying in the Temple, I was in a trance,...and saw him saying to me, 'Hurry and get quickly out of Jerusalem! They won't receive your evidence concerning Me.' And I said, 'Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat those who believed in You in every synagogue.' When the blood of your witness Stephen was shed, I was standing there, too, and going along with his death, and held the coats of those who killed him.'

He told me, 'Depart. I am sending you far away from here to the Gentiles.'

When the brothers heard of this, they took him to Caesarea and sent him to Tarsus. After this, the churches in Judaea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and grew stronger, always amazed by the Lord, comforted by the Divine Guide, and multiplying.

I know a follower of Christ who ... was caught up to the third heaven (whether in the body or out of the body, I can't tell; God only knows) and I know that this man (whether in the body or out of the body, I can't tell; God only knows) was snatched up into paradise and heard unspeakable words which man is not allowed to say.

Afterwards, I came into the regions of Syria, and Cilicia, and was not known by my face to the Christian churches of Judea; but they had heard, that he who persecuted us in the past now preached the faith he once destroyed. And because of me, they glorified God.

It came to pass that as Peter was traveling through all the lands, he also came down to the saints who lived at Lydda. There he found a certain man, Aeneas by name, who had been a bedridden chronic paralytic for eight years. Peter told him, "Aeneas, Jesus Christ is making you whole. Get up and make your bed."

And he got up at once. Everyone who lived at Lydda and Saron saw him and turned to the Lord.

In Joppa there lived a certain disciple named Tabitha, whose name translates as Dorcas in Greek. This woman had earned a great reputation for good and charitable works. She happened in those days to fall sick and die. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room.

Because Lydda was close to Joppa, and the students of the Way had heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent to men to meet him and ask him to come to them without delay. Peter got up and went with them. When he had come, they brought him into the upper room. All the widows stood by him, weeping and showing him the coats and garments that Dorcas used to make when she was with them. But Peter ushered them all outside, and knelt down and prayed. He then turned to the body and said, "Tabitha, get up."

And she opened her eyes. When she saw Peter, she sat up. He gave her his hand, and lifted her up. Then when he had called the saints and widows, he reintroduced her to them as a living person. This became known throughout all of Joppa, and many people came to believe in the Lord.

He happened to stay for many days in Joppa with a tanner named Simon.

A certain man lived in Caesaria, named Cornelius, a centurion of the Italian cohort. He was a devout man, and one who feared God together with his entire household. He gave a great many charitable donatives to the people, and prayed to God all the time. At about three hours after noon he saw plainly, in a vision, a Messenger of God coming to him, and saying to him, "Cornelius."

When he looked at him, he was afraid, and said, "What is it, Lord?"

And he told him, "Your prayers and your charitable efforts have come up for a memorial before God. Now send some men to Joppa, and call for a man named Simon, who is surnamed Peter. He is staying with a tanner named Simon; his house is by the shore. He will tell you what you need to do."

When the Messenger who had spoken to Cornelius had left, he called two members of his household staff, and a devout soldier who was accustomed to wait on him. When he had given him the message, he sent him to Joppa.

The next day, as they were on their way, and coming close to the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray at about the noon hour. He became very hungry, and wished to eat. But while they were getting dinner ready, he fell into a trance. He saw the sky open up, and a vessel come down to him, looking like a great sheet tied at the four corners, and let down to the ground. In it were all sorts of four-footed animals, wild animals, creeping things, and birds. A voice came to him, saying, "Peter, get up, kill, and eat."

Peter said, "No, Lord! I have never eaten anything common or unclean."

The voice spoke to him again, saying, "What God has made clean, don't you call common."

This sequence repeated itself three times; each time the vessel was taken back into the sky.

While Peter was puzzling with himself what this vision he had seen might mean, the delegation from Cornelius had asked after Simon's house, and were now standing in front of the gate. They called and asked whether Simon, also known as Peter, was staying there. While Peter was thinking about the vision, the Holy Spirit told him, "Look! Three men are looking for you. So get up, and go downstairs, and go with them. Don't ask questions. I have sent them."

Then Peter went down to meet the men sent to him from Cornelius, and said, "Look, I'm the man you're looking for. What is your reason for coming?"

They said, "Cornelius the centurion, who is a just man, and a man who fears God, and has an excellent reputation among the Jewish nation, was given a warning from God by a holy Messenger to send for you to come to his house, and hear you say some words to him."

He invited them to come in and stay awhile. The next day Peter went away with them, and certain brothers from Joppa went together with him. On the day after that, they crossed into Caesaria.

Cornelius was waiting for them, and had called together his relatives and close friends. As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet and worshipped him. Peter lifted him up, saying, "Stand up; I am a man, too."

He talked with him, and went in, and found many people who had gathered together. He told them, "You realize that it is against regulations for a Jewish man to keep company or to go into the house of a Gentile. But God showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. So I came in here without protest, as soon as I was sent for. Now I ask you: why did you send for me?"

Cornelius said, "Four days ago I was fasting until this time of day. Three hours after noon I was praying in my house, and I looked and saw a man standing before me in bright clothing. He was saying, 'Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your charitable giving has been remembered in the sight of God. So send to Joppa, and call here Simon, also known as Peter; he is staying in the house of a tanner named Simon, by the shore. When he comes, he will speak to you.' So I sent for you at once, and it is well that you have come. So now here we are, all present before God, to hear all the things that God has ordered you to tell us."

Peter opened his mouth, saying, "Truly I see that God is no Respecter of persons. In every nation, anyone who fears Him and does just works is accepted by Him. The Word that He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ, This One Who is Lord of all, you know that Word, that was published throughout all of Judea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism that John preached: how God invested Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good deeds, and healing everyone who was devil-possessed, because God was with Him. We are [direct] witnesses of all the things that He did in the Jewish country, and in Jerusalem. They had him killed and hanged on a tree. Then God raised him up on the third day, and showed Him openly, but not to all the people, but to witnesses preselected by God, and in fact to us, for we ate and drank with Him after he had risen from the dead. He told us to preach to the people, and to testify that He is the One Who was ordained by God to be the Judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testified about Him: through His name, any person who believes in Him will receive remission of sins."

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who were hearing the Word. The circumcised ones who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out also on Gentiles. They had heard them speak in new languages, and magnify God. Then Peter said in answer, "Can any man forbid water, so that these people cannot be baptized? They have received the Holy Spirit exactly as we did."

He then ordered them to be baptized in the Name of God. They then asked him to stay with them for several days. The Apostles and the brethren in Judea heard that Gentiles had also received the word of God. When Peter came up to Jerusalem, the ex-Jews argued with him. They said, "You went into a house with uncircumcised men, and ate with them."

Peter gave them a complete summary of the case from the beginning, and explained it to them in chronological order: "I was in the city of Joppa praying. In a trance I saw a vision of a certain vessel coming down, like a great sheet let down from the sky by its four corners, and it came straight to me. When I fixed my eyes on it, I looked, and saw four-footed land animals, and wild animals, and creepers, and birds. I heard a voice telling me, 'Get up, Peter, kill, and eat.' So I said, 'No, Lord! Nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth!' But the voice answered me again from the sky, 'What God has made clean, don't you call common.' This happened three times, and each time everything was drawn back up into the sky. And just then, three men had already come into the house where I was staying, sent from Caesaria to me. The Spirit told me to go with them, and not to ask questions. In fact, these six brothers went with me, and we walked into the man's house. He told us that he had seen a Messenger in the house, and he had stood and told him, 'Send some men to Joppa, and call for Simon, also known as Peter. He will say some words to you, and by those words you and all your household will be saved.' So as I started to talk, the Holy Spirit fell on them, as it had on us at the beginning. Then I remembered the Word of the Lord, how He said, 'John indeed baptized with water, but you will be baptized by the Holy Spirit.' So, seeing that God gave them the same gift that he gave us, after they believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to oppose God in this?"

When they heard these things, they stopped arguing, and glorified God, saying, "Then God has also granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles!"

Now those who had been scattered abroad with the persecution that arose about Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but Jews only. Some of these were Cypriots and Cyrenians. When they came to Antioch, they spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus. The hand of the Lord was with them, and great number believed and turned to the Lord.

News of these things came to the church in Jerusalem. They sent Barnabas with a commission to go as far as Antioch. When he came, and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and exhorted all of them to cling to the Lord with a heartfelt purpose. He was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. Many people were added to the Lord.

Then Barnabas left for Tarsus, looking for Paul. When he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. It came about that they assembled themselves with the church for an entire year, and taught many people. The students of Jesus were first called Christians in Antioch.

In these days, prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch. A man named Agabus stood up, and signified through the Spirit that a great famine would occur throughout all the Roman world. This came to pass during the Principate of Claudius I. Then the students, each according to his ability, decided to send help to the brethren who lived in Judea. They did this, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.

At about that time, King Herod Agrippa I moved his hand to do mischief to certain members of the church. He had James the brother of John executed by the sword. Because he saw that this pleased the Jews, he went further and had Peter arrested. (He did this during the Unleavened Bread Days.) When he had arrested him, he threw him into prison, and appointed four four-man squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after Passover to bring him out before the people. For that reason Peter was incarcerated, but non-stop prayer was made by the church to God for him.

When Herod would have had him brought out, that same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, chained with two chains, and the guards at the door were guarding the prison house. And amazingly, the Messenger of the Lord came on him, and a light shone within the prison. He slapped Peter on his side, and roused him, saying, "Get up quickly." And his chains fell off his hands. The Messenger told him, "Put on a belt, and tie your sandals." He did so. Then [the Messenger] told him, "Throw your garment around you, and follow men."

He went out, and followed him, and did not realize that the thing that the Messenger was doing was real; he thought he was seeing things. When they were past the first and second cellblocks, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city. That gate opened to them all by itself, and they went out, and passed on through one street. At once the Messenger left him. When Peter came to himself, he said, "Now I know absolutely that the Lord has sent His Messenger, and has rescued me from the hand of Herod, and from everything that the Jewish people expected him to do to me."

When he had thought about it, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John Mark, where they were gathered together praying. As Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a young woman, named Rhoda, came to listen. When she recognized Peter's voice, she was so glad that instead of opening the gate, she rand back in and told everybody that Peter was standing in front of the gate. They told her, "You're crazy!"

But she continued to say that it was true. Then they said, "It must be his angel."

But Peter continued to knock. When they opened the door, and saw him, they were amazed. He, motioning to them with his hand to keep quiet, narrated to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, "Go and show these things to James, and to the brothers." He left, and went into another place.

Now when the day broke, there was no small commotion among the soldiers, as to what had become of Peter. When Herod sought for him, and did not find him, he interrogated the guards, and ordered them put to death. He then went down from Judea to Caesaria, and stayed there.

Herod was boiling-hot angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon. They came with one purpose to him. After they had made a friend of Blastus the king's chamberlain, they sued for peace, because their country depended on Herod's country for supplies.

On a scheduled day Herod, dressed in his royal robes, sat on his throne, and made an oration to them. The people gave a shout, saying, "This is the voice of a god, not of a man!"

At once the Messenger of the Lord struck him down, because he had not given God the glory. He was stricken with a parasitic worm disease and died. And the Word of God grew and multiplied.

Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had accomplished their mission. They took John Mark with them.

There were certain prophets and teachers at the church in Antioch, such as Barnabas, Simeon, who was also called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, who was raised with King Herod, and Saul. As they served in the Holy Spirit's ministry and fasted, the Holy Spirit said "Appoint for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work for which I called them."

And they departed after they fasted, prayed, and laid their hands on them. They having been sent forth by the Holy Spirit, they went to Seleucia and sailed to Cyprus. And when they were at Salamis, they preached the Word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had John as their preacher. When they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain warlock, a lying prophet, who happened to be Jewish. His name was Bar-jesus. He was with the proconsul of the country, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul was a prudent man, and he called for Barnabas and Saul and wished to hear the word of God. But Elymas the warlock (for that is how his name translates into Greek) opposed them, because he wanted to turn the proconsul away from the faith. Then Saul (who is also named Paul), filled with the Holy Spirit, turned his eyes onto him, and said, "You who are full of all treachery and unscrupulousness, you devil's spawn, you enemy of all righteousness, when are you going to stop trying to twist the right ways of the Lord? Look you: the Hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will go blind, and will not see the sun for a season."

And at once a mist and a darkness fell upon the warlock, and he went around looking for people to lead him by the hand. Then the proconsul, when he saw what had been done, believed, because he was amazed at the teachings of the Lord. When Paul and his entourage embarked from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia. John, who left them, went back to Jerusalem. And when they left Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and sat down. After the reading of the law and the prophets, the synagogue leaders sent to them, saying, "You men and brothers, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, you may say it now."

Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand, said, "Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen to me. The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and lifted high the people when they were living as foreigners in the land of Egypt, and with a high arm brought them out of it. He then put up with their conduct for about forty years in the desert. When He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, he divided their land to them by a lottery. After that, he gave them Judges for about four hundred fifty years, until Samuel the prophet. After that, they wanted a king, and God gave them King Saul son of Kish, a man from the Tribe of Benjamin, for a forty-year span. When he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king. He also gave David a direct witness, and said, 'I have found David son of Jesse to be a man after My own heart, who shall fulfill My will.' And from this man's descendants God, according to His Promise, raised up for Israel a Savior, Jesus, when John the Baptist had first preached before His coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. As John fulfilled his role, he said, 'Whom do you think I am? I am not He. Someone is coming after Me, and I am not worthy so much as to take His shoes off!'

"Men and brothers, sons of the stock of Abraham, and whoever among you fears God, the Word of this salvation is sent to you! They who are living at Jerusalem, and their leaders, because they did not know Him, nor even the voices of the prophets that are read on every Sabbath day—they have fulfilled them by condemning Him. Though they found no grounds for execution in HIm, they still asked Pontius Pilate to have him executed. When they had fulfilled everything that was written about Him, they took Him down from the cross, and put Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from the dead. And he was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem. These are His witnesses to the people.

"We declare glad tidings to you: that the Promise that was made to the fathers,...God has fulfilled that same Promise to Us, their children, because He has raised up Jesus again. And it is also written in the second Psalm: 'You are My Son; this day I have sired You.' And about His raising-up of Jesus from the dead, never again to return to corruption, He said this: 'I will give you the certain mercies of David.' And for that reason He also says in another psalm, 'You will not permit Your Holy One to see corruption.' On the one hand, David, after he had served in his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, and was buried with his father, and saw corruption. But He, Whom God raised up again, saw no corruption.

"Understand this, then, men and brothers, that through This Man the forgiveness of sins is preached to you. By Him all persons who believed are acquitted from all things, from which you could never be acquitted by the Law of Moses. So watch out, and make sure that this does not happen to you, that is spoken about in the prophetic writings. 'Behold, you despisers, and wonder, and perish! I am working a work in your days, a work that you will not believe for a moment, even if a man spells it out for you.'

When they had gone out of the synagogue, they asked that these words might also be preached to them on the next Sabbath. Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and worshipping proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas. When they spoke to them, they persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.

On the next Sabbath day almost the entire city came together to hear the Word of God. But when the Jews saw these great crowds, they became jealous, and started speaking against these things that had been spoken by Paul, contradicting and hurling insults. Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold, and said, "It was necessary for the Word of God to be spoken first to you. But now that you are putting it away from you, and are judging yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, we are turning to the Gentiles. The Lord gave us this instruction, saying, 'I have sent you to be a light of the Gentiles, that you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.'"

When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the Word of the Lord. As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed. The word of the Lord was published throughout the entire region. But the Jews incited the devout and honorable women, and the leading men of the city, and raised a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their coastal areas. But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came to Iconium.

The students were filled with joy, and with the Holy Spirit. It came to pass in Iconium, that they both went together into the Jewish synagogue, and spoke so powerfully that a great multitude of both Jew and Greek believed. The unbelieving Jews incited the Gentiles, and influenced their minds to think evil against the brothers. So they stayed for a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, Who gave testimony to the Word of His grace, and granted that they do signs and wonders by their hands.

But the crowd in the city was split. Part of it held with the Jews, and part with the Apostles. When an attempt was made, both from the Gentiles, and from the Jews with their leaders, to insult them and stone them, they found out about it, and fled to Lystra and Derbe, two cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding region, and there they preached the Gospel.

A certain man in Lystra was sitting, with paralyzed feet. He had been a cripple from his mother's womb, and had never walked. This person heard Paul speak, and when Paul looked at him steadily and realized that he had enough faith to be healed, he said with a loud voice, "Stand up on your feet."

And he leaped up and walked. When the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian dialect, "The gods have come down to us, looking like men!"

They called Barnabas Zeus and Paul Hermes, because Paul was the chief spokesman. Then the flamen Dialis, who was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, and was preparing to do sacrifice with the people. When the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard about it, they tore their clothes, and ran in among the people, and cried out, "Gentlemen, why are you doing these things? We are men, too, with the same passions you have! We are preaching to you that you should turn away from these vanities to the Living God, Who made the sky, the earth, the sea, and everything in them! In times past, He permitted all nations to walk in their own ways,...But he never left himself without a witness. He did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful season, and filled our hearts with food and gladness."

By saying these things they restrained the people, so that they did not sacrifice to them.

Then there came certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium. They won the people over, and they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, thinking that he was dead. But while his students were standing around him, Paul got up and came into the city. The next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe. When they had preached the gospel in that city, and had taught many people, they came back to Lystra, and Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the souls of their students, and encouraging them to continue in the faith, and that we must enter into the Kingdom of God through a great oppression.

When they had ordained elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on Whom they believed.

After they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. Then they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia. From there they sailed to Antioch, from where they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work that they accomplished.

When they had come, and had gathered the church together, they reviewed everything that God had done with them, and how He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. They stayed there for a long time with their students.

Then several men who came down from Judea started teaching the brothers, saying, "Unless you have yourselves circumcised after the fashion of Moses, you cannot be saved."

So when Paul and Barnabas had no small dispute and controversy with them, they decided that Paul and Barnabas, and certain others from among their number, should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders and lay this controversy before them. They were brought on their way by the church, and passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles. They caused great joy to all the brothers.

I know a follower of Christ who, fourteen years ago, was caught up to the third heaven (whether in the body or out of the body, I can't tell; God only knows) and I know that this man (whether in the body or out of the body, I can't tell; God only knows) was snatched up into paradise and heard unspeakable words which man is not allowed to say.

Fourteen years later, I went to Jerusalem again with Barnabas and Titus. I went according to God's revelation, and gave them the gospel I preach to the Gentiles, but privately to those of reputation, so I wouldn't be running in vain.

When they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church, and by the apostles and elders, and they declared all the things that God had done with them. But certain believing members of the sect of the Pharisees rose up and said, "We have to circumcise them, and instruct them to keep the law of Moses."

Titus, who was with me, wasn't required to be circumcised because he was Greek. Some false brothers were secretly brought in, to spy on the freedom we have through Jesus Christ and try to capture us. We weren't held back by them for a moment, so you might always keep the truth of the gospel.

The apostles and elders came together in order to consider the case. After much debate, Peter rose up, and said to them, "Men and brothers, you know that a good while ago God made a choice among us, so that the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel by my mouth, and believe. God, Who knows the hearts of men, bore witness to them, and gave them the Holy Spirit, the same as he did for us. He put no difference between us and them, and made their hearts clean by faith. So why are you putting God to the test, to put a yoke on the neck of the students of God, which neither our ancestors nor we were able to bear? To the contrary, we believe that through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ we will be saved, the same as they will."

Then the whole crowd kept quiet, and listened to Barnabas and Paul, who declared what miracles and wonders God had worked among the Gentiles through them. After they had listened quietly, James said in answer, "Men and brothers, listen to me: Simon has declared how God at first visited the Gentiles, to take from among them a people for His Name. The words of the prophets agree with this, as it stands written: 'After these things I will come back, and build once again the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and I will build its ruins again, and I will erect it,...so that the rest of mankind might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, on whom My Name is called, says the Lord, Who does all these things.' All His works are known to God since the beginning of the world. So I make this verdict: that we don't trouble those people who are turned to God from among the Gentiles. Instead, we write to them, and ask them to abstain from defilement with idols, from sexual immorality, from eating anything strangled, and from eating blood. Moses originally had in every city those who preach him and read him in the synagogues on every Sabbath."

Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, were pleased to send chosen men from among their own number to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, specifically Judas Barsabbas and Silas, ranking men among the brothers. They wrote letters by them to this effect: "From the apostles and elders and brothers, to the brothers who come from the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings: We have heard that certain men went out from us and disturbed you with words and subverted your souls, saying, 'You must be circumcised, and keep the law.' We gave them no such instruction. It seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,...men who have risked their lives for the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. So we have sent Judas and Silas, who will also tell you the same things by word of mouth. It has seemed good to us by the Holy Spirit, and to us, not to burden you any more than with these necessary things: that you abstain from eating anything sacrificed to an idol, and from eating blood, and from eating strangled animals, and from sexual immorality. If you can keep yourselves from these things, you will do well. Farewell."

Those who seemed important (it doesn't matter to me, because God doesn't care about men's status) didn't add anything to what I said. However, they discovered I was preaching the gospel to the uncircumcised, just like Peter had been charged to. (Since God brought Peter to preach to the Jews with great strength, and did the same with me to preach to the Gentiles) When James, Cephas, and John, strong like pillars, saw the grace God had given me, they joined Barnabas and me in fellowship, so we could go among the gentiles and they among the Jews. They asked that we keep the poor in mind, and I did the same.

So when they were sent away, they came to Antioch. When they had gathered the crowd together, they delivered the letter. When they had read it, they rejoiced for the consolation that it offered. Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets as well, encouraged the brothers with many words, and strengthened them.

After they had stayed there for a while, they were allowed to go in peace from the brothers to the apostles. But Silas was pleased to stay longer. Paul also stayed in Antioch with Barnabas, teaching and preaching the Word of the Lord, with many others as well.

When Peter came to Antioch, I disagreed with him to his face, because he was wrong. Since before some men from James had come, he had eaten with Gentiles. But after they arrived, he segregated himself, avoiding the Jews. Other Jews joined him this unworthy behavior, and even Barnabas was carried away by it. When I saw they weren't living true to the Gospel, I told Peter in front of them, "If you, a Jew, live like a Gentile and not a Jew, how can you tell Gentiles to live like Jews?

"We are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners, know that a man is not justified by legalistic actions, but by faith in Jesus Christ. Since we believe in Jesus Christ, we are justified by our faith in Christ, and not legalistic works, because no body is justified by merely observing rules. If, while we desire to be purified by Christ, we are found to be sinners, is Christ logically a preacher of sin? God forbid such thought. If I rebuild what I destroyed, I show I am a criminal. Through the law, I am dead to the law, so I can live for God. I am crucified with Christ, and yet I live. But it's not I, but Christ who lives in me. The life I live and the body I live in are from faith in God's Son, because he loves me and sacrificed himself for me. So I don't harm God's grace. If merely following rules brings righteousness, Christ died in vain."

To the Jews, I became like a Jew so that I could win over the Jews; to those who observe the Mosaic law, I lived according to the law so that I could win over those who observe. To those who don't observe the Mosaic law, I lived without it (not that I'm actually not subject to God's law, since I'm bound to the law by Christ) so that I could win over the non-observant. To the weak, I behaved as if I were weak so that I could win over the weak. I am all things to all men so that I can by all means save some.

Make sure that your conscience is clear, to the Jews, the Greeks, and to the church of God, for the same reason that I please men in all things, and do not look after my own profit, but the profit of many, so that they might be saved.

Receive him who is weak in the faith, but not for a pointless dialog. One man might believe that he may eat anything he likes. Another, who is weak, eats only herbs. He who eats everything should not despise him who does not eat—and he who does not eat should not judge him who eats. God has welcomed him. Who are you to judge another man's house servant? He stands or falls to his own master. In fact, he will be made to stand up, because God can make him stand. One man rates one day as more important than another, and another man rates every day the same. Let each man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He who regards the day, regards it to the Lord. He who does not regard the day, to the Lord he does not regard it. He who eats, eats for the Lord, because he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. For none of us lives for himself, and no man dies for himself. For whether we live, we live to the Lord; and whether we die, we die to the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this is why Christ both died, and rose up, and lived again, so that He might be Lord of the dead and of the living.

But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you regard your brother as nothing? We are all going to stand in front of the tribunal of Christ. For it is written: "As I live, says the Lord,l every knee will bow to Me, and every tongue will confess to God." So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. So let us not judge each other any longer. Instead, judge this: no man should trip his brother up, or set him up to fail. I know, and have it on the authority of the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean in and of itself. But if any man regards a thing as unclean, then it is unclean to him.

It is a good thing neither to eat meat, or drink the fruit of the vine, or anything by which your brother might stumble, or be offended, or be weakened. Do you have faith? Have it for yourself in front of God. He is happy who does not condemn himself in whatever he allows himself.

So we, who are strong, ought to sustain the infirmities of the weak, and not please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbor, for his good for the purpose of building-up.

Paul also stayed in Antioch with Barnabas, teaching and preaching the Word of the Lord, with many others as well.

Thirty-eight

Chapter 38 Bible texts

About this time Paul wrote the following letter:


Paul, an Apostle (not from men, nor through man, but through Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead), and all the brothers who are with me, to the assemblies of Galatia: Grace to you and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us out of this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father—to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
I marvel that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ to a different “good news”; and there is not another “good news.” Only there are some who trouble you, and want to pervert the Good News of Christ. But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you any “good news” other than that which we preached to you, let him be cursed. As we have said before, so I now say again: if any man preaches to you any “good news” other than that which you received, let him be cursed. For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? For if I were still pleasing men, I would not be a servant of Christ. But I make known to you, brothers, concerning the Good News which was preached by me, that it is not according to man. For neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came to me through revelation of Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my way of living in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the Assembly of God, and ravaged it. I advanced in the Jews’ religion beyond many of my own age among my countrymen, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when it was the good pleasure of God, who from my mother’s womb separated me, and called me through his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia. Then I returned to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Peter, and stayed with him fifteen days. But of the other Apostles I saw no one, except James, the Lord’s brother. Now about the things which I write to you, behold, before God, I am not lying. Then I came to the regions of Syria and Cilicia. I was still unknown by face to the assemblies of Judea which were in Christ, but they only heard: “He who once persecuted us now preaches the faith that he once tried to destroy.” And they glorified God in me.
Then after a period of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus also with me. I went up by revelation, and I laid before them the Good News which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately before those who were respected, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain. But not even Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. This was because of the false brothers secretly brought in, who stole in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage; to whom we gave no place in the way of subjection, not for an hour, that the truth of the Good News might continue with you. But from those who were reputed to be important (whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God does not show partiality to man)—they, I say, who were respected imparted nothing to me, but to the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the Good News for the uncircumcision, even as Peter with the Good News for the circumcision (for he who appointed Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision appointed me also to the Gentiles); and when they perceived the grace that was given to me, James and Cephas and John, they who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcision. They only asked us to remember the poor—which very thing I was also zealous to do.
But when Peter came to Antioch, I resisted him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before some people came from James, he ate with the Gentiles. But when they came, he drew back and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews joined him in his hypocrisy; so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they did not walk uprightly according to the truth of the Good News, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live as the Gentiles do, and not as the Jews do, why do you compel the Gentiles to live as the Jews do? We, being Jews by nature, and not Gentile sinners, yet knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the law, because no flesh will be justified by the works of the law. But if, while we sought to be justified in Christ, we ourselves also were found sinners, is Christ a servant of sin? Certainly not! For if I build up again those things which I destroyed, I prove myself a law-breaker. For I, through the law, died to the law, that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me. That life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me. I do not make void the grace of God. For if righteousness is through the law, then Christ died for nothing!”
Foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you not to obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was openly portrayed among you as crucified? I just want to learn this from you. Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now completed in the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain, if it is indeed in vain? He therefore who supplies the Spirit to you, and does miracles among you, does he do it by the works of the law, or by hearing of faith? Even as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.” Know therefore that those who are of faith, the same are children of Abraham. The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the Good News beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you all the nations will be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed with the faithful Abraham. For as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse. For it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things that are written in the book of the law, to do them.” Now that no man is justified by the law before God is evident, for, “The righteous will live by faith.” The law is not of faith, but, “The man who does them will live by them.”
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us. For it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree,” that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Christ Jesus; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Brothers, speaking of a human example, no one annuls even a man’s covenant, yet when it has been confirmed, no one makes it void, or adds to it. Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his offspring. He does not say, “To descendants”, as of many, but as of one, “To your offspring”, which is Christ. Now I say this. The law, which came four hundred thirty years after, does not annul a covenant confirmed beforehand by God in Christ, so as to make the promise of no effect. For if the inheritance is through the law, it is no more by the promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by promise.
What then is the law? It was added because of transgressions, up to the day when the offspring should come to whom the promise has been made. It was ordained through angels by the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator is not between one, but God is one. Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could make alive, most certainly righteousness would have been through the law. But the Scriptures imprisoned all things under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, confined for the faith which should afterwards be revealed. So that the law has become our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God, through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring and heirs according to promise. 
But I say that so long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a bondservant, though he is lord of all; but is under guardians and stewards up to the day appointed by the father. So we also, when we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental spirits of the world. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent out his Son, born of woman, born under the law, that he might redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because you are sons, God sent out the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!” So you are no longer a bondservant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. However at that time, not knowing God, you were in bondage to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, why do you turn back again to the weak and miserable elemental spirits, to which you desire to be in bondage all over again? You observe days, months, seasons, and years. I am afraid for you, that I might have wasted my labor for you. I beg you, brothers, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You did me no wrong, but you know that because of a bodily ailment I preached the Good News to you the first time. That which was a trial to you in my flesh, you did not despise nor reject; but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.
What was the blessing you enjoyed? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me. So then, have I become your enemy by telling you the truth? They zealously seek you in no good way. No, they desire to alienate you, that you may seek them. But it is always good to be zealous in a good cause, and not only when I am present with you.
My little children, of whom I am again in travail before Christ is formed in you—but I could wish to be present with you now, and to change my tone, for I am perplexed about you. Tell me, you that desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the servant, and one by the free woman. However, the son by the servant was born according to the flesh, but the son by the free woman was born through promise. These things contain an allegory, for these are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children to bondage, which is Hagar. For this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answers to the Jerusalem that exists now, for she is in bondage with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written,
“Rejoice, you barren who do not bear.
Break out and shout, you that do not travail.
For more are the children of the desolate than of her who has a husband.”
Now we, brothers, as Isaac was, are children of promise. But as then, he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. However what does the Scripture say? “Throw out the servant and her son, for the son of the servant will not inherit with the son of the free woman.” So then, brothers, we are not children of a servant, but of the free woman.
Stand firm therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Behold, I, Paul, tell you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing. Yes, I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. You are alienated from Christ, you who desire to be justified by the law. You have fallen away from grace. For we, through the Spirit, by faith wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision amounts to anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith working through love. You were running well! Who interfered with you that you should not obey the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little yeast grows through the whole lump. I have confidence toward you in the Lord that you will think no other way. But he who troubles you will bear his judgment, whoever he is.
But I, brothers, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been removed. I wish that those who disturb you would cut themselves off. For you, brothers, were called for freedom. Only do not use your freedom for gain to the flesh, but through love be servants to one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, be careful that you do not consume one another. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, that you may not do the things that you desire. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Now the deeds of the flesh are obvious, which are: adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousies, outbursts of anger, rivalries, divisions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these; of which I forewarn you, even as I also forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit God’s Kingdom.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, and envying one another.
Brothers, even if a man is caught in some fault, you who are spiritual must restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; looking to yourself so that you also are not tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if a man thinks himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each man test his own work, and then he will take pride in himself and not in his neighbor. For each man will bear his own burden. But let him who is taught in the word share all good things with him who teaches. Do not be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption. But he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not be weary in doing good, for we will reap in due season, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do what is good toward all men, and especially toward those who are of the household of the faith.
See with what large letters I write to you with my own hand. As many as desire to look good in the flesh, they compel you to be circumcised; only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For even they who receive circumcision do not keep the law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised, that they may boast in your flesh. But far be it from me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For in Christ Jesus neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. As many as walk by this rule, peace and mercy be on them, and on God’s Israel. From now on, let no one cause me any trouble, for I bear the marks of the Lord Jesus branded on my body.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.


After some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return now and visit our brothers in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord, to see how they are doing.”

Barnabas planned to take John, who was called Mark, with them also. But Paul did not think that it was a good idea to take with them someone who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia, and did not go with them to do the work. Then the contention grew so sharp that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him, and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas, and went out, being commended by the brothers to the grace of God. He went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the assemblies.

He came to Derbe and Lystra: and behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewess who believed; but his father was a Greek. The brothers who were at Lystra and Iconium gave a good testimony about him. Paul wanted to have him go out with him, and he took and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those parts; for they all knew that his father was a Greek. As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered the decrees to them to keep which had been ordained by the Apostles and Presbyters who were at Jerusalem. So the assemblies were confirmed in the faith, and increased in number daily.

When they had gone through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. When they had come opposite Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not allow them. Passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. A vision appeared to Paul in the night. There was a man of Macedonia standing, begging him, and saying, “Come over into Macedonia and help us.”

When he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go out to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the Good News to them. Setting sail therefore from Troas, we made a straight course to Samothrace, and the day following to Neapolis; and from there to Philippi, which is a city of Macedonia, the foremost of the district, a Roman colony. We were staying some days in this city.

On the Sabbath day we went outside of the city by a riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down, and spoke to the women who had come together. A certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, one who worshiped God, heard us; whose heart the Lord opened to listen to the things which were spoken by Paul. When she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and stay.”

So she persuaded us. As we were going to prayer, a certain girl having a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much gain by fortune telling. Following Paul and us, she cried out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us a way of salvation!”

She was doing this for many days. But Paul, becoming greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!”

It came out that very hour. But when her masters saw that the hope of their gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas, and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. When they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These men, being Jews, are agitating our city, and advocate customs which it is not lawful for us to accept or to observe, being Romans.”

The multitude rose up together against them, and the magistrates tore their clothes off of them, and commanded them to be beaten with rods. When they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely, who, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison, and secured their feet in the stocks.

But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were loosened. The jailer, being roused out of sleep and seeing the prison doors open, drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!”

He called for lights, sprang in, fell down trembling before Paul and Silas, brought them out, and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

They spoke the word of the Lord to him, and to all who were in his house. He took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes, and was immediately baptized, he and all his household. He brought them up into his house, and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, with all his household, having believed in God.

But when it was day, the magistrates sent the sergeants, saying, “Let those men go.”

The jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go; now therefore come out, and go in peace.”

But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, without a trial, men who are Romans, and have cast us into prison! Do they now release us secretly? No, most certainly, but let them come themselves and bring us out!”

The sergeants reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Romans, and they came and begged them. When they had brought them out, they asked them to depart from the city. They went out of the prison, and entered into Lydia’s house. When they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them, and departed.

Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. Paul, as was his custom, went in to them, and for three Sabbath days reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ, the Anointed One, had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.”

Some of them were persuaded, and joined Paul and Silas, of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and not a few of the chief women. But the unpersuaded Jews took along some wicked men from the marketplace, and gathering a crowd, set the city in an uproar. Assaulting the house of Jason, they sought to bring them out to the people. When they did not find them, they dragged Jason and certain brothers before the rulers of the city, crying, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here also, whom Jason has received. These all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus!”

The multitude and the rulers of the city were troubled when they heard these things. When they had taken security from Jason and the rest, they let them go. The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Beroea.

When they arrived, they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of the mind, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Many of them therefore believed; also of the prominent Greek women, and not a few men. But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was proclaimed by Paul at Beroea also, they came there likewise, agitating the multitudes. Then the brothers immediately sent out Paul to go as far as to the sea, and Silas and Timothy still stayed there. For Paul sent Timothy, an Apostle, his brother and God’s servant in the Good News of Christ, to confirm the Thessalonians, and to comfort them concerning their faith. But those who escorted Paul brought him as far as Athens. Receiving a commandment to Silas and Timothy that they should come to him very quickly, they departed. They found Timothy and Silas at Thessalonica.

Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw the city full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who met him. Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also were conversing with him. Some said, “What does this babbler want to say?”

Others said, “He seems to be advocating foreign deities,” because he preached Jesus and the resurrection, in Greek, Iesus and Anastasis.

They took hold of him, and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is, which is spoken by you? For you bring certain strange things to our ears. We want to know therefore what these things mean.”

Now all the Athenians and the strangers living there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell or to hear some new thing. Paul stood in the middle of the Areopagus, and said, “You men of Athens, I perceive that you are very religious in all things. For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ What therefore you worship in ignorance, this I announce to you.

“The God who made the world and all things in it, he, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands, neither is he served by men’s hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he himself gives to all life and breath, and all things. He made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the surface of the earth, having determined appointed seasons, and the boundaries of their dwellings, that they should seek the Lord, if perhaps they might reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live, and move, and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also his offspring.’ Being then the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold, or silver, or stone, engraved by art and design of man. The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked. But now he commands that all people everywhere should repent, because he has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he has ordained; of which he has given assurance to all men, in that he has raised him from the dead.”

Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked; but others said, “We want to hear you again concerning this.”

Thus Paul went out from among them. But certain men joined with him, and believed, among whom also was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth. He found a certain Jew named Aquila, a man of Pontus by race, who had recently come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome. He came to them, and because he practiced the same trade, he lived with them and worked, for by trade they were tent makers. He reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded Jews and Greeks. But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. When they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook out his clothing and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clean. From now on, I will go to the Gentiles!”

He departed there, and went into the house of a certain man named Justus, one who worshiped God, whose house was next door to the synagogue. Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord with all his house.

About this time Paul wrote the following letter:


Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the Assembly of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
We always give thanks to God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith and labor of love and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father. We know, brothers loved by God, that you are chosen, and that our Good News came to you not in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and with much assurance. You know what kind of men we showed ourselves to be among you for your sake. You became imitators of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all who believe in Macedonia and in Achaia. For from you the word of the Lord has been declared, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone out; so that we need not to say anything. For they themselves report concerning us what kind of a reception we had from you; and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come.
For you yourselves know, brothers, our visit to you was not in vain, but having suffered before and been shamefully treated, as you know, at Philippi, we grew bold in our God to tell you the Good News of God in much conflict. For our exhortation is not of error, nor of uncleanness, nor in deception. But even as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News, so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, who tests our hearts. For neither were we at any time found using words of flattery, as you know, nor a cloak of covetousness (God is witness), nor seeking glory from men (neither from you nor from others), when we might have claimed authority as Apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother cherishes her own children.
Even so, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you, not the Good News of God only, but also our own souls, because you had become very dear to us. For you remember, brothers, our labor and travail; for working night and day, that we might not burden any of you, we preached to you the Good News of God. You are witnesses with God, how holy, righteously, and blamelessly we behaved ourselves toward you who believe. As you know, we exhorted, comforted, and implored every one of you, as a father does his own children, to the end that you should walk worthily of God, who calls you into his own Kingdom and glory. For this cause we also thank God without ceasing, that, when you received from us the word of the message of God, you accepted it not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God, which also works in you who believe. For you, brothers, became imitators of the assemblies of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus; for you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews; who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and drove us out, and did not please God, and are contrary to all men; forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved; to fill up their sins always. But wrath has come on them to the uttermost.
But we, brothers, being bereaved of you for a short season, in presence, not in heart, tried even harder to see your face with great desire, because we wanted to come to you—indeed, I, Paul, once and again—but Satan hindered us. For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you, before our Lord Jesus at his coming? For you are our glory and our joy.
Therefore when we could not stand it any longer, we thought it good to be left behind at Athens alone, and sent Timothy, our brother and God’s servant in the Good News of Christ, to confirm you, and to comfort you concerning your faith; that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you know that we are appointed to this task. For most certainly, when we were with you, we told you beforehand that we are to suffer affliction, even as it happened, and you know. For this cause I also, when I could not stand it any longer, sent that I might know your faith, for fear that by any means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor would have been in vain. But when Timothy came just now to us from you, and brought us glad news of your faith and love, and that you have good memories of us always, longing to see us, even as we also long to see you; for this cause, brothers, we were comforted over you in all our distress and affliction through your faith. For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord. For what thanksgiving can we render again to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sakes before our God; night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face, and may perfect that which is lacking in your faith? Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you; and the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we also do toward you, to the end he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
Finally then, brothers, we beg and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, that you abound more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God: your sanctification, that you abstain from sexual immorality, that each one of you know how to control his own body in sanctification and honor, not in the passion of lust, even as the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and wrong a brother in this matter; because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as also we forewarned you and testified. For God called us not for uncleanness, but in sanctification. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given his Holy Spirit to you.
But concerning brotherly love, you have no need that one write to you. For you yourselves are taught by God to love one another, for indeed you do it toward all the brothers who are in all Macedonia. But we exhort you, brothers, that you abound more and more; and that you make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, even as we instructed you; that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and may have need of nothing.
But we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning those who have fallen asleep, so that you do not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we tell you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left to the coming of the Lord, will in no way precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with God’s trumpet. The dead in Christ will rise first, then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. So we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore comfort one another with these words.
But concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need that anything be written to you. For you yourselves know well that the day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night. For when they are saying, “Peace and safety,” then sudden destruction will come on them, like birth pains on a pregnant woman; and they will in no way escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief. You are all children of light, and children of the day. We do not belong to the night, nor to darkness, so then let us not sleep, as the rest do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep in the night, and those who are drunk are drunk in the night. But let us, since we belong to the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and, for a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to the obtaining of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Therefore exhort one another, and build each other up, even as you also do. But we beg you, brothers, to know those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you, and to respect and honor them in love for their work’s sake.
Be at peace among yourselves. We exhort you, brothers, admonish the disorderly, encourage the faint-hearted, support the weak, be patient toward all. See that no one returns evil for evil to anyone, but always follow after that which is good, for one another, and for all.
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophesies. Test all things, and hold firmly that which is good. Abstain from every form of evil.
May the God of peace himself sanctify you completely. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who will also do it.
Brothers, pray for us. Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss. I solemnly command you by the Lord that this letter be read to all the holy brothers.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.


Meanwhile, many of the Corinthians, when they heard Paul, believed and were baptized. The Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many people in this city.”

He lived there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

About this time Paul wrote the following letter:


Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the Assembly of the Thessalonians in God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are bound to always give thanks to God for you, brothers, even as it is appropriate, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of each and every one of you towards one another abounds; so that we ourselves boast about you in the assemblies of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions which you endure. This is an obvious sign of the righteous judgment of God, to the end that you may be counted worthy of God’s Kingdom, for which you also suffer. Since it is a righteous thing with God to repay affliction to those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted with us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, giving vengeance to those who do not know God, and to those who do not obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus, who will pay the penalty: eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired among all those who have believed (because our testimony to you was believed) in that day.
To this end we also pray always for you, that our God may count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire of goodness and work of faith, with power; that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, brothers, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together to him, we ask you not to be quickly shaken in your mind, nor yet be troubled, either by spirit, or by word, or by letter as from us, saying that the day of Christ has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For it will not be, unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of destruction, he who opposes and exalts himself against all that is called God or that is worshiped; so that he sits as God in the Temple of God, setting himself up as God. Do you not remember that, when I was still with you, I told you these things? Now you know what is restraining him, to the end that he may be revealed in his own season. For the mystery of lawlessness already works. Only there is one who restrains now, before he is taken out of the way. Then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will kill with the breath of his mouth, and destroy by the manifestation of his coming; even he whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deception of wickedness for those who are being lost, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Because of this, God sends them a working of error, that they should believe a lie; that they all might be judged who did not believe the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But we are bound to always give thanks to God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief in the truth; to which he called you through our Good News, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers, stand firm, and hold the traditions which you were taught by us, whether by word, or by letter.
Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and confirm you in every good work and word.
Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified, even as also with you; and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and evil men; for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful, who will confirm you, and guard you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you both do and will do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patience of Christ.
Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother who walks in rebellion, and not after the tradition which they received from us. For you know how you ought to imitate us. For we did not behave ourselves rebelliously among you, neither did we eat bread from anyone’s hand without paying for it, but in labor and travail worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you; not because we do not have the right, but to make ourselves an example to you, that you should imitate us. For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: “If anyone will not work, do not let him eat.” For we hear of some who walk among you in rebellion, who do not work at all, but are busybodies. Now those who are that way, we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.
But you, brothers, do not be weary in doing well. If any man does not obey our word in this letter, note that man, that you have no company with him, to the end that he may be ashamed. Do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways. The Lord be with you all.
The greeting of me, Paul, with my own hand, which is the sign in every letter: this is how I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.


Now it was about this time that Matthew first proclaimed the Gospel in Hebrew and committed it to writing, before he departed to preach to other nations.

The Gospel According to Matthew chapters 1 through 14
The Gospel According to Matthew chapters 15 through 25
The Gospel According to Matthew chapters 26 through 28

Galatians
Acts 15:36–17:12
1 Thessalonians
Acts 17:13–18:11
2 Thessalonians

Compare
World English Bible text
Greek original text
Latin Vulgate text
NRSV text
Scofield Reference Bible (1917 Edition)
Conservative Bible text
multiple versions of any verse
multiple commentaries any passage
interlinear Bible: Hebrew, Greek, English
Bible maps (click initial letter of place name)
Maps of Paul's journeys:

CHRONOLOGY OF THE ACTS AND EPISTLES OF THE NEW TESTAMENT See the following articles:

CLAUDIUS

Eusebius: Church History: The Ecclesiastical History Of Eusebius Pamphilus: Bishop Of Caesarea, In Palestine (documentacatholicaomnia.eu) pdf

The Works of Flavius Josephus William Whiston, Translator, 1737 (sacred-texts.com)

Suetonius: Twelve Caesars: The Lives of the Twelve Caesars by C. Suetonius Tranquilus; To which are added His Lives of the Grammarians, Rhetoricians, and Poets. The Translation of Alexander Thomson, M.D., Revised and corrected by T. Forester, Esq., A.M. (Gutenberg.org)

Tacitus: The Annals, Written 109 A.C.E. Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb

Early Christian Writings A.D. 30 through 380 (earlychristianwritings.com)

Archaeology and the Book of Acts John McRay, Wheaton College Graduate School, Wheaton, IL 60187 pdf


See the 20th century Letter to Paul (bible.org)

CHRONOLOGY OF THE ACTS AND EPISTLES OF THE NEW TESTAMENT See the following articles:

MULTIPLE PROTESTANT COMMENTARIES ON WRITINGS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT(Biblehub.com)
The listing here immediately below is one possible chronological sequence offered to the reader. (Many others have been proposed):

Matthew (Hebrew or Aramaic)
written after the Council of Jerusalem
Galatians
1 Thessalonians
2 Thessalonians
Matthew (Greek)
the canonical Greek text of Matthew
1 Corinthians
Romans
2 Corinthians
1 Peter
written to the churches after Paul's arrest
James
Philemon
Ephesians
Philippians
Colossians
Hebrews
1 Timothy
Titus
2 Timothy
2 Peter
Mark
written after Peter's death
Luke
Acts
Jude
Revelation
John "the saying spread abroad among the brethren that this disciple was not to die"
1 John
2 John
3 John

Catholic Encyclopedia Articles on Epistles of the New Testament in chronological sequence:

Thessalonians (52)
Galatians (56)
Corinthians (56)
Romans (57)
Philemon (61)
Ephesians (61)
Philippians (61)
Colossians (61)
Hebrews (63-64)
Jude (before 64)
1 - 2 Peter (63-65)
1 Timothy, Titus, 2 Timothy (66-67)
The Apocalypse (95)
1 - 2 - 3 John (90-98)

Orthodox Encyclopedia Articles on Apostles who wrote Gospels and Epistles of the New Testament:

Apostle Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
Apostle Paul
Apostle James the Just
Apostle Timothy
Apostle Titus
Apostle Peter
Apostle Mark
Gospel of Mark
Apostle Luke
Gospel of Luke
Apostle Jude
Apostle John
Book of Revelation
See also Bible and the Conservapedia Articles on the Books of the New Testament.


"before whose eyes Jesus Christ was openly portrayed among you as crucified"

Galatians 3:1. The first use of a crucifix.
It is an historically evident fact that the Galatians as Greeks were not present at the crucifixion of Christ. Paul is speaking here of a vivid representation of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, set up before their very eyes in their midst. This emphasis on the crucifixion of Jesus is also evident in 1 Corinthians 1:23 "but we preach Christ crucified" and in 1 Corinthians 2:2 "For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." Also in Galatians 6:14 Paul is not referring to the resurrection, to Christ risen, nor to the symbol of an empty cross, but to the redemptive suffering of the crucifixion of Christ who died, when he says, "far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." The suffering of Christ is vividly exemplified by a crucifix.
Catholics justify the use of a crucifix by saying that it shows the price of our salvation in what Jesus actually did for us and constantly reminds us of our debt of gratitude for "so great a salvation", which an empty cross does not portray. The true cross of Christ to which Paul refers in his letters is actually the saving act of redemption through his crucifixion and death. As today memorials are erected to the war dead, and to heroes who saved lives in devastating tragedy at the cost of their own lives, memorials erected as physical monuments to their deeds of sacrifice, so Catholics claim the crucifix is the memorial and physical monument of Christ's sufferings as the price of salvation openly displayed before the eyes of the faithful. The crucifix has been used as a weapon of graphic imagery or icon against the heretical denial of the reality of the bodily incarnation, physical suffering and real death of Christ by various forms of Gnosticism. And while Islam is not gnostic, the Prophet in the Koran denies that Jesus was crucified.
The controversy over iconoclasm (smashing of icons) was generated by a zealous interpretation of the Old Testament prohibition against idol-worship, although God Himself commanded the making of images of cherubim and trees, lions, oxen, birds in the Tabernacle and the Temple (Exodus 25:18-22; 26:1, 31; 1 Kings 6:23-35; 7:29, 36; 1 Chronicles 28:18-19). It was settled by an Ecumenical council ruling in favor of the use of images as a "salutary means" of stimulating reverence and devotion to God and his saints in the Church, and as an affirmation of the goodness of the material creation, of the physical body, and of the reality of the human flesh Incarnation of the Word.
Protestants respond that the empty cross vividly symbolizes the resurrection and ascension of Christ into heaven, there to intercede for sinners, and to the fact that his sacrifice was once for all, never to be repeated. They prefer to rejoice in the risen Lord over the crucified Lord, and in Christ's triumph over death over Christ's dying on the cross. The resurrection of necessity implies the crucifixion and death of Christ and does not stop there, as the empty cross and empty tomb likewise signify the victory over death. They see the crucifix as a symbol of re-crucifying Christ in the Mass, and emphasize that the wide-spread use of the crucifix first began during the Medieval period of European history under the domination of the Catholic Church, in particular during the campaigns to stamp out the Waldensians and Albigensians, whose teachings were most obviously identifiable as being clearly a form of Manichaeanism (see Bible: Heresies based on abusive use of vernacular translations).
Most recent 20th and 21st century translators read the text of Galatians 3:1 as either referring to a visible representation, or to an openly vivid portrayal prodelos of the crucifixion. —But prodelos is not used here. The Greek word πρόδηλος prodelos (Strong's number 4271) means "plain before all men, i.e. obvious:—evident, manifest (open) beforehand."
The Amplified KJV interpretive reading says "evidently set forth (in writing graphẽ)"—but writing (graphẽ) is an inserted (eisegetical) reading. Moreover, the word prographo is not used here. See Strong's number 4270 keyed to this verse: 4270 προγράφω prographỡ, to write previously; figuratively to announce, prescribe:—before ordain, evidently set forth, write (afore, aforetime). The amplified KJV reading interprets the passage as if Paul is referring to a previously written letter which they could read with their own eyes, indicating literacy, or perhaps referring to a public reading to their assembly or gathering of a copy of the Gospel of Matthew in Greek. That is not what he says.
The Greek text of Galatians 3:1 instead uses the word προεγράφη proegraphe (as in Paul's expression "written on your hearts"):
Ὦ ἀνόητοι Γαλάται, τίς ὑμᾶς ἐβάσκανε τῇ ἀληθείᾳ μὴ πείθεσθαι, οἷς κατ’ ὀφθαλμοὺς Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς προεγράφη ἐν ὑμῖν ἐσταυρωμένος
The word προεγράφη proegraphẽ is not Strong's προγράφω prographo. The Greek grammar also does not indicate a dramatic re-enacting of the events of the Passion, as in a play. Instead it indicates a previous open portrayal of the crucifixion: graphic depiction, vivid image, striking picture. From these indications, it is not impossible that a concrete, physically graphic representation of the bloody crucifixion of the Lord in the form of a crucifix was made as a vivid visual aid, which was so unforgettably striking, that the image was indelibly written on their hearts and minds. It is not impossible that Paul was using proegraphe προεγράφη as a metaphoric expression to remind them of the effect this vivid and open portrayal had on them at that time. The method of execution by crucifixion, as a kind of terrorism, generated in the subject peoples of the Roman Empire an overwhelming horror and revulsion which no one at that time was able to dismiss lightly or easily forget—in modern metaphor it was "engraved on their souls, indelibly stamped on their minds, burned into their memory". Rome justified its use as a form of deterrence against rebellion by barbarians and slaves, such as that mounted by Spartacus. An accurate critical understanding of any ancient writing takes into account the mode of speaking and forms of expression current at the time of the writer, and this is no exception.
See multiple versions of Galatians 3:1 and commentaries. The Galatians had seen before their very eyes a vividly open portrayal of the crucifixion. This is also a plain description of any modern crucifix displayed in a church or home.
The context of this letter to the Galatians is the Jerusalem Council's rejection of the preaching of the Judaizers who had taught them that "unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved" (Acts 15:1).
The letter to the Galatians was most likely written by Paul after the first issuing of the letter of decision from the Council of Jerusalem to the brethren of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia.

"I bear the marks of the Lord Jesus branded on my body.

Galatians 6:17.
The marks of the Lord Jesus on Paul's body are the scars of floggings, stonings, beatings that had been inflicted on him because of Christ. The RSV renders this phrase "I bear on my body the marks of Jesus" (compare versions).
Some Christians believe from this verse that Paul was a stigmatist, from a literalistic understanding of "the marks of Jesus" as referring to the physical wounds of crucifixion, scourging, thorns, nails, and spear. But there is no clear evidence from the New Testament or from early 2nd century Christian tradition that Paul was a stigmatist. See commentaries on Galatians 6:17.

He went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the assemblies.

Acts 15:41.
The word "confirming" here έπιστηρίζων episterizon is from the basic Greek word έπιστηρίζω episterizo support, strengthen (Strong's number 1991).
This is read by the more ancient apostolic churches as a reference to the sacrament of Confirmation, which imparts the supernatural grace of fortitude, strength and courage, and supernatural encouragement, of being able with the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit to defend the truth of the faith and stand up for Jesus, even to death.
Evangelical Christians read it as speaking of a vigorous "encouraging" in the faith, a form of revivalism, which Catholics ordinarily call a "parish mission", both of them featuring inspiring speakers of their faith whose task is to reawaken appreciation and active participation in the worship and mission of Christianity. See John Wesley and the First Great Awakening.
Several translations render the various forms of the word episterizo as the more generic English form "strengthen". Preference is given here in this Harmony to the more literal renderings "confirmed" and "confirming" as found in the Douay-Rheims and King James Bibles. See multiple versions of Acts 15:41.
See also Acts 14:22; 15:32, 41; 18:23, all keyed to Strong's number 1991 έπισηρίζω epistẽrizỡ, and rendered here as "confirmed" and "confirming".

"and he took and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those parts"

Acts 16:3.
This is a striking change in Paul. Paul has here abandoned his earlier opposition to accommodating the sensitivities of the Jews, a practice which he had originally condemned in Peter as hypocrisy. See the previous chapter Thirty-seven.
Compare Galatians 2:11-14. Timothy is not included in the opening of Paul's early letter to the churches or assemblies of Galatia, but his two letters to the churches or assemblies of Thessalonica are sent from both him and Timothy, and Silvanus (1 Thessalonians 1:1 and 2 Thessalonians 1:1). According to Paul's own testimony in Galatians 2, circumcision is one of the "works of the law", so that in circumcising Timothy to avoid giving offense, Paul himself is compelling a Gentile "to live like Jews", and therefore Paul himself also "stands condemned" according to the standard by which he uttered his severe public judgment of Peter. Paul explicitly emphasizes that whoever is circumcised is bound to keep the whole of the Law of Moses, and is "severed from Christ" (5:3-4). By this reasoning, according to a literalistic reading of Galatians, Paul himself has forced Timothy to be bound to keep the whole of the Law—"to live like [the] Jews" (2:14)—and has severed him from Christ. In light of Paul's account of his severe rebuke of Peter for seeking to avoid giving offense to the Christian believers among the Judaizers (the circumcision party), it is highly unlikely that the letter to the Galatians was written after he had circumcised Timothy—which he did solely for the purpose of avoiding trouble with the Jews in those parts who knew his father was a Greek.

"who proclaim to us a way of salvation!

Acts 16:17.
A clever demonic deceit.
This relativistic utterance by a demonic spirit is the proclamation of liberal Protestant theologians and New Age teachers.
Jesus is not a way of salvation. "Jesus answered, 'I am the way—and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6 NIV.
"Salvation is found in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12 NIV. Jesus is the way of salvation.
Pope John Paul II was strongly censured by liberal Christians and theologians for declaring the uniqueness of Christianity and Jesus Christ as the only way to God.

"For Paul sent Timothy, an Apostle, his brother and God’s servant in the Good News of Christ, to confirm the Thessalonians, and to comfort them concerning their faith."

This is an amplification, drawn from 1 Thessalonians 2:6; 3:2 and 6, and inserted chronologically between Acts 17:14 and 15, because Paul states in his epistle to them that he was alone at Athens (1 Thessalonians 3:1 and Acts 17:15–18:1) and in 1 Thessalonians 3:6 he states that at the time of the writing of this letter to them Timothy had just returned to him, "but now that Timothy has come to us from you, and had brought us the good news of your faith and love,..." Also, the salutation to the Thessalonians from "Paul, Silvanus and Timothy" includes Silvanus and Timothy together with Paul as "apostles": "though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ" RSV. Acts 17:13-15 supports this inclusion of Silvanus and Timothy as Apostles, especially the reference in 1 Thessalonians 3:2 to Timothy being sent back to them, after they had seen Paul off to Athens, to "confirm" them.
See 1 Thessalonians 3:2—
  • interlinear text στηρίξαι to strengthenfix fast; give support to secure (firmly establish); solidly plant (which eliminates vacillation).
  • multiple versions "to confirm you"—Douay-Rheims Bible and Darby Bible Translation—others "to establish you"
  • commentaries"perhaps in the sense of perfecting their organization"—"make stable, fix firmly".
See also the article Confirmation
Orthodox and Catholic readers see in the words "to confirm you" as a probable, though uncertain, reference to the Sacrament of Confirmation, which imparts the "encouraging" (courage imparting) grace of fortitude to defend, and to remain firm in, the Christian faith in Jesus Christ—the Holy Spirit through the hands of the episcopus "strengthens" the Christian with the sacrament of Confirmation. If so—and the Greek grammar of the text does not exclude this meaning—then Timothy had been ordained by Paul "through the laying on of my hands", as found in 2 Timothy 1:6, and then made an apostolic bishop (episcopus) "when the presbyteriou laid their hands upon you" (the collective body of the presbyterate) as suggested by 1 Timothy 4:11-15; 5:17-22; 6:12-14. The Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican Churches, hold that the episcopate, or office of bishop, is an apostolic ministry in accordance with the doctrine of apostolic succession. Others instead read the Greek term στηρίξαι sterixai in 1 Thessalonians 3:2 as more generally meaning "establish" and "strengthen"—and the Greek grammar of the text does not exclude this meaning. The phrase, "to comfort them", can also be read as, "to exhort them", "to encourage them".

"Jesus and the resurrection, in Greek, Iesus and Anastasis."

Acts 17:18 amplified.
Misunderstood as the names of two deities, a god, Ie-Seus and a goddess Anastasis. In the Greek Bible, Ἰησοῦν καὶ τὴν ἀνάστασιν. The name of "Jesus" sounds like YEH-ZEUS, in this text Iesoun, masculine. The Greek word for resurrection is ANASTASIS, in this text anastasin, feminine.
See commentaries on Acts 17:18.
Compare versions.

"as a father does his own children"

1 Thessalonians 1:11.
This text is Paul's initial claim to the title "father".
The legitimacy of addressing certain men with the title of "father" is found throughout the New Testament. The central issue is legitimate claims to lesser and greater degrees of authority and respect, and finally, who has legitimate claim to total and absolute allegiance with ultimate and final authority over every human being. To whom do we owe complete love and obedience?
With reference to controversies over the use of the word "father", see the warning in 2 Timothy 2:14 and Romans 13:1.
Compare the following texts:
1 Corinthians 4:15;
Ephesians 5:31; 6:1-4;
Philippians 2:22;
Colossians 3:21;
1 Thessalonians 2:11;
1 Timothy 5:1 "entreat him as 'father' "
ὡς πατέρα os patera;
Hebrews 12:7-9;
1 John 2:13-12
Matthew 3:9; 15:3-6; 19:16-19;
Mark 7:10-13; 9:21, 24; 10:7;
Luke 1:59-62, 67; 2:48; 8:51; 9:42; 12:53; 15:12-29; 16:24, 27-30; 18:20;
John 4:12, 53; 6:42; 8:39-42; 18:13;
Acts 7:2-4, 14; 16:1-3; 22:1; 28:8.
It is significant that in those New Testament texts where followers of Christ address men in positions of authority as "fathers" they never say "my father". Similarly, Orthodox, Catholic and Anglican Christians address their priests as "Father", but never as "my Father".
In the Middle Ages especially, compassionate and godly priests were seen as "fathers of the poor", fathers of those destitute unfortunates who gratefully addressed them as "Father".
U.S. Military personnel according to a long-standing informal tradition frequently address their chaplains respectfully as "Padre", Spanish for "Father", whether or not they believe in Christ.
The Reformation reads in Matthew 23:9 a proof text against this practice, and offers it together with other biblical texts as evidence that the Orthodox and Catholic churches are teaching as doctrines of God the traditions of men in constant satanic opposition to the teaching of Christ. Several translations of the Bible have removed the word "your" ὑμῶν hymon from the text of Matthew 23:9, so that it now reads "and call no man 'father' on earth" πατέρα patera, instead of what it actually says, "and call no man your father on earth" πατέρα ... ὑμῶν (patera ... hymon).
καὶ πατέρα μὴ καλέσητε ὑμῶν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς·
Compare multiple versions of Matthew 23:9.
See also KJV Jeremiah 8:8 and multiple other versions of Jeremiah 8:8.
The several Bible text references listed above demonstrate that an interpretive reading of Matthew 23:9 as against the title "Father" sets scripture against scripture, and represents "a teaching which the Bible as a whole does not support" (Proof text).
In the New Testament, faithful followers of Christ's teachings address men as "fathers", but never as "my father". ("It was good for the first apostles, and it's good enough for me.") According to the Reformation principle of sola scriptura, the removal or omission of any word in a translation of a text of the Bible for the sake of supporting a particular doctrinal interpretation violates Revelation 22:19.

"to confirm you, and to comfort you concerning your faith"

1 Thessalonians 3:1
"Confirm" from Greek στηρίζω Strong's number 4741 stẽrizỡ, KJV "establish", related to έπισηρίζω Strong's epistẽrizỡ, KJV "confirm". Also Acts 16:5; Romans 16:25; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; James 5:8 and 2 Peter 1:12, "confirmed in the faith" and "confirmed in the truth that you have".
See also Acts 14:22; 15:32, 41; 18:23, all keyed to έπισηρίζω, Strong's number 1991 epistẽrizỡ, and rendered here as "confirmed" and "confirming".
Students seeking to learn Biblical Greek are cautioned against regarding Strong's Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries as an authoritative source for learning to read and speak those languages. Not every Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek word in the Bible is represented in Strong's Dictionaries. Strong's Concordance of the Bible, with two Appendices, "A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Hebrew Bible with their Renderings in the King James Version" and "A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek/New Testament with their Renderings in the King James Version", is a minimally adequate introductory assist to amateur beginning Bible readers at the upper elementary and middle school levels, and to the ordinary, casual adult Christian Bible reader, but it has little or no substantial value for serious students of Bible languages at the levels of high school or college graduate studies.

"no one should take advantage of and wrong a brother"

1 Thessalonians 4:6.
Paul includes women as brothers in Christ.
The Greek word for "sister", ἀδελφὴ, is not found in this text (Greek ἀδελφὴν adelphein is not in 1 Thessalonians 4:6). The World English Bible text inserts the words "or sister", as do some other published versions.
See the interlinear Greek/English text, and multiple translations of this verse with commentaries.
Some translators, seeking to accommodate the sensitivities of feminist Christians and of ordinary women who feel left out of Paul's remarks, add the words "or sister"—"no one should take advantage of and wrong a brother or sister". But this reduces the impact of what Paul was declaring in addressing all of the members of the Christian assemblies of Galatia as brothers—the Apostle holds that women and wives are equal heirs of the Kingdom of God, and spiritual brothers together with men and husbands, having the same spiritual rights as men in the dignity of salvation as human beings, and are not to be regarded socially or sexually by men as second-class chattal or property, or as trivially inconsequential concubines or household servants, but as brothers. This is absolutely revolutionary within the context of both pagan culture and Judaism. Men believers are not to take advantage of and wrong a woman believer—a brother. Women believers are not to take advantage of and wrong a man believer—a brother. Husbands are not to wrong their wives, and wives are not to wrong their husbands. All are brothers in the Lord. "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus...You are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then an heir." Galatians 3:26; 4:7 RSVCE. See
1 Thessalonians 4:6 has been read in isolation solely as a statement against men believers committing adultery with the wives of their fellow men believers, as one man taking advantage of and wronging another man by seducing his wife. This reading limits its fuller meaning and takes the passage entirely out of the context of regarding women as sons and brothers and heirs in Christ Jesus. It has also been read as referring directly to Christian women only, as admonishing them to not wrong a Christian man, a brother, by infidelity or seduction, and it has been read in isolation as solely directed to women believers. See Proof text.
See the following articles:

"The dead in Christ will rise first, then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. So we will be with the Lord forever."

1 Thessalonians 4:16b-17.
Compare Revelation 20:1-5. On the basis of the Protestant principle of sola scriptura
After the seven seals have been opened (Revelation 6 through 8), and
after the seven trumpets have sounded (Revelation 8 through 11), and
after the pouring out of the seven bowls or vials full of the wrath of God (Revelation 15 and 16),
after the entire period of the Great Tribulation (Revelation 6:1—19:21)—
then the ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, will be bound (Revelation 20:1-3), and
only then will occur the first resurrection of the dead (Revelation 20:4-6).
See Revelation, Book of (historical exegesis).

"when they are saying, “Peace and safety,” then sudden destruction will come on them"

1 Thessalonians 5:3; Revelation 20:7-10
Compare Revelation 20:9 and commentaries.

"the day of Christ...will not be, unless the apostasy comes first"

2 Thessalonians 2:2-3.
The Greek word here in 2 Thessalonians is άποστασία apostasia, which has been variously translated as "falling away", "rebellion", "departure", "apostasy", "Great Apostasy", "revolt", "Great Revolt", "abandonment", "mass exit", "going out", "defiant rejection", "cowardly flight", "repudiation", "denial".
See 2 Thessalonians 2:3 and commentaries
Compare 1 John 2:18-19 "even now there are many antichrists...They went out from us...".
It is important to note here that the New Testament nowhere states that the day of Christ will be immediately after the onset of the apostasy without any delay, only that it will not come before the apostasy. The scriptures also do not tell us the length or duration of the apostasy before the day of Christ or its extent, how great it will be, nor do they say that it will or will not be a total worldwide apostasy, only that the Church will not be shaken. See 2 Peter 3:3-17, Hebrews 12:26-29, and Matthew 24:10-13 and 16:18.

"Now it was about this time that Matthew first proclaimed the Gospel in Hebrew and committed it to writing, before he departed to preach to other nations."

—see end of chapter.
This sentence is an amplification based on Eusebius. See Church History Book III, chapter XXIV The Order of the Gospels (Book 3, chapter 24.6-7)
The Ecclesiastical History Of Eusebius Pamphilus: Bishop Of Caesarea, In Palestine, translated by Rev. C. F. Cruse, A. M., Assistant Professor in the University of Pennsylvania, with notes selected from the edition of Valesius. London: George Bell and Sons, York Street. Covent Garden. 1874. pages 97-98.

The Gospel According to Matthew.

See the following articles:
Gospel of Matthew (Conservapedia)
Introduction to Matthew (blueletterbible.org)
Matthew (earlychristianwritings.com)
Was Matthew's Gospel First Written in Aramaic or Hebrew? (catholic.com)
Matthew PBS Frontline: From Jesus to Christ: (pbs.org/wgbh)
When Were the Gospels Written and By Whom? CARM Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry (carm.org)
biblegateway.com Links to the text of the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition RSVCE are provided to the reader in this Harmony of the Gospel solely because the RSVCE text represents a very readable, more literal, reading or translation of the New Testament scriptures into English.
The linked biblegateway.com site page offers alternative translations through a clickable drop-down menu. See also the top of this marginal column for direct links to other Bible translations including the King James Version KJV.

Note to the Reader:

The Gospels are included only by mention, with external links to those texts in this Harmony of the Gospel (Conservative Version).
To better appreciate the context of each within the unfoldment of the Gospel of Christianity to the Church and to the world in the first century, the reader should pause in the reading of this encyclopedic feature at those places where each Gospel is specifically cited (at the end of a chapter), and read them where mentioned.
Links are provided for immediate access to the full text of each Gospel.

From Paul, an apostle not of men, or appointed by men, but made an apostle by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead;) and from all the brothers with me in the churches of Galatia: May grace and peace be upon you from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, so that he would deliver us from this present evil world, in accordance with the will of God our Father, glory be to him forever and ever. Amen.

I am positively shocked that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to the grace of Christ, and are turning to a "gospel" that is so far on the wrong side of the road, that it's not even the same road. There are some among you causing trouble, and perverting the word of Christ. If anybody preaches any "gospel" to you, other than what we have already preached to you, lat that man be cursed, even if it was me, or an angel from heaven. I will repeat that: If any man preaches any gospel other than that which you have already received, let him be accursed.

Am I trying to argue with men, or God? Or do I seek to appease men? For if I sought to appease men, I would not be a servant of Christ. I testify to you, my brothers, that the gospel which I preached was not of men. For I did not receive it from men, nor was I taught it by men, but I was taught it by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

You have head of my behavior in the past, as a Jew, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure, and wasted it; and I rose in the ranks of the Jewish religious establishment, above many of my equals in my own nation, because I was more zealous of the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who had separated me from my peers before I left the womb, and called me by His grace, to reveal His Son to me, that I might preach His word among the heathens; immediately I abandoned with flesh and blood. I did not go up to Jerusalem to confer with those who had been apostles before me; instead, I went into Arabia, and returned to Damascus.

After three years, I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and lived with him for fifteen days. But I saw no other apostles, except James, brother of the Lord. Now know that the things I write to you, before God, are true.

Afterwards, I came into the regions of Syria, and Cilicia, and was not known by my face to the Christian churches of Judea; but they had heard, that he who persecuted us in the past now preached the faith he once destroyed. And because of me, they glorified God.

Fourteen years later, I went to Jerusalem again with Barnabas and Titus. I went according to God's revelation, and gave them the gospel I preach to the Gentiles, but privately to those of reputation, so I wouldn't be running in vain. Titus, who was with me, wasn't required to be circumcised because he was Greek. Some false brothers were secretly brought in, to spy on the freedom we have through Jesus Christ and try to capture us. We weren't held back by them for a moment, so you might always keep the truth of the gospel. Those who seemed important (it doesn't matter to me, because God doesn't care about men's status) didn't add anything to what I said. However, they discovered I was preaching the gospel to the uncircumcised, just like Peter had been charged to. (Since God brought Peter to preach to the Jews with great strength, and did the same with me to preach to the Gentiles) When James, Cephas, and John, strong like pillars, saw the grace God had given me, they joined Barnabas and me in fellowship, so we could go among the gentiles and they among the Jews. They asked that we keep the poor in mind, and I did the same.

When Peter came to Antioch, I disagreed with him to his face, because he was wrong. Since before some men from James had come, he had eaten with Gentiles. But after they arrived, he segregated himself, avoiding the Jews. Other Jews joined him this unworthy behavior, and even Barnabas was carried away by it. When I saw they weren't living true to the Gospel, I told Peter in front of them, "If you, a Jew, live like a Gentile and not a Jew, how can you tell Gentiles to live like Jews? We are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners, know that a man is not justified by legalistic actions, but by faith in Jesus Christ. Since we believe in Jesus Christ, we are justified by our faith in Christ, and not legalistic works, because no body is justified by merely observing rules."

If, while we desire to be purified by Christ, we are found to be sinners, is Christ logically a preacher of sin? God forbid such thought. If I rebuild what I destroyed, I show I am a criminal. Through the law, I am dead to the law, so I can live for God. I am crucified with Christ, and yet I live. But it's not I, but Christ who lives in me. The life I live and the body I live in are from faith in God's Son, because he loves me and sacrificed himself for me. So I don't harm God's grace. If merely following rules brings righteousness, Christ died in vain.

Foolish Galatians! Who has confused you, that you don't obey the truth. Before whose eyes was Jesus Christ crucified among you? I only need to ask you this: Have you received the Spirit by the works of the law, or by hearing the faith? Are you so foolish? Having begin in Spirit, are you now made perfect in flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain (if it yet be in vain)? So he who teaches to you about the Divine Guide and shows signs to you, does he do it through the law or through the faith?

Abraham believed God and was called righteous for it. So know that the faithful are the children of Abraham. The scriptures, which foretold God would redeem the gentiles through faith, gave Abraham the gospel, saying, "Through you all the nations are blessed." So the faithful are blessed with faithful Abraham.

Many who live just by rules are cursed. The scriptures says, "Everyone who doesn't do everything written in the Law Book is cursed." But no man is saved by following the rules in God's eye since, "The just will live by faith." The law is not faith, but the man who follows them lives in them.

Christ has saved us from the curse of the law. It became a curse to us because the scripture says, "Anyone who hangs from a tree is cursed." Abraham's blessing comes to the Gentiles through Jesus Christ. We receive the Guide's promise through faith.

Brothers, here's an example: even with a regular contract, if it's agreed to, no man can revoke it or add to it. Promises were made to Abraham and his descendants. The scriptures don't say, "to your children" in the plural, but in the singular, "to your child," which is Christ. So the law, set up four hundred thirty years after, cannot annul the covenant agreed to with God in Christ or nullify its promise. If an inheritance is law, then it's not a promise. But God gave it to Abraham as a promise. What's the point of the law then? It was added because of sins, until the Son could come to those who received the promise. It was given by mediating angels. A mediator doesn't serve only one party, but God is one.

So is the law against the promises of God? God forbid! If a law had been drawn up to give life, righteousness might have been gained through it. The scripture states all are cursed by sin, and the faithful promise of Jesus Christ is given to believers. Before there was faith, we were kept under law, ignorant of the faith which would later be revealed. So the law educated us to bring us to Christ, so we could be saved by faith. Now that that faith is come, we not longer have a teacher. Because we are all the students of God through faith in Jesus Christ. For all of you who have been baptized clothe yourselves with Christ.

No one is Jewish or Greek, enslaved or free, male or female. You are all one in Jesus CHrist. If you are Christ's, you are Abraham's descendant and heirs according to God's promise. The heir, so long as he's a child, is no less than a servant, even if he's lord over all, but is still under teachers and educators until his father says so. Just like we were enslaved to the elements when we were children. When the time finally came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, to save those under the Law, so we could be adopted as His sons. Because you are sons, God has sent His Son's Spirit into your hearts, declaring "Abba, Father!" So you are no longer a servant, but a son instead, and an God's heir through Christ.

So how is it that you served those who aren't gods when you did not know God? Now that you know God, or are known by God, how can you turn back to weak and cowering people? Do you want to be enslaved again? You watch the days, months, seasons, and years. I'm worried about you. I wouldn't want to think that all my hard work on your behalf was for nothing. Brothers, I ask you earnestly, be like me. I am like you. You have not injured me at all.

You know I preached the gospel to you the first time though seriously ill. You did not despise or reject me because of my temptations, but received me like you would God's angel, or even Jesus Christ. So where's the blessedness you spoke about? I remind you that you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me if you could. Have I become your enemy by telling the truth? To be sure, they show a great interest in you, but not to your good. They really want to exclude you, to make you take an interest in them. But it is good to take always a deep and abiding interest in a good thing, and not merely when I am present with you.

My little children, for whom I am in labor pains all over again until Christ is formed within you, I would very much like to be present with you now, and to transform my voice, because I am disturbed on your account. Tell me, those of you who want to be under the Law: Do you not hear the Law? Scripture tells us that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave girl, and the other by a free woman. The slave girl's son was born after the flesh, but the free woman's son was born to keep a promise. These things are an allegory: there are two different covenants to consider. One is from Mount Sinai, and that leads to bondage, just like Hagar. This Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answers to Jerusalem which stands today, and is in slavery with her children. But Jerusalem, above, is free, and she is the mother of us all.

Scripture says: "Rejoice, you sterile woman who does not have children! Break out and cry out, you that do not experience labor! The desolate have many more children than the married woman has." Now we, brothers, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But: he who was born after the flesh, persecuted him who was born after the Spirit. It's the same today as it was then. Regardless: what does Scripture say? "Throw out the slave-girl and her son. The son of the slave-girl will not be heir with the son of the free woman." So then, brothers, we are not the children of the slave-girl; we are the children of the free woman. So stand fast in the freedom with which Christ made us free, and do not tangle yourselves up again with the yoke of slavery.

Look well: I, Paul, am telling you, that if you have been circumcised, Christ will do you no favors. Again I give evidence to every man who has been circumcised: he has an obligation to observe the entire Law. Christ has become ineffective for any of you who are justified by the Law; you have fallen from grace. We, through the Spirit, are waiting for the hope of jusitification by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; only faith counts, that works by love.

You ran well. Who held you back from obeying the Truth? This persuasion does not come from Him Who calls you. A little yeast will work its way throughout the whole lump. I am reassured on your account through the Lord, that you will never have anything else on your mind. But anyone who troubles you will suffer the consequences, whoever he might be. And I, brothers, if I were still preaching circumcision, then why do I still suffer persecution? The scandal of the Cross would then be stopped. I would rather see those people cut off who are troubling you. Because, brothers, you have been called to freedom. But don't use freedom to make allowance for the flesh, but serve one another by love.

All of the Law is fulfilled in one word, and to be more specific: You shall love your neighbor as much as yourself. But if you're going to bite and eat one another, be careful not to be consumed by one another. So I say then: Walk in the SPirit, and you will not satisfy the lust of the flesh. The flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. These are contrary to one another, so that you cannot do the things that you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, then you are not subject to the Law.

The works of the flesh are easy to see. They are: immoral sexual practices of all kinds, uncleanness, indecency, idolatry, drug abuse, hatred, discourse, jealousy, rage, strife, dissention, divisions, envy, murder, intoxication, revelry, and things like these. I tell you ahead of time, as I have told you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is sacrificial love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. There is no law against such things. They who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, then we should also walk in the Spirit. Let us not go after vain glory, by provoking or envying one another.

Brothers, if a man be overtaken by any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual, must restore such a person in the spirit of meekness. Consider yourselves, because you might face a similar test. Carry one another's burdens, and in that way fulfill the law of Christ. If a man thinks that he is something, when he is nothing, he is only lying to himself. But let every man examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing only in himself, not in another person. For every man will carry his own burden.

He who has been taught in the world must communicate to the teacher in all good things. Do not deceive yourself. God will not be mocked. Whatever a man sows, he will also reap. Anyone who sows to his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh. But one who sows to the Spirit will reap everlasting life from the Spirit. And let us not get tired of doing well. We will reap all in good time, if we do not give up. Therefore, to the extent of our opportunity, let us do good for all men, and especially to them who belong to the household of faith.

You can see how long a letter I have written you with my own hand. All who wish to make a fair show in the flesh, they are the ones who insist that you be circumcised, because they don't want to suffer persecution for the Cross of Christ. These circumcised men do not even keep the law themselves, but they want you to be circumcised, so that they can boast about your flesh. But may I never gain any glory, except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world. In Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any advantage, but only a new creature. And all who walk according to this rule, may peace be on them, and mercy, and on the Israel of God. From now on, no man will trouble me. I carry on my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.

Brothers, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.


Some days later, Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us go again and visit our brothers in every city where we have preached the Word of the Lord, and see how they are getting along."

Barnabas resolved to take John Mark with them. Paul did not think it was a good idea to take John Mark. Mark had departed from them in Pamphylia and nad not gone with them to the work. This created an uproar between them that was so sharp that they came to a parting of the ways. Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus. Paul chose Silas, and left, having the recommendation of the brothers to the grace of God. He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

He then came to Derbe and Lystra. A certain student was there, named Timothy. His mother was a believing Jewess, but his father was a Greek. He was held in high regard by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted this man to go out with him. He took him and circumcised him on account of the Jews who lived in those neighborhoods; they all knew that his father was a Greek. As they were going through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for them to keep, that had been decided by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem. In that way the churches were established in the faith, and grew more numerous every day.

When they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia Province. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia Province, but the Spirit did not allow them to. While passing by Mysia they came down to Troas. A vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing and pleading with him, saying, "Come over into Macedonia and help us."

After he had seen the vision, we tried immediately to go into Macedonia, convinced that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them. So, embarking from Troas, we sailed a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis. From there we traveled to Philippi, the capital city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony. We stayed in that city several days.

On the Sabbath we went out of the city by a river bank, where prayer was accustomed to be made. We sat down and spoke to the women who often came there. A certain woman named Lydia, a dealer in Tyrian purple dye, from the city of Thyatira, who worshipped God, heard us. The Lord opened her heart, and she payed attention to the things that were spoken by Paul. When she and her household had been baptized, she pleaded with us, and said, "If you have thought me faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay there."

And she made that invitation most urgently.

Then it happened that as we went to prayer, a certain young woman, possessed by a spirit of divination, met us. This girl brought her masters a great profit by soothsaying. This same girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, "These men are the servants of the Most High God! They are showing us the Way of salvation!"

She did this for many days. Then Paul, feeling pity for her, turned and said to the spirit, "In the Name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!"

And he came out in that very hour.

When her masters realized that their expectation of profit was now in vain, they seized Paul and Silas, and dragged them to the town forum to the rulers. They brought them before the propraetors, saying, "These Jewish men are troubling our city exceedingly. They teach customs that are not lawful for us, as Roman, to receive or even to observe."

The crowd rose up together against them. The propraetors tore their clothes off them and ordered them flogged. When they had beaten them rather severely, they threw them into prison and ordered the warden to guard them securely. The warden, with those orders in hand, sent them to the maximum-security level and put their feet into the stocks.

At midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises to God. The prisoners heard them. Suddenly a great earthquake struck, and shook the foundations of the prison. Immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened. The prison warden, waking out of his sleep and seeing the prison doors opened, drew out his sword and was about to kill himself, thinking that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted with a loud voice, saying, "Do not harm yourself! For we are all here."

Then he called for a light, and rushed in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas. He brought them out of "Maximum", and said, "Gentlemen, what must I do to be saved?"

They told him, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and everyone in your house."

They spoke the Word of the Lord to him, and to everyone in his household.

He took them in the same hour of the night, and cleaned the wounds they had received from the flogging, and he and all his household were baptized at once. When he had brought them into his house, he set food before them, and rejoiced, believing in God together with his entire household. When the day broke, the propraetors sent their lictors with this order: "Release those men."

The prison warden repeated these orders to Paul: "The propraetors have sent word to release you. So leave, and go in peace."

But Paul said back to [the lictors], "They have whipped us openly without a guilty verdict—and we are Roman citizens!—and have thrown us into prison. Do they think they're going to throw us out privately? Oh, no! They can come here themselves and fetch us out."

The lictors repeated these words to the propraetors, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens. They came and pleaded with them, and brought them out, and begged them to leave the city. They went out of custody, and went into Lydia's house. When they had seen the brothers, they gave them comfort, and left.

Now when they has traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where a Jewish synagogue was located. Paul, as usual, went in to them, and debated with them on three Sabbath days, arguing from Scripture, explaining and showing logically, "Christ had to suffer, and rise again from the dead, and this Jesus, Whom I preach to you, is Christ."

Some of them believed, and stayed close to Paul and Silas—as did a great crowd of devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women. But the unbelieving Jews, moved with envy, gathered to themselves certain very immoral fellows, and gathered a crowd, and incited the city to riot, and attacked the house of Jason, and tried to have them brought out before the people. When they found them out, they dragged Jason and certain brothers to the city wardens, crying, "These men who have turned the world upside down have come here, too! Jason harbored these men, and they all do things contrary to the dictates of Caesar, saying that there is another king, a Man named Jesus!"

They disconcerted the people and the city wardens, when they heard these things. When they had taken a peace bond from Jason, and the other man, they released them.

The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Beroea. When they came there, they went into the Jewish synagogue. These Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica. They received the World with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scripture every day to see whether these things were true. So on the one hand, many of them believed, along with not a few honorable men and women among the Greeks.

But on the other hand, when the Jews of Thessalonica became aware that the Word of God was being preached at Beroea, they came there also, and incited the people. At once the brothers sent Paul away, as if he were going to the sea. But Silas and Timothy still stayed there. Those who were escorting Paul brought him to Athens. Then, after receiving an instruction to Silas and Timothy to come to him as fast as they could, they left.

Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he realized that the city was given completely to idolatry. So he debated in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and met them every day in the public square with those who met with him. Then certain philosophers from the Epicurean and Stoic schools encountered him. Some of them said, "What is this babbler trying to say?"

Others said, "He sounds as though he's setting forth some sort of strange demons!"

This was because he was preaching Jesus and the Resurrection to them. They took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, "May we know what this new doctrine is, that you're speaking about? You are bringing certain strange things to our ears. So we want to know what these things mean."

All the Athenians and foreigners who were present were accustomed to spending their time in no other activity but either telling or hearing strange things. Then Paul stood in the middle of the Areopagus and said, "Men of Athens, I realize that you are far too superstitious about everything. Why, as I was passing by, and looked at your devotion, I found an altar with this written on it: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Well! Whom you are worshipping in ignorance, I am delaring to you. The God Who made the world and everything in it, because He is the Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made with hands! And neither can he be worshipped with men's hands, as if He needed anything. After all, He gives everything life, and breath, and everything it needs. And he has made all the nations of men from one bloodline, to live on all the face of the earth, and has determined the pre-appointed times, and the boundaries in which they live,...so that they might seek the Lord, if they should happen to feel after Him, and find Him, though He isn't very far from every one of us. Because in Him we live, and move, and have our existence--and as some of your own poets have, furthermore, said, 'For we are also His creatures.' So in that we are God's creatures, we should never think that the Godhead is like gold or silver or stone, that can be engraved by art and man's device. God overlooked the times of this ignorance before, but now He instructs all men everywhere to repent. Because he has fixed a day, in which he will judge the world in full justice by That Man Whom he ordained. He has given assurance of this to all men, in that He raised Him from the dead."

When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, on the one hand some of them mocked, but on the other, some said, "We will hear you again on this question."

So Paul went out from among them. But certain men stuck to him, and believed. Among them were Dionysus the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and some others with them.

After these events, he departed from Athens and came to Corinth. There he found a certain Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, recently arrived from Italy with his wife Priscilla. (Claudius I had ordered all Jews to leave Rome.) He came to them, and because he and Aquila were fellow craftsmen, he stayed with them, and worked with him. They were tentmakers by trade. He debated in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. When Silas and Timothy had come from Nacedonia, Paul began testifying to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. When they opposed him and started hurling insults, he shook his robes, and told them, "Let your blood be on your own heads; I am clean. From now on, I go to the Gentiles."

And he departed from there, and came into the house of a certain man named Justus, a man who worshiped God, and whose house was adjoining the synagogue. Crispus, the head rabbi of the synagogue, believed in the Lord with everyone in his household.


Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, to the church of the Thessalonians which is of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

We give thanks to God for all of you, as always, and mention you in our prayers; forever remembering the work you volunteer to do out of faith and love and patience in the hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, as our God and Father looks on. Knowing, our beloved brothers, that God has chosen you. For the Gospel is not only words to you, but came to you with power and assurance through the Holy Spirit; as you know what kind of men we were among you, for your benefit. You became our followers and the Lord, and received the truth while suffering, with the joy of the Divine Guide. So you were examples to all the believing in Macedonia and Achaia. You spread the Lord's word in Macedonia and Achaia, and your faith in God is being spread everywhere, so we don't need to say anything. They themselves tell how you received us, and how you turned away to idols to serve the true and living God, to wait for his Son Jesus, who he raised from the dead to save us from the coming wrath, to return.

Brothers, know that our time spent among you wasn't wasted. We had suffered and were poorly treated in Philippi, but God made us speak the gospel to you courageously. Our appeal was not deceitful or immoral or sneaky. God trusted us with his word, so we speak not to please men but to please God, who is testing our hearts. You know that we never used flattery or greed, and God is our witness. We didn't want glory among men, from your or others. We might have been a nuisance, though Christ's apostles, but we were gentle with you, like a nurse cherishes her children. We loved you so much and you were so important to us that we were willing to give to you not only God's gospels but our souls.

Brothers, you remember our hard work. We worked day and night, so we would not be indebted to you, preaching the gospel of God. You saw, as God did, how holy and justly and blamelessly we behaved among you faithful believers. You know how we challenged and helped and encouraged each of you, like a father with his children, so you might walk a moral path, worthy of God, who invites you to his kingdom and glory. We also thank God endlessly that when you accepted the word of God which you heard from us, you didn't accept it as man's word, but as God's word, which creates great change in believers. Brothers, you became followers of the churches of God and Jesus Christ in Judaea, and you have been oppressed by your countrymen, just like they've been by the Jews, who killed Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and no persecute us. God is not pleased with them, and they oppose all mankind. They tell us not to talk to the Gentiles and save them. Their hearts are always full of sin, and God's wrath has come down on them.

Brothers, when we had to leave you after a short time together (but not in our hearts), we did everything we could to see you again. We, and even I, Paul, could have returned again and again, but Satan held us back. What is our hope, our joy? What makes us rejoice? Is it not that you will be in Lord Jesus Christ's presence when he returns? You are our glory and joy. We couldn't take it any more, so we decided it was best to leave Athens. We sent brother Timotheus, a minister of God and fellow volunteer in spreading Christ's word, to strengthen you and comfort you in your faith, so you might not be upset by these trials. You know we were destined for them. It's true that when we were among you, we said we should undergo trials, and you know it happened. For that reason, when I couldn't stop myself, I wrote to learn of your faith, unless some deceiver might have tempted you and destroyed our work. But Timotheus came to us and told good news of your faith and charity, that you remember us kindly, and wanted a reunion just like we did. So, brothers, we were reassured regarding you by your faith, despite our trials and worry. Now we can truly live, as you are firm in your faith to the Lord. How can we possibly thank God for you, for the joy we have in front of God thanks to you? Every day and night we pray and pray to see you again, to perfect whatever your faith is lacking. May our Father God and Lord Jesus Christ lead us to you, and may the Lord multiply your number and your love of each other and all men, just as we love you, so that he may strengthen your sinless hearts with holiness in front of our Father God at Lord Jesus Christ's second coming with his saints.

Brothers, since we've told you how to walk in life and you've listened to us, we ask and encourage you in Jesus' name to do this more and more. Because you know the commandments we gave you in Jesus' name. It is God's will and for your purification that you not engage in sexual immorality, that you should all know how to keep your body pure and honorable, not lusting like the godless Gentiles. We have warned and told you that no man should deceive his brother in any way, because the Lord will avenge it all. God has not called us to be dirty, but to be holy.

So the man who hates us, does not hate men, but hates God, who gave us the holy Divine Guide. You don't need my words about brotherly love. God has taught you to love each other. So you should love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet we encourage you, brothers, to multiply and multiply, to practice calmness, to mind your own business, to work diligently, just like we charged you. That way, you can be honest with those who are dishonest, and you will not miss anything.

Brothers, I don't want you to be ignorant about those who have died, or to grieve like those without faith. We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so those who died with faith in Jesus will come with God. We tell you the Lord's word, that those of us who are alive when the Lord returns will to meet him before the dead. The Lord himself will come down from heaven with the archangel's shout and God's trumpet, and the faithful dead will rise up. Then those of us still alive will be taken up with them into the clouds and meet the Lord on air. Then we will be with him forever. So comfort each other with his knowledge.

Brothers, I don't need to write to you about the day or season, because you know that the day of the Lord's return will be like a thief coming during the night. When the doubters say "it is peaceful and safe!" then destruction will suddenly meet them like the pains of a pregnant woman. They will not escape. But brothers, you are not ignorant that the day will reach you like a thief. You are children of light, the children of day. We are not from the night or darkness. So we should not sleep like the others. Let's watch soberly. The sleepers sleep at night, and the drunks are drunk at night. Let us people of the day be sober, wear the breastplate of faith and love and the helmet of hope of salvation. God has not told us to be enraged, but to gain salvation through Lord Jesus Christ, who died so that we will live eternally with him, whether we be living or dead. So continue to comfort and strengthen each other.

So brothers we ask you to understand those of the Lord's leaders who work with you who correct you. Respect and love them for the sake of their work, and be at peace. And brothers we encourage you to warn the rowdy, comfort the unintelligent, strengthen the weak, and be patient with all men. Make sure no man pays back evil with evil, and always follow the right path, with each other and with all men.

Rejoice forever. Never stop praying. Be thankful to God in everything, as Jesus Christ wants you to. Don't repress the Divine Guide. Don't sneer at prophecy. Test everything, and keep the good. Never appear to do an evil thing. May our God of peace purify you. I pray to God your spirit, body, and soul will remain spotless until the return of Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful and will do as he promised.

Brothers, pray for us. And greet all brothers with a holy embrace. I ask you in the Lord's name to read this letter to all the holy brothers.

The grace of Lord Jesus Christ be with you, Amen.

Many of the Corinthians, when they heard the Word, believed and were baptized. Then the Lord spoke to Paul at night in a vision, "Don't be afraid. Speak, and don't keep quiet. I am with you, and no man may set upon you to do you harm. I have many people in this city."

He stayed there for a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.


From Paul, Silvanus, and Timotheus, to the church of the Thessalonians, united in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace of mind to you, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is well for us to thank God for you, always, our brothers, for your faith grows quickly, and the charity that each of you show to each other is great. That's why we exalt you in the churches of God: for your patience and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. A tangible token of the righteous judgement of God, so that you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, which you suffer for as we do. God is just, and will bring trouble on those who trouble you, and to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus will come again from heaven, with his mighty angels, will take vengeance with flaming fire upon those in denial of God, and who ignore the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ whose punishment shall be an everlasting and destructive separation from the Lord and from His glorious power; when Jesus comes again to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired among all who believe (because you believed our testimony). We will always pray for you, that God considers you among the blessed and that you will know His goodness, power and salvation. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, praise be to him, and the Holy Father. May you be blessed always.

We ask you, friends, in regards to the return of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being with Him, do not be startled or troubled by either a spirit, a comment, or by a letter purportedly written by us, that says Christ has already returned. Don't let any man deceive you. That day won't come until there is a rebellion and the sinful man is shown for who he is, the son of destruction, who opposes and praises himself above everything worshiped or called God. He will even sit in the temple of God, calling himself God.

Don't you recall that I told you this when I was with you? You know what restrains him so he will only be revealed when the time comes. His covert lawlessness is already at work, but only while it is held back. Once He who holds it back is taken away, then the Evil will be revealed, who the Lord will destroy with his breath. He will smite his shining appearance, the man who comes to do Satan's work with great power and deceitful shows and miracles. The unrighteous will perish because of their self-deception, because they never received God's true love, which was to save them. It is for this reason that God will let them deceive themselves into believing a lie, that they will be condemned for not believing the truth, but reveled in unrighteousness. We must always thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because God chose you from the start to be saved through the purifying of the Spirit and believing the truth. He call you to him by our gospel so you could receive Lord Jesus Christ's glory. So brothers, stand firm and stick with the behavior our words and letters have taught you.

We pray Lord Jesus Christ and God our loving father, who always comforts and gives us hope of salvation, comforts your hearts and strengthen you in your good words and work.

Finally, pray for us, Brothers, that the Lord's word will direct us and be glorified in us as it is in you. That we will be protected from illogical and evil men, since not all men have faith. The Lord is faithful and will strengthen you and shield you from evil. We have confidence the Lord will touch your minds, that you are doing those things which we tell you, that the Lord steer your hearts to know the love of God and wait patiently for Christ's return.

So we charge you, brothers, in the name of Lord Jesus Christ, to leave every brother who lives immorally and against the way He gave to us. You know what your behavior should be, since we were not immoral among you. We didn't eat anyone's food for nothing but paid through our hard work, night and day, so we weren't any in your debt. Not because we didn't have the right, but to make an example of ourselves that you can follow. For we charged you when we were with you, "if any man won't work, he won't eat." We've heard there are those about you who live immorally, never working, but always interfering. We command those men in the name of Lord Jesus Christ to work diligently and earn their own keep. Brothers, do not grow tired of living well.

If any man won't obey this letter, mark that man and do not mix with him, so he will see his errors. But do not cast him as an enemy, but correct him as your brother.

The Lord of Peace always give you peace of mind. The Lord be with all of you. I add Paul's greeting, which is the sign of every letter, in my own writing:

"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you. Amen."

Matthew 1-9
Matthew 10-19
Matthew 20-28

Thirty-nine

Chapter 39 Bible texts

But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him before the judgment seat, saying, “This man persuades men to worship God contrary to the law.”

But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If indeed it were a matter of wrong or of wicked crime, you Jews, it would be reasonable that I should bear with you; but if they are questions about words and names and your own law, look to it yourselves. For I do not want to be a judge of these matters.”

And he drove them from the judgment seat.

Then all the Greeks laid hold on Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. Gallio did not care about any of these things.

Paul, having stayed after this many more days, took his leave of the brothers, and sailed from there for Syria, together with Priscilla and Aquila. He shaved his head in Cenchreae, for he had a vow. He came to Ephesus, and he left them there; but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. When they asked him to stay with them a longer time, he declined; but taking his leave of them, and saying, “I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem, but I will return again to you if God wills,” he set sail from Ephesus.

When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the Assembly, and went down to Antioch. Having spent some time there, he departed, and went through the region of Galatia, and Phrygia, in order, confirming all the disciples.

Timothy was imprisoned. For they had endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to abuse and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. They had compassion on the prisoners, and joyfully accepted the plundering of their property, knowing that they themselves had a better possession and an abiding one. We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and keep their souls.

Now a certain Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by race, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus. He was mighty in the Scriptures. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, although he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside, and explained to him the way of God more accurately. When he had determined to pass over into Achaia, the brothers encouraged him, and wrote to the disciples to receive him, saying also, "Timothy has been released. Greet all your leaders and all the saints. Those who come from Italy send you greetings. Grace be with all of you. Amen."

When Apollos had come into Achaia, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace; for he powerfully refuted the Jews, publicly showing by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.

Now about this time, what we now call the Letter to the Hebrews was of great encouragement to those who were persecuted, giving them cause to hope, with stern warnings of the wrathful judgment to come from God on those who turn away from Christ, on those who apostatize, apostates:


God, having in the past spoken to the fathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, has at the end of these days spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds. His Son is the radiance of his glory, the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purified us of our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; having become so much better than the angels, as he has inherited a more excellent name than they have. For to which of the angels did he say at any time,
“You are my Son. Today have I become your father”?
and again,
“I will be to him a Father, and he will be to me a Son”?
When he again brings in the firstborn into the world he says, “Let all the angels of God worship him.”
Of the angels he says,
“Who makes his angels winds, and his servants a flame of fire.”
But of the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your Kingdom. You have loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows.”
And,
“You, Lord, in the beginning, laid the foundation of the earth. The heavens are the works of your hands. They will perish, but you continue. They all will grow old as a garment does. You will roll them up like a mantle, and they will be changed; but you are the same. Your years will not fail.”
But which of the angels has he told at any time,
“Sit at my right hand, to the day I make your enemies the footstool of your feet”?
Are they not all serving spirits, sent out to do service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?
Therefore we ought to pay greater attention to the things that were heard, lest perhaps we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense; how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation—which at the first having been spoken through the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard; God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders, by various works of power, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will? For he did not subject the world to come, of which we speak, to angels. But one has somewhere testified, saying,
“What is man, that you think of him? Or the son of man, that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the angels. You crowned him with glory and honor. You have put all things in subjection under his feet.”
For in that he subjected all things to him, he left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him. But we see him who has been made a little lower than the angels, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God he should taste of death for everyone. For it became him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many children to glory, to make the author of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one, for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying,
“I will declare your name to my brothers. Among them of the congregation I will sing your praise.”
Again,
“I will put my trust in him.”
Again,
“Behold, here I am with the children whom God has given me.” 
Since then the children have shared in flesh and blood, he also himself in the same way partook of the same, that through death he might bring to nothing him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might deliver all of them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For most certainly, he does not give help to angels, but he gives help to the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he was obligated in all things to be made like his brothers, that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make atonement for the sins of the people. For in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.
Therefore, holy brothers, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Jesus; who was faithful to him who appointed him, as also was Moses in all his house. For he has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, because he who built the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone; but he who built all things is God. Moses indeed was faithful in all his house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were afterward to be spoken, but Christ is faithful as a Son over his house; whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the glorying of our hope firm to the end. Therefore, even as the Holy Spirit says,
“Today if you will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, like as in the day of the trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tested me by proving me, and saw my deeds for forty years. Therefore I was displeased with that generation, and said, ‘They always err in their heart, but they did not know my ways;’ as I swore in my wrath, ‘They will not enter into my rest.’”
Beware, brothers, lest perhaps there be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God; but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called “today”; lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm to the end: while it is said,
“Today if you will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion.”
For who, when they heard, rebelled? Did not all those who came out of Egypt by Moses? With whom was he displeased forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? To whom did he swear that they would not enter into his rest, but to those who were disobedient? We see that they were not able to enter in because of unbelief.
Let us fear therefore, lest perhaps any one of you should seem to have come short of a promise of entering into his rest. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, even as they also did, but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not mixed with faith by those who heard. For we who have believed do enter into that rest, even as he has said, “As I swore in my wrath, they will not enter into my rest”; although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he has said this somewhere about the seventh day,
“God rested on the seventh day from all his works”; 
and in this place again,
“They will not enter into my rest.”
Seeing therefore it remains that some should enter therein, and they to whom the good news was before preached failed to enter in because of disobedience, he again defines a certain day, today, saying through David so long a time afterward (just as has been said),
“Today if you will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”
For if Joshua had given them rest, he would not have spoken afterward of another day. There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For he who has entered into his rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from his. Let us therefore give diligence to enter into that rest, lest anyone fall after the same example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
There is no creature that is hidden from his sight, but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of him to whom we must give an account. Having then a great high priest, who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold tightly to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but one who has been in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace for help in time of need.
For every high priest, being taken from among men, is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. The high priest can deal gently with those who are ignorant and going astray, because he himself is also surrounded with weakness. Because of this, he must offer sacrifices for sins for the people, as well as for himself. Nobody takes this honor on himself, but he is called by God, just like Aaron was. So also Christ did not glorify himself to be made a high priest, but it was he who said to him,
“You are my Son. Today I have become your father.”
As he says also in another place,
“You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.”
He, in the days of his flesh, having offered up prayers and petitions with strong crying and tears to him who was able to save him from death, and having been heard for his godly fear, though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered. Having been made perfect, he became to all of those who obey him the author of eternal salvation, named by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. About him we have many words to say, and hard to interpret, seeing you have become dull of hearing. For although by this time you should be teachers, you again need to have someone teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the revelations of God. You have come to need milk, and not solid food. For everyone who lives on milk is not experienced in the word of righteousness, for he is a baby. But solid food is for those who are full grown, who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil.
Therefore leaving the teaching of the first principles of Christ, let us press on to perfection—not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works, of faith toward God, of the teaching of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. This will we do, if God permits. For concerning those who were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the age to come, and then fell away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance; seeing they crucify the Son of God for themselves again, and put him to open shame. For the land which has drunk the rain that comes often on it, and produces a crop suitable for them for whose sake it is also tilled, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and thistles, it is rejected and near being cursed, whose end is to be burned. But, beloved, we are persuaded of better things for you, and things that accompany salvation, even though we speak like this. For God is not unrighteous, so as to forget your work and the labor of love which you showed toward his name, in that you served the saints, and still do serve them. We desire that each one of you may show the same diligence in the fullness of confident hope even to the end, that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherited the promises. For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he could swear by no one greater, he swore by himself, saying,
“Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” 
Thus, having patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men indeed swear by a greater one, and in every dispute of theirs the oath is final for confirmation. In this way God, being determined to show more abundantly to the heirs of the promise the immutability of his counsel, interposed with an oath; that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have a strong encouragement, who have fled for refuge to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and entering into that which is within the veil; where as a forerunner Jesus entered for us, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of God Most High, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham divided a tenth part of all (being first, by interpretation, king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace; without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God), remains a priest continually. Now consider how great this man was, to whom even Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth out of the best plunder. They indeed of the sons of Levi who receive the priest’s office have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brothers, though these have come out of the body of Abraham, but he whose genealogy is not counted from them has accepted tithes from Abraham, and has blessed him who has the promises. But without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater. Here people who die receive tithes, but there one receives tithes of whom it is testified that he lives. We can say that through Abraham even Levi, who receives tithes, has paid tithes, for he was yet in the body of his father when Melchizedek met him. Now if there were perfection through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people have received the law), what further need was there for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is of necessity a change made also in the law. For he of whom these things are said belongs to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord has sprung out of Judah, about which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. This is yet more abundantly evident, if after the likeness of Melchizedek there arises another priest, who has been made, not after the law of a fleshly commandment, but after the power of an endless life: for it is testified,
“You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.”
For there is an annulling of a foregoing commandment because of its weakness and uselessness (for the law made nothing perfect), and a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. Inasmuch as he was not made priest without the taking of an oath (for they indeed have been made priests without an oath), but he with an oath by him that says of him,
“The Lord swore and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.’”
By so much, Jesus has become the collateral of a better covenant. Many, indeed, have been made priests, because they are hindered from continuing by death. But he, because he lives forever, has his priesthood unchangeable. Therefore he is also able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, seeing that he lives forever to make intercession for them.
For such a high priest was fitting for us: holy, guiltless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; who does not need, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices daily, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. For he did this once for all, when he offered up himself. For the law appoints men as high priests who have weakness, but the word of the oath which came after the law appoints a Son forever who has been perfected.
Now in the things which we are saying, the main point is this. We have such a high priest, who sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a servant of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this high priest also have something to offer. For if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, seeing there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, even as Moses was warned by God when he was about to make the tabernacle, for he said,
“See, you shall make everything according to the pattern that was shown to you on the mountain.”
But now he has obtained a more excellent ministry, by so much as he is also the mediator of a better covenant, which on better promises has been given as law. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. For finding fault with them, he said,
“Behold, the days come”, says the Lord, “that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; for they did not continue in my covenant, and I disregarded them,” says the Lord. “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel. After those days,” says the Lord; “I will put my laws into their mind, I will also write them on their heart. I will be their God, and they will be my people. They will not teach every man his fellow citizen, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all will know me, from their least to their greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness. I will remember their sins and lawless deeds no more.”
In that he says, “A new covenant”, he has made the first old. But that which is becoming old and grows aged is near to vanishing away.
Now indeed even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service, and an earthly sanctuary. For a tabernacle was prepared. In the first part were the lamp stand, the table, and the show bread; which is called the Holy Place. After the second veil was the tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies, having a golden altar of incense, and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which was a golden pot holding the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; and above it cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat, of which things we cannot speak now in detail. Now these things having been thus prepared, the priests go in continually into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the services, but into the second the high priest alone, once in the year, not without blood, which he offers for himself, and for the errors of the people. The Holy Spirit is indicating this, that the way into the Holy Place was not yet revealed while the first tabernacle was still standing; which is a symbol of the present age, where gifts and sacrifices are offered that are incapable of making the conscience of the worshiper perfect; having only to do with meats and drinks and various washings, bodily ordinances, imposed until a time of reformation.
But Christ having come as a high priest of the coming good things, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation, nor yet through the blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood, entered in once for all into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify to the cleanness of the flesh: how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without defect to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? For this reason he is the mediator of a new covenant, since a death has occurred for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where there is a last will and testament, the death of him who made it must be established. For a will is in force where there has been death, for it is never in force while he who made it lives. Therefore even the first covenant has not been ratified without blood. For when every commandment of the law had been spoken by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying,
This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.
Moreover he sprinkled the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry in the same way with the blood. According to the law, nearly everything is cleansed with blood, and apart from shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. It was necessary therefore that the copies of the things in the heavens should be cleansed with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has not entered into holy places made with hands, which are representations of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; nor yet that he should offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters into the holy place year by year with blood not his own, or else he must have suffered repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But now once at the end of this age, he has made his appearance, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. As it is appointed for men to die once, and after this, judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but salvation to those who are eagerly waiting for him.
For the law, having a shadow of the good to come, not the very image of the things, can never with the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer continually, make perfect those who draw near. Or else would they not have ceased to be offered? The worshipers, having been once cleansed, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a yearly reminder of sins. For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins. This is why when he comes into the world, he says,
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but you prepared a body for me. You had no pleasure in whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come (in the scroll of the book it is written of me) to do your will, O God.’”
In the above saying,
“Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you did not desire, neither had pleasure in them”
(those which are offered according to the law), then he adds,
“Behold, I have come to do your will.”
He removes the first, that he may establish the second, that will by which we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Every priest in fact stands day by day serving and repeatedly offering the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins, but he, when he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God; from that time waiting for the moment when his enemies are made the footstool of his feet. For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. The Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying,
“This is the covenant that I will make with them: ‘After those days,’ says the Lord, ‘I will put my laws on their heart, I will also write them on their mind;’”
then he says,
“I will remember their sins and their offenses no more.”
Now where forgiveness of these is, there is no more offering for sin. Having therefore, brothers, firm confidence to enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way he has opened for us through the veil, that is to say, by his flesh; and having a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full confidence of faith, having our heart sprinkled from an evil conscience, and having our body washed with pure water, let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering; for he who promised is faithful.
Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good works, not forsaking our own assembling together, as the habitual custom of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as you see the Day approaching. For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of certain judgment, and an inferno of fire which will devour the adversaries. A man who disregards Moses’s law dies without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment do you think he will be judged worthy of who has rejected the Son of God, and has despised the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified as unholy, and has outrageously insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said,
“Vengeance belongs to me,” says the Lord, “I will repay.”
Again,
“The Lord will judge his people.” 
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
But remember the former days, in which, after you were enlightened, you endured a great struggle with sufferings; partly, being exposed to both reproaches and oppressions; and partly, becoming partakers with those who were treated so. For you both had compassion on those in chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your possessions, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a more enduring one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you need endurance, so that, having done the will of God, you may receive the promise.
“In a very little while, he who comes will come, and will not wait. But the righteous will live by faith. If he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.”
But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the saving of the soul.
Now faith is the confidence of things hoped for, the certainty of things not seen. For by this, the ancients obtained testimony.
By faith, we understand that the cosmos has been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen has not been made out of things which are visible.
By faith, Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he had testimony given to him that he was righteous, God testifying with respect to his gifts; and through it he, being dead, still speaks.
By faith, Enoch was translated, so that he would not see death, and he was not found, because God translated him. For he has had testimony given to him that before his translation he had been well pleasing to God. Without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to him, for he who comes to God must believe that he exists, and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him.
By faith, Noah, being warned about things not yet seen, carefully heeded the warning, and prepared a ship for the saving of his house, through which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
By faith, Abraham, when he was called, obeyed to go out to the place which he was to receive for an inheritance. He went out, not knowing where he went. By faith, he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a land not his own, dwelling in tents, with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. By faith, even Sarah herself received power to conceive, and she bore a child when she was past age, since she counted him faithful who had promised. Therefore as many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as innumerable as the sand which is by the sea shore, were fathered by one man, and him as good as dead.
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them and embraced them from afar, and having confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. If indeed they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had enough time to return. But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
By faith, Abraham, being tested, offered up Isaac. Yes, he who had gladly received the promises was offering up his one and only son; even he to whom it was said, “your offspring will be accounted as from Isaac”; concluding that God is able to raise up even from the dead. Figuratively speaking, he also did receive him back from the dead. 
By faith, Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even concerning things to come. 
By faith, Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. 
By faith, Joseph, when his end was near, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel; and gave instructions concerning his bones.
By faith, Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that he was a beautiful child, and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.
By faith, Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to share ill treatment with God’s people, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a time; accounting the reproach of the anointed one greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he looked to the reward. By faith, he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. By faith, he kept the Passover, and the sprinkling of the blood, that the destroyer of the firstborn should not touch them. By faith, they passed through the Red Sea as on dry land. When the Egyptians tried to do so, they were swallowed up.
By faith, the walls of Jericho fell down, after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith, Rahab the prostitute, did not perish with those who were disobedient, having received the spies in peace.
What more shall I say? For the time would fail me if I told of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets; who, through faith subdued kingdoms, worked out righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, grew mighty in war, and caused foreign armies to flee. Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, not accepting release, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Others were tried by mocking and scourging, yes, moreover by bonds and imprisonment. They were stoned. They were sawn apart. They were tempted. They were slain with the sword. They went around in sheep skins and in goat skins; being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts, mountains, caves, and the holes of the earth. These all, having had testimony given to them through their faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided some better thing concerning us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
Therefore let us also, seeing we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising its shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him who has endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, that you do not grow weary, fainting in your souls. You have not yet resisted to blood, striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which reasons with you as with children,
“My son, do not take lightly the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by him; For whom the Lord loves, he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives.”
It is for discipline that you endure. God deals with you as with children, for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have been made partakers, then are you illegitimate, and not children. Furthermore, we had the fathers of our flesh to discipline us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live? For they indeed, for a few days, punished us as seemed good to them; but he for our profit, that we may be partakers of his holiness. All chastening seems for the present to be not joyous but grievous; yet afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been exercised thereby. Therefore lift up the hands that hang down and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that which is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Follow after peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no man will see the Lord, looking carefully lest there be any man who falls short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and many be defiled by it; lest there be any sexually immoral person, or profane person, like Esau, who sold his birthright for one meal. For you know that even when he afterward desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for a change of mind though he sought it diligently with tears. For you have not come to a mountain that might be touched, and that burned with fire, and to blackness, darkness, storm, the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which those who heard it begged that not one more word should be spoken to them, for they could not tolerate even that which was commanded,
“If even an animal touches the mountain, it shall be stoned”; 
and so fearful was the appearance that Moses said,
“I am terrified and trembling.”
But you have come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable multitudes of angels, to the general Assembly and Assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better than that of Abel.
See that you do not refuse him who speaks. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned on the earth, how much more will we not escape who turn away from him who warns from heaven, whose voice shook the earth then, but now he has promised, saying,
“Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heavens.” 
This phrase, “Yet once more”, signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that have been made, that those things which are not shaken may remain. Therefore, receiving a Kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us have grace, through which we serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.


Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for in doing so, some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those who are in bonds, as bound with them; and those who are ill-treated, since you are also in the body. Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the bed be undefiled: but God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterers.
Be free from the love of money, content with such things as you have, for he has said,
“I will in no way leave you, neither will I in any way forsake you.”
So that with good courage we say,
“The Lord is my helper. I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
Remember your leaders, men who spoke to you the word of God, and considering the results of their conduct, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried away by various and strange teachings, for it is good that the heart be established by grace, not by food, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.
We have an altar from which those who serve the holy tabernacle have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside of the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people through his own blood, suffered outside of the gate. Let us therefore go out to him outside of the camp, bearing his reproach. For we do not have here an enduring city, but we seek that which is to come. Through him, then, let us offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of lips which proclaim allegiance to his name. But do not forget to be doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they watch on behalf of your souls, as those who will give account, that they may do this with joy, and not with groaning, for that would be unprofitable for you.
Pray for us, for we are persuaded that we have a good conscience, desiring to live honorably in all things. I strongly urge you to do this, that I may be restored to you sooner.
Now may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep with the blood of an eternal covenant, our Lord Jesus, make you complete in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
But I exhort you, brothers, endure the word of exhortation, for I have written to you in few words. Know that our brother Timothy has been freed, with whom, if he comes shortly, I will see you.
Greet all of your leaders and all the saints.
Those who have come from Italy greet you.
Grace be with you all. Amen.


While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul, having passed through the upper country, came to Ephesus, and found certain disciples. He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”

They said to him, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

He said, “Into what then were you baptized?”

They said, “Into John’s baptism.”

Paul said, “John indeed baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe in the one who would come after him, that is, in Jesus.”

When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke with other languages and prophesied. They were about twelve men in all. He entered into the synagogue, and spoke boldly for a period of three months, reasoning and persuading about the things concerning God’s Kingdom. In the law it is written, "By men of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord." Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers.

But when some were hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. This continued for two years, so that all those who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

At the end of that time, Paul rejoiced at the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus from Corinth, and he wrote the following letter:


Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, to the Assembly of God which is at Corinth; those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, both theirs and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I always thank my God concerning you, for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus; that in everything you were enriched in him, in all speech and all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: so that you come behind in no gift; waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ; who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, through whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Now I beg you, brothers, through the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been reported to me concerning you, my brothers, by those who are from Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” “I follow Apollos,” “I follow Cephas,” and, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized into the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you, except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one should say that I had baptized you into my own name. (I also baptized the household of Stephanas; besides them, I do not know whether I baptized any other.) For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Good News—not in wisdom of words, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void. For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are dying, but to us who are saved it is the power of God. For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, I will bring the discernment of the discerning to nothing.”
Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the rhetorical debater of this age? Has God not made foolish the wisdom of this world? For seeing that in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know God, it was God’s good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save those who believe. For Jews ask for signs, Greeks seek after wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified; a stumbling block to Jews, and foolishness to Greeks, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For you see your calling, brothers, that not many are wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, and not many noble; but God chose the foolish things of the world that he might put to shame those who are wise. God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong; and God chose the lowly things of the world, and the things that are despised, and the things that are not, that he might bring to nothing the things that are: that no flesh should boast before God. Because of him, you are alive in Christ Jesus, who was made to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, “He who boasts, let him boast in the Lord.”
When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you, except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. My speech and my preaching were not in persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith would stand not in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. We speak wisdom, however, among those who are mature; yet a wisdom not of this world, nor of the rulers of this world, who are destined to become nothing. But we impart a secret and hidden mystery, the wisdom of God, which God foreordained before the worlds for our glory, which none of the rulers of this world has known. For had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written,
“Things which an eye did not see, and an ear did not hear, which did not enter into the heart of man, these God has prepared for those who love him.”
But to us, God revealed them through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For who among men knows the things of a man, except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so, no one knows the things of God, except God’s Spirit. But we received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might know the things that were freely given to us by God. Which things also we speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual things. Now the natural man does not receive the things of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged. But he who is spiritual judges all things, and he himself is judged by no one.
“For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct him?”
But we have Christ’s mind.
Brothers, I could not speak to you as to spiritual, but as to fleshly, as to babies in Christ. I fed you with milk, not with meat; for you were not yet ready. Indeed, not even now are you ready, for you are still fleshly. For insofar as there is jealousy, strife, and factions among you, are you not fleshly, and do you not walk in the ways of men? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not fleshly? Who then is Apollos, and who is Paul, but servants through whom you believed; and each as the Lord gave to him? I planted. Apollos watered. But God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are the same, but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s farming, God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another builds on it. But let each man be careful how he builds on it. For no one can lay any other foundation than that which has been laid, which is Jesus Christ. But if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or stubble; each man’s work will be revealed. For the Day will declare it, because it is revealed in fire; and the fire itself will test what sort of work each man’s work is. If any man’s work remains which he built on it, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, but as through fire.
Do you Corinthians not know that you are a Temple of God, and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s Temple, God will destroy him; for God’s Temple is holy, which You are.
Let no one deceive himself. If anyone thinks that he is wise among you in this world, let him become a fool, that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written,
“He has taken the wise in their craftiness.” 
And again,
“The Lord knows the reasoning of the wise, that it is worthless.”
Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come. All are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
So let a man think of us as Christ’s servants, and stewards of God’s mysteries. Here, moreover, it is required of stewards, that they be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you, or by man’s judgment. Yes, I do not judge my own self. For I know nothing against myself. Yet I am not justified by this, but he who judges me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, before the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each man will get his praise from God.
Now these things, brothers, I have in a figure transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that in us you might learn not to think beyond the things which are written, that none of you be puffed up against one another. For who makes you different? And what do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? You are already filled. You have already become rich. You have come to reign without us. Yes, and I wish that you did reign, that we also might reign with you. For, I think that God has displayed us, the Apostles, last of all, like men sentenced to death. For we are made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You have honor, but we have dishonor. Even to this present hour we hunger, thirst, are naked, are beaten, and have no certain dwelling place. We toil, working with our own hands. When people curse us, we bless. Being persecuted, we endure. Being defamed, we entreat. We are made as the filth of the world, the dirt scoured off by all, even until now. I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have ten thousand tutors in Christ, yet not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, I became your father through the Good News. I beg you therefore, be imitators of me. Because of this I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, even as I teach everywhere in every assembly. Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you. But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord is willing. And I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power. For God’s Kingdom is not in word, but in power. What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles, that one has his father’s wife. You are puffed up, and did not rather mourn, that he who had done this deed might be removed from among you. For I most certainly, as being absent in body but present in spirit, have already, as though I were present, judged him who has done this thing. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, you being gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, are to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little yeast leavens the whole lump? Purge out the old yeast, that you may be a new lump, even as you are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed in our place. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old yeast, neither with the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I wrote to you in my letter to have no company with sexual sinners; yet not at all meaning with the sexual sinners of this world, or with the covetous and extortioners, or with idolaters; for then you would have to leave the world. But as it is, I wrote to you not to associate with anyone who is called a brother who is a sexual sinner, or covetous, or an idolater, or a slanderer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner. Do not even eat with such a person. For what have I to do with also judging those who are outside? Do you not judge those who are within? But those who are outside, God judges.
“Put away the wicked man from among yourselves.”
Dare any of you, having a matter against his neighbor, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? If then, you have to judge things pertaining to this life, do you set them to judge who are of no account in the Assembly? I say this to move you to shame. Is there not even one wise man among you who would be able to decide between his brothers? But brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers! Therefore it is already altogether a defect in you, that you have lawsuits one with another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? No, but you yourselves do wrong, and defraud, and that against your brothers. Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s Kingdom? Do not be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor extortioners, will inherit God’s Kingdom. Such were some of you, but you were washed. But you were sanctified. But you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and in the Spirit of our God.
“All things are lawful for me,”
but not all things are expedient.
“All things are lawful for me,”
but I will not be brought under the power of anything.
“Foods for the belly, and the belly for foods,”
but God will bring to nothing both it and them. But the body is not for sexual immorality, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. Now God raised up the Lord, and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute is one body? For,
“The two”, he says, “will become one flesh.”
But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit. Flee sexual immorality!
“Every sin that a man does is outside the body,”
but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Now concerning the things about which you wrote to me: it is good for a man not to touch a woman. But, because of the temptation to sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife her marital sexual rights, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband. Likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife. Do not deprive one another sexually, unless it is by consent for a season, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer, and may be together again, that Satan not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
But this I say by way of concession, not of commandment. Yet I wish that all men were like me. However each man has his own gift from God, one of this kind, and another of that kind. But I say to the unmarried and to widows, it is good for them if they remain even as I am. But if they do not have self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with desire. But to the married I command—not I, but the Lord—that the wife not leave her husband (but if she departs, let her remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband not leave his wife.
But to the rest I—not the Lord—say, if any brother has an unbelieving wife, and she is content to live with him, let him not leave her. The woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he is content to live with her, let her not leave her husband. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified in the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified in the husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. Yet if the unbeliever departs, let there be separation. The brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us in peace. For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? Only, as the Lord has distributed to each man, as God has called each, so let him walk. So I command in all the assemblies.
Was anyone called having been circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in uncircumcision? Let him not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God. Let each man stay in that calling in which he was called. Were you called being a bondservant? Do not let that bother you, but if you get an opportunity to become free, use it. For he who was called in the Lord being a bondservant is the Lord’s free man. Likewise he who was called being free is Christ’s bondservant. You were bought with a price. Do not become bondservants of men. Brothers, let each man, in whatever condition he was called, stay in that condition with God.
Now concerning virgins, I have no commandment from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who has obtained mercy from the Lord to be trustworthy. I think that it is good therefore, because of the distress that is on us, that it is good for a man to be as he is. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be freed. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. But if you marry, you have not sinned. If a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have oppression in the flesh, and I want to spare you. But I say this, brothers: the time is short, that from now on, both those who have wives may be as though they had none; and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess; and those who use the world, as not using it to the fullest. For the current way of this world passes away. But I desire to have you to be free from cares. He who is unmarried is concerned for the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but he who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife.
There is also a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband. This I say for your own profit; not that I may ensnare you, but for that which is appropriate, and that you may attend to the Lord without distraction. But if any man thinks that he is behaving inappropriately toward his virgin, if she is past the flower of her age, and if need so requires, let him do what he desires. He does not sin. Let them marry. But he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own heart, to keep his own virgin, does well. So then both he who gives his own virgin in marriage does well, and he who does not give her in marriage does better. A wife is bound by law for as long as her husband lives; but if the husband is dead, she is free to be married to whomever she desires, only in the Lord. But she is happier if she stays as she is, in my judgment, and I think that I also have God’s Spirit.
Now concerning things sacrificed to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. But if anyone imagines that he knows anything, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, the same is known by him. Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that no idol has any existing reality, and that there is no other God but one. For though there are things that are called “gods”, whether in the heavens or on earth; as there are many “gods” and many “lords”; yet to us there is one God, the Father, from whom all things are, and for whom we exist; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are, and through him we exist. However, that knowledge is not in all men. But some, with consciousness of the idol even now, eat things as if they actually belong to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. But food will not commend us to God. For neither, if we do not eat, are we the worse; nor, if we eat, are we the better. But be careful that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if a man sees you who have knowledge sitting at table in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience, if weak, be emboldened to eat things dedicated to idols? And through your knowledge, he who is weak perishes, the brother for whose sake Christ died. Thus, sinning against the brothers, and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore if food causes my brother to stumble, I will eat no meat forever more, that I do not cause my brother to stumble.
Am I not free? Am I not an Apostle? Have I not seen Jesus Christ, our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? If to others I am not an Apostle, yet at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. My defense to those who examine me is this. Have we no right to eat and to drink? Have we no right to take along a wife who is a believer, even as the rest of the Apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? Or have only Barnabas and I no right to not work? What soldier ever serves at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard, and does not eat of its fruit? Or who feeds a flock, and does not drink from the milk? Do I speak these things according to the ways of men? Or does the law not also say the same thing? For it is written in the law of Moses,
“You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.”
Is it for the oxen that God cares, or does he say it assuredly for our sake? Yes, it was written for our sake, because he who plows ought to plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should partake of his hope. If we sowed among you spiritual goods, is it a great thing if we reap your fleshly things? If others partake of this right over you, do not we yet more? Nevertheless we did not use this right, but we bear all things, that we may cause no hindrance to the Good News of Christ. Do you not know that those who are engaged in the Temple services eat from the things of the Temple, and those who serve at the altar have their portion from the offerings? Even so the Lord ordained that those who proclaim the Good News should make their living from the Good News.
But I have used none of these rights, and I do not write these things to secure them from you; for I would rather die, than that anyone should make my ground for boasting void. For if I preach the Good News, I have no ground for boasting; for necessity is laid on me; but woe to me, if I do not preach the Good News. For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward. But if not of my own will, I have been entrusted with a commission. What then is my reward? That, when I preach the Good News, I may present the Good News of Christ without charge, so as not to press my rights according to my authority in the Good News. For though I am free from all, I have brought myself under bondage to all, that I might win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under the law of Christ), that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some. Now I do this for the sake of the Good News, that I may be a joint partaker of its benefit. Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run like that, that you may win. Every man who strives in the games exercises self-control in all things. Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. I therefore run like that, as not uncertainly. I box like that, as not beating the air, but I beat my body and bring it into submission, lest by any means, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.
Now I want you aware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. However with most of them, God was not well pleased, for they perished in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were. As it is written,
“The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.”
Let us not indulge in committing sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell. Let us not test the Anointed One, as some of them tested, and perished by the serpents. Do not grumble, as some of them also grumbled, and perished by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them by way of example, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands be careful that he does not fall. No temptation has seized you that is not common to man. God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from participating in the ritual worship of idols. I speak as to wise men. Judge what I say.
The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a partaking of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a partaking of the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf of bread, we, who are many, are one body; for we all partake of the one loaf of bread. Consider Israel according to the flesh. Do not those who eat the sacrifices share in the altar?
What am I saying then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? But I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to God, and I do not desire that you would have fellowship with demons. You cannot drink both the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake both of the table of the Lord, and of the table of demons. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
“All things are lawful for me,”
but not all things are profitable.
“All things are lawful for me,”
but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own, but each one his neighbor’s good. Whatever is sold in the meat market, eat, asking no question for the sake of conscience, for
“the earth is the Lord’s, and its fullness.”
But if one of those who do not believe invites you to a meal, and you are inclined to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no questions for the sake of conscience. But if anyone says to you, “This was offered to idols,” do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for the sake of conscience. For
“the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.”
I mean the other's conscience, not your own conscience. Why is my liberty judged by another conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced for that for which I give thanks? Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no occasions of offense to Jews, or to Greeks, or to the Assembly of God; even as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of the many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ.
Now I praise you, brothers, that you remember me in all things, and hold firm the traditions, even as I delivered them to you. But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. But every woman praying or prophesying with her head unveiled dishonors her head. For it is one and the same thing as if she were shaved. For if a woman is not covered, let her hair also be cut off. But if it is shameful for a woman to be have her hair cut off or shaved, let her be covered. For a man indeed ought not to have his head covered, because he is the image and glory of God, but the woman is the glory of the man. For man is not from woman, but woman from man; for man was not created for the woman, but woman for the man. For this cause the woman ought to have authority on her head, because of the angels.
Nevertheless, in the Lord, neither is the woman independent of the man, nor the man independent of the woman. For as woman came from man, so a man also is born from a woman; but all things are from God. Judge for yourselves. Is it appropriate that a woman pray to God unveiled? Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her, for her hair is given to her for a covering. But if any man seeks to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither do God’s assemblies.
Now in giving you this command, I do not praise you, that you come together not for the better but for the worse. For first of all, when you come together in the Assembly, I hear that divisions exist among you, and I partly believe it. For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be revealed among you. When therefore you assemble yourselves together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. For in your eating each one takes his own supper first. One is hungry, and another is drunken. What, do you not have houses to eat and to drink in? Or do you despise God’s Assembly, and put them to shame who do not have? What shall I tell you? Shall I praise you? In this I do not praise you.
For I received from the Lord that which I delivered also to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night in which he was betrayed took bread. When he had given thanks, he broke it, and said,
Take, eat. This is my body, which is broken for you. Do this in memory of me.
In the same way he also took the cup, after supper, saying,
This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink, in memory of me.
For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death before he comes. Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks the Lord’s cup in a way unworthy of the Lord will be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread, and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy way eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he does not discern the Lord’s body. For this cause many among you are weak and sickly, and not a few sleep. For if we discerned ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are punished by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. Therefore, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest your coming together be for judgment. The rest I will set in order whenever I come.
Now concerning spiritual charisms, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. You know that when you were heathen, you were led away to those mute idols, however you might have been led. Therefore I make known to you that no man speaking by God’s Spirit says, “Jesus is accursed.” No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” but by the Holy Spirit.
Now there are various kinds of charisms, but the same Spirit. There are various kinds of service, and the same Lord. There are various kinds of workings, but the same God, who works all things in all. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the profit of all. For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom, and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit; to another faith, by the same Spirit; and to another gifts of healings, by the same Spirit; and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discerning of spirits; to another different kinds of languages; and to another the interpretation of languages. But the one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing to each one separately as he desires.
For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all given to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot would say, “Because I am not the hand, I am not part of the body,” it is not therefore not part of the body. If the ear would say, “Because I am not the eye, I am not part of the body,” it is not therefore not part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the smelling be? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body, just as he desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now they are many members, but one body. The eye cannot tell the hand, “I have no need for you,” or again the head to the feet, “I have no need for you.” No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. Those parts of the body which we think to be less presentable, on those we bestow more abundant care; and our unpresentable parts have more abundant propriety; whereas our presentable parts have no such need. But God composed the body together, giving more abundant honor to the inferior part, that there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. When one member suffers, all the members suffer with it. Or when one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. God has set some in the Assembly: first Apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracle workers, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, and various kinds of languages. Are all Apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all miracle workers? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with various languages? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts. Moreover, I show a most excellent way to you.
If I speak with the languages of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become loud brass, or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I dole out all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
Love is patient and is kind; love does not envy. Love does not brag, is not proud, does not behave itself inappropriately, does not seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will be done away with. Where there are various languages, they will cease. Where there is knowledge, it will be done away with. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when that which is complete has come, then that which is partial will be done away with. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child. Now that I have become a man, I have put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, even as I am also fully known. But now faith, hope, and love remain—these three. The greatest of these is love.
Follow after love, and earnestly desire spiritual charisms, but especially that you may prophesy. For he who speaks in another language speaks not to men, but to God; for no one understands; but in the Spirit he speaks mysteries. But he who prophesies speaks to men for their edification, exhortation, and consolation. He who speaks in another language edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the Assembly. Now I desire to have you all speak with other languages, but would rather that you prophesy. For he is greater who prophesies than he who speaks with other languages, unless he interprets, that the assembly may be built up.
But now, brothers, if I come to you speaking with other languages, what would I profit you, unless I speak to you either by way of revelation, or of knowledge, or of prophesying, or of teaching? Even things without life, giving a voice, whether pipe or harp, if they did not give a distinction in the sounds, how would it be known what is piped or harped? For if the trumpet gave an uncertain sound, who would prepare himself for war? So also you, unless you uttered by the tongue words easy to understand, how would it be known what is spoken? For you would be speaking into the air. There are, it may be, so many kinds of sounds in the world, and none of them is without meaning. If then I do not know the meaning of the sound, I would be to him who speaks a foreigner, and he who speaks would be a foreigner to me. So also you, since you are zealous for spiritual charisms, seek that you may abound to the building up of the Assembly. Therefore let him who speaks in another language pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in another language, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.
What now? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also. I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. Otherwise if you bless with the spirit, how will he who fills the place of the unlearned say the “Amen” at your giving of thanks, seeing he does not know what you say? For you most certainly give thanks well, but the other person is not built up. I thank my God, I speak with other languages more than you all. However in the assembly I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I might instruct others also, than ten thousand words in another language.
Brothers, do not be children in thoughts, yet in malice be babies, but in thoughts be mature. In the law it is written,
“By men of strange languages and by the lips of strangers I will speak to this people. Not even thus will they hear me, says the Lord.” 
Therefore other languages are for a sign, not to those who believe, but to the unbelieving; but prophesying is for a sign, not to the unbelieving, but to those who believe. If therefore the whole Assembly is assembled together and all speak with other languages, and unlearned or unbelieving people come in, will they not say that you are crazy? But if all prophesy, and someone unbelieving or unlearned comes in, he is reproved by all, and he is judged by all. And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed. So he will fall down on his face and worship God, declaring that God is among you indeed.
What now, brothers? When you come together, each one of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has another language, has an interpretation. Let all things be done to build each other up. If any man speaks in another language, let it be two, or at the most three, and in turn; and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in the assembly, and let him speak to himself, and to God. Let the prophets speak, two or three, and let the others discern. But if a revelation is made to another sitting by, let the first keep silent. For you all can prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be exhorted. The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets, for God is not a God of confusion, but of peace.
As in all the assemblies of the saints, let your wives keep silent in the assemblies, for it has not been permitted for them to speak; but let them be in subjection, as the law also says. If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home, for it is shameful for a woman to chatter in the Assembly. What? Was it from you that the word of God went out? Or did it come to you alone? If any man thinks himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him recognize the things which I write to you, that they are the commandment of the Lord. But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant. Therefore, brothers, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking with other languages. Let all things be done decently and in order.
Now I declare to you, brothers, the Good News which I preached to you, which also you received, in which you also stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold firmly the word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to over five hundred brothers at once, most of whom remain even now, but some have also fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the Apostles, and last of all, as to the child born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also. For I am the least of the Apostles, who is not worthy to be called an Apostle, because I persecuted the Assembly of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am. His grace which was given to me was not futile, but I worked more than all of them; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Whether then it is I or they, so we preach, and so you believed.
Now if Christ is preached, that he has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, neither has Christ been raised. If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith also is in vain. Yes, we are found false witnesses of God, because we testified about God that he raised up Christ, whom he did not raise up, if it is so that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins. Then they also who are fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all men most pitiable.
But now Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since death came by man, the resurrection of the dead also came by man. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then those who are Christ’s, at his coming. Then the end comes, when he will deliver up the Kingdom to God, even the Father; when he will have abolished all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign before he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. For,
“He put all things in subjection under his feet.”
But when he says, “All things are put in subjection”, it is evident that he who subjected all things to him is excepted. When all things have been subjected to him, then the Son will also himself be subjected to him who subjected all things to him, that God may be all in all. Or else what will they do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for the dead? Why do we also stand in jeopardy every hour? I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, that I die daily. If I fought with animals at Ephesus for human purposes, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, then
“let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 
Do not be deceived!
“Evil companionships corrupt good morals.”
Come to your senses, and do not sin, for some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.
But someone will say, “How are the dead raised?” and, “With what kind of body do they come?” You foolish one, that which you yourself sow is not made alive unless it dies. That which you sow, you do not sow the body that will be, but a bare grain, maybe of wheat, or of some other kind. But God gives it a body as he chooses, and to each seed a body of its own. Not all flesh is the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial differs from that of the terrestrial. There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown perishable; it is raised imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body and there is also a spiritual body.
So also it is written,
“The first man, Adam, became a living soul.”
The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However that which is spiritual is not first, but that which is natural, then that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, made of dust. The second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the one made of dust, such are those who are also made of dust; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. As we have borne the image of those made of dust, let us also bear the image of the heavenly.
Now I say this, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s Kingdom; neither does the perishable inherit imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must become imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable body will have become imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then what is written will happen:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“Death, where is your sting? Hades, where is your victory?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I commanded the assemblies of Galatia, you do likewise. On the first day of the week, let each one of you save, as he may prosper, that no collections be made when I come. When I arrive, I will send whoever you approve by letter to carry your gracious gift to Jerusalem. If it is best for me to go also, they will go with me. But I will come to you when I have passed through Macedonia, for I am passing through Macedonia. But with you it may be that I will stay, or even winter, that you may send me on my journey wherever I go. For I do not wish to see you now in passing, but I hope to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits. But I will stay at Ephesus up to Pentecost, for a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries. Now if Timothy comes, see that he is with you without fear, for he does the work of the Lord, as I also do. Therefore let no one despise him. But set him forward on his journey in peace, that he may come to me; for I expect him with the brothers.
Now concerning Apollos, our brother, I strongly urged him to come to you with the brothers; and it was not at all desirable that he come now; but he will come when he has an opportunity.
Watch! Stand firm in the faith! Be courageous! Be strong! Let all that you do be done in love.
Now I beg you, brothers (you know the house of Stephanas, that it is the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have set themselves to serve the saints), that you also be in subjection to such, and to everyone who helps in the work and labors. I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus; for that which was lacking on your part, they supplied. For they refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore recognize such men.
The assemblies of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you much in the Lord, together with the Assembly that is in their house. All the brothers greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss.
This greeting is by me, Paul, with my own hand. If any man does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. Come, our true Lord! The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you. My love to all of you in Christ Jesus. Amen.


God worked special miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were carried away from his body to the sick, and the evil spirits went out. But some of the itinerant Jews, exorcists, took on themselves to invoke over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.”

There were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did this. The evil spirit answered, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?”

The man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. This became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who lived at Ephesus. Fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. Many also of those who had believed came, confessing, and declaring their deeds. Many of those who practiced magical arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. They counted their price, and found it to be fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord was growing and becoming mighty.

Now after these things had ended, Paul determined in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.”

Having sent into Macedonia two of those who served him, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while.

In A.D. 54 Claudius was assassinated by his fourth wife Agrippina, who poisoned him and took charge of the empire for her son Nero.

Paul had preached the Good News of Christ from Jerusalem and as far round as Illyricum, in labors abundantly, in prisons abundantly, in stripes above measure, close to death often. Five times from the Jews he received forty stripes minus one. Three times he was beaten with rods. Once he was stoned. Three times he suffered shipwreck. He had been a night and a day in the deep. He had been in travels often, perils of rivers, perils of robbers, perils from his own countrymen, perils from the Gentiles, perils in the city, perils in the wilderness, perils in the sea, perils among false brothers; in labor and travail, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, and in cold and nakedness. Besides those things that are outside the Church, there is that which pressed on him daily, anxiety for all the assemblies.

When Timothy returned he showed Paul that it had now pleased Macedonia and Achaia to make some contribution to the poor among those at Jerusalem.

Paul wrote the following letter:


Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an Apostle, set apart for the Good News of God, which he promised before through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was born of the offspring of David according to the flesh, who was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we received grace and apostleship, for the obedience of faith among all the nations, for his name’s sake; among whom you are also called to belong to Jesus Christ; to all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, that your faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit in the Good News of his Son, how unceasingly I make mention of you always in my prayers, requesting, if by any means now at last I may be prospered by the will of God to come to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, to the end that you may be established; that is, that I with you may be encouraged in you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine.
Now I do not desire to have you unaware, brothers, that I often planned to come to you, and so far was hindered, that I might reap some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles. I have an obligation both to Greeks and to foreigners, both to the wise and to the foolish. So, as much as is in me, I am eager to preach the Good News to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the Good News of Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who keeps faith; for the Jew first, and also for the Greek. For in it is revealed God’s righteousness by faith for faith. As it is written,
“But he who by faith is righteous shall live.”
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known of God is revealed to them, for God revealed it to them. For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse. Because, being aware of God, they did not glorify him as God, neither gave thanks, but became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless heart was darkened.
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed animals, and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to uncleanness, that their bodies should be debased among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
For this reason, God gave them up to vile passions. For their women changed the natural function into that which is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural function with the woman, burned in their lust toward one another, men shamelessly doing what is inappropriate with men, and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. Even as they refused to give God fitting acknowledgement, God gave them up to a debased mind, so ready to do those things which are not proper; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, malice; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil habits, secret slanderers, backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also approve of those who practice them. Therefore you are without excuse, O man, whoever you are who judge. For in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself. For you who judge practice the same things.
We know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. Do you think this, O man who judges those who practice such things, and do the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of his goodness, forbearance, and patience, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But according to your hardness and unrepentant heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath, revelation, and of the righteous judgment of God; who
“will pay back to everyone according to their works:”
to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory, honor, and incorruptibility, he gives eternal life; but to those who are self-seeking, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, will be wrath and indignation, oppression and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. But glory, honor, and peace go to every man who does good, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God. For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without the law. As many as have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law will be justified (for when Gentiles who do not have the law do by nature the things of the law, these, not having the law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience testifying with them, and their thoughts among themselves accusing or else excusing them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men, according to my Good News, by Jesus Christ.
Indeed you bear the name of a Jew, and rest on the law, and glory in God, and know his will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, and are confident that you yourself are a guide of the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of babies, having in the law the form of knowledge and of the truth. You therefore who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say a man should not commit adultery. Do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who glory in the law, through your disobedience of the law do you dishonor God? For
“the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,”
just as it is written. For circumcision indeed profits, if you are a doer of the law, but if you are a transgressor of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. If therefore the uncircumcised keep the ordinances of the law, will his uncircumcision not be accounted as circumcision? Will not the uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfills the law, judge you, who with the letter and circumcision are a transgressor of the law? For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit not in the letter; whose praise is not from men, but from God.
Then what advantage does the Jew have? Or what is the profit of circumcision? Much in every way! Because first of all, they were entrusted with the revelations of God. For what if some were without faith? Will their lack of faith nullify the faithfulness of God? May it never be! Yes, let God be found true, but every man a liar. As it is written,
“That you might be justified in your words, and might prevail when you come into judgment.”
But if our unrighteousness commends the righteousness of God, what will we say? Is God unrighteous who inflicts wrath? I speak like men do. May it never be! For then how will God judge the world? For if the truth of God through my lie abounded to his glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner? Why not (as we are slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say), “Let us do evil, that good may come”? Those who say so are justly condemned. What then? Are we better than they? No, in no way. For we previously warned both Jews and Greeks, that they are all under sin. As it is written,
“There is no one righteous; no, not one. There is no one who understands. There is no one who seeks after God. They have all turned aside. They have together become unprofitable. There is no one who does good, no, not so much as one.”
“Their throat is an open tomb. With their tongues they have used deceit.”
“The poison of vipers is under their lips”; 
“whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood. Destruction and misery are in their ways. The way of peace, they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Now we know that whatever things the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be closed, and all the world may be brought under the judgment of God. Because by the works of the law, no flesh will be justified in his sight. For through the law comes the awareness of sin. But now apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been revealed, being testified by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all those who believe, for there is no distinction. All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God sent to be an expiating sacrifice, through faith in his blood, to demonstrate his righteousness through the passing over of prior sins, in God’s forbearance; to demonstrate his righteousness at this present time, that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him who has faith in Jesus.
Where then is the boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. We maintain therefore that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law of Moses. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since indeed there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith, and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then nullify the law through faith? May it never be! No, we establish, uphold and confirm the law.
What then will we say that Abraham, our forefather, has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say?
“Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
Now to him who works, the reward is not counted as grace, but as something owed. But to him who does not work, but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness. Even as David also pronounces blessing on the man to whom God counts righteousness apart from works,
“Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whom the Lord will by no means charge with sin.”
Is this blessing then pronounced on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness. How then was it counted? When he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. He received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while he was in uncircumcision, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they might be in uncircumcision, that righteousness might also be accounted to them. He is the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had in uncircumcision. For the promise to Abraham and to his offspring that he should be heir of the world was not through the law of Moses, but through the righteousness of faith. For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void, and the promise is made of no effect. For the law produces wrath, for where there is no law, neither is there disobedience. For this cause it is of faith, that it may be according to grace, to the end that the promise may be sure to all the offspring, not to that only which is of the law of Moses, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all. As it is written,
“I have made you a father of many nations.”
This is in the presence of the God whom he believed: God, who gives life to the dead, and calls the things that are not, as though they were. Against expectation, Abraham in expectation believed, to the end that he might become a father of many nations, according to that which had been spoken,
“So will your offspring be.”
Without being weakened in faith, he did not consider his own body, already having been worn out, (he being about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. Yet, looking to the promise of God, he did not waver through unbelief, but grew strong through faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what he had promised, he was also able to perform. Therefore it also was “credited to him for righteousness.” Now it was not written that it was accounted to him for his sake alone, but for our sake also, to whom it will be accounted, who believe in him who raised Jesus, our Lord, from the dead, who was delivered up for our trespasses, and was raised for our justification.
Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; through whom we also have access by faith to this grace in which we stand. We rejoice in confident expectation of the glory of God. Not only this, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, confident expectation: and confident expectation does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were yet weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man. Yet perhaps for a good person someone would even dare to die. But God commends his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we will be saved from God’s wrath through him. For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we will be saved by his life. Not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received this reconciliation.
Therefore as sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin; and so death passed to all men, because all sinned. For before the law of Moses, sin was in the world; but sin is not charged when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam up to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like Adam’s disobedience, who is a foreshadowing of him who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if by the trespass of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God, and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. The gift is not as through one who sinned: for the judgment came through one to condemnation, but the free gift after many trespasses comes to justification. For if by the trespass of the one, death reigned through the one; so much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ. So then as through one trespass, all men were condemned; even so through one act of righteousness, all men were justified to life. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one, the many will be made righteous. The law of Moses came in, that the trespass might be emphasized; but where sin was emphasized, grace was emphasized more exceedingly; that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may be more emphasized? May it never be! We who died to sin, how could we live in it any longer? Or do you not know that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him through baptism to death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will also be part of his resurrection; knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be in bondage to sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. But if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him; knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no more has dominion over him! For the death that he died, he died to sin once for all time; but the life that he lives, he lives to God. Thus consider yourselves also to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. Also, do not present your members to sin as instruments of unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God, as alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin will not have dominion over you. For you are not under law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under law, but under grace? May it never be! Do you not know that when you present yourselves as servants and obey someone, you are the servants of whomever you obey; whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that, whereas you were bondservants of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were delivered. Being made free from sin, you became bondservants, slaves of righteousness.
I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh, for as you presented your members as servants to uncleanness and to wickedness upon wickedness, even so now present your members as servants to righteousness for sanctification. For when you were servants of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit then did you have at that time in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now, being made free from sin, and having become servants of God, you have your fruit of sanctification, and the result of eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Or do you not know, brothers (for I speak to men who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man only for as long as he lives? For the woman that has a husband is bound by law to the husband while he lives, but if the husband dies, she is discharged from the law of the husband. So then if, while the husband lives, she is joined to another man, she would be called an adulteress. But if the husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is no adulteress, though she is joined to another man. Therefore, my brothers, you also were made dead to the law of Moses through the body of Christ, that you would be joined to another, to him who was raised from the dead, that we might produce fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were through the law, worked in our members to bring out fruit to death. But now we have been discharged from the law, having died to that in which we were held; so that we serve in newness of the spirit, and not in oldness of the letter.
What shall we say then? Is the law of Moses sin? May it never be! However, I would not have known sin, except through the law of Moses. For I would not have known coveting, unless the law had said,
“You shall not covet.”
But sin, finding occasion through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of coveting. For apart from the law, sin is dead. I was alive apart from the law once, but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. The commandment, which was for life, this I found to be for death; for sin, finding occasion through the commandment, deceived me, and through it killed me. Therefore the law indeed is holy, and the commandment holy, and righteous, and good.
Did then that which is good become death to me? May it never be! But sin, by working death to me through that which is good, might be shown to be sin; that through the commandment sin might become exceedingly sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am fleshly, sold under sin. For I do not know what I am doing. For I do not practice what I desire to do; but what I hate, that I do. But if that I do, is what I do not desire, I consent to the law of Moses that it is good. So now it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwells no good thing. For the desire is present with me, but I cannot find it in me to do that which is good. For the good which I desire, I do not practice; but the evil which I do not desire, that I do. But if that I do, is what I do not desire, it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the law, that, to me, while I desire to do good, evil is present. For I delight in God’s law after the inward man, but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will deliver me out of the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ, our Lord! So then with the mind, I myself serve God’s law, but with the flesh, the sin’s law.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and of death. For what the law of Moses could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God did; sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh; that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace; because the mind of the flesh is hostile towards God; for it is not subject to God’s law, neither indeed can it be. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if it is so that the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not his. If Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if you live after the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are children of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God; and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if indeed we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which will be revealed toward us. For the creation waits with eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to vain futility, not of its own will, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of decay and gain the liberty of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together even now. Not only so, but ourselves also, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in confident hope, but hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for that which he sees? But if we hope for that which we do not see, we wait for it with patience. In the same way, the Spirit also helps our weaknesses, for we do not know how to pray as we ought. But the Spirit himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. He who searches the hearts knows what is on the Spirit’s mind, because he makes intercession for the saints according to God's will.
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose. For whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Whom he predestined, those he also called. Whom he called, those he also justified. Whom he justified, those he also glorified.
What then shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how would he not also with him freely give us all things? Who could bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, yes rather, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Could oppression, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Even as it is written,
“For your sake we are killed all day long. We were accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I tell the truth in Christ. I am not lying, my conscience testifying with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing pain in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brothers’ sake, my relatives according to the flesh, who are Israelites; whose is the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service, and the promises; of whom are the fathers, and from whom is Christ as concerning the flesh, who is over all, God, blessed forever. Amen.
But it is not as though the word of God has come to nothing. For they are not all Israel, that are of Israel. Neither, because they are Abraham’s offspring, are they all children. But,
“your offspring will be accounted as from Isaac.”
That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as heirs. For this is a word of promise,
“At the appointed time I will come, and Sarah will have a son.” 
Not only so, but Rebekah also conceived by one, by our father Isaac. For being not yet born, neither having done anything good or bad, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him who calls, it was said to her,
“The elder will serve the younger.”
Even as it is written,
“Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? May it never be! For he said to Moses,
“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 
So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh,
“For this very purpose I caused you to be raised up, that I might show in you my power, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”
So then, he has mercy on whom he desires, and he hardens whom he desires. You will say then to me, “Why does he still find fault? For who withstands his will?” But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed ask him who formed it, “Why did you make me like this?” Or has the potter not a right over the clay, from the same lump to make one part a vessel for honor, and another for dishonor? What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath made for destruction, and that he might make known the riches of his glory on vessels of mercy, which he prepared beforehand for glory, us, whom he also called, not from the Jews only, but also from the Gentiles? As he says also in Hosea,
“I will call them ‘my people,’ which were not my people; and her ‘beloved,’ who was not beloved.”
“It will be that in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ There they will be called ‘children of the living God.’”
Isaiah cries concerning Israel,
“If the number of the children of Israel are as the sand of the sea, it is the remnant who will be saved; for He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, because the LORD will make a short work upon the earth.”
As Isaiah has said before,
“Unless the Lord of Armies had left us a seed, we would have become like Sodom, and would have been made like Gomorrah.”
What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith; but Israel, pursuing a righteousness based on the law of Moses, did not fulfill the law of Moses. Why? Because they did not seek righteousness by faith, but as if righteousness were by works of the law. They stumbled over the stumbling stone; even as it is written,
“Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and a rock of offense; and no one who believes in him will be disappointed.”
Brothers, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God is for Israel, that they may be saved. For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the fulfillment of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes about the righteousness of the law,
“The one who does them will live by them.” 
But the righteousness which is of faith says this,
“Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down); or, ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead.)”
But what does it say?
“The word is near you, in your mouth, and in your heart”;
that is, the word of faith, which we preach: that if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart, one believes until righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made until salvation. For the Scripture says,
“Whoever believes in him will not be disappointed.”
For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich to all who call on him. For,
“Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in him whom they have not heard? How will they hear without a preacher? And how will they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:
“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the Good News of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!”
But they did not all listen to the glad news. For Isaiah says,
“Lord, who has believed our report?”
So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, did they not hear? Yes, most certainly,
“Their sound went out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”
But I ask, did Israel not know? First Moses says,
“I will provoke you to jealousy with that which is no nation, with a nation void of understanding I will make you angry.”
Isaiah is very bold, and says,
“I was found by those who did not seek me. I was revealed to those who did not ask for me.”
But as to Israel he says,
“All day long I stretched out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”
I ask then, did God reject his people? May it never be! For I also am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says about Elijah? How he pleads with God against Israel:
“Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have broken down your altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.” 
But how does God answer him?
“I have reserved for myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”
Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer from works of the law of Moses; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is from works of the law of Moses, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.
What then? That which Israel seeks for, that he did not obtain, but the chosen ones obtained it, and the rest were hardened. According as it is written,
“God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear, to this very day.” 
David says,
“Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, a stumbling block, and a retribution to them. Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see. Bow down their back always.”
I ask then, did they stumble that they might fall? May it never be! But by their fall salvation has come to the Gentiles, to provoke them to jealousy. Now if their fall is the riches of the world, and their loss the riches of the Gentiles, how much more their fullness? For I speak to you who are Gentiles. Since then as I am an Apostle to Gentiles, I glorify my ministry; if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh, and may save some of them. For if the rejection of them is the reconciling of the world, what would their acceptance be, but life from the dead? If the first fruit is holy, so is the lump. If the root is holy, so are the branches. But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them, and became partaker with them of the root and of the richness of the olive tree; do not boast over the branches. But if you boast, it is not you who support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.” True; by their unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. See then the goodness and severity of God. Toward those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in his goodness; otherwise you also will be cut off. They also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut out of that which is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree, how much more will these, which are the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? For I do not desire you to be ignorant, brothers, of this mystery, so that you will not be wise in your own conceits, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel, before the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, and so all Israel will be saved. Even as it is written,
“There will come out of Zion the Deliverer, and he will turn away ungodliness from Jacob. This is my covenant to them, when I will take away their sins.”
Concerning the Good News, they are enemies for your sake. But concerning the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sake. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For as you in time past were disobedient to God, but now have obtained mercy by their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that by the mercy shown to you they may also obtain mercy. For God has shut up all under disobedience, that he might have mercy on all.
Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past tracing out!
“For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?”
“Or who has first given to him, so that it will be repaid to him again?”
For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things. To him be the glory for ever! Amen.
Therefore I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God. For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think reasonably, as God has apportioned to each person a measure of faith. For even as we have many members in one body, and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having charisms differing according to the grace that was given to us, if prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of our faith; or service, let us give ourselves to service; or he who teaches, to his teaching; or he who exhorts, to his exhorting: he who gives, let him do it with liberality; he who rules, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor that which is evil. Cling to that which is good. In love of the brothers be tenderly affectionate to one another; in honor preferring one another; not lagging in diligence; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope; enduring in troubles; continuing steadfastly in prayer; contributing to the needs of the saints; given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless, and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice. Weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own conceits. Repay no one evil for evil. Respect what is honorable in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as it is up to you, be at peace with all men. Do not seek revenge yourselves, beloved, but give place to God’s wrath. For it is written, “Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord.” Therefore
If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing so, you will heap coals of fire on his head.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Let every soul be in subjection to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those who exist are ordained by God. Therefore he who resists the authority, withstands the ordinance of God; and those who withstand will receive to themselves judgment. For rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Do you desire to have no fear of the authority? Do that which is good, and you will have praise from the same, for he is a servant of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is a servant of God, an avenger for wrath to him who does evil. Therefore you need to be in subjection, not only because of the wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For this reason you also pay taxes, for they are servants of God’s service, attending continually on this very thing. Therefore give everyone what you owe: if you owe taxes, pay taxes; if customs, then customs; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other commandments there are, are all summed up in this saying, namely,
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Love does not harm a neighbor. Love therefore is the fulfillment of the law. Do this, knowing the time, that it is already time for you to awaken out of sleep, for salvation is now nearer to us than when we first believed. The night is far gone, and the day is near. Let us therefore throw off the deeds of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day; not in reveling and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and lustful acts, and not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, for its lusts.
Now accept one who is weak in faith, but not for disputes over opinions. One man has faith to eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Do not let him who eats despise him who does not eat. Do not let him who does not eat judge him who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you who judge another’s servant? To his own lord he stands or falls. Yes, he will be made to stand, for God has power to make him stand.
One man esteems one day as more important. Another esteems every day alike. Let each man be fully assured in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks. He who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. For none of us lives to himself, and none dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord. Or if we die, we die to the Lord. If therefore we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died, rose, and lived again, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written,
“‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘to me every knee will bow. Every tongue will confess to God.’”
So then each one of us will give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another any more, but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block in his brother’s way, or an occasion for falling. I know, and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean of itself; except that to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. Yet if because of food your brother is grieved, you walk no longer in love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. Then do not let your good be slandered, for God’s Kingdom is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then, let us follow after things which make for peace, and things by which we may build one another up. Do not overthrow God’s work for food’s sake. All things indeed are clean, however it is evil for that man who creates a stumbling block by eating. It is good to not eat meat, drink wine, nor do anything by which your brother stumbles, is offended, or is made weak.
Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not judge himself in that which he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because it is not of faith; and whatever is not of faith is sin.
Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each one of us please his neighbor for that which is good, to be building him up. For even Christ did not please himself. But, as it is written,
“The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” 
For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that through patience and through encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Now the God of patience and of encouragement grant you to be of the same mind one with another according to Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may with one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore accept one another, even as Christ also accepted you, to the glory of God. Now I say that Christ has been made a servant of the circumcision for the truth of God, that he might confirm the promises given to the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,
“Therefore will I give praise to you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.”
Again he says,
“Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people.”
Again,
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles! Let all the peoples praise him.”
Again, Isaiah says,
“There will be the root of Jesse, he who arises to rule over the Gentiles; in him the Gentiles will hope.”
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, in the power of the Holy Spirit. I myself am also persuaded about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish others. But I write the more boldly to you in part, as reminding you, because of the grace that was given to me by God, that I should be a servant of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, serving as a priest of the Good News of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be made acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. I have therefore my boasting in Christ Jesus in things pertaining to God. For I will not dare to speak of any things except those which Christ worked through me, for the obedience of the Gentiles, by word and deed, in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of God’s Spirit; so that from Jerusalem, and around as far as to Illyricum, I have fully preached the Good News of Christ; yes, making it my aim to preach the Good News, not where Christ was already named, that I might not build on another’s foundation. But, as it is written,
“They will see, to whom no news of him came. They who have not heard will understand.”
Therefore also I was hindered these many times from coming to you, but now, no longer having any place in these regions, and having these many years a longing to come to you, whenever I travel to Spain, I will come to you. For I hope to see you on my journey, and to be helped on my way there by you, if first I may enjoy your company for a while. But now, I say, I am going to Jerusalem, serving the saints. For it has been the good pleasure of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are at Jerusalem. Yes, it has been their good pleasure, and they are their debtors. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, they owe it to them also to serve them in fleshly things. When therefore I have accomplished this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will go on by way of you to Spain. I know that, when I come to you, I will come in the fullness of the blessing of the Good News of Christ.
Now I beg you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in your prayers to God for me, that I may be delivered from those who are disobedient in Judea, and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints; that I may come to you in joy through the will of God, and together with you, find rest. Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.
I commend to you Phoebe, our sister, who is a servant of the Assembly that is at Cenchreae, that you receive her in the Lord, in a way worthy of the saints, and that you assist her in whatever matter she may need from you, for she herself also has been a helper of many, and of my own self.
Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who for my life, laid down their own necks; to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the assemblies of the Gentiles.
Greet the Assembly that is in their house.
Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the first fruits of Achaia to Christ.
Greet Mary, who labored much for us.
Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives and my fellow prisoners, who are well-known among the Apostles, who were also in Christ before me.
Greet Amplias, my beloved in the Lord.
Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and Stachys, my beloved.
Greet Apelles, the approved in Christ.
Greet those who are of the household of Aristobulus.
Greet Herodion, my kinsman.
Greet them of the household of Narcissus, who are in the Lord.
Greet Tryphaena and Tryphosa, who labor in the Lord.
Greet Persis, the beloved, who labored much in the Lord.
Greet Rufus, the chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.
Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers who are with them.
Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them.
Greet one another with a holy kiss.
The assemblies of Christ greet you.
Now I beg you, brothers, look out for those who are causing the divisions and occasions of stumbling, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and turn away from them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord, Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by their smooth and flattering speech, they deceive the hearts of the innocent. For your obedience has become known to all. I rejoice therefore over you. But I desire to have you wise in that which is good, but innocent in that which is evil. And the God of peace will quickly crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Timothy, my fellow worker, greets you, as do Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, my relatives.
I, Tertius, who write this letter, greet you in the Lord.
Gaius, my host and host of the whole assembly, greets you.
Erastus, the treasurer of the city, greets you, as does Quartus, the brother.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all! Amen.
Now to him who is able to confirm you according to my Good News and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret through long ages, but now is revealed, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, is made known for obedience of faith to all the nations; to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever! Amen.


Paul also planned to visit Corinth again, and he wrote the following letter:


Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the Assembly of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound to us, even so our comfort also abounds through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer. Our hope for you is steadfast, knowing that, since you are partakers of the sufferings, so also are you of the comfort. For we do not desire to have you uninformed, brothers, concerning our affliction which happened to us in Asia, that we were weighed down exceedingly, beyond our power, so much that we despaired even of life. Yes, we ourselves have had the sentence of death within ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us out of so great a death, and does deliver; on whom we have set our hope that he will also still deliver us; you also helping together on our behalf by your supplication; that, for the gift given to us by means of many, thanks may be given by many persons on your behalf. For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and sincerity of God, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God we behaved ourselves in the world, and more abundantly toward you. For we write no other things to you, than what you read or even acknowledge, and I hope you will acknowledge to the end; as also you acknowledged us in part, that we are your boasting, even as you also are ours, in the day of our Lord Jesus.

In this confidence, I was determined to come first to you, that you might have a second benefit; and by you to pass into Macedonia, and again from Macedonia to come to you, and to be sent forward by you on my journey to Judea. When I therefore was thus determined, did I show fickleness? Or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be the “Yes, yes” and the “No, no?” But as God is faithful, our word toward you was not “Yes and no.” For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, by me, Silvanus, and Timothy, was not “Yes and no,” but in him is “Yes.” For however many are the promises of God, in him is the “Yes.” Therefore also through him is the “Amen”, to the glory of God through us.

Now he who confirms us with you in Christ, and anointed us, is God; who also sealed us, and gave us the down payment of the Spirit in our hearts. But I call God for a witness to my soul, that I did not come to Corinth to spare you. Not that we control your faith, but are fellow workers with you for your joy. For you stand firm in faith.
But I determined this for myself, that I would not come to you again in sorrow. For if I make you sorry, then who will make me glad but he who is made sorry by me? And I wrote this very thing to you, so that, when I came, I would not have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy would be shared by all of you. For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears, not that you should be made sorry, but that you might know the love that I have so abundantly for you. But if any has caused sorrow, he has caused sorrow, not to me, but in part (that I not press too heavily) to you all. This punishment which was inflicted by the many is sufficient for such a one; so that on the contrary you should rather forgive him and comfort him, lest by any means such a one should be swallowed up with his excessive sorrow. Therefore I beg you to confirm your love toward him. For to this end I also wrote, that I might know the proof of you, whether you are obedient in all things. Now I also forgive whomever you forgive anything. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, that no advantage may be gained over us by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes.
Now when I came to Troas for the Good News of Christ, and when a door was opened to me in the Lord, I had no relief for my spirit, because I did not find Titus, my brother, but taking my leave of them, I went out into Macedonia. Now thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and reveals through us the sweet aroma of his knowledge in every place. For we are a sweet aroma of Christ to God, in those who are saved, and in those who perish; to the one a stench from death to death; to the other a sweet aroma from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not as so many, peddling the word of God. But as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God, we speak in Christ.
Are we beginning again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as do some, letters of commendation to you or from you? You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being revealed that you are a letter of Christ, served by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tablets of stone, but in tablets that are hearts of flesh. Such confidence we have through Christ toward God; not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to account anything as from ourselves; but our sufficiency is from God; who also made us sufficient as servants of a new covenant; not of the letter, but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. But if the service of death, written engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the children of Israel could not look steadfastly on the face of Moses for the glory of his face; which was passing away: will not service of the Spirit be with much more glory? For if the service of condemnation has glory, the service of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. For most certainly that which has been made glorious has not been made glorious in this respect, by reason of the glory that surpasses. For if that which passes away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory.
Having therefore such a hope, we use great boldness of speech, and not as Moses, who put a veil on his face, that the children of Israel would not look steadfastly on the end of that which was passing away. But their minds were hardened, for to this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains, because in Christ it passes away. But to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. But whenever one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face seeing the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord, the Spirit.
Therefore seeing we have this ministry, even as we obtained mercy, we do not faint. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by the manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. Even if our Good News is veiled, it is veiled in those who perish; in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the Good News of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake; seeing it is God who said,
“Light will shine out of darkness,”
who has shone in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
But we have this treasure in clay vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side, yet not crushed; perplexed, yet not to despair; pursued, yet not forsaken; struck down, yet not destroyed; always carrying in the body the putting to death of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’s sake, that the life also of Jesus may be revealed in our mortal flesh. So then death works in us, but life in you. But having the same spirit of faith, according to that which is written,
“I believed, and therefore I spoke.”
We also believe, and therefore also we speak; knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that the grace, being multiplied through the many, may cause the thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. Therefore we do not faint, but though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is for the moment, works for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory; while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
For we know that if the earthly house of our tent is dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens. For most certainly in this we groan, longing to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven; if so be that being clothed we will not be found naked. For indeed we who are in this tent do groan, being burdened; not that we desire to be unclothed, but that we desire to be clothed, that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now he who made us for this very thing is God, who also gave to us the down payment of the Spirit.
Therefore we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord; for we walk by faith, not by sight. We are courageous, I say, and are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore also we make it our aim, whether at home or absent, to be well pleasing to him. For we must all be exposed before the judgment seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing therefore the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are revealed to God; and I hope that we are revealed also in your consciences. For we are not commending ourselves to you again, but speak as giving you occasion of boasting on our behalf, that you may have something to answer those who boast in appearance, and not in heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God. Or if we are of sober mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ constrains us; because we judge thus, that one died for all, therefore all died. He died for all, that those who live should no longer live to themselves, but to him who for their sakes died and rose again. Therefore we know no one after the flesh from now on. Even though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now we know him so no more. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new. But all things are of God, who reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ, and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation; namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not reckoning to them their trespasses, and having committed to us the word of reconciliation. We are therefore Ambassadors on behalf of Christ, as though God were entreating by us: we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Working together, we entreat also that you not receive the grace of God in vain, for he says,
“At an acceptable time I listened to you, in a day of salvation I helped you.”
Behold, now is the acceptable time. Behold, now is the day of salvation. We give no occasion of stumbling in anything, that our service may not be blamed, but in everything commending ourselves, as servants of God, in great endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in riots, in labors, in watchings, in fastings; in pureness, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in sincere love, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians. Our heart is expansive. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections. Now in return, I speak as to my children, you also be open wide. Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers, for what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What agreement has Christ with Belial? Or what portion has a believer with an unbeliever? What agreement has the Temple of God with idols? For you are the Temple of the living God. Even as God said,
“I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
Therefore
“‘Come out from among them, and be separate,’ says the Lord. ‘Touch no unclean thing. I will receive you. I will be to you a Father. You will be to me sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty.”
Having therefore these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Open your hearts to us. We wronged no one. We corrupted no one. We took advantage of no one. I say this not to condemn you, for I have said before, that you are in our hearts to die together and live together. Great is my boldness of speech toward you. Great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I overflow with joy in all our affliction. For even when we had come into Macedonia, our flesh had no relief, but we were afflicted on every side. Fightings were outside. Fear was inside. Nevertheless, he who comforts the lowly, God, comforted us by the coming of Titus; and not by his coming only, but also by the comfort with which he was comforted in you, while he told us of your longing, your mourning, and your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced still more.
For though I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it, though I did regret it. For I see that my letter made you sorry, though just for a while. I now rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that you were made sorry to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly way, that you might suffer loss by us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance to salvation, which brings no regret. But the sorrow of the world produces death. For behold, this same thing, that you were made sorry in a godly way, what earnest care it worked in you. Yes, what defense, indignation, fear, longing, zeal, and vengeance! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be pure in the matter. So although I wrote to you, I wrote not for his cause that did the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered the wrong, but that your earnest care for us might be revealed in you in the sight of God. Therefore we have been comforted. In our comfort we rejoiced the more exceedingly for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. For if in anything I have boasted to him on your behalf, I was not disappointed. But as we spoke all things to you in truth, so our glorying also which I made before Titus was found to be truth. His affection is more abundantly toward you, while he remembers all of your obedience, how with fear and trembling you received him. I rejoice that in everything I am confident concerning you.
Moreover, brothers, we make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the assemblies of Macedonia; how that in much proof of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded to the riches of their liberality. For according to their power, I testify, yes and beyond their power, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much entreaty to receive this grace and the fellowship in the service to the saints. This was not as we had hoped, but first they gave their own selves to the Lord, and to us through the will of God. So we urged Titus, that as he made a beginning before, so he would also complete in you this grace. But as you abound in everything, in faith, utterance, knowledge, all earnestness, and in your love to us, see that you also abound in this grace. I speak not by way of commandment, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity also of your love. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might become rich. I give a judgment in this: for this is expedient for you, who were the first to start a year ago, not only to do, but also to be willing. But now complete the doing also, that as there was the readiness to be willing, so there may be the completion also out of your ability. For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what you have, not according to what you do not have. For this is not that others may be eased and you distressed, but for equality. Your abundance at this present time supplies their lack, that their abundance also may become a supply for your lack; that there may be equality. As it is written,
“He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”
But thanks be to God, who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus. For he indeed accepted our exhortation, but being himself very earnest, he went out to you of his own accord. We have sent together with him the brother whose praise in the Good News is known through all the assemblies. Not only so, but who was also appointed by the assemblies to travel with us in this grace, which is served by us to the glory of the Lord himself, and to show our readiness. We are avoiding this, that any man should blame us concerning this abundance which is administered by us. Having regard for honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. We have sent with them our brother, whom we have many times proved earnest in many things, but now much more earnest, by reason of the great confidence which he has in you. As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker for you. As for our brothers, they are the Apostles of the assemblies, the glory of Christ. Therefore show the proof of your love to them in front of the assemblies, and of our boasting on your behalf.
It is indeed unnecessary for me to write to you concerning the service to the saints, for I know your readiness, of which I boast on your behalf to them of Macedonia, that Achaia has been prepared for the past year. Your zeal has stirred up very many of them. But I have sent the brothers that our boasting on your behalf may not be in vain in this respect, that, just as I said, you may be prepared, so that I will not by any means, if anyone from Macedonia comes there with me and finds you unprepared, we (to say nothing of you) should be disappointed in this confident boasting. I thought it necessary therefore to entreat the brothers that they would go before to you, and arrange ahead of time the generous gift that you promised before, that the same might be ready as a matter of generosity, and not of greediness. Remember this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly. He who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Let each man give according as he has determined in his heart; not grudgingly, or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that you, always having all sufficiency in everything, may abound to every good work. As it is written,
“He has scattered abroad, he has given to the poor. His righteousness remains forever.”
Now may he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, supply and multiply your seed for sowing, and increase the fruits of your righteousness; you being enriched in everything to all liberality, which produces through us thanksgiving to God. For this service of giving that you perform not only makes up for lack among the saints, but abounds also through many givings of thanks to God; seeing that through the proof given by this service, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the Good News of Christ, and for the liberality of your material contribution to them and to all; while they themselves also, with supplication on your behalf, yearn for you by reason of the exceeding grace of God in you. Now thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift!
Now I Paul, myself, entreat you by the humility and gentleness of Christ; I who in your presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. Yes, I beg you that I may not, when present, show courage with the confidence with which I intend to be bold against some, who consider us to be walking according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh; for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the throwing down of strongholds, throwing down imaginations and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ; and being in readiness to avenge all disobedience, when your obedience will be made full. Do you look at things only as they appear in front of your face? If anyone trusts in himself that he is Christ’s, let him consider this again with himself, that, even as he is Christ’s, so also we are Christ’s. For though I should boast somewhat abundantly concerning our authority, (which the Lord gave for building you up, and not for casting you down) I will not be disappointed, that I may not seem as if I desire to terrify you by my letters. For, “His letters”, they say, “are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech is despised.”
Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when we are absent, such are we also in deed when we are present. For we are not bold to number or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves. But they themselves, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves with themselves, are without understanding. But we will not boast beyond proper limits, but within the boundaries with which God appointed to us, which reach even to you. For we do not stretch ourselves too much, as though we did not reach to you. For we came even as far as to you with the Good News of Christ, not boasting beyond proper limits in other men’s labors, but having hope that as your faith grows, we will be abundantly enlarged by you in our sphere of influence, so as to preach the Good News even to the parts beyond you, not to boast in what someone else has already done. But
“he who boasts, let him boast in the Lord.” 
For it is not he who commends himself who is approved, but whom the Lord commends.
I wish that you would bear with me in a little foolishness, but indeed you do bear with me. For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy. For I pledged you to one husband, that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve in his craftiness, so your minds might be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or if you receive a different spirit, which you did not receive, or a different “good news”, which you did not accept, you put up with that well enough. For I reckon that I am not at all behind the very best Apostles. But though I am unskilled in speech, yet I am not unskilled in knowledge. No, in every way we have been revealed to you in all things. Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached to you God’s Good News free of charge? I robbed other assemblies, taking wages from them that I might serve you. When I was present with you and was in need, I was not a burden on anyone, for the brothers, when they came from Macedonia, supplied the measure of my need. In everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and I will continue to do so. As the truth of Christ is in me, no one will stop me from this boasting in the regions of Achaia. Why? Because I do not love you? God knows. But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them that desire an occasion, that in which they boast, they may be found even as we. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as Christ’s Apostles. And no wonder, for even Satan masquerades as a messenger of light. It is no great thing therefore if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
I say again, let no one think me foolish. But if so, yet receive me as foolish, that I also may boast a little. That which I speak, I do not speak according to the Lord, but as in foolishness, in this confidence of boasting. Seeing that many boast after the flesh, I will also boast. For you bear with the foolish gladly, being wise. For you bear with a man, if he brings you into bondage, if he devours you, if he takes you captive, if he exalts himself, if he strikes you on the face. I speak by way of disparagement, as though we had been weak. Yet in whatever way anyone is bold (I speak in foolishness), I am bold also.

Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the offspring of Abraham? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? (I speak as one beside himself) I am more so; in labors more abundantly, in prisons more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in deaths often. Five times from the Jews I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I suffered shipwreck. I have been a night and a day in the deep. I have been in travels often, perils of rivers, perils of robbers, perils from my countrymen, perils from the Gentiles, perils in the city, perils in the wilderness, perils in the sea, perils among false brothers; in labor and travail, in vigils often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, and in cold and nakedness.

Besides those things that are outside, there is that which presses on me daily, anxiety for all the assemblies. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is caused to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that concern my weakness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, he who is blessed forever more, knows that I do not lie. In Damascus the governor under King Aretas guarded the city of the Damascenes desiring to arrest me. Through a window I was let down in a basket by the wall, and escaped his hands.
It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. For I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ, fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I do not know, or whether out of the body, I do not know; God knows), such a one caught up into the third heaven. I know such a man (whether in the body, or outside of the body, I do not know; God knows), how he was caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. On behalf of such a one I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except in my weaknesses. For if I would desire to boast, I will not be foolish; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, so that no man may think more of me than that which he sees in me, or hears from me. By reason of the exceeding greatness of the revelations, that I should not be exalted excessively, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, that I should not be exalted excessively. Concerning this thing, I begged the Lord three times that it might depart from me. He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly therefore I will rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest on me.
Therefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then am I strong. I have become foolish in boasting. You compelled me, for I ought to have been commended by you, for in nothing was I inferior to the very best Apostles, though I am nothing. Truly the signs of an Apostle were worked among you in all patience, in signs and wonders and mighty works. For what is there in which you were made inferior to the rest of the assemblies, unless it is that I myself was not a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong.
Behold, this is the third time I am ready to come to you, and I will not be a burden to you; for I seek not your possessions, but you. For the children ought not to save up for the parents, but the parents for the children. I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more abundantly, am I loved the less? But be it so, I did not myself burden you. But, being crafty, I caught you with deception. Did I take advantage of you by anyone of them whom I have sent to you? I exhorted Titus, and I sent the brother with him. Did Titus take any advantage of you? Did we not walk in the same spirit? Did we not walk in the same steps? Again, do you think that we are excusing ourselves to you? In the sight of God we speak in Christ. But all things, beloved, are for your edifying. For I am afraid that by any means, when I come, I might find you not the way I want to, and that I might be found by you as you do not desire; that by any means there would be strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, whisperings, proud thoughts, riots; that again when I come my God would humble me before you, and I would mourn for many of those who have sinned before now, and not repented of the uncleanness and sexual immorality and lustfulness which they committed.
This is the third time I am coming to you.
“At the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.” 
I have said beforehand, and I do say beforehand, as when I was present the second time, so now, being absent, I write to those who have sinned before now, and to all the rest, that, if I come again, I will not spare; seeing that you seek a proof of Christ who speaks in me; who toward you is not weak, but is powerful in you. For he was crucified through weakness, yet he lives through the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we will live with him through the power of God toward you. Examine your own selves, whether you are in the faith. Test your own selves. Or do you not know as to your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. But I hope that you will know that we are not disqualified.
Now I pray to God that you do no evil; not that we may appear approved, but that you may do that which is honorable, though we are as reprobate. For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. For we rejoice when we are weak and you are strong. And this we also pray for, even your perfecting. For this cause I write these things while absent, that I may not deal sharply when present, according to the authority which the Lord gave me for building up, and not for tearing down.
Finally, brothers, rejoice. Be perfected, be comforted, be of the same mind, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.
Greet one another with a holy kiss.
All the saints greet you.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.


Paul stayed in Asia for a while.

Acts 18:1-23
Hebrews 10:32b-34, 39 adapted
Hebrews 13:23 adapted
Acts 18:24-27a
Hebrews 13:23-25
Acts 18:27b-28
Hebrews
Acts 19:1-7
1 Corinthians 14:21-22 a sign for unbelievers
Acts 19:8-10
1 Corinthians
Acts 19:11-22
Romans 15:19
2 Corinthians 11:23b-38 adapted
Romans 15:26
Romans
2 Corinthians
Acts 19:22b

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CHRONOLOGY OF THE ACTS AND EPISTLES OF THE NEW TESTAMENT See the following articles:

Eusebius: Church History: The Ecclesiastical History Of Eusebius Pamphilus: Bishop Of Caesarea, In Palestine (documentacatholicaomnia.eu) pdf

The Works of Flavius Josephus William Whiston, Translator, 1737 (sacred-texts.com)

Suetonius: Twelve Caesars: The Lives of the Twelve Caesars by C. Suetonius Tranquilus; To which are added His Lives of the Grammarians, Rhetoricians, and Poets. The Translation of Alexander Thomson, M.D., Revised and corrected by T. Forester, Esq., A.M. (Gutenberg.org)

Tacitus: The Annals, Written 109 A.C.E. Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb

Early Christian Writings A.D. 30 through 380 (earlychristianwritings.com)

Archaeology and the Book of Acts John McRay, Wheaton College Graduate School, Wheaton, IL 60187 pdf

CLAUDIUS: Roman emperor


"Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome"

Acts 18:2.
Emperor Claudius I, reigned from A.D. 41 to 54.
See Suetonius: The Twelve Caesars: Divus Claudius 25.
This decree of expulsion, about A.D. 49, was prompted "because the Jews at Rome caused continuous disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus".
Historians generally think that Suetonius confused the common slave name "Chrestus" with "Christus", and that the "continuous disturbances" mentioned by him were the result of violent Jewish reactions to Christian missionary activity among the Jewish population in Rome. See also

"When Gallio was proconsul of Achaia"

Acts 18:12.
He was proconsul from 1 May 51 to 1 May 52.
Gallio was the son of Marcus Annaeus Seneca, a Spanish orator and financier, and the elder brother of Seneca, the philosopher and tutor of Nero. He was proconsul of Achaia between A.D. 51 and 53, and headquartered at Corinth, where his judgment seat has been discovered by archaeologists.
Proconsuls in the Roman system of government oversaw the administration of civil and military matters in a province, and were directly responsible to the Senate in Rome.

"Paul...went through the region of Galatia, and Phrygia, in order, establishing all the disciples. And Timothy was imprisoned...."

Acts 18:23.
This text has been amplified by an immediate addition, adapting Hebrews 10:32b-34, 39 and Hebrews 13:23 for the context in which Hebrews was read to the Christian assemblies of converted Jews and Gentiles suffering persecution.
Persecution of Christians by the Jews was increasing and many were imprisoned, suffering also the loss of their property (Hebrews 10:34).
See Acts 8:1; 9:2, 23, 29; 11:19; 12:1-3; 13:8, 45, 50; 14:2, 5, 19; 16:9, 22-23; 17:5-9, 13; 18:12.
In this context the information in Hebrews 10:32b-34, and 13:23 which mentions the release of Timothy (evidence that he had been imprisoned), has been adapted as a narrative of the persecutions that the assemblies of Christians were suffering, and for which they needed "establishing" by the preaching and encouragement of Paul. (Worse persecution was to come, a "fiery trial": 1 Peter 1:6-7; 4:12-19.)

The LETTER TO THE HEBREWS.

The Book of Hebrews is a perfect supporting conclusion to the list of texts of OLD TESTAMENT Bible proofs that the long-expected Christ is Jesus.
This outstanding exposition of scripture, which also stands as one of the finest pieces of world literature, is best read within the context of the interpretation of everything written about Jesus in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms, as presented here in this Harmony of the Gospel between Acts 18 and 19, and as an encouragement to remain faithful in the context of the discouraging persecution being inflicted on the believers by the Jews John 15:20.
Andrew Schlafly is persuaded that Jesus himself wrote this work during the 40 days he appeared to the apostles he had chosen, while he was with them and spoke of the kingdom of God, and that he left it with them—just as Isaiah, Jeremiah and Daniel also entrusted their writings to their disciples, copies to be kept in earthen jars.
See Isaiah 8:16; Jeremiah 36 and 51:59-60; Daniel 12:4, 9. This is fully in accord with the practical and material secondary meaning of 2 Corinthians 4:5-7, "We have this treasure in earthen vessels". See Dead Sea scrolls.
Hebrews is written to the whole church as an encouragement to every follower of Christ to remain faithful during the persecutions they were already facing from the Jews and in the coming persecutions from the pagan nations which were certain to occur in centuries to come (Matthew 5:11-12; John 15:18-20). The same message of encouragement to persevere and remain faithful in the face of terrible persecution of Christianity is presented in the Book of Revelation.
The claim that Hebrews is from Jesus himself who is the perfection of God (Hebrews 1:3; 6:26; Colossians 1:19), is a highly controversial claim never advanced before the 21st century, based on the critically attested grammatically perfect Greek of the text, and the certainty that no human being could write perfect Greek. This claim was met with universal rejection by biblical scholars and theologians the moment it was publicly proposed. No mention of Jesus composing or dictating any writing is found in any early Christian writings or commentaries on scripture from the second century onward, other than the apocryphal Letters of Christ and Abgarus, also cited and quoted by Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, Book I, chapter 13 Narrative concerning the Prince of Edessa.
  • See supporting argument for Jesus as author in
    Epistle to the Hebrews and Bible
  • See also counter arguments and rebuttals in Mystery:Did Jesus Write the Epistle to the Hebrews?.
  • John 20:17 can be read as supporting the confident assertion that Jesus was the author of Hebrews after his initial ascension into heaven.
    Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene and said, "Touch me not, for I have not yet ascended to the Father" John 20:17. But afterward, he appeared to the other women on their way to tell the message of the angel to the apostles, and when they took hold of his feet he did not say, "Touch me not." Matthew 28:8-10. And when he appeared to the apostles in the upper room, he said, "Handle me and see." Luke 24:39. He said to Thomas eight days later, "Reach here your finger, and see my hands; and reach here your hand, and push it into my side." John 20:27. These passages suggest that Jesus had already ascended to the Father immediately after appearing to Mary Magdalene (John 20:17) and before appearing to the other women (Matthew 28:8-10) and the apostles (Luke 24:39; John 20:27). Thus, the claim that Jesus wrote Hebrews is not contradicted by the statements made in that book that the Son has already ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of the Father, and assumes that he then returned to earth, "appearing to them during forty days." Acts 1:3.
Everything in the Book of Hebrews and the Gospels that could only have been known to Jesus he disclosed to his disciples during the forty days after his resurrection when he appeared to them, and spoke of the kingdom of God. They in turn shared this knowledge with their disciples in word and in writing. Matthew 10:27; Mark 4:22; Luke 12:2-3; John 16:12. Scripture does not say that Jesus wrote anything during that forty day period, or that he ever at any time told his disciples to write anything.
Among the various authors of Hebrews historically proposed since the second century are Paul, Priscilla, Barnabas, Apollos, Timothy, Epaphras, Silas, Philip, Clement of Rome (Philippians 4:3), and others.
See multiple commentaries on Hebrews (biblehub.com).
See the following five articles:

"but in these days he has spoken to us by a Son" Hebrews 1:2.

Third person reference to Jesus.
This verse poses a difficulty for those who claim that this epistle was written by Jesus Christ Himself: He (God) has spoken to us (men, including the writer) through His Son (Jesus Christ) - which implies that His Son and the writer are different entities.
But upon closer investigation one realizes that many early Apostles, in imitation of Jesus, spoke about themselves in this modest style of using the third person, as when John referenced himself as the "One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved" (John 13:23, ESV) and Mark referenced himself as "but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked." (Mark 14:52, ESV) Jesus himself, of course, frequently referred to himself in the third person as in the phrase Son of Man.
On the other hand, there is no other example where Jesus or an Apostle spoke about himself using both the first and the third person in the same sentence!
The strongest internal textual evidence against Jesus being the author of the Letter to the Hebrews during the forty days he appeared to the disciples and spoke of the kingdom of God is in Hebrews 1:3, which says (past tense), "When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high...". (RSV) Conservative Bible scholars carefully consider the following facts in assessing the claim that Jesus is the author of Hebrews.
On the day Jesus ascended into heaven and the disciples stood gazing into heaven as he went, "two men stood by them in white robes, and said, 'This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.' " (Acts 1:11 RSV). Peter later testified to the Jews that Jesus is "...the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets...". (Acts 3:20-21 RSV). There is no evidence in scripture that Jesus after having ascended into heaven "and sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high" descended to earth in a second coming to write this document. The writer explicitly refers to the fact that Jesus "sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high" as being an already accomplished fact before Hebrews was written.
Compare Acts 1:11 (already cited) and the following supportive texts:
  • "But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God". Acts 7:55.
  • "...their Master and yours is in heaven..." Ephesians 6:9.
  • "...our commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ..." Philippians 3:20.
  • "When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." Colossians 3:4.
  • "Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven." Colossians 4:1.
  • "...wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come." 1 Thessalonians 1:10.
  • "For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God." 1 Thessalonians 4:16.
  • "...when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire" 2 Thessalonians 1:7.
  • "But when Christ appeared as a high priest...he entered once for all into the Holy Place...thus securing an eternal redemption.'" Hebrews 9:11a, 12.
  • "For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf...so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him." Hebrews 9:24 and 28.
  • "But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, then to wait before his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet." Hebrews 10:12-13.
  • "For he must reign before he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death." 1 Corinthians 15:25-26.
  • "...Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him." 1 Peter 3:21b-22.
  • "...whom heaven must receive before the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old" Acts 3:21.
  • "he commands all men everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all men by raising him from the dead." Acts 17:31.
In answer to the objection that the ascension of Christ into heaven is presented in Hebrews as a past event, supporters of the claim that Jesus is author of Hebrews can point to the Bible pattern of prophetic writing which includes the Semitic manner of referring to a divinely guaranteed future fulfillment as having already been accomplished, because it is an absolute certainty. The divine guarantee of the future is written in the past tense. Thus, Jesus as author of Hebrews is argued as having written in the past tense of his own future ascension to the glorious throne of God the Father as an already accomplished reality. See the following article:
An alternative to the certainty of the future written as past is found in the actual post-ascension appearances of Jesus in the Book of Acts and to John on the island of Patmos. This activity takes place after "he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Hebrews 1:3; Mark 16:19), and after the two men stood by them in white robes and said, "This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven" (Acts 1:10-11), and after Peter has testified to the men of Israel in Solomon's portico that they should repent, so that the Lord "may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his prophets from of old" (Acts 3:11, 19-21). After his ascension into heaven in Acts 1:9-11, Jesus is seen again in Acts 7:56; 9:3-6, 10-16; 18:9-10; 22:17-21; 23:11 "the Lord stood by him"; and in Revelation 1:10-19. Without any contradiction he is in heaven while he appears on earth. "I am in the Father and the Father is in me" (John 14:11). "Our Father, who art in heaven" (Matthew 6:9). "I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one" (John 17:23). Compare John 14:23, "and we will come to him and make our home with him." This would allow the possibility that he wrote or dictated the letter to the Hebrews after his ascension into heaven. According to Christian theology heaven is not limited by time and space, but it is closed to the wicked, who cannot enter (John 10:1-6; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Revelation 21:3, 27). This is a mystery.
Against the authorship of Jesus there are also those passages all through the Letter to the Hebrews, emphasized in boldface here in the text of this Harmony of the Gospel, that Jesus cannot be saying of himself, even in referring to himself in the second and third person. The words "we, us, our" include the speaker and would need to be changed to "you" and "your":
  • "spoken to us by his Son" Hebrews 1:2
    (spoken to you by his Son)
  • "purified us of our sins" Hebrews 1:3
    (purified you of your sins)
  • "we ought to pay greater attention to the things that were heard, lest perhaps we drift away" Hebrews 2:1
    (you ought to pay greater attention to the things that were heard, lest perhaps you drift away)
  • "how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation...confirmed to us by those who heard" Hebrews 2:3
    (how will you escape if you neglect so great a salvation...confirmed to you by those who heard)
  • "whose house we are, if we hold fast" Hebrews 3:6
    (whose house you are if you hold fast)
  • "Let us therefore draw near with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy" Hebrews 4:16
    (Let us together therefore draw near with boldness to the throne of grace, that you may receive mercy)
  • "where as a forerunner Jesus entered for us" Hebrews 6:20
    (where as a forerunner Jesus entered for you)
  • "For Christ has not entered into holy places made with hands, which are representations of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us" Hebrews 9:24
    (...now to appear in the presence of God for you)
  • "Having therefore, brothers, boldness to enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by the way which he dedicated for us...let us draw near with a true heart in fullness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience" Hebrews 10:19-22
    (Having therefore, brothers, boldness to enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by the way which he dedicated for you...let us together draw near with a true heart in fullness of faith, having your hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience)
  • "let us also, seeing we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus" Hebrews 12:1-2a
    (let us together also, seeing you are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles you, and let us together run with patience the race that is set before you, looking to Jesus)
  • "Through him, then, let us offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually" Hebrews 13:15
    (Through him, then, offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually)
  • "Pray for us" Hebrews 13:18
    (Pray for the brothers)
Probably the best scriptural response to the above objection is found in the words of Jesus in the Lord's Prayer and his word to Saul on the road to Damascus:
  • "Our Father...give us this day...forgive us our debts...lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil" Matthew 6:9-13, also Luke 11:3-4.
  • "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me" Acts 9:4.
In support of the argument that Jesus is the author of Hebrews by dictation to his chosen amanuensis (just as Tertius wrote Paul's letter to the Romans, 16:22), is the fact that Jesus after having ascended into heaven appeared to chosen individuals on earth, including John, who at Jesus' command wrote the Book of Revelation. See the following texts:
  • "...he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ..." Acts 9:4.
  • "Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision..." Acts 9:10-17.
  • "...I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you to serve and bear witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you...". Acts 26:16.
  • "Now write what you see, what is and what is to take place hereafter." Revelation 1:19.
  • "And he who sat on the throne said, 'Behold, I make all things new.' Also he said, 'Write this...' " Revelation 21:5.
A reasonable counter-argument to this response is the fact that every extant manuscript witness of the text of Hebrews, unlike the witness of the text of Revelation and the accounts of Jesus' appearances in Acts, lacks witness to any appearance of the Lord Jesus for the purpose of commanding the writing of this sacred text.
This leaves the Holy Spirit as the author of Hebrews, testifying to Jesus, and revealing things no man could have known, in accordance with the promises Jesus made on the night he was betrayed:
  • when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me" John 15:26.
  • I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you." John 16:12-14.
This might account for the lack of an opening greeting with an identification of the author. The human author of Hebrews, inspired by the Spirit, like the Holy Spirit Himself, does not speak on his own behalf, but faithfully presents the message of Christ for those for whom he came, warning them to remain faithful to the one who is faithful, and not to fall away. Many of the words in the Old Testament prophets are written in the first person as directly from God, without saying, "Thus says the Lord", words which no man may say about himself but are written by the hands of the prophets, and they who hear these words understand that it is the Lord himself who speaks.
However, the Book of Revelation does include an opening greeting "from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne", and there John speaks of himself and what he himself saw on the Lord's day, and he tells us what the Lord said (Revelation 1:19); and at the end, the angel who spoke to him speaks directly to John and then he speaks directly as the Lord himself: "Behold, I am coming soon", and his hearers understand that it is the Lord himself who speaks through the mouth of the angel he has sent (Revelation 22:12-16). And while the message of Hebrews is fully inspired by the Spirit, as are all the other scriptures, the writer of Hebrews includes himself among those to whom the message is delivered as an exhortation, speaking of Jesus as he does in the third person, and delivering his message as a leader and representative of the people and as another man who has been saved by Christ, "How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?".
Thus, the appended comments at the end (Hebrews 13) would be the personal words of the writer of the message, or of another writer, which of themselves can stand alone as "my word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly."
Read here The brief exhortation of Hebrews 13.
"I have written to you briefly"! The 12 chapters of the body of the Letter to the Hebrews is not "brief", even by the ancient standards of public oratory or any public address at any time in history. It is about the same length as 1 Corinthians and longer than 2 Corinthians. Only Romans and Revelation are longer than Hebrews. Its length is more than double any one of the lengthy speeches in the works of Josephus, Antiquities and Wars. The whole Book of Hebrews, thirteen chapters, takes about a half hour to read aloud. In contrast, the First Letter of Peter, which is "written briefly to you" (5:12), is only five chapters, fewer than 2,340 words (the RSV text of 1 Peter is exactly 2,338 words). And Hebrews is more than two and a half times the length of 1 Peter "written briefly to you". This internal textual evidence gives substance to the suggestion that the end of Hebrews, possibly all of chapter 13, is a brief addition to the work by another writer. The style of writing in chapter 13 is similar to Paul's admonitions to believers in other letters. Its subject is unrelated to the argument in the preceding 12 chapters. The suggestion that Paul took Hebrews and forwarded it to another assembly with his apostolic approbation and approval, and that he added comments of his own by attachment, is purely speculative, lacking any textual support. But it is not impossible. This might, however, explain why Hebrews was traditionally attributed to Paul, apart from the fact that it was usually included with collections of his writings, and in some very early manuscript copies of the New Testament is sometimes found placed immediately after his Epistle to the Romans, apparently because of its doctrinal importance.
The most substantive argument against the claim that Jesus wrote Hebrews is the historical evidence from silence. This is not, however, an example of the logical fallacy of an "argument from silence". A writing by Jesus himself would surely rank among the most important pieces of literature in the history of writing, and would certainly have been highly revered and preserved by the Apostles and their successors as one of the greatest treasures of Christianity. Hebrews would have been the primary Handbook of the Apostles. They would have given it first place, even before the Gospels themselves, as being authored by the Lord Himself, just as the Bible is treasured and revered by Christians today as the word of God. None of the writings of the New Testament refers directly to Hebrews as the writing of Jesus; yet Peter refers by name to the letters of Paul, and Jude refers in general to the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints and by name he quotes Enoch. Moreover, Hebrews was not one of the protocanonical books of the New Testament, but was long disputed as one of the deuterocanonicals. In all of the centuries of Christianity prior to the 21st century, no discussion of the possibility of the authorship of Jesus is mentioned, discussed, debated, denounced, supported or insisted upon, by any writer, Bible commentator, apologist or controversialist, Christian, Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Independent, heretic, non-Christian, pagan, agnostic, or atheist, at any time from the First Century through the Twentieth Century. In matters of dispute over Christian doctrine, when analytical appeal to the whole of the scriptures of the Bible is inconclusive on the basis of sola scriptura, evidence of the constant and consistent tradition of Christian thought and teaching has usually been determinative. But there is no suggestion in Christian tradition that Jesus wrote Hebrews. The total lack of any discursive historical evidence that anyone has ever suggested that Jesus is the real author of Hebrews, appears as a compelling argument against the proposition that Jesus wrote Hebrews.
However, an intuitive perception that Jesus himself is speaking and admonishing us to remain faithful to our calling as Christians throughout the book of Hebrews is just as equally compelling to the believer. It is certainly received by the Church as scripture inspired by God.
In conclusion, we have the following undeniable facts:
  • The author of Hebrews is unknown to us.
  • The message of Hebrews is not changed. Jesus is the Son of God, greater than angels, and whoever refuses to hear him and departs from him will be condemned to terrible punishment for having crucified him again by rejecting his sacrifice. Faithfulness to him in persecution even to death will have abundant compensation. Obedience to the leaders of his church is both a duty and an assurance of salvation.

"leaving the teaching of the first principles of Christ"

Hebrews 6:1
"I fed you with milk, not with meat; for you were not yet ready." 1 Corinthians 3:2.
These verses refer to the Christian Disciplina Arcani, Latin for the "Discipline of the Secret". During the first centuries of the proclamation of the Gospel the more sacred doctrinal mysteries of Christianity, the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Eucharist, were not to be revealed to pagans, and not even to new converts before they were baptized. There was real danger of sacrilege and blasphemy, in addition to the ever-present twin threat of persecution and execution (martyrdom), which pressured many into committing apostasy by denying Jesus Christ the Son of God and desperately avoiding execution by betraying Christians to the authorities to be killed. See the following:

"Others were tortured, not accepting their deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection."

Hebrews 11:35.
A direct reference to the Maccabean martyrs under Antiochus IV. See 2 Maccabees 7—in particular verses 9, 11, 14.
See also commentaries on Hebrews 11:35.

"We have an altar from which those who serve the holy tabernacle have no right to eat."

Hebrews 13:10.
10 ἔχομεν θυσιαστήριον ἐξ οὗ φαγεῖν οὐκ ἔχουσιν ἐξουσίαν οἱ τῇ σκηνῇ λατρεύοντες·
A controversial text.
This verse has been traditionally understood by the majority of Christians as a clearly plain reference to partaking of Communion and sharing in the blood of Christ and sharing in the body of Christ (2 Peter 1:3-4; 1 Corinthians 10:16-21).
Many theologians, for example Fundamental Baptists, following the teachings of Berengar of Tours and Ulrich Zwingli, utterly repudiate such a reading as a perverse twisting of the meaning of scripture into blasphemous superstition and idolatry and an insult to Christ.
The NABRE Catholic Bible footnote to Hebrews 13:10 says,
"[13:10] We have an altar: this does not refer to the Eucharist, which is never clearly mentioned in Hebrews, but to the sacrifice of Christ."
This same textual-critical interpretation of the one unique Christian altar as the sacrifice of Christ as high priest is found more fully expounded in Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible: Hebrews 13.
The textual-critical note on the altar of Hebrews 13:10 in the Catholic NABRE and in Pett's Commentary is applied to Hebrews as a separate work, considered by textual critics as having been originally written independently and apart from the context of the whole of the preaching of the New Testament, and before Hebrews was collected with the other books of scripture and constituted together with them as the Bible, which includes Jesus' words in John 6:32-58 and 1 Corinthians 10:16-21. This NABRE footnote critically assumes that the writer's argument knows nothing of partaking "of the table of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 10:15-22), that is, does not refer in any way to the Eucharist, because that particular doctrinal consideration is not relevant to his primary topic: the superiority of the sacrifice of Christ to the sacrifices of the priests on the altar of the tabernacle and the temple.
When read within the context of the whole of the New Testament, with the Holy Spirit as the primary and unifying author of doctrine, Hebrews 13:10 does include reference to the Eucharist as a participation in eating from the one sacrifice of Christ and sharing in the body of Christ and the blood of Christ, which those who serve the holy tabernacle have no right to eat. See Historical-critical method (Higher criticism) and Hermeneutics.
The Catholic Church dogmatically declares and defines the Bible in all of its parts as inspired and inerrantly infallible, since God is the primary author who cannot deceive or be deceived, but does not include textual footnotes by theologians, bible scholars and textual critics within the definition of inspired scripture as infallibly free of error. See Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) numbers 101 through 141; Vatican II Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum; and Divino Afflante Spiritu.
"...from which those who serve the holy tabernacle have no right to eat." (Greek φάγος / φάγειν "eat").
Compare Exodus 12; Leviticus 6–7: "...eat it...eat of it...shall be eaten...".
It is entirely reasonable to ask: If the sacrifice of Christ on the altar of the Cross is the meaning of this text, then how do Christians actually eat from the altar of the cross? What is it that was offered on the altar of the cross? See multiple Protestant commentaries on Hebrews 13:10.
Compare the following articles:
Both Protestant and Catholic theologians and Bible scholars emphasize that the true Christian altar is Jesus Christ himself offering himself body and blood, soul and divinity to God the Almighty Father and that this is the exegetical meaning of Hebrews 13:10. He is the one altar from which Christians eat and partake of the divine nature.
Compare John 6:32-59. "he who eats my flesh"—Greek τρώγων trogon, "eat, gnaw, munch, crunch" (KJV "EATETH" Strong's number 5176).
This form of the word τρώγω trogo is found in the New Testament only in the Gospel of John 6:54-58, and 13:18 ("He who ate my bread..."). It has a literal, physical concrete meaning only, unlike the more common Greek word φαγεῖν phagein "eat" which has both a literal and figurative or metaphorical meaning (see Strong's number 5315 φάγω phago, to eat, literally or figuratively).
Biblical commentaries which unequivocally state that there is virtually no difference between the two words φάγω phago and τρώγω trogo reveal that the writer is either incompetent and ignorant of Greek or is being dishonest.
There is no linguistic evidence that this word for eat, eats, eating, ate, τρώγων, was used metaphorically as a figure of speech, but was simply only a literal, physical concrete term for chewing and craunching or grinding teeth (somewhat noisily) while eating, as in eating bread or meat.
See Strong's number 5176 τρώγω trogo, its concrete physical meaning probably strengthened from a collateral form of the base of trauma (wound) and tribos (rut, worn track) through the idea of corrosion or wear; or perhaps rather of a base of trugon (dove, murmuring, cooing sound) and trizo (to creak or squeak) through the idea of a craunching sound; to gnaw or chew, generally to simply eat.
The New American Bible (1986) footnote to John 6:54-58 states that the verb τρώγων used in these verses is not the classical Greek verb used of human eating, but that of animal eating: "munch", "gnaw". And it says this may be part of John's emphasis on the reality of the flesh and blood of Jesus, but also says the same verb eventually became the ordinary verb in Greek meaning "eat". However, it does not say that it ever became a metaphorical term allowing a figurative meaning, such as delighting in the Lord's doctrinal teaching and "eating it up" and eagerly engaging in a long and involved deep study of the New Testament as "really sinking your teeth into it".
Instead, the Jews and even some of Jesus' own disciples actually understood him as intentionally expressing the literal meaning of chewing his flesh with their teeth, in John 6:52, 60, in which they understood that he literally meant to eat him. This unequivocal statement of Jesus provoked a response of incredulity: "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" and, "This saying is hard; who can listen to it?" (or "who can accept it?"). This is identical to the objection raised against the doctrine of the real presence by Berengar of Tours, Ulrich Zwingli and others. Jesus responds to them by re-emphasizing what he said. He does not privately explain to his closest disciples, the apostles, that they and the others who had left him did not understand his meaning. He does not say that he was speaking parabolically, symbolically, spiritually. Instead, astonishingly, he only says to the Twelve, "Do you also want to leave?"
Fundamentalists and most evangelical Christians absolutely reject the plain, literal word trogon in these passages of the Gospel and firmly maintain that the literal meaning is impossible, an "idolatrous heresy" and impious superstition. Fundamentalist illustrator Jack Chick as a warning against Catholic doctrine graphically represents the communion wafers given to the people by Catholic priests as inhabited by demons which enslave them (1 Timothy 4:1). Many Christians firmly and boldly declare against the literal Catholic reading of the text of John 6 that to eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood is, instead, to be spiritually united to him entirely by fully accepting his person and his doctrine personally, accepting Jesus as one's own personal Savior and living the life of Christ (Galatians 2:20), thus drawing spiritual nourishment from him through the Holy Spirit.
But solely on the basis of the text alone their doctrinal position has actually no linguistic foundation or basis in fact in these passages of the New Testament (John 6:54-58; 13:18). And no texts of these passages in the extant manuscripts of the Gospel of John have any other wording than the literal, concrete, physical term τρώγων. In addition to this fact, all biblical commentaries written on these passages, whether accepting or rejecting the literal reading of their meaning, quote the Greek text as we have it even now and admit the literal meaning of the Greek as posing a difficulty for some as to a proper interpretation. It is difficult only if the literal meaning of this strictly literal word is not doctrinally acceptable. As early as c. A.D. 110 Ignatius of Antioch wrote, "they do not admit that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, the flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His graciousness, raised from the dead." (Ad Smyrnaeans, 6). Those who do accept the literal meaning of the physical term τρώγων firmly and boldly declare that they only "take Jesus at his word".
On the sola scriptura principle that scripture interprets scripture, the biblical metaphor of eating the flesh and drinking the blood of men is found all throughout the Bible to refer only to the violence done to the innocent, the orphan, the widow and the poor by the wicked oppressor, by corrupt nations and peoples, evil kings, governors and judges, by the tax collector and the landlord, "who eat up my people as if they were eating bread" (Psalm 14:4); and it also refers to the merited destruction inflicted on those oppressors in return by almighty God, in reprisal for their repressive and destructive policies and their acts of evil rapine in raids, invasion and war. Numbers 23:24; Deuteronomy 32:42-43; Psalms 27:2, 30:9, 76:4; Proverbs 29:10; Isaiah 49:26; Jeremiah 19:9, 46:10; Ezekiel 11:3-11, 39:17-20; Daniel 7:5; Micah 3:2-3; James 5:3; Revelation 19:18, 21.
"...consume them in wrath, consume them till they are no more..." Psalm 59:13a; "...I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh, and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with wine." Isaiah 49:26a; "That day is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, to avenge himself on his foes. The sword shall devour and be sated, and drink its fill of their blood." Jeremiah 46:10a.
The words of Jesus promise that those who eat his flesh and drink his blood have eternal life, and warned those listening to him that if they do not eat his flesh and drink his blood they do not have life. Those who eat the flesh and drink the blood of the sinless Jesus are not those who are punishing him in reprisal for any evil he has ever inflicted on mankind. He testified to the Father that those who crucified him knew not what they were doing, and asked him to forgive them. St. Paul stated that if the rulers of the world knew the secret and hidden wisdom of God, they would not have crucified him (1 Corinthians 2:8). But they did this out of envy and hatred for him (Matthew 27:17-18). John wrote that the Jews persecuted Jesus all the more because he called God his Father (John 5:16-18). None of these loved him. Simply on the basis of the biblical text alone, the interpretation that Jesus was using a metaphor is not supported by the evident pattern of metaphor as used in all the rest of the Bible, a metaphor signifying oppressive violence and cruelty, and the effect of the divine retribution inflicted on evil persecutors.
There is historical and documentary evidence that early Greek and Latin Church doctrine before the year 110 already held to the literal meaning of actually eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Jesus in order to "be partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4), pointing also to the words "my flesh is food indeed (ἀληθῶς alethos in fact, in reality, actually), my blood is drink indeed (ἀληθῶς alethos in fact, in reality, actually)". See Strong's number 230 alethos indeed, surely, of a surety, truly, of a truth, in truth, verily, very.
See also
John 6:52-58 (boldface emphasis added)
52 ἐμάχοντο οὖν πρὸς ἀλλήλους οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι λέγοντες· πῶς δύναται οὗτος ἡμῖν δοῦναι τὴν σάρκα φαγεῖν; 53 εἶπεν οὖν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς· ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐὰν μὴ φάγητε τὴν σάρκα τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου καὶ πίητε αὐτοῦ τὸ αἷμα, οὐκ ἔχετε ζωὴν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς. 54 ὁ τρώγων μου τὴν σάρκα καὶ πίνων μου τὸ αἷμα ἔχει ζωὴν αἰώνιον, καὶ ἐγὼ ἀναστήσω αὐτὸν ἐν τῇ ἐσχάτῃ ἡμέρᾳ. 55 ἡ γὰρ σάρξ μου ἀληθῶς ἐστι βρῶσις, καὶ τὸ αἷμά μου ἀληθῶς ἐστι πόσις. 56 ὁ τρώγων μου τὴν σάρκα καὶ πίνων μου τὸ αἷμα ἐν ἐμοὶ μένει, κἀγὼ ἐν αὐτῷ. 57 καθὼς ἀπέστειλέ με ὁ ζῶν πατὴρ κἀγὼ ζῶ διὰ τὸν πατέρα, καὶ ὁ τρώγων με κἀκεῖνος ζήσεται δι’ ἐμέ. 58 οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ἄρτος ὁ ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καταβάς, οὐ καθὼς ἔφαγον οἱ πατέρες ὑμῶν τὸ μάννα καὶ ἀπέθανον· ὁ τρώγων τοῦτον τὸν ἄρτον ζήσεται εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα.
John 13:18 (boldface emphasis added)
18 οὐ περὶ πάντων ὑμῶν λέγω· ἐγὼ οἶδα οὓς ἐξελεξάμην· ἀλλ’ ἵνα ἡ γραφὴ πληρωθῇ, ὁ τρώγων μετ’ ἐμοῦ τὸν ἄρτον ἐπῆρεν ἐπ’ ἐμὲ τὴν πτέρναν αὐτοῦ.
(The following is edited, revised and adapted from an article in Wikipedia)—
Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Roman Catholics, who together constitute the majority of Christians, hold that the consecrated elements in a valid celebration of the Eucharist indeed become the body and blood of Christ. This belief is held also by some Reform and Protestant Christian churches, Lutherans and Anglicans, though they generally deny transubstantiation.
While there is a large body of theology noting the many Scriptural supports for transubstantiation, in general, Orthodox and Catholics consider it unnecessary to "prove" from texts of Scripture a belief that they see as held by Christians without interruption from the earliest, apostolic times. They point out that the Church and its teaching existed before it assembled and canonized the New Testament, and even before any individual part of the New Testament was written. They also point out that early Christians such as Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, and Clement of Rome (who were much closer to the event than those who later proposed a figurative interpretation of the Eucharist), described the Eucharist as truly the body and blood of Christ. They see nothing in Scripture that in any way contradicts this ancient Christian belief that the reality beneath the visible signs in the Eucharist is the body and blood of Christ and no longer bread and wine. Instead, they see this teaching as the same teaching in the Bible's reports of what Christ himself and Paul the Apostle taught.
As scriptural support for this doctrine, as required by their sola scriptura position, Protestants who believe that in the Eucharist the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ turn to the words of Jesus himself at his Last Supper, as reported in the Synoptic Gospels and Saint Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians. In that context, Jesus said of what to all appearances were bread and wine: "This is my body ... this is my blood" or, in the case of what appeared to be wine, "... this cup is the new covenant in my blood".
Many Protestants who hold to the literal meaning of the Bible inconsistently reject a literal interpretation of these words. They compare them to non-literal expressions by Jesus such as "I am the door", "I am the vine", "You are the salt of the earth ... You are the light of the world" (Matthew 5:13-14), "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees" (Matthew 16:6-12). In this last example, the disciples thought that the reason Jesus said it was because they had brought no bread; but Jesus explained that he was referring to the teaching of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.
These Protestants add that "eating and drinking" is sometimes used metaphorically, as of Jeremiah "eating" God's words (Jeremiah 15:16), or David speaking of water as blood, since it was obtained at the risk of the lives of his men (2 Samuel 23:17).
The word "is" has also been taken as indicating a metaphor. Those who hold that Jesus' words, "This is my body", "This is my blood", were not metaphorical claim that there is a marked contrast between metaphorical figurative expressions, which of their nature have a symbolic meaning, and what Jesus said about concrete things such as the bread and wine.
In the phrase "This is my body" as expressed in the original Greek (Τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ σῶμά μου), the word "τοῦτο" ("this" or "this thing") is a grammatically neuter pronoun, and so of the same grammatical gender as the noun "σῶμα" (body), but of a different grammatical gender from that of the word "ἄρτος" (bread), which is a masculine noun. Some claim that this is an indication of the change of the reality from bread (ἄρτος) to body (σῶμα).
As indications that the bread and wine are indeed changed to the body and blood of Christ, appeal is made to expressions used by Saint Paul in his First Epistle to the Corinthians, in particular his rhetorical question, "The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?" (1 Corinthians 10:16), and his statement, "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord." (1 Corinthians 11:27). Protestant commentators, such as Matthew Henry (1662–1714) say that use of the word "bread" shows there has been no change.
Paul's subsequent recommendation, "Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself" (1 Corinthians 11:28-29, emphasis added), has likewise been interpreted either as indicating the reality of the disputed change or as implying no such change. Marvin R. Vincent, in particular, objected to what he called the mistaken King James Version translation of κρῖμα in verse 29 as "damnation", rather more literally as "judgment".
It has been noted that Paul wrote: "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord" (emphases added). (KJV translators changed the word "or" to "and" for doctrinal reasons not supported by the actual text.) This has been interpreted as stating that unworthy participation and partaking of either the bread or the cup of the Lord involves guilt concerning both the body and blood of the Lord, as an indication of the presence of Christ in each of the two cases in support of the Catholic and Orthodox doctrine that the visible appearance of the bread conceals the real substance of the "body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ" and that the visible appearance of the wine conceals the real substance of the "body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ". Such an interpretation asserts that in receiving Communion the believer partakes of the divine nature of Jesus himself, which can transform those who partake of him.
—(adapted from an article in Wikipedia: Transubstantiation: Interpretations of the New Testament -retrieved September 2016.
However, many of those who statistically and nominally belong to the majority of Christians—publicly representing themselves as members of those major denominations that officially teach the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist or Communion—do not believe in it. They are numerically a large minority. See for example the following article:
But the majority of Christians "take him at his word", literally. The reasoning used by those who have been taught to believe that they actually receive in Communion the literal, Real Presence of Jesus Christ himself, is briefly exemplified in the Roman Catholic Baltimore Catechism #3 Lesson 22 - On the Holy Eucharist
Q. 878. How do we know that it is possible to change one substance into another?
A. We know that it is possible to change one substance into another, because (I) God changed water into blood during the plagues of Egypt; (2) Christ changed water into wine at the marriage of Cana; (3) Our own food is daily changed into the substance of our flesh and blood; and what God does gradually, He can also do instantly by an act of His will.
Q. 879...in these changes the appearance also is changed, but in the Holy Eucharist only the substance is changed while the appearance remains the same.
Q. 880. How do we show that Christ did change bread and wine into the substance of His body and blood?
A. We show that Christ did change bread and wine into the substance of His body and blood: (I) From the words by which He promised the Holy Eucharist; (2) From the words by which He instituted the Holy Eucharist; (3) From the constant use of the Holy Eucharist in the Church since the time of the Apostles...
See also Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 1373-1381.
Partaking in Communion of the Real Presence of Jesus Christ under the appearance of bread and wine is also seen as the complete fulfillment of all the prefiguring Levitical sacrifices made at the altar of the Tabernacle in the wilderness and the Temple, in which, after the offering is made, a portion of the consecrated sacrifice is given (back) to the worshipper to eat (Leviticus 1 through 8). "We have an altar from which those who serve the holy tabernacle have no right to eat." Hebrews 13:10.
Fundamentalists and many Evangelical Christians firmly maintain that repeatedly offering Jesus to God as a sacrifice again and again in worship condemns to hell those who do so, "seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh" (KJV Hebrews 6:6b, in the context of Hebrews 6:4-8). It is held to be evidence of a "falling away" from the pure doctrine of Christ into blasphemy and superstition as part of the Great Apostasy, which they consistently teach began as early as the beginning of the second century. As evidence they cite the fact that as early as c. A.D. 110 Ignatius of Antioch wrote, "they do not admit that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, the flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His graciousness, raised from the dead." (Ad Smyrnaeans, 6). This is denounced as an abhorrent blasphemy, and as evidence of the early and almost immediate apostasy from the doctrine of Christ after the death of last of the apostles.
See the Fundamentalist article "The Apostasy: An Era of Spiritual Darkness".
Compare Matthew 28:20 "I am with you always", and John 14:16-17 "he will give you another Comforter, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth" and John 16:13 "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth", also Matthew 16:18 "I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it", and Hebrews 13:17 "Obey those who are over you and submit yourselves".
Eastern Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Catholics and Protestants who believe in the Real Presence, who together constitute the majority of Christians, respond that it is Jesus himself as the High Priest who offers to the Father and presents in worship at the altar on earth and in heaven his one, unique sacrifice of himself, made once only in a bloody manner for all time for all sinners, in eternity, and through all centuries now made continuously present without pause or interruption, without ceasing, before the Father in an unbloody manner, as in the upper room on the night he was betrayed, as both sacrifice and food for all his people in every time and place, that they all might "see the Son of Man" and "partake of the divine nature" (John 6:36, 40; 2 Peter 1:4). These Christians firmly and boldly declare according to their reading of the literal word τρώγων in the text of John 6 that to reverently eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood is to be physically and spiritually united to him entirely in his one, single uninterrupted sacrifice to God the Almighty Father by fully accepting his person and his doctrine personally, accepting Jesus as one's own personal Savior and living the life of Christ (Galatians 2:20), thus drawing spiritual nourishment from him by the power of the Holy Spirit. For them, to receive Communion unworthily is to be guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord (1 Corinthians 10:15-17, 11:29; Hebrews 12:18-24; 2 Peter 1:4; Acts 20:28; Ignatius ad Smyrnaeans 6). They firmly assert that this is the doctrine of the apostles, unbroken and continually preserved in the church since the first century.
There appears to be no middle ground in the controversy over the interpretation of these verses in John's Gospel and Hebrews 13:10 "We have an altar from which those who serve the holy tabernacle have no right to eat.".
If the consecrated bread and wine are not actually the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ present in the physical appearances ("under the signs") of bread and wine as true signs of his Presence, but are simply "emblems" or symbols of his covenant, then to treat the natural, created bread and wine made from wheat and grapes, blessed and then solemnly consecrated in worship of God, as if they are actually Jesus Christ himself who is God and man is to commit superstitious idolatry by worshiping created things ("creatures") as if they were God (Romans 1:25).
If the blessed and solemnly consecrated bread and wine are actually the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ present in the physical appearances ("under the signs") of bread and wine as true signs of his Presence, then to treat him present in this form as if they are only symbols, not signs of his Person, and as if they are only natural, created bread and wine made from wheat and grapes ("creatures"), presented as "emblems" or symbols of the covenant, and not actually Jesus Christ himself the high priest who is God and man truly and really present but veiled in this form, is to commit blasphemy and sacrilege against his Person, to crucify the Son of God afresh, and to treat as an unholy, ordinary thing the real blood of the covenant that bought and sanctifies God's people, the blood of God (Hebrews 10:28-31; 1 Corinthians 11:29; Acts 20:28; John 6:36).
Note to the reader:
Conservapedia cannot tell readers what to believe. It can only present in encyclopedic form all the relevant reliable information, free of liberal and atheistic bias. After considering all the evidence, and carefully verifying it from other sources, the question that each reader must answer is: What does the Bible say? How do you read its meaning? What makes sense to you? This was the approach of Jesus himself (Luke 10:26; John 10:25-26, 38; John 8:46-47).
See Josh McDowell's Evidence That Demands a Verdict, and the works of Peter Kreeft.
See also Christian apologetics and Exegesis.

"the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed animals, and creeping things"

Romans 1:23
There is a profound difference between an idolatrous image, being worshipped as if it were alive and a god, and a different being from the one true God, and representations of artistic beauty resembling God's own material creations which praise and honor both him and those who serve him, in worshiping only him.
God himself commanded images of living things be made, but he also commanded that nothing made by a craftsman or by anyone should be worshipped as a god, gods of silver and gods of gold, gods of wood, gods of clay, and gods of stone. The intention in the heart is what makes the difference between an idolater and a person who directs worship toward God on seeing representations of virtue, and the beauty of holiness. "Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7; Romans 14:10-12. The high priest Eli accused Hannah of drunkenness when he saw her lips move in devout prayer, but he was wrong. 1 Samuel 1:12-17.
Compare
Exodus 20:3-6, 23; 36:1, 8, 35; 37:6-9, 17-21; 39:22-26;
Numbers 21:8-9 and 2 Kings 18:3-5 the bronze serpent was a blessing, a miraculous image commanded by God, but the people later turned it into an idol and burned incense to it.
1 Chronicles 28:11, 18-19;
1 Kings 6:18, 23-35; 7:17-20, 23-29, 36, 42-44;
Ezekiel 41:17-20 "carved likenesses of cherubim and palm trees, a palm tree between cherub and cherub. Every cherub had two faces: the face of a man toward the palm tree on the one side, and the face of a young lion toward the palm tree on the other side" (and these were inside the temple!); Ezekiel 17:25-26;
Hebrews 8:5; 9:2-5.
Cherubim are terrifying creatures that fly with wings; so are lions with claws and fangs, and oxen with sharp hooves and horns, men with weapons, and screaming eagles with talons and beaks:
Genesis 3:24;
Psalm 18:10-15;
Ezekiel 9:3; 10:1-9, 15-20; 28:14, 16; 11:22; 41:18;
Habakkuk 3:3-5;
Revelation 22:8-9
Men, oxen, trees, gourds, flowers are all living things that, along with angels, and cherubim have been worshiped as gods (Babyon, Persia, Egypt), and as the emblems and signs of the presence of the pagan gods, such as the vegetation and harvest gods Flora and Ceres (the origin of cereal). Yet God commanded images of his beautiful creatures of nature to be made as adornments of his temple for beauty in worshiping him.
If God abhors all representations of plants, animals, men, and angelic beings, he would never have commanded these things be made for the tabernacle and for his temple. Jesus himself did not condemn the representations of these things in the Jerusalem temple rebuilt by Herod.
(cf. Philo On the Embassy to Gaius XXX-XXXII; Josephus, Antiquities and Wars; and frescoes and mosaics of people, animals and plants, discovered in 1st century Jewish synagogues).
See Iconoclasm.

"But we impart a secret and hidden mystery, the wisdom of God, which God foreordained before the worlds for our glory, which none of the rulers of this world has known.

See multiple versions of 1 Corinthians 2:7 and commentaries.
This is a direct reference to initiation into the life and mystery of the Incarnation of Christ for our redemption and sanctification to eternal life in true worship in communion with God, in contrast to the secret teachings and rituals of the Mystery religions of the pagan world.
Pagan rulers were frequently initiated into the "mysteries" of the cultic worship of the gods, as a part of the requirement of their office of authority as received from the gods, having secret teachings imparted to them about the origins of the world, the spiritual realms of the heavens, the hierarchies and powers of the gods, secrets of magic and sorcery, the creation of man, life, death, and immortality, which they were told to keep secret and not divulge to uninitiated persons on pain of death and a certainty of doom to unutterable misery in the next world as punishment for their violation of the sacred secrets of the gods.
See Orphic mysteries, Eleusinian mysteries, Gnosticism, Kabbalah, Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry, Theosophical Society, Mysticism, Esoteric, Hinduism, Buddhism, Alchemy, Occultism, Yoga, Cosmic Humanism, New age movement.
But not even the pagan rulers of this world had been given the secret and hidden mystery of the wisdom of God in Christ Jesus the Lord and taught by his apostles and handed down, delivered to us (the Latin word, tradere "to deliver", is the origin of the word "tradition").
During the first centuries of the proclamation of the Gospel the more sacred doctrinal mysteries of Christianity, the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Eucharist, were not to be revealed to pagans, and not even to new converts before they were baptized. There was real danger of inadvertently offering uncommitted new converts opportunities for personal sins of committing sacrilege and blasphemy, added to the ever-present twin threat of persecution and execution (martyrdom), which pressured many into committing apostasy by denying Jesus Christ the Son of God, thereby personally crucifying him again, and saving themselves from execution by offering sacrifice to the gods and betraying Christians to the authorities to be killed.
See (again) the following:

"I fed you with milk, not with meat; for you were not yet ready."

1 Corinthians 3:2.
"...leaving the teaching of the first principles of Christ..." Hebrews 6:1
This "leaving" is not an abandoning but an advancing forward from "the teaching of the first principles of Christ" as from the point of beginnings of basic Christian doctrines and practice to the point of more advanced understanding of the depth of God's revelation in Jesus Christ.
These two verses 1 Corinthians 3:2 and Hebrews 6:1 refer to the Christian Disciplina Arcani, Latin for the "Discipline of the Secret". See the note immediately above: "we impart a secret and hidden mystery".
See also the following texts of scripture:
Matthew 13:11
Mark 4:11
Luke 8:10
Romans 16:25
1 Corinthians 2:7; 4:1; 13:2; 14:2; 15:51
Ephesians 1:9; 3:3, 4, 9; 5:32; 6:19;
Colossians 1:26, 27; 2:2; 4:3;
1 Timothy 3:9, 16;
Revelation 10:7

"Therefore if food causes my brother to stumble, I will eat no meat forever more, that I do not cause my brother to stumble."

1 Corinthians 8:13
This is the same principle that Peter followed, when he visited the church at Antioch and withdrew from eating with the Gentiles while the circumcision party were present, and even Barnabas had followed his lead (Acts 15 and Galatians 2:11-21). Paul had withstood him to his face and accused him of hypocrisy on that occasion, as he testifies in his Letter to the Galatians, but later, in his remaining letters, such as this one, Paul has clearly repented of his judgment on Peter and relented; for he recommends and even urges believers to follow the same policy of tolerant sensitivity that he had seen Peter display at Antioch, a policy which he had called hypocrisy or insincerity but now calls mercy, for the sake of not encouraging weak Christians invited to a pagan banquet in the company of strong Christians to violate their consciences by following the stronger one's free example and thinking that by eating what God has created they are actually participating in the worship of an idol and breaking the first commandment (Exodus 20:3-6; Matthew 22:36-40). In his Epistle to the Romans (presented here in this Harmony as written after 1 Corinthians) Paul clearly states in Romans 14 and 15:
"The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God; happy is he who has no reason to judge himself for what he approves. But he who has doubts is condemned, if he eats, because he does not act from faith; for whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves; let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to edify him." Romans 14:22–15:2 RSVCE.
Peter had already understood this principle of accommodation when Paul first rebuked him for acting accordingly. The issue is not the doctrine of Christ freeing us from the rituals of the Mosaic law, but the proper discipline of order and respect for authority according to Matthew 18:15-17; Romans 13:1-2; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:5.
See commentaries on Romans 14:23.

"the woman ought to have authority on her head, because of the angels."

1 Corinthians 11.
Paul is referring to specifically Greek and Roman cultural and moral instinctive understandings of the appropriate visual marks of what is fundamentally male and what is fundamentally female, which express the more fundamental reality of the natural moral law. (See Deuteronomy 22:5.) As centuries pass and cultures change the fundamental reality of male and female remains constant. In appealing to their a priori natural sense of the profoundly innate differences between masculine and feminine natures, he says, "Does not nature itself teach you?" This is an appeal to the natural law "written and engraved in the soul of each and every man, because it is human reason ordaining him to do good and forbidding him to sin". (from CCC n. 1954; Pope Leo XIII, Libertas praestantissimum, 597).
See commentaries on
1 Corinthians 11:10; Romans 1:26 and 1:27.
The Roman Catholic Church has defined natural moral law in The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), numbers 1954-1960.
See the numerous Conservapedia articles dealing with homosexuality.
This disordered sexual orientation, whether circumstantial or voluntary, is a profound violation and rejection of the fundamental natures of man and woman, as both pathological and rebellious toward God. See Matthew 7:20-23.

"Now to him who is able to establish you ... to whom be the glory forever! Amen."

Romans 16:25-27 / 14:24-26.
This doxology is assigned variously to the end of chapters 14, 15 and 16 of Romans in the earlier manuscript tradition. Some manuscripts omit it entirely. The World English Bible footnote states,
"the Textus Receptus places Romans 14:24-26 at the end of the Letter to the Romans instead of at the end of chapter 14, and numbers these verses 16:25-27."
Both the Douay-Rheims Bible (DR) and the King James Bible (KJV) also place this doxology at the end of Romans as 16:25-27. The World English Bible (WEB) breaks with this tradition and places it earlier in the text at the end of chapter 14 as 14:24-26 instead of at the end of the Letter to the Romans.
Biblical scholars point out that, "whether written by Paul or not", this doxology forms an admirable conclusion to the letter at this point, at the end of Romans as 16:25-27.
14:24 / 16:25 Now to him who is able to establish you according to my Good News and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret through long ages,
14:25 / 16:26 but now is revealed, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, is made known for obedience of faith to all the nations;
14:26 / 16:27 to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever! Amen.

"deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus."

1 Corinthians 5:5.
Read by many as referring to excommunication.
See multiple commentaries on 1 Corinthians 5:5.
Compare the following texts:
  • Matthew 18:15-18
  • Luke 4:28-30; 6:22
  • John 8:2-11; 9:22; 12:42: 16:2: 20:23
  • Acts 5:1-5; 7:58
  • Romans 9:3; 13:1-5
  • 1 Corinthians 5:5-6; 16:22
  • 2 Corinthians 2:6-10
  • Galatians 1:8
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:15
  • 1 Timothy 1:20
  • Titus 3:10-11
  • Hebrews 13:17
  • 1 John 2:18-19

"Now there are various kinds of charisms"

1 Corinthians 12:4
RSV "Now there are varieties of gifts"
KJV "Now there are diversities of gifts"
The Greek word here is charismaton χαρισμάτων, the origin of the word "charismatic".

"different kinds of languages ... the interpretation of languages"

1 Corinthians 12:10, 30; 14:27-28.
Glossolalia. According to Paul, evidence of unbelief, and a sign to unbelievers.
See marginal notes, Chapter Thirty-seven—scroll down to "the Holy Spirit fell on all those who heard the word...They of the circumcision who believed were amazed." Acts 10:44-45..

"when that which is complete has come, then that which is partial will be done away with."

1 Corinthians 13:10.
Love is that which is complete ("perfect" KJV).
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love." 1 John 4:18.
In the context of this whole chapter, that which is "perfect" or "complete" is perfect love, which is God indwelling his people (compare Revelation 21:3).
"God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him." (1 John 4:16 RSV)
Compare John 14:23; Matthew 5:48.)
1 Corinthians 13 begins with, "Love never ends" RSV—"Charity faileth not" KJV. All else passes away. "So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love." And "when that which is complete has come, then that which is partial will be done away with." (1 Corinthians 13:13 RSV).
Compare
2 Peter 1:19 "until the morning star rises in your hearts" RSV—"day star" KJV
Revelation 2:28 "I will give him the morning star"
Revelation 22:16 "I am the root and offspring of David, the bright morning star"
Malachi 4:2 KJV / Malachi 3:20 DR "for you the Sun of righteousness will rise with healing in his wings" KJV, DR, RSV—"healing in its rays" Catholic NAB.
Christian Protestants and Fundamentalists are taught instead that the Bible itself is that which is perfect and has come. The Bible is "that which is perfect" because it perfects the Christian's faith, so that when it was finally and definitively completed in the first century "with all 66 books" (a canonical listing of the books of the Bible which was not defined before the 16th century), completed "with all 66 books" and therefore the perfect word of God, then all other gifts of the Spirit such as apostles, prophets, miracles, healings, tongues, interpretations of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:27-30), were done away (but not teachers, helpers, administrators), so that eternal salvation in Christ is now by sola fide (Romans 1:17) nurtured and informed by sola scriptura (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and led by sola spiritu (Romans 8:14)—by faith alone, with the Bible alone, in the Spirit alone—the Bible-believing Christian led by the Holy Spirit of God and trusting in Christ alone for salvation now and on the Day of Judgment.
See the following articles:
See multiple commentaries on 1 Corinthians 13:10
and 1 Peter 1:19 The prophetic doctrine of the apostolic church;
also 1 Timothy 3:15 and Revelation 21:3.
See also Biblical Canon and Bible.
In contrast, the various forms of Mystery religion, from Zen Buddhism and Gnosticism in the first century to New Age Esotericism in the twentieth century and even now, promise their initiates an experiential (not intellectual) form of "illumination" of the whole mind and heart and spirit and body with a bright light like the sun, or brighter and more brilliant than the sun, which is a false light (2 Corinthians 11:14; Colossians 1:13), which rejects all the doctrines and tradition of Christianity, and actually has an intoxicating, exhilarating and addictive spiritual effect on the person. It appeals to and generates intellectual arrogance and elitism. Theistic forms often use biblical terms to promote their claims of offering "God Realization"—"Christ in you, the hope of glory"—"God indwelling the man"—"But we have the real light of Christ"—"You are God". See Cosmic Christ.
The Apostle Paul says of Christianity, against these conceits, "But we have the mind of Christ." (1 Corinthians 2:16) Read the following relevant passages from the Bible:
1 Corinthians 1:20–2:16
Ephesians 3:14-21
Colossians 1:9-23; 2:2-19
1 Timothy 3:14-16.
Compare 2 Peter 1:16–2:3 and 2 Timothy 3:12-17.

"In A.D. 54 Claudius was assassinated by his fourth wife Agrippina, who poisoned him and took charge of the empire for her son Nero.

The accepted range of the textual critical dating of the Epistle to the Romans roughly corresponds to the date when Claudius was assassinated and Nero became emperor.
For the historical context see the following informative sources:

"Paul had preached the Good News of Christ from Jerusalem and as far round as Illyricum"

See the following links to maps of Paul's journeys:

"whom God sent to be an expiating sacrifice"

Romans 3:25
Compare the interlinear text of Romans 3:25 and multiple commentaries on Romans 3:25.
The meaning of "expiate" varies according to the differing doctrinal theologies of various denominations.
Some define it as a legal act granting total amnesty to the guilty party without demanding any punishment or restitution on the part of the guilty party to repair the harm or damage that was done; all of that is now henceforth all in the past and is no longer regarded as having any relevance for the present and the future. The guilty party is released unchanged, and is free to go;
just as a criminal carrier of a visibly deadly disease but not dying is declared innocent henceforth, with all criminal records officially erased, and released unchanged without being cured of the disease and still visibly infected and dangerous, and henceforth has full and total immunity from prosecution for any harm that he or she now freely chooses to continue doing as before or chooses to invent anew: the authority has permanently declared them totally innocent, now and forever.
Some define it as a covering over of corruption and guilt which remains intact in all of its evil character but is no longer mentioned or referred to;
just as a carrier of disease, deliberately self-infected, with a monstrously disfigured face, and a foul-smelling, oozing sore, which cannot be repaired by medicine or surgery, is beautifully clothed and covered so that any observers will not be distressed by the sight (but the disease, the deformity and the smell remains), and the corruption is totally covered up and never mentioned.
Some define it as not only the entire removal of all the corruption and evil in the character of the guilty party so that no defiling evil remains, but all of the damage and harm done to the innocent by the guilty party is completely repaired by another in such a way that no damage or ruin and pain remains, and the guilty party need do nothing in any way to make even the least token of reparation or apology for the fault or outrage committed;
just as a terminally diseased and deformed person who in a deliberate rage destroyed and burned and mutilated the property and persons of others is not only completely cured of disease and deformity, but everything and everyone damaged and harmed by that person is totally restored by another without any participation or effort or apology on the part of the responsible party; and no health requirements are imposed or ever will be imposed.
And some define it as a complete remission of the eternal guilt of sin and the full remission of the consequential eternal ruin culminating in death, with some non-permanent, long-term residual aftereffects remaining as the resultant temporal punishment, along with the remains of the damage inflicted on others, which eventually can be corrected with persistent personal effort and cooperation;
just as a healing and forgiveness of the above terminally diseased and guilty party is declared and successfully performed by the presiding judge and physician free of charge, without the death penalty, but includes requiring at least some token act of repairing some of the actual damage done as a personal acknowledgement of the harm that was inflicted, with genuine sorrow, by personally making apology, restitution and repairs as far as possible, according to any remaining, very limited, ability to do so, as a reasonably merciful punishment, and submitting to probationary supervision, as a means of securing reformation of character, and obeying a non-payable, court-appointed, medically-prescribed recovery regimen of healthy maintenance of diet, exercise and counselling to prevent the recurrence of disease.
See the following:
See also:

"do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts

Romans 6:12
Paul deals directly with the doctrine of "eternal security", which holds that, once one has received the free gift of salvation by accepting Christ Jesus as one's own personal savior, salvation cannot be lost, no matter how one lives thereafter, because eternal life in heaven with God is absolutely guaranteed.
In Romans 6 Paul condemns the belief that those "baptized into Christ" are free to sin. "Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!" (6:15 RSV) "...you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to life." He does not say "of grace, which leads to life", but "of obedience [to virtue, to righteousness] which leads to life", for "the wages of sin is death."
In 8:12-13 Paul says, "So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh--for if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live." Paul is explicit: if you belong to Christ and then freely commit all kinds of sin without shame, you will be condemned to hell, the "second death". Revelation 22:15. Compare Jude 4; 2 Peter 2:18-22; Revelation 2:14, 20-23; 1 John 5:2-5; Matthew 7:13-23.
"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." Galatians 6:7-8 KJV
See the following:
Compare
Matthew 7:15-27
Romans chapter 6
1 John 3:4-18
James 1:16–2:26
John 15:1-10
See also
commentaries on Ezekiel 18:24
commentaries on Matthew 7:21
commentaries on Matthew 12:33
commentaries on Matthew 25:29
commentaries on Revelation 22:12
See Corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus"

Romans 8:1
The entire context of Romans 6:1–8:13 shows that those who sin against their will to do good according to the law of righteousness in God, are not condemned for their unwilling and unintentional faults and offenses. Those who willingly sin in full cooperation with the lusts and passions of their flesh, while believing they are fully free and cannot be lost, are condemned for their licentiousness.
See the full context of Romans 6:1–8:13.
See also the following:

"We know that all things work together for good for those who love God...Whom he called, those he also justified. Whom he justified, those he also glorified"

Romans 8:28-30
Those who teach "universal atonement for all, the elect and non-elect alike" claim that God has predestined for salvation, justification and glory, anyone and everyone who accepts the will of God and Christ as Savior.
Catholics and Orthodox apply this passage especially to the Virgin Mary as the type of the woman clothed with the sun in Revelation 12.
See Immaculate Conception.

If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing so, you will heap coals of fire on his head.

Romans 12:20
This is a direct reference to Proverbs 25:21-22, with Paul omitting "and the LORD will vindicate you". See commentaries on Romans 12:20 "heap coals of fire on his head" and Proverbs 25:22.

"confirms us with you in Christ, and anointed us, is God; who also sealed us, and gave us the down payment of the Spirit in our hearts.

2 Corinthians 1:21.
This is read by many (Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran) as a description of the sacrament of Confirmation: the one being confirmed is anointed with chrism (holy oil) and sealed by God with the Holy Spirit through the laying on of the hands of a bishop, or by the priest he has authorized to act with his authority for that occasion. They regard this as the sacramental form of Baptism in the Holy Spirit, which bestows on the Christian the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. See commentaries.
Those who have been sacramentally confirmed and have afterward become active in the Charismatic movement claim that their experience of "outpourings of the Spirit" during charismatic prayer meetings is not the actual Baptism in the Holy Spirit itself, but simply a powerful activation of the gifts that were already present within them but dormant until released by their enthusiastic cooperation with the Holy Spirit Himself. See Pentecostalism and Holiness Movement.

" we are not as so many, peddling the word of God."

2 Corinthians 3:17.
Paul is referring to those who become preachers of the Gospel in order to receive large financial gains through offerings and donations from Christians, "supposing that gain is godliness" (1 Timothy 6:5-6 KJV; see 2 Corinthians 12:17-18). See commentaries on 2 Corinthians 3:17.
This "peddling of the word of God" is seen today in the marketing strategies of those religious demagogues who cause scandal (Romans 2:24) by reaping huge incomes from donations solicited (some say emotionally extorted) from their devotees through mass evangelical revival meetings, radio and television broadcasts, and collection-offerings in what have been called "mega-churches" boasting thousands of families as members, who are seldom or never personally seen by their leaders—those chief pastors and evangelists who live as wealthy people, with mansions, expensive clothing and jewelry, cars and yachts, income properties, lawyers and seven-figure personal bank accounts.
It is an historical fact supported by abundant documentation that since the first century there have been multitudes of predatory individuals like Judas—who stole donations from the money box (John 12:6) and betrayed Christ for thirty pieces of silver—who have scandalously abused the ecclesiastical offices of deacon, pastor, priest, bishop, archbishop, metropolitan, patriarch and pope for personal financial and political gain, who have "lived on earth in luxury and in pleasure", who have fattened their hearts for a day of slaughter (James 5:5). This was one of the key issues of moral abuse at the heart of the Protestant Reformation, cited by the Reformers as evidence of the Great Apostasy (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
Historical observers of the controversy over ecclesiastical greed have pointed out that, by the same reasoning, if betrayal of the Gospel of Christ by many for the sake of personal gain is one of the primary evidences of Apostasy, then the betrayal of Judas Iscariot himself is a primary proof that Christ was a fraud and his doctrine false, because Judas himself was one of the Twelve Apostles. But they also cite abundant documentary evidence that throughout the centuries of Christianity before and during the Protestant Reformation a far greater numerical majority of individuals in ecclesiastical and pastoral roles, depriving themselves of personal advantage, have distributed abundant funds for the relief of suffering of their people, including the establishment of hospitals, orphanages, and schools, and the ransom of prisoners of war and persecution, and for the expense of public propagation of the Gospel of salvation through support of the missionary effort throughout the world.
Protestant Christianity too has likewise displayed abundant examples of individuals in pastoral and evangelical roles of leadership who have abused their positions of influence for the sake of personal indulgence and "filthy lucre", as already cited above (see 1 Timothy 3:3, 8; Titus 1:7, 11; 1 Peter 5:2). By the same reasoning used against Catholicism and Orthodoxy by the Reformers, these individuals are likewise evidence of Apostasy in Protestantism and are evidence that Protestant and Fundamentalist Christianity is likewise a false doctrine. But there is far more admirable evidence of self-sacrificing use of donations by Protestant leaders of churches and the bands of missionaries sent abroad by them, who likewise deny themselves, for the rescue, relief and benefit of the poor, homeless and suffering peoples of the world, and who freely proclaim the Gospel of salvation in Christ Jesus.
See the command of Jesus Christ to his disciples in Matthew 10:8.

"Apostles of the assemblies"

2 Corinthians 8:23.
KJV "messengers of the churches".
These are missionary-ambassador-representatives of Christ sponsored and sent out by the congregations. The Greek text here says, ἀπόστολοι apostoloi "apostles" = "those sent", "ambassadors", "authorized representatives".
23 εἴτε ὑπὲρ Τίτου, κοινωνὸς ἐμὸς καὶ εἰς ὑμᾶς συνεργός· εἴτε ἀδελφοὶ ἡμῶν, ἀπόστολοι ἐκκλησιῶν, δόξα Χριστοῦ.
See Strong's number 652 ἀπόστολοι is translated as "messengers" for the KJV 2 Corinthians 8:23. Compare exactly the same word, this time translated as "ambassadors", in KJV 2 Corinthians 5:20 "we are ambassadors for Christ". The Greek word for "messengers" is not ἀπόστολοι, but is αγγλοι (plural aggloi = angels) from αγγλος (singular agglos = angel, "messenger"). The KJV translators read the two terms ἀπόστολοι and αγγλοι as synonymous, as having the same meaning. See interlinear 2 Corinthians 8:23

"For if he who comes preaches another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or if you receive a different spirit, which you did not receive, or a different “good news”, which you did not accept..."

2 Corinthians 11:4. Compare Galatians 1:6-9.
Paul's reproach is a principle warning about the essential, evil strategy of the Devil and of cults and heresies, who fundmentally redefine terms that are scriptural and orthodox by altering their meaning, so that while they use the same religious vocabulary, the doctrines they teach and the terms they define are opposed to the revelation of God's truth and lead those they deceive into practicing sin and error as forms of righteousness, making them enemies of God and enemies of genuine righteousness by practicing a false religion.
The Jews accused Jesus of essentially preaching another God, because he did not "keep the Sabbath" (John 9:16), and deliberately allowed himself to touch and be touched by those whom the law of Moses declared unclean, including dead persons.
See Deuteronomy 13, Leviticus 15:31 and Numbers 19:20.
Heretics through the Christian centuries are all those who have been accused of corrupting and altering the doctrines and dogmas of orthodox catholic Christianity to invent another religion offering another Christ, another God and another Gospel of salvation. See
See also Marcion, Gnosticism, Great Schism, Protestant Reformation, Theosophical Society, New age movement, Cosmic Christ.
The majority of conservative Protestant Evangelicals and Fundamentalists accuse the Catholic and Orthodox Churches of preaching another Jesus and another Gospel by deceitfully offering the idolatrous worship of the pagan Roman religion of Emperor Constantine under the guise of Christianity.

When Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a revolt with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the tribunal. They said, "This fellow is persuading men to worship God in a manner contrary to law!"

Paul was about to open his mouth when Gallio said to the Jews, "Listen, you Jews. If this were a matter of crime or especially sex crime, then the law would require me to hear you out. But if this is a question of words and names, and of your law, then you handle it; I will not be a judge of such cases."

And he ordered them expelled from his tribunal. Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the chief warden of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal. And Gallio cared not a whit about these matters.

After this, Paul stayed there for a good while longer, and then said good-bye to the brothers, and sailed from there to Syria. With him were Priscilla and Aquila. Aquila had shaved his head in Cenchrea, because he had taken a vow. He came to Ephesus, and left them there. For his part, he went into the synagogue, and debated with the Jews. When they wanted him to stay longer, he refused. He said good-bye to them, saying, "I must keep this upcoming feast in Jerusalem at all costs. But I will come back to you, God willing."

And he sailed from Ephesus. When he had landed at Caesaria, and gone up, and greeted the church, he went down to Antioch. After he had spent some time there, he left, and went all over the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the students of Christ.


[Know that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he comes shortly, I will see you.]

Yet remember past days when, after you learned the truth, battled against adversity. Sometimes you were mocked and attacked, other times you joined those who were treated like that.

But we aren't the sort to abandon faith for damnation, but the sort who believe in saving the soul.


A certain Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, an eloquent man, and very learned in Scripture, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the Way of the Lord, and was fervent in the Spirit. He spoke and taught the things of the Lord accurately enough, but he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla had heard him, they took him in, and explained the Way of God to him more perfectly. When he expressed a willingness to travel to Achaia, the brothers wrote to encourage the students of Christ to receive him.


[Know that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he comes shortly, I will see you.]

[Salute all who lead you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.] [Boundless generosity be with you all. Amen.]


WHen he came, he was a great help to those who had believed through grace: because he powerfully convinced the Jews, and publicly, too, showing according to the Scriptures that Jesus was Christ.


In many ways and at many times in the past, God spoke to our fathers through the prophets, but in these the Last Days He has spoken to us through His Son, whom He determined to be the inheritor of everything, the Son, by whom He made the worlds, the Son, who is the very brightness of His Glory, and the very image of His Person, and the bearer of all things, carrying them by the Word of his power. When He, the Son, had Himself accomplished a cleansing of our sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Greatness on High.

This One, then, is to be considered inestimably better than angels having been bequeathed a title more excellent than they. Did He say, at any time, to an angel, "You are My Son, today I have become your father", or "I will be his Father and he shall be My Son," or, as happened when He brought the Firstborn into the world, "Let all the angels of God worship Him"? But, rather, of angels, He says, "He makes His angels spirits, and His servants a flaming fire." But to the Son, He says, "Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever, a scepter of righteousness, the scepter of Your Kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness. For this reason, God, Your God, has anointed You from among all your companions with the oil of joy." And, "You, Lord, in the beginning of all, set down earth's foundations. The universe is the work of Your hands. They shall perish; but You remain. As a garment they all wear out. And as a cloak, You will fold them up. They will be changed but You remain the same, Your years shall have no end." But to any angel, did He say at any time, "Sit at my right hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for You?" Aren't they all spirits of service, sent out to serve those who will be heirs of salvation?

Therefore, we need to take very seriously what we have heard, if we are not to fall away. If the word "spoken by angels" stood firm, and every violation and disobedience met with its due "payback", How can we escape, if we neglect such a great salvation, first spoken about by the Lord, and then passed on to us with surety by those who heard the Lord. These people had God's own witness to what they were saying by His granting signs, and wonders and various demonstrations of His power, gifts of the Holy Spirit, just as He deemed proper.

It was not to angels that He subjected the coming worlds of which we are speaking. Someone in some place gives testimony, saying, What is man that You think of him or the Son, a human being, that You watch over him? You have made him somewhat less than the angels, you have crowned him with Glory and Honour, and have placed him over the works of Your hands. You have put everything under His feet in subjection to Him. All things are placed in subjection to Him. Nothing has not been put under Him.

But we do not see now that all things are put under him. But we see Jesus, who had become a little "lower than the angels" for the suffering of death, we see Him crowned with Glory and Honour, so, by God's grace, He could taste the death of every man. For it was just like the Father, seeing that everything was created by Him, and it was for Him that they were made, when he determined to bring many sons into Glory, to make the Fount of their salvation, perfect through the suffering which He endured For both He who makes holy and those who are made holy are one. That is why He is not embarrassed to call them His brothers. Saying, I will proclaim Your name to my brothers, in the midst of the church I will sing Your praises. And again, I will totally put my confidence in Him, and again, Yes, I and the children God has give me. Because the children were human beings, He also became a human being, so that He might die, and through that, destroy the one holding the powere of death, namely, the Devil, freeing them who because of their fear of death, were held in lifelong bondage. And so He took on not the nature of angels, but rather that of the seed of Abraham. Because of all this, it was necessary for Him to be exactly like His brothers, so that He might prove to be a merciful and faithful High Priest toward God for them, and to make a reconciliation for the people's sins. Because He Himself has endured temptation, He is able to help those who are being tempted.

So, my holy brothers, sharing in the heavenly call, focus in on the Apostle and High Priest of our faith, Christ Jesus. Yes, He was faithful to the One who appointed Him, in similar fashion as Moses was faithful to all his house. But this One was far more worthy of regard than Moses, as it is really the builder of the house, rather than the house itself, that we have the more regard for. Every house is built by some particular individual. But everything that is built has God as its builder. And it was as a servant that Moses was faithful in all his house, the full implications of this could only be understood later on, But Christ was faithful as a Son over the house, and that house his own; and we are that house, if we only hold on tight to the confidence and to the joy of this hope, until the very end.

And so (The Holy Spirit is speaking: This Day, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the Trial, the day of temptation of the Wilderness The time your fathers tempted me, put me to the trial, having seen my doings for forty years! So, My heart was cut, hurt because of that generation, and I said, "They are always wandering astray in their hearts. The have not known My ways." And I swore in my anger, "They shall not enter into My Rest!")

And so, my brothers, Be alert that there be no evil heart of unbelief and departing from the living God. Cause others every day to be serious about it while we are in "This Day" now, so that you do not become hardened by deceptive way that sin has. We will be sharers in Christ, if our early confidence sees us through to the end, as to it being said. "This Day, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the Trial, the day of temptation of the Wilderness". This was applicable to the ones who had come out of Egypt, the ones who provoked. Who were the ones with whom He was grieved for forty years? was it not with those whose dead bodies lie in the Wilderness? Who were they that He swore would not enter into His Rest? were they not those who believed not? So we see, it was because of unbelief that they could not enter.

Let us be fearful, therefore, that any of us, falling short, do not enter His Rest. We, as well as the people of former time, had God's word proclaimed to us, but they not having faith mixed in with the Word that they heard. For it is we believers who do enter the Rest, He having said, "I have sworn in my anger that they should not enter my Rest", the Rest commencing with the conclusion of the work undertaken for the founding of the world. Because in a certain place He spoke in words to this effect, "And God rested on the seventh day from all His works." And then in another place, "They shall not enter into my Rest!" And so we see that some are to enter in and we also see that the ones first preached to did not enter in - because of their unbelief

And then again we see that there is a "certain day", according to David from a time much later on. It is said, "This Day, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts". Well, if Joshua had given them the Rest, then there would not have been need to afterward speak of another Day. And so "the Rest" remains for the people of God. For the one who has entered into his Rest, He has ceased from his own "works", just as God did from his. Let us labor, therefore to enter our Rest, God forbid there befall us what unbelief brings,

Yes, God's mandate is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, cutting down between the soul and the spirit, striking even inner bone, and tendon, and knowing what is going on in one's heart and mind. No created thing is left unexposed to His sight; all are naked and open to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

Well, seeing that we do have a great High Priest, that has gone through into Heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold strong in our confession. We do not have a High Priest who is untouched and immune to what we go through, our debilities: in every way we are, He was tempted, but did not sin. So let us come with confidence to the Throne of Grace, so that we can obtain mercy and God's compassion, to help us for the time of our need. For every high priest taken from men is given for men for things that pertain to God, for the purpose of offerings and sacrifices and these can have sympathy on those that are ignorant and who stray, because he likewise has these debilities. And that is why he needs to offer up for his own sins, just as for the others.

No person can take the weight of this honor on his own, but he must be called by God, just as was Aaron. The same with Christ; He did not take this honor on Himself to make Himself a high priest. It was He that said to Him, "You are my Son, This Day I have fathered You." He also said somewhere else, "You are a Priest forever, in the likeness of Melchizedek." This One when He was on earth in the flesh, offered up prayers and heartfelt stirrings with loud cries and tears to Him having the power to save Him from death, and He was heard, for he feared God. Even though He was a Son, He still had to learn obedience by endurance through the things He suffered. And so having become perfect, He became the Source of eternal salvation for all who will obey Him. Yes, He was called by God to be in such a way in the likeness of Melchizedek.

I have many things to say about this matter, but it is difficult, you are so hard to get through to. You should be teachers by this time, but you yourselves need to be taught the very basics of the message of God, You need to drink milk, not eat solid meat. Everyone needing milk is still a baby, "milk" for the bumblers, taking first steps in the word of righteousness. Solid food is for the grown-ups, those that have mastered solid steps in the distinguishing between good and evil.

Setting aside the principles of Christ's truth, let's talk about perfection, not explaining the necessity of repentance and faithfulness to God again, of the doctrines of baptism, healing by faith, resurrecting the dead, and eternal judgment. So we shall, God permitting. Because it's impossible for those who have seen the truth and tasted God's gift, who have taken part in the Divine Guide, and have enjoyed God's good word and the heavenly powers, if they fail in faith, to bring them back to repent. Since they are crucifying and shaming the Son of God once again. Because the earth, which absorbs the rain and produces vegetation to provide for us, is blessed by God. But the land covered in thorns and thistles is rejected, even cursed. It is destined to be burned.

Friends, though we talk like this, we're convinced better things are in store for you, along with salvation. God is not deceitful and will not forget your work, which you have done loving His name, like ministering to the saints. We hope that all of you show the same work ethic and hope until the very end, that you won't be lazy, but follow those who inherit Jesus' promises through faith and patience.

When God promised Abraham, because he could swear no bigger oath, he swore by himself. He said, "I will certainly bless you and multiply you." So, after patient endurance, he received the promise. Men always swear by greater things and assume that it will end their problems. So God used an oath to show the heirs of His promise that his counsel would never change. It is impossible for God to lie, so He did this so we who have fled to grasp His hope could be consoled by two unchanging things. The hope is the anchor of the soul, strong and secure, and enters behind the curtain, where Jesus, our forerunner, has entered. He is the high priest for ever in the order of Melchisedec.

Melchisedec, King of Salem, and God's priest, met Abraham returning from the decimation of kings and blessed him. Abraham gave him a tenth of everything, including the title of King of righteousness, later also King of Salem, meaning "King of peace." Fatherless, motherless, without family, without a beginning or end, he was made like the Son of God, being a priest eternally. Consider how great he was, since the patriarch Abraham gave him one tenth of everything. So the sons of Levi who enter the priesthood have been commanded to take tithes from the people as the law states - from their brothers - though they are descended from Abraham.. He didn't descend from them, but received Abraham's tithes, and blessed him with the promise. Without contradiction, the less is blessed all the more. Here, men who die receive tithes, but there, the living receives them. Levi too, while receiving tithes, paid them to Abraham. Because he was still a descendant of his father when Melchisedec met him.

So if one could be perfected by the Levitical priesthood (which gave people the law) what was the point of another priest after Melchisedec not called of the order of Aaron? The priesthood has been changed and so there must be a change of the law. Because He whom this is about is from another tribe, which wasn't allowed to access the altar. It's clear that our Lord came from Juda, a tribe about which Moses spoke nothing about the priesthood. It is even clearer that another priest has arisen the same as Melchizedek, who is created not by the laws of the physical world, but with the power of everlasting life. For he taught, "You are a priest forever pursuant to the order of Melchizedek."

There was truly a cancellation of the prior commandment because it became weak and unprofitable. For the law made nothing perfect, but the introduction of a greater hope did, by which we come close to God. It was only with an oath that He was made priest; for the other priests were ordained without an oath. But He took this oath that said to Him, "The Lord swore and will not recant, 'You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek' By this Jesus became a guarantee of a better covenant.

There were many priests, because death prevented them from continuing forever in their position. But this man, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. He is thereby also able to save to the utmost those who come to God by Him, seeing that He lives forever to intercede for them. For such a high priest became of us; He is holy, harmless, undefiled, away from sinners, and exalted higher than the heavens; who, unlike the high priests, make daily sacrifices, first for his own sins, and then for the people's, because he did this once when he offered up himself. For the law makes men high priests who have human weakness; but the word of the oath, which came later after the law, makes the Son who is consecrated forever.

This is the main point here: we have such a high priest who sits at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in Heaven, a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord set up, and not man. For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices, thus it is necessary that this man also have something to offer. For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, seeing that there are priests who offer gifts pursuant to the law, who imitate the example and image of heavenly things; as Moses was admonished by God for whom he was about to construct the tabernacle: "See", said He, "that you make all things according to the pattern showed to you in the mount." But now He has obtained a more perfect ministry, by how much also is he the mediator of a finer covenant, which was founded on stronger promises.

If that first covenant had been perfect, then there would have been no need for the second. But finding fault with them, He said, "'The day will come,' said the Lord, 'when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers at the time when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they lived in violation of my covenant, and I disregarded them,' said the Lord. 'For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days,' said the Lord; 'I will put implant my laws in their minds, and write them in their hears, and I will be a God to them, and they shall be a people to me.' And they shall not teach every male neighbor, and every grown brother, saying, 'Know the Lord because all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.' For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and iniquities I will forgive and forget. By saying, 'A new covenant,' he has discarded the first one. Now that which decays and grows old is ready to disappear.

The first covenant had rules about divine service and an earthly sanctuary. A tabernacle was built, with a candlestick, table, and bread inside, called the sanctuary. Beyond the second veil, they called it the Holiest of all. There was a gold censer and the ark of the covenant, surrounded with gold, with a golden pot with manna in it, Aaron's budded rod, and the tables of the covenant. Over it, cherubim of glory shadowed the seat of mercy, of which we don't know details. When this was all explained, the priests were always went into the first tabernacle to do God's services. However, only the high priest went into the second, once a year, with blood which he offered on his own behalf and for the people's sins. The Divine Guide thus established that the way to the holiest place of all wasn't yet revealed while the first tabernacle still stood. This was for the present time, when gifts and sacrifices were given which couldn't perfect their consciences. They were about food and drink and cleansing and various rules, set upon them until the time of reformation arrived. Christ, being a high priest of the great things in store, came by a perfect tabernacle, not constructed by hands. That is, not this building. He earned eternal redemption for us by entering the holy place with His own blood, not the blood of goats and cows. Because, if bull and goat blood and the ashes of a cow sprinkled on the unclean purify the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ clean your soul from the past to serve the living God, since he, sinless, has offered Himself through the eternal Spirit to God? So He is the mediator of the New Testament, or will, so that we may be redeemed of our failings under the first will can receive the promise of God's eternal gift through death.

Where there's a will, the writer of the will must have died. Testaments only apply after men die, and have no power whatsoever while they live. So the first will was established with blood. When Moses had discussed ever part of the law with the people, he took calf and goat blood, water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled the book and the people. He said, "This is the blood of the testament which God has give to you." Then he sprinkled the tabernacle and the vessels of ministry with blood. Almost everything is cleansed by law with blood, for without blood there is no forgiveness. So it was necessary that these copies of heavenly things be purified, but heavenly things need a better sacrifice.

So Christ hasn't entered into man-made holy places, which are attempts to copy the real thing, but heaven itself, ready to appear before God on our behalf. But he shouldn't offer himself often, just as the high priest only enters the holy place once a year with the blood. Because then, he would have to suffer since the beginning of time many times! But instead, he has appeared once near the end of history to remove sin by sacrificing himself. It is reserved for men to die once, and then be judged; thus Christ, offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear sinless a second time to those who look for him, to deliver them to salvation.

The law casting only a shadow of good things to come, and not the actual image of such things, can never attain complete perfection with those annual sacrifices. Otherwise would not the offerings have ceased? Because then the worshipers once purified would no longer be aware of sins. But those sacrifices are annual repeated remembrance of sins. This is because it not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

For this He came into the world, saying, "Sacrifice and offering you would not, but a body you have prepared for me. There is no pleasure in your burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin." Then I said, "Alas, I came (as written in the scriptures) to do your will, oh God." Above when He said, "You had no pleasure in the sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin, which are offered pursuant to the law; Next He said, "Amen, I come to do Your will, oh God." He took away the first in order to establish the second, by which intent we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once and for all.

Each priest does his duties daily and offers sacrifices incapable of taking away sins, yet this one, offering only one sacrifice for all sins ever, sits down at God's right hand. Now he waits until his enemies become his footstool, since with one offering he has eternally perfected the purified. The Divine Guide has told us of this. He said, "I will make this covenant with them after those days. I will place my laws in their hearts and write them in their minds." "I will forget their sins and failures." Where there has been forgiveness, no more offering is required.

So, brothers, having the courage to enter the holiest place by the blood of Jesus, by the new, living way through the he has established for us, through his flesh, and with a new high priest over God's house. Let us come to God with true hearts bolstered by faith, washed clean of evil conscience, our bodies washed with pure water. Let us stay true to the declaration of our faith, unwavering, for He who promises is trustworthy. Let's think about each other to bring about love and good deeds. Let's not fail to gather together, like some have, but encourage each other more and more as we see the day grow near.

If we choose to sin after gaining knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice remains to purify us, but instead a fearful expectation of judgment and fiery anger will devour God's enemies. A man who mocked Moses' law died without mercy before a few men. How much worse do you think it'll be for the man who trampled the Son of God, and has considered His blood of the covenant, which purified him, a silly thing, and has attacked the Spirit of grace? We all know He who said, "Vengeance is mine. I will repay," said the Lord. Similarly, "The Lord will judge His people." It is a frightening thing to fall into the living God's hands.

Yet remember past days when, after you learned the truth, battled against adversity. Sometimes you were mocked and attacked, other times you joined those who were treated like that. You cared for me while I was imprisoned, and stood happily while your property was ransacked, knowing you have a far better provision in heaven. So don't throw away your confidence as it will be greatly rewarded. You must be patient that after doing God's will, you will receive your due. It will still be a while until He who will come will come with haste. The just will live through faith and if any man abandons it, my soul won't be pleased. But we aren't the sort to abandon faith for damnation, but the sort who believe in saving the soul.

Faith is the confidence in our hopes, the evidence of the unseen. Through it, the elders gained a good reputation. Through faith, we discover the universe was created by God's word, so that which we see didn't come from anything visible. Through faith, Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain, and God proclaimed that he was righteous. His faith still speaks, though he is dead. Through faith, Enoch was summoned up, so that he would not die. He was not found, as God had carried him away. Before this, he had been told he pleased God. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Anyone coming to God must believe that He is God, that He is the rewarder of those who seek him.

Through faith, Noah was warned by God of the future, and built an Ark to save his house. Though the world was condemned, he became heir of the righteousness of faith. Through faith, Abraham, called to the land he was to inherit, obeyed the call. He went there, not knowing where he was going. Through faith he traveled into the promised land, a foreign country, staying in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, likewise heirs of the very same promise. He looked for a city with solid foundations, with God its builder and maker.

Through faith, Sara received the ability to conceive a child, and gave birth when she was very old, because she trusted in the faith of He who promised. So from a man, as old as near death, came as many descendants as there are stars in the sky, grains of sand by the sea shore. They all died in faith without the promises personally, but were persuaded after having seen them at a distance. They embraced the promises and confessed that they were strangers and travelers on the earth. Those who speak like that are clearly stating they seek a new country. If they had been focused on their country of origin, they might have gone back to it. But instead, they wish for a better country, a heavenly one. So God is not ashamed to be called their God, because he has built them a city.

Through faith, Abraham offered Isaac when tested. He who was given promises offered up his only son. The scripture said of him, "Your descendants will come through Isaac." Abraham believed God could resurrect him from the dead, and in a way he did get him back that way. Through faith, Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau about the future. Through faith, Jacob blessed the sons of Joseph when near death and worshiped God while leaning on his staff. Through faith, Joseph mentioned the exodus of the Israelites at his death, and made orders about his body. Through faith, Moses was hidden by his parents for three months after his birth because they saw he was a special child and weren't afraid of the despot's command. Through faith, Moses refused to be called Pharaoh's daughter's son when he reached adulthood. Instead he chose to undergo trials with the people of God, rather than enjoy sinful pleasures for any time. He thought suffering for Christ more valuable than all the treasure in Egypt, because he looked forward to his reward.

Through faith he abandoned Egypt, without fear of the pharaoh. He strove forward, seeing He who is invisible. Through faith, he observed the passover and sprinkling of blood, in case the destroyer of the firstborn touched them. Through faith, they traveled through the Red Sea like it was land, while the Egyptians were drowned trying. Through faith, the walls of Jericho fell after they were surrounded for seven days. Through faith, Rahab the prostitute didn't die with the unbelievers, after she welcomed the spies.

What else can I say? There's not enough time to tell of Gedeon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets, who through faith conquered nations, brought righteousness, gained promises, and quieted lions, quenched fiery violence, escaped death by sword, made strong though originally weak, turned valiant in fight, and caused the foreign armies to flee. Women received their dead back alive; others were tortured while not refusing to sell out, so that they might obtain a better resurrection. Meanwhile, others endured cruel mockings and scourgings and, yes, even chains and imprisonment; they were stoned, sawed in half, tempted and slain by sword; they wandered around in garments made of sheepskin and goatskin, while destitute, oppressed and distressed; the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts, over mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. Yet all of them, though rewarded through their faith, did not receive the promise; God gave us more, so that they need us to become complete.

Thus, amongst such a large crowd of witnesses, let us set aside all anxiety and sin that distract us, and let us run with perseverance the race given us, inspired by Jesus, the creator and perfecter of our faith, who endured the cross for the triumphant finish, rising above the shame, and now sits at the right hand of God's throne.

Think of how He endured so much opposition by sinners against himself, so that you do not tire and lose heart. You have not yet shed blood in resistance and striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to children, My son, despite not you the chastening of the LORD, nor faint when you are rebuked of him. For those whom the LORD loves he disciplines, and scourges every son who he receives. If you endure discipline, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is never disciplined by his father? But if you are not disciplined, whereof all are partakers, then you are bastards, and not sons. Furthermore, we have had fathers like us who corrected us, and we gave them reverence shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live? For they truly disciplined us for a few days after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we may partake in his holiness.

Now no discipline for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous, nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to them which are exercised thereby. Why lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. Looking diligently lest any man fall from grace with God; lest any bitterness spring up to trouble you, and by that defile many, lest there be any who fornicate, or any who are profane, as Esau, who sold his birthright for one morsel of meat. For you know how afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected for he did not find a place to repent, though he sought it carefully and tearfully.

For you are not to come to the mount that might be touched, and that burned, nor unto blackness, darkness, and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard said that the word should not be said to them anymore (for they could not endure the command, and if even a beast so much as touched the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart. And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake) but you are to come to mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of good men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood for sprinkling, that speaks better things than Abel.

See that you refuse not him who speaks. For if they did not escape those who refused him that spoke on Earth, much more we shall not escape, if we turn away from he who speaks from heaven. But now he has promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not only the Earth, but also heaven. And this word, yet once more, signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of those that are made, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Thus as we receive a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a strong, consuming fire.

Don't forget to be hospitable to strangers; by doing that, some have unknowingly been hospitable to angels. Remember those who are imprisoned as if you were imprisoned with them, and those who are suffering as if you yourself felt their suffering with your own body. Honor marriage and keep the marriage bed pure; God will judge the promiscuous and the adulterers.

Let your way be without love of money, and be content with what you have now. God has said, I will never leave you or abandon you. So we can boldly say, "The Lord is my helper, and will not be afraid of what any man will do to me."

Remember your rulers, who have spoken the word of God to you. Follow the example of their faith, carefully observing the result of their behavior. Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, and today, and forever. Do not be carried about with divers and false doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart is established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have occupied therein. We have an altar, while they have no right to eat what serves the tabernacle. For the bodies of these beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest of sin, are burned without the camp. Why even Jesus, so that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.

Let us go forth therefore to him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one. Therefore, by him, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate, do not forget that with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Obey your leaders, and submit yourselves for they watch for your souls, as they must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief, for grief is not profitable for you.

Pray for us for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live without deceit. But I beseech you, please do this, that I may be restored to you more quickly.

Now the God of peace, that brought our Lord Jesus back from the dead again, that great shepherd, through the blood of the endless covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well and pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom there shall be glory forever.

[And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation for I have written a short letter to you. Know that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he comes shortly, I will see you. Salute all who lead you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.]

[Boundless generosity be with you all. Amen.]


It happened that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul, having passed through the upper coasts, came to Ephesus. Finding certain students of Christ there, he told them, "Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?" And they told him, "But we never even heard whether any Holy Spirit exists!"

He asked them, "Then what were you baptized into?"

And they said, "The baptism of John."

Then Paul said, "True enough, John baptized with the baptism of repentence. He used to tell the people that they need to believe on the One Who would come after him, on Christ Jesus."

When they heard this, they were baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in foreign languages, and prophesied. Twelve men were involved.

He then went into the synagogue, and spoke boldly for about three months, debating and persuading people of the things concerning the kingdom of God. But when several people were hardened, and disbelieved, but said bad things about that Way in front of the crowd, he departed from them, and separated the students, debating daily in the school of a man named Tyrannus. This continued for two years. So everyone who lived in Asia Province heard the Word of the Lord Jesus, both Jew and Greek alike.


From: Paul, who was called by God's will to be one of Jesus Christ's apostles, and our brother Sosthenes

To: The church of God at Corinth, those sanctified in Jesus Christ, called to be church members, along with all those everywhere who, along with them and us, pray to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Grace and peace to you, from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I always thank God for the grace of God which is given to you by Jesus Christ, and I also thank God that he gives you so much help in your words and knowledge. Even as you have had confirmation of the testimony of Christ, you are not lacking any gifts as you wait for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will continue to give you confirmation until the end, so that you will be free of blame when He does come. God keeps his word, and it is by Him that you were called into the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Now I beg you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you speak with one voice, that you let there be no divisions among you, that you be perfectly joined together with unanimous judgment. Chloe's relatives have told me that you, my brothers, have some contentiousness among you. I'm saying that you all are saying, "I'm a follower of Paul" or "I'm a follower of Apollos" or "I'm a follower of Peter" or "I'm a follower of Christ." Is Christ divided? Was I crucified for you, or were you baptized in my name? Thank God I didn't baptize any of you but Crispus and Gaius, or else some would be saying that I had been baptizing in my own name! Oh, I also baptized Stephanas's family; other than that, I don't know if I baptized anyone else. In any case, Christ didn't send me to baptize. He sent me to preach the gospel, but not with the kind of liberal claptrap that would make Christ's sacrifice ineffectual.

To those who are going to Hell, preaching about Jesus is nonsense, but to those of us who are going to Heaven, that preaching is the power of God. In scripture, God says, "I will destroy the wisdom of those who think they are wise and reduce to nothing the understanding of those who think they are well-informed." Where are the "wise", the "well-educated," and the debater? Hasn't God made their wisdom of the world look pretty foolish now? Since the pseudowisdom of the world didn't know anything about God, it is amusing to God that the so-called foolishness of our preaching is what saves us believers. For example, the Jews expect to see a sign from heaven, and the Greeks demand demonstrations of "wisdom." But what we preach is the crucifixion of Christ. For the Jews, this is a scandal and for the Greeks it's moronic. But to those who listen to us, whether Jewish or Greek, what we preach is the power and the wisdom of God. They know that this "foolishness" of God is wiser than men; the "weakness" of God is stronger than men.

My brothers, think about your own experience of being called to Christ. Not many wise (by worldly standards), not many powerful, not many high-born are called. God chose the things the world considers foolish in order to confuse the wise, and the things the world considers weak in order to weaken the strong. And God chose the things the world considers low and despicable, and things which are not, to bring to nothingness the things that are so that nobody can be proud in His presence. It's a gift of God that you are with Jesus Christ, whom God made our wisdom, morality, holiness, and redemption. So, as it as says in scripture, if you're going to be proud about anything, be proud about the Lord.

My brothers, when I came to you to testify about God, I didn't come speaking with fancy words or wisdom. I had decided that among you I didn't need to know about anything except Jesus Christ and his crucifixion. When I was with you, I was weak and trembling with fear. And when I spoke and preached, it wasn't with attractive words of human "wisdom", but it did demonstrate God's power so that your faith would be not in human "wisdom" but in the power of God. However, we speak with real wisdom among those whose understanding is complete, but it isn't the "wisdom" of this world, and it isn't the "wisdom" of the rulers of this world, who come to nothing. We speak the wisdom of God as a mystery, even the secret wisdom which God selected before the world for our glory. None of the rulers of this world knew this wisdom; if they had known it, they wouldn't have crucified our glorious Lord. But as it says in scripture, no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has understood, the things that God has waiting for those who love him. But God has shown those things to us by his spirit, which searches out all things, even the deepest things of God. After all, who knows the things of a man other than the that man's own spirit? In the same way, no man knows the things of God, but the Spirit of God does.

Now we have received a spirit—Not the world's, but God's, so that we can know the things that God has freely given to us. These things are what we're talking about—Not in the words that man's "wisdom" uses to teach, but which the Holy Spirit teaches. We're talking spiritual things with the spiritual.

Now, a natural man, on the one hand, doesn't understand the things of the Spirit of God. He thinks they are all nonsense. He can't understand them because they must be understood supernaturally. But a spiritual man, on the other hand, can judge everything, but he can't be judged by other men. One might ask, who has known the mind of the Lord and can teach Him? Well, we have the mind of Christ.

My brothers, previously I couldn't speak to as if you were spiritual. I had to speak to you in the terms of the world, as if you were immature in your understanding of Christ. I had to feed you with milk, not solid food; you weren't ready for it then, and you aren't ready for it now. You are still of this world. Among you, there is envy, quarrelling, and division, so aren't you worldly? Aren't you going about like men? When one of you says, "I follow Paul" and another says "I follow Apollos" isn't that worldly of you? Who is this Paul? Who is this Apollos? Just ministers who led you to believe, as the Lord gave to every man. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither the planter nor the waterer is anything, but God, the grower, is everything.

Now the planter and the waterer are one, and every man will get an appropriate reward for his work. We are workers together with God; you are God's field, you are God's building. With the grace of God I've been given, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and someone else will build on it. But be careful how you build. There can be no foundation other than the one I laid, that is, Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, his work will be seen clearly when it is declared on the day of judgment because it will be revealed with fire. That fire will test every many's work to see what kind of work it is. If any man's building work lasts, he will get his reward. If his work is burned, that is a loss to him, but he himself will be saved, although it will be like going through fire.

Don't you know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? If any man desecrates the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that temple is you. Don't deceive yourselves. If any man among you seems to be wise in this world, let him become a fool so that he can actually become wise. As far as God is concerned, the wisdom of this world is foolishness. As it says in scripture, God catches the "wise" in the trap of their own craftiness. And again, the Lord knows the thoughts of the "wise"; he knows that they are useless. So to summarize, don't take pride in men. Everything is yours—Paul, Apollos, or Peter, the world, life, or death, things present, things to come—It is all yours. And you are Christ's, and Christ is God's.

So people should think of us as the ministers of Christ and the stewards of God's mysteries. Of course, in order to be a steward, a man has to be considered faithful. As for me, it is insignificant that you or other men should judge me. I don't even judge myself. I don't know anything by myself, but I still don't have sufficient justification. The Lord is the one that judges me. So don't judge things before the time when the Lord comes. He will bring to light the things that are hidden in darkness and will make clear what is in men's hearts. That will be the time when God will let men have praise.

To make my point, my brothers, I have used myself and Apollos as examples for your benefit, so that you can learn from our example not to place men above scripture, and so that you don't get into conflicts over inflating yourselves. Who makes you different from other people? What do you have that you didn't get as a gift from God? And if you did get it as a gift from God, why act so proud as if it weren't a gift? You now have all you need! You are rich! You have become kings without us! Or so you think. I wish you really were kings so that we could reign with you. I think God has put us apostles at the end of the line, as if we were going to our deaths. We're a spectacle for the world, for angels and for men. As you seem to think, we are fools for Christ, and you are wise in Christ; we are weak, and you are strong; you are honorable, and we are despised. Even up to right now, we both are hungry and thirsty, we don't have enough clothing, we get beaten, and we have no place to stay. We work with our own hands. When people revile us, we bless them; when we are persecuted we endure it. When we are defamed, we speak politely, even when we are portrayed as the scum of the earth and all the world's trash until now.

I'm not writing this to make you ashamed, but to warn you as my beloved sons. Even if you have ten thousand people to teach you about Christ, you don't have many fathers. I was the one who begat you in Christ Jesus through the Gospel This is why beg you to follow my example. To this end, I've sent you Timotheus, my beloved son. He is faithful in the Lord and will help you remember my Christly ways, just as I teach everywhere in every Church.

Now some of you are getting too full of yourselves, as if I wasn't going to come to you. Well, I'm coming back soon, if the Lord is willing, and I'm going to know, not the words of those arrogant people, but their power. God's kingdom isn't about talk. It's about power. So which do you prefer? Should I come to see you carrying a big stick, or with love and in the spirit of meekness? I have heard reports that there is sexual immorality among you, and I mean the kind of sexual immorality not found even among non-church members, between a man and his father's wife. And you are proud? Shouldn't you instead mourn and excommunicate the person who did this deed? Even though I'm absent in body, I'm with you in spirit, and I have already judged, as though I were there, regarding the person who did this deed. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver this kind of person to Satan for the destruction of his flesh so that your spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Your pride is not a good thing. Don't you know that one rotten apple spoils the whole barrel? So get rid of the rotten apple, so that you can be a new barrel, since you are unspoiled. Christ, our passover lamb, is sacrificed for us. So let's have our feast, not with the old fruit or with rotten malice and corruption, but with the fresh apples of sincerity and truth.

I wrote to you in a previous letter not to associate with the sexually impure. I wasn't referring to non-church members who were sexually impure, or greedy, or those who extort or worship idols. If that's what I had meant, you would have to leave the world entirely. What I'm writing to you to say now is not to associate with any man who calls himself a church member but is sexually immoral or greedy, or an idol worshipper, or uses harsh words, or an alcoholic, or a cheater. Don't even eat with that kind of person. What is it to me to judge those who are outside the church? But don't you judge those who are inside it? Those outside the church, God will judge. So, kick that immoral person out and keep him away from you.

Do any of you, if you have a complaint against another, dare to bring your dispute to the unjust for adjudication, instead of taking it up with church members? Don't you know that the church members will judge the world? And if you church members are going to judge the whole world, are you incapable of judging minor matters? Don't you know that we are going to judge the angels? Of course we can judge everything involving this life. If you have judgments of things in this life, why not choose as your judges those who are least esteemed in the church? I'm trying to make you ashamed with my words. Is there really no wise man among you, not even one who can judge a dispute between his brothers? Instead, one church member takes a fellow member to court to be judged by unbelievers. So absolutely yes, there is a problem among you; you're taking one another to court! Wouldn't it be better to tolerate a wrong? Wouldn't you rather allow yourself to be cheated? But no, you're wronging and cheating your own brothers in the church. Don't you know that the unrighteous are not going to go to heaven. Don't fall for deceit: neither the promiscuous, nor idol worshipers, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor greedy people, nor alcoholics, nor people who speak ill of others, nor cheaters, are going to go to heaven. And some of you were those things, but you are washed, you are made holy, you are made right, in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

Even if everything is permitted to me, not everything is useful; even if everything is permitted to me, I won't be controlled by anything. Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will destroy both of them. The body is not for sexual immorality; it's for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. And God raised Jesus from the dead and will also raise us from the dead by his power. Don't you know that your bodies are parts of Christ's body? Should I take the parts of Christ's body and make them parts of a whore's body? God forbid. Of course you know, don't you, that a person joined to a whore makes one body? As God himself says, "Two will be one body." But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit. Stay away from sexual immorality. Other sins are outside the body, but when you are sexually impure you sin against your own body. Of course you know, don't you, that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, given to you from God; that you are not your own? You have been bought with a high price by Jesus's sacrifice, so honor God in your body and in your spirit. They are God's, not yours.

Now, as for the matter you wrote to me about: It is best to practice abstinence. But in order to avoid sexual immorality, it is acceptable for each man to have a wife and each woman a husband. The husband should give his wife what she needs, and the wfe should do the same for her husband. The wife is not in charge of her own body; her husband is. Likewise, the husband isn't in charge of his own body; his wife is. Don't hold out on one another, except temporarily by mutual consent so that you can fast and pray. Then come together again, so that Satan doesn't have a chance to tempt you for trying to hold out longer than you can. You're allowed to do what I'm saying, but it's not mandatory. If I had my way, all men would be the way I am. But every man is given gifts from God that are appropriate for him, one like this, another like that. So I say to the unmarried and the widowed, it is best for them to remain celibate as I do. But if they can't hold back, let them marry; it is better to marry than to go to Hell.

And to the married, I order this—No, wait, it's not me, but the Lord who says this—A wife should not leave her husband. But if she does leave, she should remain unmarried or else go back to her husband. And a husband should not throw out his wife. As for the rest of you, I'm saying this, not the Lord: If a church member has a wife who isn't a believer and she is happy to stay with him, he should not kick her out. And as for a woman who has a husband who isn't a believer, if he is happy to stay with her, she should not leave him. After all, the unbelieving husband is made holy by his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy by the husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. But if the unbeliever leaves the marriage, let him leave. A church member is not bound in such cases; God has called us to be in peace. How do you women know whether you will be the one to save your husband? Or how do you men know whether you will be the one to save your wife? Anyway, whatever God has given evey man, however God has called every man, let him follow that path. This is my ruling for all churches.

Is a man who is called circumcised? He doesn't need to become uncircumcised. Is anyone who is called uncircumcised? Then he doesn't need to be circumcised either. Circumcision is nothing and so is uncircumcision. Keeping God's commandments is everything.

Every man should stay in the same circumstances he was in when he was called. Were you called when you were a slave? Don't worry about that, but if you can become free, do that instead. He who was called to the Lord when a slave is the Lord's freeman, and he who is called when free is Christ's slave. You were bought with a price so don't be the slaves of men. Brothers, let every man, wherever he was when he was called, stay there with God.

Now as for virgins, I have no commandment to relay from the Lord, but I can give my own judgment since, thanks to the Lord, I am trustworthy. So I suppose I can say that it is good, given the present difficulties, for a man to be as he is now. Are you married? Then don't try to free yourself. Are you free of a wife? Then don't try to get one. But if you do get married, it's not a sin, and if a virgin gets married, it's not a sin. However, if you do get married, you're in for a lot of trouble here and now, and I'm trying to save you from that. I'm saying this, brothers: Time is short. While that little time remains, let those who have wives be as if they didn't, And those who weep, as if they didn't, and those that are happy as if they weren't, and those that buy things as if they had nothing, And those who make use of this world, as not obsessed with it, for the things of this world will pass away. I would like for you to be carefree. An unmarried man cares about the things that are the Lord's, that is, he cares about how to please the Lord. But a married man cares about the things of this world, that is, he cares about how to please his wife. There is also a difference between a married woman and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things that are the Lord's, so that she can be holy both in body and in spirit, but a married woman cares about the things of the world, that is, she cares about how to please her husband. I'm saying this for your own benefit, not just to impose restrictions on you, but for the sake of what is appropriate, so that you can follow the Lord without distraction. But if any man thinks that he is behaving inappropriately toward his betrothed, if she is losing her prime, and it is necessary, let him do what he wants to do; it isn't a sin. Let them get married. But the man who remains steadfast in his heart without feeling compulsion, keeping self-control over his will, having decided in his heart to keep his betrothed as a virgin, also is doing a good thing. So then, a man who gives his daughter in marriage is doing a good thing, but a man who doesn't do so is doing a better thing. A wife is legally bound as long as her husband is alive, but if he is dead, she is free to marry anyone she wants, as long as he is a church member. But she would be happier if she remained unmarried, at least according to my judgment, and I think my judgment is informed by the Spirit of God.

Now, on to the matter of things sacrificed to idols. We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge inflates, but love builds solidly. And if a man thinks he knows anything, he doesn't know what he ought to know. But if a man loves God, God knows that. So, as I was saying on the topic of eating things sacrificed to idols. We know that an idol is nothing in the world and that there is no god but the one God. Although there are many that are called gods, whether in heaven or on earth, many gods, and many lords, to us there is only one God, the Father, from whom everything comes and for whom we live, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom everything comes, and through whom we live. But not everyone has this knowledge. Some people are accustomed to idols even now, and eat food that has been offered to idols, and because their custom is weak, it is defiled. But food does not call us to God. In this respect, if we eat, we're no better off, and if we don't eat, we're no worse off. But be careful lest this freedom of yours somehow become a stumbling block to those who are weak. You understand this, but if you are seen eating in the temple of the idols, won't a weak man's conscience be emboldened to eat things offered to idols? So because of your knowledge, should a weak church member, for whom Christ died, be destroyed? When you sin like this against your fellow church members and woound their weak conscience, it is Christ that you are sinning against. So if eating food causes a scandal for a brother church member, I won't eat mean any more so that I don't cause a scandal.

Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ, our Lord? Did I not convert you? If I am not an apostle in the eyes of others, surely I am to you: for it is my apostleship that brought you to the Lord. My answer to those who question me is this, Have we not power to eat and to drink? Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as apostles, and as the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have the power to give up working? Who goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and doesn't eat some of the fruit? Or who takes care of a flock and doesn't drink some of its milk? Is it just me, a man, who says this? Doesn't the Law say the same thing? It says in the Law of Moses, "Do not muzzle the mouth of an ox that is threshing the grain." Is God so concerned about oxen? Or does he say that entirely for us? Yes, this is written for us: That the plower should plow with hope, and the thresher should share in that hope. If we have planted spiritual things in you, is it a big deal if we harvest your physical things? If others can share in this harvest, can't we too? Still, we haven't exercised this right. We endure everything so that we don't hinder the good news of Christ. Don't you know that those who take care of the holy things make their living from the things of the temple? And those who take care of the alter share in what is offered there? In the same way, the Lord has ordained that those who preach the good news should make their living from the good news. But I have never claimed any of these things though it was my right to do so. And I'm not writing about them so that I can do so now. I would rather die than be unable to take pride in not exercising my rights. Even though I preach the good news, it's nothing for me to take pride in. I do it because I have to. Woe is me if I don't preach it! If I were doing this by choice, I would deserve a reward; but if not by choice, it's because I've been entrusted with the good news. So then, what is my reward? It is that when I preach, I can make the good news of Christ freely available, that I don't make undue advantage of the good news. Even though I'm free of all men, I've made myself a slave to all men, so that I can win more of them over. To the Jews, I became like a Jew so that I could win over the Jews; to those who observe the Mosaic law, I lived according to the law so that I could win over those who observe. To those who don't observe the Mosaic law, I lived without it (not that I'm actually not subject to God's law, since I'm bound to the law by Christ) so that I could win over the non-observant. To the weak, I behaved as if I were weak so that I could win over the weak. I am all things to all men so that I can by all means save some. I do all this for the sake of the good news so that I can share in it.

Don't you know that while everyone who runs in a race runs, only one can win the prize? So run to win it. And every man who competes for the win disciplines himself in every way. They do it to win a temporary prize, but we are striving for an everlasting prize. So I run, but not aimlessly; I fight, but not shadowboxing. I train my body and keep it under control so that, having preached to others, I don't get disqualified.

Moreover, my brothers, I hope you are aware of how our forefathers followed a cloud out of Egypt and crossed over the sea, And all of them were baptized to Moses in the cloud and in the sea, they all ate the same spiritual food, they all drank the same spiritual drink. They drank from that spiritual Rock that followed them; that Rock was Christ. But God was not happy with many of them; they were scattered in the wilderness. These things were an example to us, so that we wouldn't desire evil things as they did.

Don't be idol worshippers as some of them were. As scripture says, "The people sat down to eat and drink and stood up to fool around." Let's not behave sexually immorally, as some of them did, so that 23,000 of them died in one day. Let's not test Christ, as some of them did, and were killed by snakes. Don't whine, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. All of these things happened to them for our example. They are written in scripture to warn us, on whom the end of time has come. So if you think you are standing, be careful not to fall. There is no temptation facing you beyond what is common to man, but God is faithful. He won't let you be tempted beyond what you can handle. With the temptation, God gives a way to escape it, so that you can successfully face it. So, my dearly beloved, keep away from idol worship.

I'm speaking to wise men; judge for yourself what I'm saying. The cup of blessing which we bless, isn't it the sharing of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, isn't it the sharing of the body of Christ? We are many, but one bread and one body, since we all share that one bread. Look at the people of Israel. Aren't those who eat the sacrifices sharing in the altar? What am I saying? That an idol is anything significant or that which is sacrificed to idols is anything significant? But I say, the things the gentiles sacrifice are sacrificed to devils, not to God; and I do not want you to be friends with devils. You cannot drink from the cup of the Lord, and the cup of demons, and you cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of demons. Are we going to make the Lord jealous? Do we think we're stronger than He? "All things are lawful for me"...but not all things are beneficial. "All things are lawful for me"...but not all things build me up.

No man should seek after his own, but every man should look out for his neighbor. Whatever is sold in the public marketplace, go ahead and eat, and don't ask questions, for the sake of conscience. For "the earth belongs to the Lord, and the fullness of it also belongs to Him." If any unbeliever invites you to dinner, and you would like to attend, then eat whatever they set before you, and ask no question for the sake of conscience. But if anyone tell you, "This food was offered in sacrifice to idols," then don't eat it, for the sake of the one who told you, and for the sake of conscience. And when I say "conscience," I am not talking about your conscience, but rather his. Now why is my liberty constrained by another man's conscience? If I, by grace, am a participant, why am I talked about in a bad way for a thing that I gave thanks for? So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. Make sure that your conscience is clear, to the Jews, the Greeks, and to the church of God, for the same reason that I please men in all things, and do not look after my own profit, but the profit of many, so that they might be saved. So you be followers of me, just as I am a follower of Christ.

Now, brothers, I like to see that you remember me in everything, and are keeping the ordinances, as I gave them to you. But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is the man. (And the head of Christ is God.) Every man who prays or prophesies, and has his head covered, is dishonoring his head. But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head. In fact she might as well have her head shaved. If the woman is not covered, she should have her hair shaved off as well. But if it's embarrassing for a woman to have her hair shaved off, then she should be covered. For on the one hand, a man shouldn't cover his head, because after all he is the image and glory of God. On the other hand, the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not a product of the woman; the woman is the product of the man. Nor was the man created for the woman; the woman was created for the man. For this reason the woman should have a symbol of authority on her head, for the sake of God's Messengers. Nevertheless, the man does not exist without the woman, nor the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman comes from the man, the man is also by the woman, and all things are by God. Judge for yourselves: is it becoming that a woman pray to God with her head uncovered? Doesn't even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, that's an embarrassment to him? But if a woman has long hair, that is a glory to her. Her hair is given her as a covering. But if any man seems to be argumentative about it, we have no such custom as that, and neither do the churches of God.

Now this is one thing I have to tell you that I do not like: you are coming together, not for better, but for worse. In the first place, when you come together in the church, I hear that there are splits among you, and I can believe some of what I hear. For there also must be divisive teachings among you, so that the approved things might be made obvious to you. So when you come together in one place, this is not for eating the Lord's supper. For in the eating, everyone is grasping after his own supper before other people. Result: one goes hungry, while the other is stuffed to the point of intoxication. What's going on here? You have houses to eat and drink in, don't you? Or do you disregard the church of God, and embarrass those who don't have very much? What am I supposed to say to you? Do you expect me to praise you for this? Well, I don't!

I received from the Lord what I also handed over to you: the Lord Jesus, in the very night in which He was betrayed, took bread. When He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, "Take. Eat. This is My Body, Which is for you. Do this to remember Me." And in the same way, after supper, He took the cup, and said, "This cup is the New Testament in My Blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, to remember Me." For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you demonstrate the Lord's death, until He comes back. So whoever eat this bread, or drinks this cup of the Lord, in an unworthy fashion, will be guilty from the Body and Blood of the Lord. But let a man examine his own heart, and allow him to eat from that bread, and drink from that cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy way, eats and drinks a condemnation for himself, because he does not recognize the body for what It is. This is why many among you are weak and ill, and many are falling asleep. For if we are ready to judge ourselves, we will not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, so that we won't be condemned with the world. So, brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. And if any man is hungry, he should eat at home, so that you don't come together into condemnation. I will address the rest of my concerns when I come.

Now about spiritual gifts: I do not want you to be ignorant, brothers. You know that you were Gentiles, and were carried away to these dumb idols, as you were led. Therefore, understand this: No one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says that Jesus is cursed. And no one is able to say Jesus is Lord, except in the Holy Spirit. And there are many kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there is diversity of service and the same Lord. And there are diversities of working but He is the same God who works everything in all. And to each one he gives the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

For to one, the word of wisdom is given by the Spirit. To another, the word of knowledge by the same Spirit. To another, faith by the same Spirit. To another, the healing gifts by the same Spirit. To another, the working of miracles. To another, prophecy. To another, the discernment of spirits. To another, various kinds of languages; to another the ability to interpret languages. But they all work in that one and same Spirit, Who shares out the gifts separately to every man as He wants.

For as the body is one, and has many parts, and all the parts of that one body, as many as they are, are one body, so is Christ. For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether we are Jews or Greeks, whether we are slaves or freemen. And we have all been made to drink into one Spirit. The body is not just one part, but many. If the foot says, "I am not the hand, so I don't belong to the body," does that mean that it does not belong to the body? And if the ear says, "I am not the eye, so I don't belong to the body," does that mean that it does not belong to the body? If the whoe body were an eye, how could the body hear? If the whole body were hearing, how could it smell? But now God has set every one of the body parts into the body, as it has pleased Him. And if they were all one part, then where would the body be? But now they are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot tell the hand, "I don't need you," nor the head tell the feet, "I don't need you." To the contrary, those parts of the body, that might seem more feeble, are much more necessary. And those body parts that we think are less honorable, to these we grant more abundant honor, and our unbecoming parts have more abundant comeliness. For our good-looking parts don't have any need. But God has put the body together, and given more abundant honor to the part that was lacking, intending that there be no split in the body, but that the parts should have the same care for one another. And when one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it. Or if one part is honored, all the parts rejoice with it.

Now you are the body of Christ, and parts in particular. And God has set some in the church: first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; and after that, miracles, then healing gifts, helping ability, leadership ability, and various language abilities. Is everyone an apostle? A prophet? A teacher? A worker of miracles? Do all men have the healing gifts? Do all men speak in multiple languages? Do all men interpret multiple languages?

But you all earnestly want the best gifts. And yet I am showing you a more excellent way. If I could speak all the languages of men and angels but I didn't have love, I would just be making noise like a gong or cymbal. And if I had the gift of prophecy and understood all mysteries and knew everything, if I had enough faith to move mountains—Without love, I am nothing. And if I gave everything I own to feed the poor, if I gave my body to be burned—Without love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind. It doesn't envy. It doesn't boast, it isn't inflated. It isn't rude or self-serving. It isn't quick to anger. It doesn't focus its thoughts on wrong things. It doesn't rejoice in evil; it rejoices in the truth. It bears everything, believes everything, hopes everything, endures everything.

Prophecies fail. Tongues are silenced. Knowledge vanishes. Love never fails. Our knowledge and our prophecy are imperfect. But when the perfect comes, the imperfect will be wiped away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I understood like a child, I thought like a child. But when I became a man, I put away childish things. Now we see through a glass, darkly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know as completely as I am known now.

And now three things remain: Faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. Follow after love, and be zealous for spiritual gifts, but more importantly, that you might prophesy. For he who speaks in a language that nobody knows, does not speak to men, but to God. No man can understand him, though in the Spirit he is speaking secrets. But he who prophesies, speaks to men for their edification, exhortation, and comfort. He who speaks in an unknown language builds himself up, but he who prophesies, builds the church up. I'd like to see you all speaking in multiple languages, but I would really rather that you prophesied. One who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in foreign languages, except the one able to interpret them, so that the church can receive a building-up message.

Now brothers, if I come to you speaking in lanuages that you don't know, what will I do for you, unless I speak to you by either revelation, knowledge, prophecy, or doctrine? And even lifeless things that give sound, either pipe or harp, unless they produce a distinctive sequence of sounds, how will anyone know what is being played on pipe or harp? For if the trumpet produces an uncertain sound, who will prepare himself for battle? In the same manner, you, unless you speak in a language that men can easily understand, how will any know what is being spoken? You might as well be speaking into the air. It might be that there are so many kinds of voices in the world, and not one of them will be without significance. So if I do not know the meaning of the voice, I might as well be a primitive babbler to the one speaking, and the speaker will be a babbler to me. More than that, you, to the extent that you seek zealously after spiritual gifts, seek that you excel at building up the church. So let anyone who speaks in an unknown language, pray that he can interpret it, too. For if I am praying in an unknown language, my spirit is praying, but my understanding will be unfruitful.

So what good is it? I will pray with the Spirit, and I will pray with understanding as well. I will sing with the Spirit, and I will sing with understanding as well. Otherwise, when you bless with the Spirit, how will anyone taking the place of an unlearned man say "Amen" at the giving of thanks, if he cannot understand what you are saying? For in fact you might be giving thanks in a good way, but the other person will not be built up. I thank my God, because I speak with more languages than all of you. But in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, so that I might also teach others with my voice, than ten thousand words in a language that nobody knows.

Brothers, don't be children in your understanding. In malice you are children, but in understanding, you need to be adults. It is written in the Law: "With men who speak different languages and other dialects, I will speak to this people. And yet for all that, they will not hear Me," says the Lord. So the foreign-language gift exists for a sign, not to believers, but to unbelievers. But prophesying does not serve for unbelievers, but for believers. Therefore, if the whole church were to come together in one place, and everyone speak in foreign languages, and some unlearned or unbelieving men come in, won't they say that you are all maniacs? But if everyone prophesies, and an unbeliever comes in, or an unlearned one, he will be convinced by everyone, and judged by everyone. This is how the secrets of the heart are revealed. And so he will fall down on his face and worship God, and report that God is well and truly within you.

So, brothers, how is it? When you come together, everyone of you will have a psalm, a doctrine, a foreign language, a revelation, an interpretation. Make sure that all things are done for building-up. If any man speaks in an unknown language, let it be in pairs, or at most groups of three, and one at a time, and let one man interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep quiet in the church, and let him talk to himself, and to God. Let the prophets speak in groups of two or three, and let the other one judge. If anything is revealed to another bystander, let the first one keep quiet. For you may all prophesy one by one, so that everyone may learn, and all the people be comforted. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the Author of confusion; He is the Author of peace, as He is in all churches of the saints. Your women should stop talking out loud in the churches. They are not allowed to talk; they are under instruction to obey, as the Law also says. And if they want to learn anything, they should ask their husbands at home. It is an embarrassment for women to speak in the church. What? Did the word of God come out from you? Or did it come only to you? If any man thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, then he should be willing to stipulate that the things I am writing to you are the commandments of the Lord. But if a man is ignorant, let him be ignorant. So, brothers, have your desire to prophesy, and do not forbid anyone to speak in a foreign language. Make sure that all things are done decently and according to a proper order.

Furthermore, I am making known to you, brothers, the gospel that I preached to you, that you have also received, and where you stand in it. You are also saved by it, if you remember what I preached to you, unless you have believed in vain. For I first delivered to you what I also received: that Christ died for our sins, according to Scripture. He was buried, and He rose again on the third day, according to Scripture. He was seen by Cephas, then a member of the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than five hundred brothers at once. The majority of these are still alive today, but some have fallen asleep. After that, he was seen by James, and then by all the apostles. Last of all he was seen by me as well, as if by someone born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles. In fact I am not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am. And His grace, which was bestowed on me, was not in vain. I have worked even harder than the rest of them—though it was not I who did it, but the grace of God that was with me. And so, whether it was I or they, we preached it, and you believed it.

Now if Christ has been preached that he rose from the dead, then why are some of you saying that there is no such thing as the resurrection of the dead? Why, if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not risen. And if Christ has not risen, then our preaching is empty, and your faith is just as empty. And furthermore, we are found to be false witnesses for God, because we have vouched for God, that He raised up Christ, and He didn't raise Him up, if the dead can never rise. For if the dead can never rise, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is empty, and you are still in your sins. And those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hope in Christ only in this life, then we are the most miserable of all men.

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who slept. For because death came by man, the resurrection of the dead also came by man. For as in Adam all men die, in Christ all men will be made alive. And every man will be in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, and then those who belong to Christ at His coming. Then comes the end, when he will have handed over the government to God the Father Himself, after He has put down all rulership and authority and power. For He must reign, until He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death itself. For: "He has put all things under His feet." But when He says that all things are put under Him, then obviously He is the Exception, because He put all things under Him. And when all things are subdued to Him, then the Son will also be subject to Him Who put all things under Him so that God will be all in all. Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why, then, are they baptized for the dead? And why do we run such terrible risks every hour? In fact, I die every day, by the pride I have in you in Christ Jesus our Lord. If, after the custom of men, I have fought with wild animals at Ephesus, what advantage do I gain from that, if the dead do not rise? "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!" Do not deceive yourselves: bad company corrupts good manners.

Wake up to righteousness, and do not sin. Some of you do not have knowledge of God, and I say this to your shame. But some man will say, "How are the dead raised up? And with what sort of body will they come?" Unlearned man, what you sow does not come alive unless it dies. And when you do sow, you don't sow the body that will come in future, but bare grain. It could be wheat, or some other type of grain. But God gives it a body as it has pleased Him, and to every seed He has given its own body. All flesh is not the same. There is one kind of flesh of men, another kind of flesh of land animals, another of marine life, and still another of birds. There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies. But the celestial bodies have one kind of glory, and the terrestrials have another. There is one glory of the Sun, and another of the moon, and another glory of the stars, and in fact one star is different from another in glory.

The resurrection of the dead will work the same way. It is sown in corruption, and is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, and is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, and is raised in power. It is sown as a natural body, and is raised as a spiritual body. A natural body exists, and a spiritual one. And so it is written: "The first man (Adam) was made a living soul," and the last Adam was made an enlivening Spirit. It was not the first Adam that was spiritual, but natural. Afterward came the spiritual one. The first man is from the earth, and made of dust. The second Man is the Lord from heaven. As is the one made of dust, so also are those that are made from dust; and as is the heavenly, so are those that are heavenly. And as we have carried the image of the one made from dust, we will also carry the image of the heavenly.

Now I say this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, and neither does corruption inherit incorruption. Look: I am letting you in on a secret: We will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed. That change will come in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised in an incorruptible form, and we will be changed. This corruptible form must put on incorruption, and this mortal form must put on immortality. So when this corruptible form puts on incorruption, and this mortal form puts on immortality, then this saying that is written will be made real: "Death has been swallowed up in victory!" "O death, where is your sting? O death, where is your conquest?" The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the Law. But let us thank God, Who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. And so, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, unmoveable, always doing abundant work in the Lord, to the extent that you know that your work in the Lord is not in vain.

In regards to the collection for the holy people, do just as I have ordered the churches of Galatia to do. On the first day of the week, every one of you should set aside some of what God has blessed you to earn, so I don't have to go collecting when I come. And when I come, I will send whomever you have approved with letters to bring your generous gift to Jerusalem. And if it is appropriate that I go too, they will have me to go with them. I will come to you after I pass through Macedonia. (I'm going to go by way of Macedonia.) Maybe I will stay even the whole winter with you so that you can send me on my next journey, wherever I go. I don't want to see you now and just pass through. I hope to stay a while with you if the Lord permits it. But I will be staying in Ephesus until Pentecost. A great door, and an effectual one, is open to me, and there are many who oppose.

If Timothy comes, see to it that he can be free from fear. He is doing the Lord's work as I am. Don't mistreat him. Let him go in peace so that he can come to me. I'll look for him with the other church members.

As for our brother Apollos, I really wanted him to visit you with the others, but he didn't want to go right now. He will come to you when he has the chance.

Be watchful, stand fast in the faith, be manly, and be strong. Do everything with love.

You know the household of Stephanas, our first converts in Greece, have devoted themselves to the ministry. I urge you: Submit yourselves to such as them, and to everyone that helps us in our work.

I am glad Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus have come, because they have provided what you couldn't. They have refreshed my spirit and yours, so acknowledge such people as they are.

The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, along with the church that is in their house. All the brothers greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss.

I, Paul, salute you with my own handwriting.

If any man does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema. May our Lord come.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

My love to all of you in Jesus Christ. Amen.


God worked special miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons would be brought from his skin to the sick, and their diseases left them, and evil spirits went out of them.

Then several wandering Jews set themselves up as exorcists and took upon themselves to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits. They would say, "We enjoin you by Jesus whom Paul preaches."

There were seven sons of one Sceva, who was Jewish and a high priests, which did this. Then one evil spirit said in answer, "I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?"

Then the man possessed by that evil spirit jumped on them, overpowered them, and beat them up, so that they ran out of that house naked and wounded. This became known to all the Jews and Greeks who lived in Ephesus. Fear fell on them all, and the Name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. Many believers came, and confessed, and showed what they had done. Many others, who had practiced occult arts, brought their scrolls with them and burned them before all men. These scrolls were valued at fifty thousand silver pieces. So the Word of God grew powerfully and prevailed.

After these things were ended, Paul decided in his spirit that when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, he would go to Jerusalem. He said, "After I have been there, I must also see Rome."

So he sent to Macedonia two among those who used to wait on him, specifically Timothy and Erastus. But he himself stayed in Asia Province for a season.


from Jerusalem, and by a roundabout way to Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.


I do more work than they do, I’ve been beaten more than they have, I’ve spent more time in prison, and I’ve faced death more times than they have. Five times, I received 39 lashes from the Jews. I’ve been beaten with rods three times, I’ve been stoned once, I’ve been shipwrecked three times. I spent a night and a day floating at sea. I've traveled often, in danger of drowning, of robbers, of my own countrymen, of gentiles, in the city, in the wilderness, at sea, and from those who deceitfully claim to be church members. I've worked in fatigue and pain, without sleeping, in hunger and thirst without any food, in the cold without clothing. On top of all those things, what weighs on me daily is my concern for all the churches.


For those of Macedonia and Achaia are pleased to make a certain contribution for the needy saints at Jerusalem.


Paul, devoted to Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, obeying the Gospel of God, as he has promised to His prophets in the Bible, regarding His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was formed after the seed of David in the flesh. And recognized as the Son of God, with power fueled by a spirit of holiness, as evidenced through His resurrection from the dead. By Whom we have received special gifts and stewardship, for growing the faith worldwide, in His name: Among whom are also those called to serve Jesus Christ.

To all of you in Rome, special to God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace of mind from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

First let me thank God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith has become known worldwide. For God is my witness, Who I serve with all my heart in the words of His Son, that without fail I mention you always in my prayers, requesting that if by some way I might have a productive journey, God willing, to visit you. For I miss you greatly, and hope to share with you a spiritual gift, that in the end you may be converted; in other words, that we may both be comforted by our mutual faith.

Now please be aware, my friends, that often I sought to come to you (but was kept from doing so), that I might have some success in this with you, even as with other Gentiles. I am grateful both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians; both the wise and the unwise. So with all my strength I am also ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome.

The gospel of Christ does not embarrass me, for it is the power of God leading to salvation all who believe: first to the Jew, and then to the Greek. With this God's righteousness is revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, "The just shall live by faith." For God's punishment of atheism and immorality of men who disregard the truth is revealed from heaven. The invisible nature of God since the creation of the world is clearly seen, being revealed through the reality around us, including His eternal power and divinity, so non-believers have no excuse. When atheists knew God, they refused to glorify Him or be thankful; rather they became egotistical, allowing their minds to close. Declaring themselves to be wise, they became fools, and distorted the glory of the perfect God into an image in the nature of imperfect man, akin to birds, animals, and insects. Moreover, God relinquished them to degrade themselves through their own lust, so that they dishonor their own bodies with each other. Who replaced God's truth with a lie, and worshiped and served the created more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen

For this reason God allowed their free will to lead them into homosexuality: for even their women perverted natural acts into crimes against nature. The men too, abandoning their natural role with women, misdirected their lust towards each other; men committing acts with other men that are offensive, and their bodies are then punished for their wrongdoing. And as they put God out of their mind, so God sent them on their way to self-destruction. Being filled with immorality, evil, lust, hatred; full of envy, murder, bickering, deceit, and ill-will; gossipers, slanderers, God-haters, spiteful, proud, arrogant, producers of evil, disobedient to parents, lacking understanding, breaking their word, unable to love, and never satisfied or merciful. Who being fully aware of God's judgment, and of the death penalty earned by their acts, not only continue to do them, but even take pleasure in doing them.

Therefore, you have no excuse, you men who pass judgment on others: for when you judge another, you condemn yourself; for those who judge do the same things themselves. But we can be certain that the judgment of God is truly against those who commit such things. And do you think, you men, who judge others for doing the same as you, that you should escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, tolerance and patience; not realizing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But after your stubbornness and unrepentant heart gathers anger, against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will pass judgment to every man according to his deeds:

To those who through persistent good deeds aspire to God's glory, honor and immortality, in eternal life: but to those who are rebellious, and who disregard the truth, and follow sin and anger, suffering and anguish, upon every soul of man who commits evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; but glory, honor, and peace, to every man who does good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: for there is no distinction among men by God. For all who have sinned ignorant of the law shall also perish ignorant of the law: and all who have sinned knowing the law shall be judged by the law; for simply knowing of God's law does not make you righteous, but those who follow His laws shall be found righteous. For when the Gentiles, who do not know the laws of Moses, act in the manner of the law anyway, these people, without having the law, are still fulfilling it: which shows the intent of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, even while their thoughts may be conflicted; in the time when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

And see, those who call yourselves Jews, and rely on the law, and claim to understand God, and know His will, and approve the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, whose basis of knowledge and of truth is in the law. You who would teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preaches that man should not steal, do you not steal? You who says that a man should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhors idols, do you commit sacrilege? You who boast of living under the law, do you not dishonor God through breaking that law? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written. For circumcision has value if you follow the law: but if you disregard the law, the act is meaningless.

Therefore, if the uncircumcised follow the law in righteousness, shall they not be regarded as the circumcised? And should not the uncircumcised (which is by nature), if they follow the law, judge you instead, who despite your learning and circumcision break the law? For outward appearances does not make one a Jew; neither does circumcision, which is merely a physical trait: but one is a Jew if he lives that way to his core; and if the signs are in his heart and soul, and not just in the physical; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

What is the advantage, then, in being a Jew? Or what benefit is there to circumcision? There are many: primarily, because it was they who were entrusted with the prophesies of God. For what if some did not believe? Should their unbelief make having faith of God pointless? God forbid: yes, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That you might justify yourself with your words, and may be overcome when you are judged.

But if our wickedness deserves the judgment of God, what shall we say in defense? Is God wrong to deliver our punishment? (I speak as a man) God forbid: for how else shall God judge the world? For if the truth of God has not won over my doubts over His glory; why am I also judged as a sinner? and not rather, (as some deceitfully accuse us of saying) Let us commit evil, that good may come? Whose damnation is just.

What then? Are we better than them? No, in no way of thinking: for we have previously shown, to both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; as it was written, "There are none righteous, no, not one: there are none who understand, there are none who seek after God. They are all fallen from grace, they have collectively become a liability; there are none who do good, no, not one. Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have performed deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their paths: And the way of peace is unknown to them: There is no fear of God before their eyes."

Now we know that whatever the law says, it applies to those who live under the law: that every mouth may be silences, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore, by mere adherence to the law no one will be found worthy in His sight: for accompanying the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God beyond the law is made clear, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; the righteousness of God which comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all, and upon all, who believe: for there is no difference: for all are sinners, and fall short of the glory of God; being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is personified in Christ Jesus: whom God had sent forth to be an offering of appeasement through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the forgiveness of past sins, through the tolerance of God; to declare here and now, I say, his righteousness: that he might be just, and the defender of he who believes in Jesus. Is this boasting then? It is not. By what principle? Of actions? No: but by the principle of faith. Therefore, we conclude that a man is justified by faith without relying on the rituals of the law.

Is He the God of the Jews only? Is he not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles as well: realizing that there is one God, Who shall recognize the dedication by faith, and non-dedication through lack of faith. Do we then invalidate the law through faith? God forbid: rather, we establish the law. What shall we say then, that Abraham, our forefather, had discovered? For if Abraham was judged by his works, he had earned glory; but not before God. For what does scripture say? Abraham believed God, and that was credited towards his righteousness.

Now to the man who only does good works goes a reward measured not in grace, but in debt. But to the man focused less on mere acts, but who believes in He who judges the ungodly, his faith is credited towards righteousness. Even David described the grace of the man, to whom God delivered righteousness without requiring works, saying, Blessed are they whose wickedness is forgiven, and whose sins are addressed. Blessed is the man who the Lord will not find sinful. Are these blessings given only to the circumcised, or to the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was attributed to Abraham for his righteousness.

How was it in his case? Was he circumcised, or uncircumcised? He was not circumcised. And yet he received the blessing of the circumcised, a seal of the righteousness of the faith he carried while not being circumcised: that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they be uncircumcised; that righteousness might be bestowed upon them as well: and the father of circumcision to those who are uncircumcised, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had despite being uncircumcised. For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not made to Abraham or to his descendants through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if only those who follow ritual benefit from that promise, then faith is made meaningless, and the promise accomplished nothing: because the law is the basis for God's wrath: for where there is no law, there is no lawbreaking. Therefore, it is through faith, that one may earn grace; to ensure that God's promise applies to all the children of Abraham; not just for those who follow ritual, but to those who share the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all (as it is written, I have made you a father of many nations), in the presence of God in whom he believed, who could raise the dead, and bring things into existence from nothing. Who against doubt believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken; so shall your descendants be. And being strong in faith, he gave no consideration to his own age, despite being about a hundred years old, nor to the infertility of his wife Sara: he did not waver in doubt over the promise of God; but instead was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and was fully convinced that whatever He had promised, He was able to perform. And therefore this was credited to him for righteousness.

Now this was not written for his sake alone, that this faith was credited to him; but also as a lesson for us, who shall be likewise credited, if we believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our benefit. Therefore, being redeemed by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: who, by having faith in Him, gives us a means to find grace, and for this we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we find glory in ordeals as well: knowing that ordeals teach us patience; and through patience, experience; and through experience, hope: and we are not ashamed to hope; because the love of God is spread throughout our hearts by the Holy Spirit, which is delivered upon us.

For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the unbelieving. For scarcely anyone would willingly die for a righteous man: let alone risk death for a good man. But God proved His love for us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having been redeemed by His blood, will we be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled with God by the death of His Son, even more so, being reconciled, will we be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received atonement.

Therefore, as sin entered into the world through a single man, as did death by sin; and so death came upon all men, since all have sinned:

(For while sin was in the world before the law: sin cannot be not judged in the absence of law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the manner of Adam's transgression, who was the model of those who followed. But unlike the offense of man, is the gift of God. For if through one man's sin many are condemned, for many more the grace of God, and redemption by grace, which is though one man, Jesus Christ, has been given in abundance. And unlike how it was when one man sinned, is the gift: for the judgment of condemnation was for a single offense, but the free gift provides redemption for many offenses. For if by one man's offense death reigned through that one; much more shall those who receive abundance of grace and the gift of redemption reign in life through one, Jesus Christ.)

Therefore, as through the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of One the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For in the way one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so through the obedience of one many will be made righteous. In addition, the law was provided, that the recognition of sin might be widespread. But where sin had spread, grace spread even further: that as sin had ruled over us to our death, even so might grace rule through righteousness, leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

What shall we say then? Shall we continue living sinfully, that grace may overcome it? God forbid. How can we, having been freed from sin, live any longer under it? Do you not understand, that those of us who were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ were baptized in acknowledgment of His death? Therefore, we are spiritually buried with him by baptism in death: and that as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, likewise we should also walk in newness of life. For if we have been buried together in the likeness of his death, we shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing through this, that our former selves are crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, and that afterward we should not serve sin. For he who is dead is freed from sin.

Now if we are dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ having risen from the dead can die no more; death has no more dominion over him. For in His death, He died for sin once: but in His living afterward, He lives on through God. Likewise consider yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore, do not let sin rule your mortal body, that you might succumb to it through physical lust. Nor surrender your body as an instrument of unrighteousness into sin: but surrender yourselves to God, as those who are reborn from the dead, and your bodies as instruments of righteousness for God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not simply guided by law, but by grace.

What then? Shall we sin, because we are not guided by the law, but by grace? God forbid. Do you not understand, that whoever you commit yourselves to obey, his servants you become in obedience; whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But thank God, that you were the servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart the lessons which have delivered you. Therefore, being freed from sin, you became the servants of righteousness.

I speak frankly because of the weaknesses of your flesh: for as you have surrendered your bodies to filth, and to depravity upon depravity; you can now likewise surrender your bodies as servants to righteousness seeking holiness. For when you were the servants of sin, you were without righteousness. What benefit was there in doing those things that you are now ashamed of? For the outcome of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and becoming servants of God, you are working towards holiness, and the reward of everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Don't you know, brothers (for I am addressing those who know the law) how the law rules over a man as long as he lives? For the woman who has a husband is required by law to stay with him as long as he lives; but if the husband is deceased, then the law frees her from that obligation. Accordingly, if she marries another man while her husband lives, then she is an adulteress; but if her husband has died, the law does not bind her and she is not an adulteress even if married to another man. Likewise, my brothers, you also were freed from the law by the body of Christ; that you shall be married to another—even to He who is raised from the dead—that we shall bring forth fruit unto God. For when we were focused on the material, the influence of sin, while following the letter of the law, worked through our bodies to lead us towards death. But now we are delivered from the law, and the death that comes from following it blindly; that we should instead serve with renewed spirit, and not in rigid adherence to ritual.

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. No, I would not have recognized sin, but for the law: For I did not understand lust, until seeing how the law had said, "Thou shalt not covet". But sin, finding opportunity through this commandment, brought forth from me all manner of base desire. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive in ignorance of the law once: but when the commandment became known to me, sin was revealed, and I died. And the commandment, which was meant to guide life, I found instead to lead to death. For sin, finding opportunity through this commandment, deceived me, and through it killed me. So if the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good, was it therefore something good which brought death upon me? God forbid. It was sin, defined for what it is by something good, which was killing me; so that sin as defined by the commandment could be regarded as exceedingly wrong. For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am human and fallible, enslaved by sin. For I do the things I am against: for what I want to do, I do not; but what I hate, I do. So if I do things I consider wrong, I agree that the law is good. Then it is not me doing it, but the sin that resides within me.

I know that in me (my body) is nothing good: I want to love, but am unable to find how to perform what is good. For the good that I want, I do not; but the evil I do not want, I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is not I who does it, but the sin that resides in me. I find a pattern that, when I would do good, evil is still with me. I rejoice when God's law rules over the inner man, But I sense another force at work in my body, warring against my better judgment, and enslaving me to the power of sin in my own body. Oh sinful man that I am! Who shall free me from the body of this death? I thank God for Jesus Christ our Lord. With my mind I serve the law of God, while my body is oppressed by the power of sin. Thus there is no condemnation now of Christians, who pursue not pleasures of this world, but who follow the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has freed me from the law of sin and death. For what the commandments could not achieve, because it was weak in human nature, God sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful man, and for sin, condemned it in human form. So that God's will might be fulfilled in us, who do not worship worldly glory, but live in the Spirit. For those addicted to worldly pleasures focus on them; but those who are with the Spirit focus on the Spirit.

Obsession with the body is death; focusing on the spiritual is life and peace of mind. Because the lustful mind is God-hating; it is not restrained by God's law, nor can it be. Those who lust for the body cannot please God. But you are not confined to the body, but are in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone not have the Spirit of Christ, then he is not of Him. If Christ resides in you, then the body is dead from sin, but the Spirit is life from good values. But if the Spirit of He who raised up Jesus from the dead resides in you, He who raises up Christ from the dead shall also stir your mortal bodies with His Spirit that resides in you. Thus, my brothers, we are in debt, not to our bodies, to live beyond the flesh. If you long for carnal pleasure, you shall die; but if through the Spirit you expunge the materialism, you shall live.

All who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. For you have not received the fearful spirit of anxiety, but you have received the spirit of adoption by which we rejoice, "Abba, Father." The Spirit itself confirms with our spirit that we are sons of God: and as sons, we are heirs of God, jointly with Christ. If it occur that we suffer with Him, such that we may also be glorified together. I am confident that our sufferings now are not significant compared with the glory to be revealed in us. For the sincere expectation of the created human awaits the manifestation of the sons of God. For created man was subjected to depravity, not willingly, but by reason of He who subordinated man to hope, because the created man shall also be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that every part of the created man complains and suffers together in pain until now. And not only those, but ourselves as well, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even each of us complains to himself, waiting for the adoption, namely, the redemption of his body.

For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees, why would he still hope for? But if we hope for what we can't see, then we must wait with patience for it. Likewise the Spirit also helped our illnesses: for we do not know what we should pray for as we should: but the Spirit prays for us with pleas that cannot be spoken out loud. And he who searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because he prays for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who receive the calling according to his purpose. For those who He had foreseen, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. And furthermore, those who He predestined, they were also called by Him: and those who He called, they were also justified by Him: and those who He justified, they were also glorified by Him.

What shall we then say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but sacrificed Him for us all, how shall He not along with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? It is Christ who died, or rather, who has risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also prays on our behalf. What shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we are killed all day long; we are regarded as sheep for the slaughter". No, in all these challenges we are more than victors through Him who loves us. For I am convinced, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor governments, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I am telling the truth in Chreist. I am not lying, and my conscience also vouches for me in the Holy Spirit, that there is great heaviness and continual sadness in my heart. For I could wish that I myself lay under a curse from Christ for my brothers, my kinsmen in the flesh. These are the Israelites. The adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the Law, the service of God, and the promises, all belong to them. The fathers are theirs, and as concerning the flesh, Christ came from among them. (He is over all, God-blessed for ever. Amen.)

It is not as if the word of God has had no effect. They are not all Israel, who come from Israel. In fact, they are not all children of Abraham because they descend from Abraham. To the contrary: "In Isaac shall your descendants be called." Which is to say: those who are the children of the flesh, are not the children of god. The children of the promise are counted for the seed. For this is the Word of promise: "According to this time I will come, and Sarah will have a son." And not merely this: when Rebekah had also fallen pregnant by one man, to wit, our father Isaac (for the children were not yet born, and neither had done any good or evil, so that the purpose of God according to Divine election might stand, not from works, but from Him Who calls), it was told to her, "The elder will serve the younger." As it is written: "I loved Jacob, but dismissed Esau."

So what shall we say? Has God done an unjust thing? Absolutely not! For He told Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion," so that it is not from him who wills, or from him who runs, but from God Who shows mercy. For this was written to Pharaoh: "For this very reason I raised you up, so that I might demonstrate My power in you, and that My Name might be published throughout the entire earth." That is why He has mercy on whom He wants to have mercy, and whom He wants to, He hardens.

Now you will say back to me, "Why do you still find fault? Has anyone actually resisted His will?" No, but: Man, who are you to talk back to God? Shall the formed thing say to its artist, "Why did you make me that way"? Doesn't the potter have authority over the clay, to make one pot for a clean purpose and another for a dirty purpose, out of the same lump? What if God, wanting to demonstrate His magisterial anger, and to make His power known, endured with much patience the pots of anger, that are intended for destruction, and so that He could make known the riches of His glory on the pots of mercy, which he had prepared ahead-of-time for glory, meaning ourselves, whom He has called, not merely from the Jews but from Gentiles, too? As He also told the prophet Hosea: "I will call them My people, who are not My people, and her beloved, who was not beloved." "And it will so happen that in the place where they were told, 'You are not My people,' in that place they will be called the children of the Living God." The prophet Isaiah also cried out about Israel: "Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, a remnant will be saved," "for He will finish the Word, and cut it short, because the Lord will make a short work on the earth." And as Isaiah said before, "If the All-Sufficient God had not left us a seed, we would have been like Sodom, and been made like Gomorrah."

So what shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not follow after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, and indeed the righteousness that comes from faith. But Israel, which did follow after the Law of righteousness, has not attained to the Law of righteousness. Why not? Because they did not seek it by faith, but, effectively, by works. They stumbled at that stumbling-stone. As it is written: "Behold! I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of scandal. Whoever believes on Him will not be ashamed."

Brothers, this is my heart's desire and prayer to God for them: that they might be saved. I can vouch that they have a zeal for God, but not according to first-hand knowledge. For they are ignorant of God's righteousness, and are running around trying to establish their own jusitification. So they have not submitted themselves to God's righteousness. For Christ is the End of the Law for righteousness for everyone who believes. For Moses describes the righteousness that comes from the Law: that "the man who does these things shall live by them." But the righteousness that comes from faith speaks like this: "Do not say in your heart, 'Who shall ascend into heaven?'" (i.e., to bring Christ down from above), or, "'Who shall descend into the deep?'" (i.e., to bring Christ up from the dead all over again). But what does it really say? "The spoken word is close to you, even in your mouth, and in your heart," (i.e. the word of faith, which we are preaching), so that if you will confess the Lord Jesus with your mouth, and will believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For man believes with the heart to righteousness, and confession is made with the mouth to salvation. Scripture says, "Whoever believes in Him will not be ashamed." For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek. The same Lord over all is rich to all who call on Him. For: "Whoever will call on the Name of the Lord will be saved."

So how are they to call on Him in Whom they did not believe? And how are they to believe in Him of Whom they haven't heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? And how are they to preach, unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad news of good things!" In contrast, they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our report?" So: faith comes by hearing, and hearing comes by the spoken Word of God. But I say, "Haven't they heard?" Oh, yes. "Their sound went into all the earth, and their spoken words to the ends of the world." But I say, "Didn't Israel know?" Well, first Moses says, "I will provoke [you] to jealousy by those who are not a people, and by a foolish nation I will make [you] angry." But Isaiah is very bold, and says: "I was found by them who did not seek Me; I was made obvious to those who did not ask after Me." But to Israel he says, "All day long I stretched out my hands to a disobedient and nay-saying people."

So I say: Has God thrown away His people? Oh, no. Remember: I am an Israelite myself, descended from Abraham, belonging to the Tribe of Benjamin. God has not thrown away His people, whom He knew ahead of time. Don't you know what Scripture says about Elijah? How he made intercession to God against Israel, and said, "Lord, they have killed Your prophets, and dug down Your altars, and I am the only one left, and they are out to kill me."? But how did God answer him? "I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal." So even today there is also a remnant, according to the election of grace. And if it's by grace, then it is not by works anymore. Otherwise, grace is not grace anymore. But if it's by works, then it is not grace anymore; otherwise, work is not work anymore.

Now what? Israel has not obtained what it is looking for, but the election has obtained it, and the rest were blinded (according to this that is written: "God has given them the spirit of sleep, eyes that they will not see, and ears that they will not hear,) to this day. And David says, "Let their table be made a snare and a trap and a stumbling block, and a recompence for them." "Let their eyes be darkened, so that they will not see, and bow down their back always." Then I say: Haven't they stumbled so that they would fall? Oh, no! Rather, through their fall, salvation has come to the Gentiles, in order to provoke the Israelites to jealousy.

Now if their fall be the wealth of the world, and their diminishing the wealth of the Gentiles, then how much more will their fullness be? For I am talking to you Gentiles: as much as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make my office that much greater, if by any means I provoke those that are my flesh to emulate you, and perhaps I can save some of them. For if their throwing-out be the reconciliation of the world, what will be their welcoming, if not life from the dead? For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is holy as well. And if the root is holy, the branches are holy as well. And if some of the branches have been broken off, and you, wild olive tree that you are, were grafted in among them, and with them take your share of the root and the fatness of the olive tree, then don't brag against the branches. If you think you have bragging rights, remember: you don't bear the root; the root bears you.

Now: you will say, "The branches were broken off, so that I might be grafted in." That's fine: they were broken off for their unbelief, and you stand by faith. Don't be high-minded about that, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, be careful: He might not spare you either. So look well at the goodness and the severity of God: on those that fell, severity; but on you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise, you, too, will be cut off. And they, too, if they do not remain in unbelief, will be grafted back in. God can graft them in again. For if you were cut out of the olive tree that is wild by nature, and were grafted counterintuitively into a good olive tree, then how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? For I do not want you, my brothers, to be ignorant of this secret, so that you will not be wise in your own conceits: blindness in part has happened to Israel, until the fulfillment of the Gentiles has occurred. And so all of Israel will be saved. As it is written: "The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and will turn away ungodliness from Jacob," "and this is My covenant with them, when I will take away their sins."

Now as to the gospel, they are enemies on your account. But as regards the election, they are beloved for the sake of their ancestors. For the gifts and calling of God are not anything that He will change His will about. For as you, in times past, have not believed God, and still have now obtained mercy through their unbelief, these people also have not believed, so that through the mercy you obtained, they might obtain mercy, too. For God has called them all together in unbelief, so that He might have mercy on everyone.

Oh, how deep is the wealth, both of the wisdom and understanding of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past discovery! "For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counsellor?" "Or who has first given to Him, and it will be repaid to Him again?" For out of Him, and through Him, and to HIm, all things come. To Him be the glory for ever. Amen.

And so, brothers, I beg of you, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God. That is only reasonable for you to do. And do not "fit in" to the world. To the contrary, be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you might demonstrate the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God. For I say, through the grace given to me, to every man among you: Do not think yourself higher than you ought to think. Think soberly, just as God has dealt with every man according to the measure of his faith.

We have many body parts in one body, and all parts of the body do not have the same position. So we, though we are many, are one body in Christ, and every man is a fellow part of another. Then because we have gifts according to the grace given to us: if the gift is prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith. If it is ministry, let us attend to our ministry; or him who teaches, on his teaching; or he who exhorts, on exhortation; he who gives, let him do it simply;; he who rules, let him rule diligently; he who shows mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

Let love be without hypocrisy. Stay away from that which is evil; stay close to that which is good. Show one another proper brotherly love. Prefer one another in social honors. Do not be lazy in business. Be fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, rejoicing in hope, patient in oppression, continuing at every moment in prayer, distributing resources to the need of the saints; given to hospitality.

Bless those who are persecuting you. Bless, and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be in agreement with one another. Do not seek after things of high value, but associate with men of low estate. Do not be wise in your own conceits. Do not repay any man evil for evil. Provide honest things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as lies within you, live peaceably with all men.

Do not try to make your own justice, beloved. Instead, give place to righteous indignation. For it is written, "Justice is My job; I will set things right," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink. By doing this you will heap coals of fire on his head." Do not let evil get the best of you, but get the best of evil with good.

Let every soul exist under the rule of higher powers. For there is no power but God's: the powers that exist are derived from God. Whoever therefore resists the power, resists the ruler of God: and those who resist shall earn themselves damnation. For rulers are not a threat to good works, but to evil. Will you therefore not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and you shall have praise of the same: for he is the minister of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid; for he does not carry the sword without reason: for he is the minister of God, an avenger to execute wrath upon those who commit evil. Therefore, you must be obedient, not only in consideration of that wrath, but also for conscience's sake. For for this reason pay your tribute as well: for they are God's ministers, attending continually to this very thing. Therefore, give to them all that is due them: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom is due; fear to whom fear is due; honor to whom honor is due.

Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shall not commit adultery, Thou shall not kill, Thou shall not steal, Thou shall not bear false witness, Thou shall not covet; and if there is any other commandment, it is embodied in this saying, namely, Thou shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. And this, knowing the time, that it is high time now to wake up from sleep. Now our salvation is closer than when we believed. The night is nearly over, and the day is at hand. So let us throw off the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day: not in rioting and intoxication, not in sleeping around and being wanton, not in fighting and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to satisfy its lusts.

Receive him who is weak in the faith, but not for a pointless dialog. One man might believe that he may eat anything he likes. Another, who is weak, eats only herbs. He who eats everything should not despise him who does not eat—and he who does not eat should not judge him who eats. God has welcomed him. Who are you to judge another man's house servant? He stands or falls to his own master. In fact, he will be made to stand up, because God can make him stand. One man rates one day as more important than another, and another man rates every day the same. Let each man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He who regards the day, regards it to the Lord. He who does not regard the day, to the Lord he does not regard it. He who eats, eats for the Lord, because he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. For none of us lives for himself, and no man dies for himself. For whether we live, we live to the Lord; and whether we die, we die to the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this is why Christ both died, and rose up, and lived again, so that He might be Lord of the dead and of the living. But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you regard your brother as nothing? We are all going to stand in front of the tribunal of Christ. For it is written: "As I live, says the Lord,l every knee will bow to Me, and every tongue will confess to God." So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. So let us not judge each other any longer. Instead, judge this: no man should trip his brother up, or set him up to fail.

I know, and have it on the authority of the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean in and of itself. But if any man regards a thing as unclean, then it is unclean to him. But if your brother is upset with you on account of what you eat, then you are not walking charitably. Do not destroy him with the foods you eat, for Christ died for him. So do not let your good be criticized. The kingdom of God is not food and drink, but justice, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he that serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God, and approved by men. So let us follow after the things that make peace, and the things that we can build each other up with.

Foods should not destroy the work of God. In fact, all things are clean, but it is still bad for the man who eats something that will cause another man to fall into sin. It is a good thing neither to eat meat, or drink the fruit of the vine, or anything by which your brother might stumble, or be offended, or be weakened. Do you have faith? Have it for yourself in front of God. He is happy who does not condemn himself in whatever he allows himself. And he who doubts is damned if he eats, because he is not eating out of faith. Whatever does not come from faith is sin. So we, who are strong, ought to sustain the infirmities of the weak, and not please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbor, for his good for the purpose of building-up. For even Christ did not please Himself, but, as it is written, "The reproaches of them who reproached you, fell on Me." For anything whatever that was written in former times was written for our learning, so that we, through patience and comfort from the Scriptures, might have hope.

Now may the God of patience and consolation grant that you will be likeminded to one another, according to Christ Jesus, so that we may, with one mind and one mouth, glorify God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. So welcome one another, as Christ also welcomed us to the glory of God. For I say that Jesus Christ was a Minister of the circumcision for the Truth of God, to strengthen the promises made to their ancestors, and so that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy. As it is written: "For this reason I will confess to you among the Gentiles,l and sing to My Name." And he says further: "Rejoice, you Gentiles, with His people." And: "Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and commend Him, all you people." And again, Isaiah says: "A root of Jesse shall exist, and He Who will rise to reign over the Gentiles, in Him the Gentiles will trust." Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may have abundant hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

But I myself am also persuaded by you, my brothers, that you are also full of goodness, filled with all awareness, and also able to confront one another constructively. Nonetheless, brothers, I have written even more boldly to you in one way, by way of putting you in mind, on account of the grace that is given to me by God, that I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, serving as a priest for the gospel of God, so that the offering-up from the Gentiles might be acceptable, and made holy by the Holy Spirit. So I have some of the things by which I might gain glory through Jesus Christ in those matters pertaining to God. For I will not dare speak about any of the things that Christ did not work in me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and action, through powerful signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit, so that from Jerusalem, and by a roundabout way to Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. Thus I have strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named; or else I would be building on another man's foundation. But as it is written: "To whom He was not spoken of, they will see. And they who have not heard will understand." This is also why I have been held back greatly from coming to you.

But now I have no more place in these parts of the world, and have a great desire for many years to come to you. Whenever I take my trip to Spain, I will come to you, for I hope to see you during my trip, and to be brought on my way to you, if I first am somewhat filled with your company. But I am now going to Jerusalem to wait on the saints. For those of Macedonia and Achaia are pleased to make a certain contribution for the needy saints at Jerusalem. It has truly pleased them, and they are in their debt. For if the Gentiles have been made participants in their spiritual things, they also have the duty to wait on them in fleshly things. So when I have performed this task, and have sealed this fruit to themn, I will come by way of Rome into Spain. And I am sure that, when I come to you, I will come with the full blessing of the gospel of Christ.

So I beg of you, for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ, and for the love of the Spirit, that you work together with me in your prayers to God for me, so that I might be delivered from the unbelieving ones in Judea, and that my service that I have for Jerusalem will be accepted by the saints, so that I can come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed with you.

May the God of peace now be with you all. Amen.

I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchrea, that you will welcome her in the Lord, as saints should do, and that you help her in whatever business she needs from you. She has been a comforter to man, including myself.

Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my helpers in Christ Jesus. They have laid down their own necks for my life. Not only do I thank them, but all the churches of the Gentiles thank them. In the same way, greet the church that is in their house. Greet my well-loved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruit of Achaia for Christ.

Greet Mary, who did us many favors.

Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives, and my fellow prisoners, who are notable among the apostles, and were also in Christ before me.

Greet my beloved Amplias in the Lord.

Greet Urbane, our helper in Christ, and my beloved Stachys.

Greet Apelles, who is approved in Christ.

Greet those who belong to the household of Aristobulus.

Greet my relative, Herodion.

Greet those belonging to the household of Narcissus, who are in the Lord.

Greet Tryphoena and Tryphosa, who work in the Lord.

Greet the beloved Persis, who did much work in the Lord.

Greet Rufus, who is chosen in the Lord, nd his mother and mine.

Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brothers who are with them.

Greet Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints with them.

Greet one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ send greetings to you.

Now I beg of you, brothers, be careful of those who cause division and offenses against the doctrine that you have learned, and avoid them. Those who behave this way are not serving the Lord Jesus Christ, but their own bellies. They use good words and fair speeches to deceive the hearts of simple folk. For your obedience has become known to all men. So I am glad for your sakes. But I want you to be wise to the good, and simple concerning evil. The God of peace will soon bruise Satan under your feet. The grace of our lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

TImothy my fellow worker, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my relatives, send you their respects.

I, Tertius, who wrote this letter, send you my respects in the Lord.

Gaius, who has been my host and that of the whole church, sends his respects.

Erastus the city chamberlain sends you his respects, and so does a brother, Quartus.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Now to Him Who has the power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revealing of the secret, which was kept hidden since the world began, but now is made obvious, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the instruction by the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith, to God the Only Wise One, be glory through Jesus Christ for all time. Amen.


From Paul, Jesus Christ's apostle by God's Will, and brother Timothy, to God's Corinthian Church and all the Achaian saints: Grace and peace of mind to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed is God, Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, Father of mercies, and God of comfort. He comforts us during our trials so we can comfort others in trouble with that same comfort which God gives us. While we experience Christ's sufferings, we also feel consolation from Him. Whether we suffer or are comforted, it's for your consolation and salvation, which is strong in overcoming the same trials we suffer. Our hope for you is constant, as we know that you partake in the suffering and will join in the consolation.

Brothers, we wouldn't have you be ignorant of the trouble we had in Asia, where we were oppressed unreasonably, above our strength, so we were mortally despaired. We felt a death sentence over us, that we shouldn't trust ourselves but instead in the resurrecting God, Who saved us from a tragic death, delivering us, and Who we trust to deliver us still. You also helping together by praying for us, that in return for the gift bestowed us on through many, thanks may be given by many on our behalf. For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and Godly sincerity, not with material wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have spread our message in the world, and even more towards you. For we write nothing to you, other than what you have read and understood; and I trust you shall always continue to understand; and as you have come to understood us partially, that you rejoice in us, as we will rejoice in you when we meet the Lord Jesus. And in this assurance I was inclined to return to you, that you might benefit a second time; and to pass by this way into Macedonia, and to return from Macedonia through you, on my way back toward Judea.

When I decided this, did I do so lightly? Or when I decide things, do I do so for material reasons, going back and forth between "yes" and "no"? But just as God is true, our commitment to you was not wavering. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not wavering, but embodies commitment. For all the promises of God in Him are true, and embodied in him Amen, to the glory of God by us.

Now He who established us with you in Christ, and had appointed us, is God; Who has also committed us, and given the dedication of the Spirit in our hearts. Furthermore, I call God as my witness, that it was to spare you that I had not returned to Corinth before. For we do not want to rule over your faith, but rather are helpers of your joy, for you to stand on your own faith. But I resolved to myself that I would not return to you with a heavy heart. For if I make you sad, who is he then that will make me glad, but the ones who I have saddened? And I wrote this to you, hoping against, when I came, that I would have brought sorrow to those who I should rejoice with; having confidence in all of you, that my joy is the joy of you all. For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears; not that you should be sorrowful, but rather that you might know the love which I increasingly have for you. But if any have caused grief, they have not grieved me, but in some respect, and not to exaggerate, to you all instead.

Such a man received the punishment he deserved, which was administered by many. So instead you should forgive him now, and comfort him, otherwise a man like him could be consumed in sorrow. Therefore, I beg you to confirm your love toward him. For this purpose I had written, so that I might put you to the test, and see if you are obedient in all things. When you forgive someone, I forgive them as well. For if I have forgiven anything, I had forgiven that person for your sake in the name of Christ; otherwise Satan would take advantage of us, for we are not ignorant of his ways. Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord, I had no peace of mind, because I had not found Titus my brother. But taking my leave of them, I went from there into Macedonia.

Now thanks be to God, Who always leads us to victory through Christ, whose presence is recognized everywhere by us like a comforting scent in the air. For we stand out to God as a sweet fragrance of Christ, among those who are saved, and among those who perish. To one group we carry the scent of everlasting death; and to the other the scent of everlasting life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not like most, who corrupt the word of God, but instead are men of sincerity, and as men of God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ's name.

Do we begin to praise ourselves again? Or do we, like some others, need epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you? You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men. For you are clearly seen as the living epistle of Christ through our ministry, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tablets of stone, but in the tablet of the heart. And such trust have we through Christ toward God. Not that we are so self-sufficient to think that this comes from us alone; rather our abilities are from God; who has also made us capable ministers of the New Testament; not of the old law, but of the spirit, for the old laws alone lead only to death, but the spirit gives life.

But if the ministry under the old laws, written and engraved in stone, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not bear to look upon face of Moses for the glory of his appearance; whose glory was not meant to last, how can't the ministration of the spirit be even more glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation is glorious, the ministration of righteousness exceeds that glory by much more. For even that which was glorified is no longer so in this respect, because this new glory surpasses it. For if what is now irrelevant was glorious, what replaced it is much more glorious.

Realizing then that we have such hope, we speak frankly, rather than Moses, who put a veil over his face, so that the children of Israel could not directly see the eventual end of that which has now been abolished. But their minds were closed, for to this day that veil remains in a literal reading of the Old Testament; the same veil that is removed through Christ. But even today, when the words of Moses are read, that veil covers their hearts. Nevertheless, when one turns to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. And we, with uncovered faces beholding the glory of the Lord as clearly as if through glass, are made more and more like Him, by the Spirit of the Lord.

Therefore, seeing that we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not falter; but have renounced the secrets of dishonesty, avoiding mischief, or twisting the Word of God deceitfully; but by making the truth known we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. But if our Gospel stays unrevealed, it is unrevealed to those who are lost, in whom the God of this world has closed the minds of the unbelieving, otherwise the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, would shine upon them. For we do not preach about ourselves, but of Christ Jesus the Lord; and consider ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we carry this treasure in clay jars, showing that the glory of the power comes from God, and from us. We are troubled from all directions, but not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always remembering in our body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus might also be realized in our body. For we who live are always risking death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus might also be realized in our mortal flesh. So death may work in us, but life also works within you.

We share the same spirit of faith, and as it was written, I believed, and therefore I have preached; we also believe, and therefore preach; knowing that He Who raised up the Lord Jesus shall also raise us up through Jesus, and shall present us with you. For all this is for your sake, that the abundant grace might, through the thanksgiving of many, contribute to the glory of God. For this cause we do not falter; for although our mortal body may perish, the inner soul is renewed with each passing day. For our light suffering, which is only temporary, earns for us a far more significant and eternal measure of glory; as we focus not on the material, but on the spiritual, for material things are fleeting; but spiritual things are eternal.

We know if this earthly tabernacle is destroyed, God has a greater building, not man made, eternally in heaven. We are eager for it, and we wish to clothed by our heavenly house, so that we won't be found to be naked. Those of us in the tabernacle groan, since we're burdened and want to be clothed, not naked, and mortality could be replaced by eternal life. Jesus, who has given us this, is God, and has also given we faithful the Divine Guide.

So always be confident and realize that while we have bodies, we are removed from the Lord. (Since we walk by faith, not sight) We are confident, I say, and are willing instead to leave our bodies, and to live with the Lord. Therefore, we work on, such that, whether at home or away, we may be worthy of Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive his due, according to what he has done, whether it was good or bad.

Therefore, knowing to fear the Lord, we convert men; and in this we are seen as sincere by God; and I hope we are also seen as sincere in your consciences. For we are not justifying ourselves to you again, but rather giving you reason to take pride in us, that you will have a response to those who take pride in appearance over what is in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God. If we are calm, it is for your sake. For the love of Christ controls us; because we reason that, if one died for all, then all had been dead. And because He died for all, those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the sake of Him who died for them, and rose again.

Therefore, we regard no man in the mortal sense. Though we once regarded Christ in the mortal sense, we no longer do. Therefore, if any man lives for Christ, he is a new creature and the old has passed away; behold, everything has been renewed. And everything is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, that God was in Christ, reconciling everyone to himself, no longer holding their sins against them; and hath committed to us the message of reconciliation. And so we are ambassadors for Christ, and God is reaching out to you through us, as we pray in Christ's name, that you are reconciled to God. For God had appointed Him, who had no sin, to stand for our sins; that we might find the righteousness of God through Him.

We then, as workers for His cause, beg you not to receive the grace of God in vain. (For He had said, "I heard you when the time was right, and in the day of salvation have I helped you. Behold, now is that time; behold, now is the day of salvation.") Causing no offense in any way, that the ministry could be blamed for. But in all things exemplifying ourselves as true ministers of God, through great patience enduring injury, hardship and distress, in lashings, in imprisonments, in riots, in hard work, in sleepless nights, in hunger; through purity, knowledge, persistence, kindness, the Holy Spirit, and sincere love, through the word of truth, the power of God, and the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise; Through accusations of deceit while remaining true; ignored, even though we are known; near death, and yet we live on; punished, but not killed; somber, yet always rejoicing; poor, but enriching others; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

Oh Corinthians, we have spoken openly to you, our heart is opened to you. You are not held back by us, but you hold yourselves back. Now for the sake of fairness, (and I speak to you as my children), open your hearts as well.

Do not be tied with unbelievers, for what partnership does righteousness have with unrighteousness? What fellowship does light have with darkness? And what harmony does Christ have with the Devil? What does a believer share in common with an infidel? And what agreement does the temple of God share with idols? For you are the temple of the living God; as God had said, "I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." "Therefore step away from them, and stand apart", said the Lord, "And do not touch unclean things, and I will receive you", "And I will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters", said the Lord Almighty. So with these promises, my friends, let's wash ourselves clean of all filth of body and mind, perfecting holiness in awe of God.

Accept us, for we have hurt no man, corrupted no man, deceived no man. I don't say this to condemn you, since I've told you already that you're in our hearts whether we live or die with you. I speak with great boldness to you, and the great pride I have in you comforts me, bringing me great joy through all our hardship.

For when we had arrived in Macedonia, we had no rest, and we were assailed from all side; with conflict around us and fear within us. Nevertheless, God, Who comforts those those who are downcast, comforted us through the arrival of Titus; and not only through his arrival, but by the news of how he was comforted by you; his telling us of your sincere desire, your sorrow, your eagerness to see; such that I rejoiced even more. For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not regret it, although I was sorry that this epistle had brought you sorrow, even though it was temporary. Now I rejoice, not that you were saddened, but that your sadness led to repentance for it was brought upon you as God's will, and that you were not harmed in any way. For sorrow delivered in God's name brings the repentance that leads to salvation, and is not to be regretted, unlike the sorrows of the world that bring death. For see what this Godly sorrow has manifested in you; what focus it has brought in you, what desire to be pure, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what readiness to punish evil! In all these things you have shown yourselves to innocent in this regard. Therefore, though I had written to you, I did not do it to show who had done wrong, or who had suffered, but that our concern for how you are viewed by God would be apparent to you. Therefore, we were comforted by your understanding, even more grateful for the joy felt by Titus, because of how his spirit was restored by all of you. For if I have boasted of anything to him about you, I am not ashamed; but just as we have always been truthful to you, so was our boasting, made to Titus, nothing but the truth. And his deep affection for you only grew, as he remembered your obedience, and how you received him with fear and trembling. I therefore rejoice that I have trust in you in all things.

So, brothers, we'll tell of how God has bestowed his grace on the Macedonian churches. How, though severely suppressed, their overflowing joy and deep poverty produced incredible generosity. I recall that they gave up all they had, and even more than they had! They prayed and prayed that we would receive God's gift, join the fellowship, and minister to the saints. They did this, not because we hoped it. First they gave themselves to God, and to us by God's will. In that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, he would also finish you in the same grace. Therefore, as you have much of everything, in faith, utterance, knowledge, diligence, and love to us, see that you have much of this grace too.

I do not speak by commanding, but by the occasional forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. For you know the boundless generosity of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, he for your sakes became poor, so that you, through his poverty, could be rich. And here I give my advice, for this is quick to you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago. Now, therefore, perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which you have. For if there is first an open mind, it is accepted according to what that man has, and not to what he does not have. For I do not mean that other men be eased, and you burdened, but by an equality, so now your abundance may be a supply for them, that their abundance may also be a supply for you so there may be equality As it is written, "He who gathered much had nothing extra, and he who gathered little had no lack."

But thanks are to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you. For he accepted the incitement, but being more forward, he went to you of his own free will. And we have sent the brother with him, whose praise is in the gospel in all the churches. And not only that, but who was also chosen from the churches to travel with us with this amazing generosity, which we administer to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind. Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this surplus which we administer, providing for honesty, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. And we have sent our brother with them, who we have often proven diligent in much, but now much more diligent, upon the great confidence I have in you. Whether any inquire of Titus, he is my partner and volunteer concerning you or our brethren be asked of, they are the messengers of the churches and the glory of Christ. Why show yourself to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.

For as touching the ministering is to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you. For I know the directness of your minds, which I boast of to those in Macedonia, and how Achaia was served a year ago; and how your zeal had inspired so many. Still I have sent the brothers, so that our boasts about you in this regard would not have been in vain; namely, as I had said, that you are ready. Otherwise if any of the Macedonians were to come with me, and find you unprepared, we (as opposed to you) would be ashamed of having boasted like that. Therefore, I considered it necessary to reach out to the brothers, that they would go to you in advance, and prepare with you in advance against the unexpected, that you would be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness.

Because I tell you this; he who sows sparingly reaps sparingly, and he who sows bountifully reaps bountifully. Every man should give as his heart compels him to; not grudgingly, or out of necessity, because God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to cause all forms of grace to come upon you; so that you, always having what you need, may continue to do good works (as it is written, "He has dispersed abroad; He has given to the poor his everlasting righteousness. Now He who provides seed to the sower accordingly provides bread for your food, and multiplies what you have sown, and increases the fruits of your righteousness;) being enriched in everything to all bountifulness, which brings through us thanksgiving to God. For the fulfillment of this service not only meets the needs of the saints, but is abundant in its thanksgivings to God; while by the testing of this ministry they glorify God for your proclaimed dedication to the gospel of Christ, and for your generous sharing among them, and to all men; and by their prayer for you, which long after you for the surplus grace of God in you. Thanks be to God for His gratitude.

Now I myself, Paul, ask you in the humble and gentle manner of Christ, being lowly in your presence despite being bold when away. But I ask you, since I don't have to bold when I'm present, because I think I'll have to be toward some who act as if we live by the flesh. Although we walk in the flesh, we don't wage war for the flesh. (Our weapons of warfare are not sinful, but are made so mighty by God that they can destroy fortresses). Casting down speculation, and every lofty opinion held against the knowledge of God, and capturing every thought towards obedience to Christ; and being ready to punish all disobedience, once your obedience has been pledged.

Do you only judge by appearances? If any man believes himself to be in Christ's service then let him reconsider this, since, as he is in Christ's service, so are we. For while I claim more authority in this regard, which the Lord had bestowed on us for your benefit rather than your detriment, I am not ashamed that I am not the terrifying figure you would have expected based on my letters. "His letters", they would say, "are grave and powerful; but in person he is meek, and his speech contemptible". These people should understand, then, that as we appear in our writings from afar, we will act in person if we are here. For we do not dare to number or compare ourselves with those who praise themselves by their own standards, for those who rate themselves only against each other are unwise.

But we will not boast of things beyond our measure, but rather by the standards which God has given to use, a standard that applies to you as well.

For we do not exceed our mandate in reaching out to you, and in coming as far as this place to preach the Gospel of Christ. Not boasting of things beyond our mandate, that is, of other mens' effort; but in the hope, when your faith grows, that we will have grown with you in proportion to our own effort, to preach the Gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast of the works accomplished by others. But he who boasts, let him boast of the Lord. For it is not the one who praises himself that is righteous, but the one who is praised by the Lord.

God willing, please bear with me a bit in my recklessness, and continue to do so For I covet you in God's name, and betrothed you in marriage to one husband, presenting you like a sanctified virgin to Christ. Yet I fear that, as the serpent beguiled Eve with his trickery, so also your minds might be corrupted away from the simplicity of Christ. For if someone comes preaching another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you hear of another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might stand firm with Him. For I suppose that I am no less than the leading apostles. But though I be self-promoting in speech, not so in knowledge; we have made everything crystal clear to you.

Have I done something wrong in lowering myself in order to elevate you, because I preached the good news of God as a gift to you? I robbed other churches by taking payment from them in order to serve you. And when I was with you and I was in need, I didn't financially burden any man, because the church members from Macedonia provided me what I was lacking. I have in all regards kept myself from being a burden to you, and I will continue to do so. As the truth of Christ is in me, no man in all of Achaia will stop me from boasting of this. Why? Because I don't love you? God knows I do.

But I will do what I must, in order to deny the opportunity to those who would seize it, as if they are equal to us in what they take pride in. They are false apostles, deceitful workers, posing as apostles of Christ. And no wonder; for even Satan himself poses as an angel of light. So it's no great surprise that Satan's ministers also pose as the ministers or righteousness; what they get in the end will be according to their works.

Again I say, don't think I'm being foolish, but if you do, listen to this fool anyway, so I can boast about myself a little. When I'm speaking, I don't do it as the Lord would, but rather as fool might, because of my boasting from faith. Since many people take pride in worldly things, I will take some pride too. For you tolerate fools easily, considering yourselves to be wise. You even put up with it if a man enslaves you, steals from you, takes all you have, looks down on you, or even hits you in the face. It’s a shame, as though we had been weak.

However, if others are bold, I will be bold too. (There I go again, speaking foolishly.) Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. Are they ministers of Christ? I’m speaking craziness again, but I am more of one. I do more work than they do, I’ve been beaten more than they have, I’ve spent more time in prison, and I’ve faced death more times than they have. Five times, I received 39 lashes from the Jews. I’ve been beaten with rods three times, I’ve been stoned once, I’ve been shipwrecked three times. I spent a night and a day floating at sea. I've traveled often, in danger of drowning, of robbers, of my own countrymen, of gentiles, in the city, in the wilderness, at sea, and from those who deceitfully claim to be church members. I've worked in fatigue and pain, without sleeping, in hunger and thirst without any food, in the cold without clothing. On top of all those things, what weighs on me daily is my concern for all the churches. Who can be weak without making me feel weak? Who can stumble without making me burn?

If I really need to boast, I will boast regarding my weaknesses. God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. In Damascus, the governor under King Aretas guarded the city of the Damacenes in order to capture me. But I escaped his hands by being let down the wall through a window in a basket.

Boasting, though not helpful, is necessary. I will now come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a follower of Christ who, fourteen years ago, was caught up to the third heaven (whether in the body or out of the body, I can't tell; God only knows) And I know that this man (whether in the body or out of the body, I can't tell; God only knows) was snatched up into paradise and heard unspeakable words which man is not allowed to say. I will boast about someone like that, but I won't boast about myself except my weaknesses. If I wanted to boast, I wouldn't be a fool; I'd be telling the truth. But I will hold back, so that no man will think of me other than what he sees or hears in me. And so that I wouldn't become unsufferably proud by having received such an abundance of revelations, I was given a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan, to beat me down so that I wouldn't be insufferably proud. Regarding this thing, I asked the Lord three times to take it away from me. But He told me, "My grace is enough for you; my strength is perfected in weakness." So I will gladly take pride in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmity, in criticism, in hardship, in persecution, and in distress for Christ's sake, for when I am weak, then am I strong.

I have made a fool of myself over this boasting; you have made me do this, even though I should have been commended by you. For in no way am I lesser than the leading apostles, though I am a nobody myself. Truly the evidence of being an apostle were shown to you through patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. For was there any way in which you were inferior to other churches, except that I wasn't a burden to you as well? Forgive me for this wrong.

See, for the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be a burden to you for I seek nothing of yours. You as the children should not have to support the parents, rather the parents should support the children. And I will very gladly spend and expend myself on your behalf; even though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved in return. But be that as it may, I did not burden you; nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with deceit. Did I take advantage of you through any of the men I had sent to you? I had chosen Titus, and I sent a brother along with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not walk in the same spirit? Did we not walk in the same steps?

Again, do you think we're defending ourselves to you? We speak before God in Christ but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your benefit. For I fear, however, that when I come, I won't find you as I expect, and that you will regard me likewise, leading to debate, envy, anger, strife, recrimination, gossip, arrogance and fights. And I fear, that when I come again, God will humble me before you, and that I shall grieve over the many who have already sinned, and who have not repented of the filth, depravity and lechery that they have committed.

So this is the third time I have come to you. Every word will be established by two or three witnesses. Today I tell you, as I have told you before; I tell those who have sinned that if I come again I will not have mercy. Each of you seeks proof that Christ speaks from within me, which is not weak but mighty to you. Perceiving that he was crucified through weakness, we yet know that he lived by the power of God. We also are weak in him, but we will live with him through the power of God.

Hasten to understand yourselves, whether or not you have faith; prove yourselves. If you do not know yourselves, how will you know that Jesus Christ is in you? Each of you I trust is not a reprobate. Now I pray to God that none of you do evil acts; not for the sake of being approved, but so that you do that which is honest, despite being a reprobate. For we cannot act against the truth, only in support of it. For we are glad, when we are weak but you are strong, and we wish continue to wish for this, and for your perfection. Therefore, I write these things while being absent, because if I were present I might be more harsh, per the authority the Lord has bestowed on me for purposes of edification and not destruction.

Brethren, farewell. Be perfect, of good comfort, of one mind, and live in peace. Do these things and the God of love and peace will be with you. Great each other with a holy kiss. All the saints salute you.

May the grace of Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all. Amen.


But he himself stayed in Asia Province for a season.

Forty

Chapter 40 Bible texts

In A.D. 54 the emperor Claudius was assassinated by his fourth wife Agrippina, who poisoned him and took charge of the empire for her son Nero. It was during this same period that Paul in Asia had written to the Assembly in Corinth and in Rome. Timothy had returned from Macedonia with news of the Assembly there, and Paul stayed in Asia for a while.

Nero was the fifth Roman emperor, the stepson and heir of the emperor Claudius. Nero’s father, Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus, had died fourteen years before, about A.D. 40, and Nero was then brought up by his mother, Agrippina the Younger, a great-granddaughter of the emperor Augustus. After poisoning her second husband, Agrippina helped, in A.D. 48, to bring about the murder of Valeria Messalina, her predecessor as the wife of Claudius. She next incestuously became the wife of the emperor Claudius, her uncle, and persuaded him to favor Nero, her son by a previous marriage, for the succession, over the rightful claim of his own son, Britannicus, and to also marry his daughter, Octavia, to Nero. Ceaselessly pursuing her intrigues to bring Nero to power, Agrippina eliminated her opponents among Claudius’s palace advisers. She probably had Claudius himself poisoned in A.D. 54, to insure the succession of Nero, rather than Claudius's own son Britannicus. Claudius Caesar died after a reign of almost fourteen years, poisoned by his wife, Agrippina. Brought up in this atmosphere, Nero might well have begun to behave like a monster upon his accession as emperor in 54 but, in fact, he behaved quite otherwise.

Nero was sixteen in the year anno domini fifty-four when news of Claudius's death was announced.

Upon the death of Claudius Agrippina at once had Nero proclaimed emperor by the Praetorian Guard, whose prefect, Sextus Afranius Burrus, was her partisan; she also immediately eliminated the powerful freedman Narcissus, who had always opposed her aims. Nero presented himself to the guards later the same day between the sixth and seventh hours Roman time, which is between noon and one o'clock, because the interpretation of ugly omens had ruled out an earlier appearance. After being acclaimed imperator on the steps of the palace, he was carried by litter to the camp of the Praetorian Guard, where he briefly addressed the troops. Then he visited the Senate House. The Senate thus had to accept a fait accompli as the will of the Roman gods. He refused only one of the many high honorific titles voted to him, because of his youth: Father of His Country. He remained there to nightfall. For the first time absolute power in the Roman Empire was vested in a mere boy, who was not yet 17. The testimony of contemporaries depicts Nero at this time as a handsome young man of fine presence but with soft, weak features and a restless spirit.

He began his reign by making a show of virtuous civil behavior, giving the dead Claudius a lavish funeral, at which he delivered the oration himself, and then deifying him. Afterward, as a guarantee of his virtuous intentions he promised to model his rule on the principles laid down by Augustus Caesar. Nero also inaugurated competitions in poetry, in the theatre, and in athletics as counterattractions to gladiatorial combats. He saw to it that assistance was provided to cities that had suffered disaster and, at the request of the Jewish historian Josephus, gave aid to the Jews.

Claudius had put 40 senators to death, but, between 54 and the year 62, there were no like incidents in Nero’s reign. Agrippina completed her work with the poisoning of Britannicus in 55; and some suggest that it was Nero himself who afterward poisoned Britannicus. Most people thought both Claudius and his son Britannicus had been poisoned. Agrippina had hoped to control the government, but Burrus and Nero’s old tutor, the Stoic philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca, though they owed their influence to Agrippina, were not content to remain her tools. They encouraged Nero to act independently of her, and this resulted in Nero growing increasingly distant in his relations with his mother.

He put an end to the practice of secret trials before the emperor and the dominance of corrupt freedmen, and he accorded more independence to the Senate. When he could not abolish some of the heavier taxes, he lowered them. He gave the people four hundred sesterces each, secured annual salaries for distinguished but impoverished senators, in some cases in the amount of five hundred thousand sesterces, and granted the Praetorian cohorts a free monthly issue of grain.

Meanwhile, the imperial government had some success in the east. The great foreign-policy problem of the time was that of Armenia. Roman-Parthian relations had become increasingly centered on Armenia, which was geopolitically situated between the Roman Empire and Parthia, Rome’s implacable foe in the east. Since the reign of Augustus, it had been Roman policy to appoint vassal kings there and so make Armenia a buffer state against Parthia and the kings of the east. The Armenians had already played a role in the early history of Roman-Parthian relations. In both Crassus’s and Antony’s campaigns, the Armenian king had a large role as a guide, and “betrayer,” as some sources state. The political turmoil in the Parthian Empire was also a significant factor, which has been attributed to the lack of open war during the early Pax Romana period; the Parthians had a number of problems on their other borders. Thirty-five years before, in A.D. 20, Parthian generals who conquered the regions of northern India had declared independence to form the “Indo-Parthian Kingdom.” Throughout the remaining history of Roman-Parthian relations, Armenia would have the role of a “buffer state” between the two powers. An advance on Armenia from one side was often interpreted as pretext to war by the other. The Armenians had long chafed under Roman rule, and in the emperor Claudius’s last years before Nero's reign a Parthian prince named Tiridates had made himself king of Armenia with the support of its people. In response, Nero’s new government took vigorous action, appointing an able general, Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo, to the command.

While directing the government themselves, Burrus and Seneca had largely left Nero uncontrolled to pursue his own tastes and pleasures. Seneca urged Nero to use his autocratic powers conscientiously, but he obviously failed to harness the boy’s more generous impulses to his responsibilities. Nero soon became infamous for his personal debaucheries and extravagances. His nocturnal rioting in the streets was a scandal as early as 56. Two years after Nero's accession as emperor of Rome, and about one year after Britannicus was poisoned, in A.D. 56 Agrippina was forced into retirement. From that time, Burrus and Seneca were the effective rulers of the empire.

At first Nero hated signing death sentences, and the extortions of Roman tax collectors on the populace over the next two years led him in A.D. 58 to unrealistically suggest that the customs dues should be abolished. Even later Nero was capable of conceiving grandiose plans for conquests or for the creation of public works, but for the most part he used his position simply to gratify his own personal pleasures.

Nero quickly became bored with his wife Octavia; he tried to strangle her on several occasions. He had fallen in love with Poppaea Sabina, the young wife of the senator Otho. Otho was born into a family that had held the consulship under Augustus. He had married Poppaea Sabina. But when the emperor Nero took Poppaea for his mistress in A.D. 58, Otho was sent from Rome to govern Lusitania. For 10 years Otho ruled this province with integrity.

Up to the year A.D. 59, Nero’s biographers cite only acts of generosity and clemency on his account. His government forbade contests in the circus involving bloodshed, banned capital punishment, reduced taxes, and accorded permission to slaves to bring civil complaints against unjust or cruel masters. Nero himself pardoned writers of epigrams against him and even those who plotted against him, and secret trials were few. The law of treason was dormant: he put no senators to death.

The emergence of real brutality in Nero can be fixed in the 35-month period A.D. 59 through 62 beginning with the open killing of his own mother on his orders in A.D. 59. He was led to the murder of Agrippina by her insanity and her fury at seeing her son slip out of her control. Having disposed of his mother Agrippina, Nero proceeded to murder his aunt Domitia. When he found her confined to bed with severe constipation, he ordered the doctors to give her a laxative of fatal strength, and then, just before she died, he seized her property and tore up her will, thus avoiding legal complications.

Seeing that he could do what he liked without fear of censure or retribution, Nero began to give free rein to inordinate artistic pretensions. He fancied himself not only a poet but also a charioteer and lyre player, and in A.D. 59 or 60 he began to give public performances; later he appeared on the stage, and the theatre furnished him with the pretext to assume every kind of role. To the Romans these antics seemed to be scandalous breaches of civic dignity and decorum, offenses against the dignity of the people of Rome. Nero even dreamed of abandoning the throne of Rome in order to fulfill his poetical and musical gifts, though he did not act on these immature, juvenile ambitions.

About that time, in Asia Minor there arose no small stir concerning the Way. For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen, whom he gathered together, with the workmen of like occupation, and said, “Sirs, you know that by this business we have our wealth. You see and hear, that not at Ephesus alone, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are no gods, that are made with hands. Not only is there danger that this our trade will come into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be counted as nothing, and her majesty destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worships.”

When they heard this they were filled with anger, and cried out, saying, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

The whole city was filled with confusion, and they rushed with one accord into the theater, having seized Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel. When Paul wanted to enter in to the people, the disciples did not allow him. Certain also of the Asiarchs, being his friends, sent to him and begged him not to venture into the theater. Some therefore cried one thing, and some another, for the assembly was in confusion. Most of them did not know why they had come together. They brought Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. Alexander beckoned with his hand, and would have made a defense to the people. But when they perceived that he was a Jew, all with one voice for a time of about two hours cried out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

When the town clerk had quieted the multitude, he said, “You men of Ephesus, what man is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great goddess Artemis, and of the image which fell down from Zeus? Seeing then that these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rash. For you have brought these men here, who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of your goddess. If therefore Demetrius and the craftsmen who are with him have a matter against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls. Let them press charges against one another. But if you seek anything about other matters, it will be settled in the regular assembly. For indeed we are in danger of being accused concerning today’s riot, there being no cause. Concerning it, we would not be able to give an account of this commotion.”

When he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.

After the uproar had ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, took leave of them, and departed to go into Macedonia. When he had gone through those parts, and had encouraged them with many words, he came into Greece. When he had spent three months there, and a plot was made against him by Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he determined to return through Macedonia. These men accompanied him as far as Asia: Sopater of Beroea; Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians; Gaius of Derbe; Timothy; and Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia. But these had gone ahead, and were waiting for us at Troas. We sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and came to them at Troas in five days, where we stayed seven days.

On the first day of the week, when the disciples were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and continued his speech to midnight. Among them was Luke, a physician from Antioch. There were many lights in the upper room where we were gathered together. A certain young man named Eutychus sat in the window, weighed down with deep sleep. As Paul spoke still longer, being weighed down by his sleep, he fell down from the third floor, and was taken up dead. Paul went down, and fell upon him, and embracing him said, “Do not be troubled, for his life is in him.”

When he had gone up, and had broken bread, and eaten, and had talked with them a long while, even to the break of day, he departed. They brought the boy in alive, and were greatly comforted.

But we who went ahead to the ship set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul aboard there, for he had so arranged, intending himself to go by land. When he met us at Assos, we took him aboard, and came to Mitylene across from Pergamum. Sailing from there, we came the following day opposite Chios. The next day we touched at Samos and stayed at Trogyllium, and the day after we came to Miletus. For Paul had determined to sail past Ephesus, that he might not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hastening, if it were possible for him, to be in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost.

From Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called to himself the Presbyters of the Assembly. When they had come to him, he said to them, “You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you all the time, serving the Lord with all humility with many tears, and with trials which happened to me by the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, teaching you publicly and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus. Now, behold, I go bound by the Spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there; except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions wait for me. But these things do not count; nor do I hold my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to fully testify to the Good News of the grace of God.

“Now, behold, I know that you all, among whom I went about preaching God’s Kingdom, will see my face no more. Therefore I testify to you today that I am clean from the blood of all men, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. Take heed, therefore, to yourselves, and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you Episcopes, to shepherd the Assembly of the Lord and God which he purchased with his own blood. For I know that after my departure, vicious wolves will enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Men will arise from among your own selves, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore watch, remembering that for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish everyone night and day with tears. Now, brothers, I entrust you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build up, and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I coveted no one’s silver, or gold, or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands served my necessities, and those who were with me. In all things I gave you an example, that so laboring you ought to help the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

When he had spoken these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. They all wept a lot, and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him, sorrowing most of all because of the word which he had spoken, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him to the ship.

When we had departed from them and had set sail, we came with a straight course to Cos, and the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. Having found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, we went aboard, and set sail. When we had come in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left hand, we sailed to Syria, and landed at Tyre, for there the ship was to unload her cargo. Having found disciples, we stayed there seven days. These said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem.

When those days were over, we departed and went on our journey. They all, with wives and children, brought us on our way to where we were out of the city. Kneeling down on the beach, we prayed. After saying goodbye to each other, we went on board the ship, and they returned home again.

When we had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais. We greeted the brothers, and stayed with them one day. On the next day, we, who were Paul’s companions, departed, and came to Caesarea.

We entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the Seven, and stayed with him. Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied. As we stayed there some days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. Coming to us, and taking Paul’s belt, he bound his own feet and hands, and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit: ‘So will the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and will deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’ ”

When we heard these things, both we and they of that place begged him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”

When he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, “The Lord’s will be done.” The Holy Spirit had revealed what would happen to him, but had not forbidden Paul to go. These had all done to him as Peter had done to Jesus, saying, "God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you." But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men."

After these days we took up our baggage and went up to Jerusalem. Some of the disciples from Caesarea also went with us, bringing one Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we would stay. When we had come to Jerusalem, the brothers received us gladly.

The day following, Paul went in with us to James; and all the Presbyters were present. When he had greeted them, he reported one by one the things which God had worked among the Gentiles through his ministry. They, when they heard it, glorified God. They said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law. They have been informed about you, that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children neither to walk after the customs. What then? The Assembly must certainly meet, for they will hear that you have come. Therefore do what we tell you. We have four men who have taken a vow. Take them, and purify yourself with them, and pay their expenses for them, that they may shave their heads. Then all will know that there is no truth in the things that they have been informed about you, but that you yourself also walk keeping the law. But concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written our decision that they should observe no such thing, except that they should keep themselves from food offered to idols, from blood, from strangled things, and from sexual immorality.”

Then Paul took the men, and the next day, purified himself and went with them into the Temple, declaring the fulfillment of the days of purification, before the offering was offered for every one of them. When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, when they saw him in the Temple, stirred up all the multitude and laid hands on him, crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against the people, and the law, and this Place. Moreover, he also brought Greeks into the Temple, and has defiled this Holy Place!”

For they had seen Trophimus, the Ephesian, with him in the city, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the Temple.

All the city was moved, and the people ran together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the Temple. Immediately the doors were shut. As they were trying to kill him, news came up to the commanding officer of the regiment that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. Immediately he took soldiers and centurions, and ran down to them. They, when they saw the chief captain and the soldiers, stopped beating Paul. Then the commanding officer came near, arrested him, commanded him to be bound with two chains, and inquired who he was and what he had done. Some shouted one thing, and some another, among the crowd. When he could not find out the truth because of the noise, he commanded him to be brought into the barracks. When he came to the stairs, he was carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the crowd; for the multitude of the people followed after, crying out, “Away with him!”

As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he asked the commanding officer, “May I speak to you?”

He said, “Do you know Greek? Are you not then the Egyptian, who before these days stirred up to sedition and led out into the wilderness the four thousand men of the Assassins?”

But Paul said, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no insignificant city. I beg you, allow me to speak to the people.”

When he had given him permission, Paul, standing on the stairs, beckoned with his hand to the people. When there was a great silence, he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, saying, “Brothers and fathers, listen to the defense which I now make to you.”

When they heard that he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, they were even more quiet. He said, “I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, instructed according to the strict tradition of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God, even as you all are today. I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. As also the high priest and all the council of the elders testify, from whom also I received letters to the brothers, and traveled to Damascus to bring them also who were there to Jerusalem in bonds to be punished. As I made my journey, and came close to Damascus, about noon, suddenly a great light shone around me from the sky. I fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you persecute.’

“Those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid, but they did not understand the voice of him who spoke to me. I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ The Lord said to me, ‘Arise, and go into Damascus. There you will be told about all things which are appointed for you to do.’ When I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of those who were with me, I came into Damascus. One Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well reported of by all the Jews who lived in Damascus, came to me, and standing by me said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ In that very hour I looked up at him. He said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know his will, and to see the Righteous One, and to hear a voice from his mouth. For you will be a witness for him to all men of what you have seen and heard. Now why do you wait? Arise, be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’

“When I had returned to Jerusalem, and while I prayed in the Temple, I fell into a trance, and saw him saying to me, ‘Hurry and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not receive testimony concerning me from you.’ I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue those who believed in you. When the blood of Stephen, your witness, was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting to his death, and guarding the cloaks of those who killed him.’

“He said to me, ‘Depart, for I will send you out far from here to the Gentiles.’”

They listened to him up to the moment he said that; then they lifted up their voice, and said, “Rid the earth of this fellow, for he is not fit to live!”

As they cried out, and threw off their cloaks, and threw dust into the air, the commanding officer commanded him to be brought into the barracks, ordering him to be examined by scourging, that he might know for what crime they shouted against him like that.

When they had tied him up with thongs, Paul asked the centurion who stood by, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and not found guilty?”

When the centurion heard it, he went to the commanding officer and told him, “Watch what you are about to do, for this man is a Roman!”

The commanding officer came and asked him, “Tell me, are you a Roman?”

He said, “Yes.”

The commanding officer answered, “I bought my citizenship for a great price.”

Paul said, “But I was born a Roman.”

Immediately those who were about to examine him drew back from him and withdrew, and the commanding officer also was afraid when he realized that he was a Roman, because he had bound him.

But on the next day, desiring to know the truth about why he was accused by the Jews, he freed him from the restraints, and commanded the chief priests and all the council to come together, and brought Paul down and set him before them. Paul, looking steadfastly at the council, said, “Brothers, I have lived before God in all good conscience to this day.”

The high priest, Ananias, commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! Do you sit to judge me according to the law, and command me to be struck contrary to the law?”

Those who stood by said, “Do you malign God’s high priest?”

Paul said, “I did not know, brothers, that he was high priest. For it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’”

But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Men and brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. Concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!”

When he had said this, an argument arose between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit; but the Pharisees confess all of these. A great clamor arose, and some of the scribes of the Pharisees party stood up, and contended, saying, “We find no evil in this man. But if a spirit or angel has spoken to him, let us not fight against God!”

When a great argument arose, the commanding officer, fearing that Paul would be torn in pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them, and bring him into the barracks.

The following night, the Lord stood by him, and said, “Courage, Paul, for as you have testified about me at Jerusalem, so you must testify also at Rome.”

When it was day, some of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink before they had killed Paul. There were more than forty men who had made this conspiracy. They came to the chief priests and the elders, and said, “We have bound ourselves under a great curse, to taste nothing before we have killed Paul. Now therefore, you with the council inform the commanding officer that he should bring him down to you tomorrow, as though you were going to judge his case more exactly. We are ready to kill him before he comes near.”

But Paul’s sister’s son heard of their lying in wait, and he came and entered into the barracks and told Paul. Paul summoned one of the centurions, and said, “Bring this young man to the commanding officer, for he has something to tell him.”

So he took him, and brought him to the commanding officer, and said, “Paul, the prisoner, summoned me and asked me to bring this young man to you, who has something to tell you.”

The commanding officer took him by the hand, and going aside, asked him quietly, “What is it that you have to tell me?”

He said, “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the council tomorrow, as though intending to inquire somewhat more accurately concerning him. Therefore do not yield to them, for more than forty men lie in wait for him, who have bound themselves under a curse neither to eat nor to drink before they have killed him. Now they are ready, looking for the promise from you.”

So the commanding officer let the young man go, charging him, “Tell no one that you have revealed these things to me.”

He called to himself two of the centurions, and said, “Prepare two hundred soldiers to go as far as Caesarea, with seventy horsemen, and two hundred men armed with spears, at the third hour of the night.”

He asked them to provide animals, that they might set Paul on one, and bring him safely to Felix the governor. He wrote a letter like this:

“Claudius Lysias to the most excellent governor Felix: Greetings.
“This man was seized by the Jews, and was about to be killed by them, when I came with the soldiers and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman. Desiring to know the cause why they accused him, I brought him down to their council. I found him to be accused about questions of their law, but not to be charged with anything worthy of death or of imprisonment. When I was told that the Jews lay in wait for the man, I sent him to you immediately, charging his accusers also to bring their accusations against him before you. Farewell.”

So the soldiers, carrying out their orders, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. But on the next day they left the horsemen to go with him, and returned to the barracks. When they came to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented Paul to him. When the governor had read it, he asked what province he was from. When he understood that he was from Cilicia, he said, “I will hear you fully when your accusers also arrive.”

He commanded that he be kept in Herod’s palace.

After five days, the high priest, Ananias, came down with certain elders and an orator, one Tertullus. They informed the governor against Paul. When he was called, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, “Seeing that by you we enjoy much peace, and that excellent measures are coming to this nation, we accept it in all ways and in all places, most excellent Felix, with all thankfulness. But, that I do not delay you, I entreat you to bear with us and hear a few words. For we have found this man to be a plague, an instigator of insurrections among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. He even tried to profane the Temple, and we arrested him and would have judged him according to our law. But the chief captain Lysias came and with great violence took him out of our hands, commanding his accusers to come before you. By examining him yourself you may ascertain all these things of which we accuse him.”

The Jews also joined in the attack, affirming that these things were so. When the governor had beckoned to him to speak, Paul answered, “Because I know that you have been a judge of this nation for many years, I cheerfully make my defense, seeing that you can recognize that it is not more than twelve days since I went up to worship at Jerusalem. In the Temple they did not find me disputing with anyone or stirring up a crowd, either in the synagogues, or in the city. Nor can they prove to you the things of which they now accuse me. But this I confess to you, that after the Way, which they call a sect, so I serve the God of our fathers, believing all things which are according to the law, and which are written in the prophets; having confident expectation toward God, which these also themselves look for, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. Herein I also practice always having a conscience void of offense toward God and men. Now after some years, I came to bring gifts for the needy to my nation, and offerings; amid which certain Jews from Asia found me purified in the Temple, not with a mob, nor with turmoil. They ought to have been here before you, and to make accusation, if they had anything against me. Or else let these men themselves say what injustice they found in me when I stood before the council, unless it is for this one thing that I cried standing among them, ‘Concerning the resurrection of the dead I am being judged before you today!’”

But Felix, having more exact knowledge concerning the Way, deferred them, saying, “When Lysias, the commanding officer, comes down, I will decide your case.”

He ordered the centurion that Paul should be kept in custody, and should have some privileges, and not to forbid any of his friends to serve him or to visit him. But after some days, Felix came with Drusilla, his wife, who was a Jewess, and sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ Jesus. As he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was terrified, and answered, “Go your way for this time, and when it is convenient for me, I will summon you.”

Meanwhile, he also hoped that money would be given to him by Paul, that he might release him. Therefore, also he sent for him more often, and talked with him.

Two years passed.

About this time the Apostle Peter wrote the following encyclical letter to the churches that Paul had established:


Peter, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, to the chosen ones who are living as exiles in the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with his blood: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy became our Father again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an incorruptible and undefiled inheritance that does not fade away, reserved in Heaven for you, who by the power of God are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been put to grief in various trials, that the proof of your faith, which is more precious than gold that perishes even though it is tested by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ—whom not having known you love; in whom, though now you do not see him, yet believing, you rejoice greatly with joy unspeakable and full of glory—receiving the result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. Concerning this salvation, the prophets sought and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching for who or what kind of time the Spirit of Christ, which was in them, pointed to, when he predicted the sufferings of Christ, and the glories that would follow them. To them it was revealed, that not to themselves, but to you, they ministered these things, which now have been announced to you through those who preached the Good News to you by the Holy Spirit sent out from heaven; which things angels desire to look into.
Therefore prepare your minds for action, be sober, and set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ—as children of obedience, not conforming yourselves according to your former lusts as in your ignorance, but just as he who called you is holy, you yourselves also be holy in all of your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy; for I am holy.” If you call on him as Father, who without respect of persons judges according to each man’s work, pass the time of your living as foreigners here in reverent fear: knowing that you were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from the useless way of life handed down from your fathers, but with precious blood, as of a faultless and pure lamb, the blood of Christ; who was foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of times for your sake, who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead, and gave him glory; so that your faith and hope might be in God.
Seeing you have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth through the Spirit in sincere brotherly affection, love one another from the heart fervently: having been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which lives and remains forever. For,
“All flesh is like grass, and all of man’s glory like the flower in the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls; but the Lord’s word endures forever.”
This is the word of Good News which was preached to you.
Putting away therefore all wickedness, all deceit, hypocrisies, envies, and all evil speaking, as newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the Word, that with it you may grow, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious: coming to him, a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God, precious. You also, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Because it is contained in Scripture,
“Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, chosen, and precious: He who believes in him will not be disappointed.”
For you who believe therefore he is precious, but for those who are disobedient,
“The stone which the builders rejected, has become the chief cornerstone,”
and,
“a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.”
For they stumble at the word, being disobedient, to which also they were appointed. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellence of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: who in time past were no people, but now are God’s people, who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Beloved, I beg you as foreigners and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having good behavior among the nations, so in that of which they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they see, glorify God in the day of visitation. Therefore subject yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether to the king, as supreme; or to governors, as sent by him for vengeance on evildoers and for praise to those who do well. For this is the will of God, that by well-doing you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: as free, and not using your freedom for a cloak of wickedness, but as bondservants, slaves of God.
Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. Servants, be in subjection to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the wicked. For it is commendable if someone endures pain, suffering unjustly, because of conscience toward God. For what glory is it if, when you sin, you patiently endure beating? But if, when you do well, you patiently endure suffering, this is commendable with God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving you an example, that you should follow his steps, who did not sin, “neither was deceit found in his mouth.” Who, when he was cursed, did not curse back. When he suffered, did not threaten, but committed himself to him who judges righteously; who his own self bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live to righteousness; by whose stripes you were healed. For you were going astray like sheep; but now have returned to the Shepherd and Episcopos of your souls.
In the same way, wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; so that, even if any do not obey the Word, they may be won by the behavior of their wives without a word; seeing your pure behavior in fear. Let your beauty be not just the outward adorning of braiding the hair, and of wearing jewels of gold, or of putting on fine clothing; but in the hidden person of the heart, in the incorruptible adornment of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God very precious. For this is how the holy women before, who hoped in God also adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands: as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose children you now are, if you do well, and are not put in fear by any terror.
You husbands, in the same way, live with your wives according to knowledge, giving honor to the woman, as to the weaker vessel, as being also joint heirs of the grace of life; that your prayers may not be hindered.
Finally, be all like-minded, compassionate, loving as brothers, tender hearted, courteous, not rendering evil for evil, or insult for insult; but instead blessing; knowing that to this were you called, that you may inherit a blessing. For,
“He who would love life, and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil, and do good. Let him seek peace, and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears open to their prayer; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
Now who is he who will harm you, if you become imitators of that which is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear, neither be troubled.” But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; and always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, with humility and fear: having a good conscience; that, while you are spoken against as evildoers, they may be disappointed who curse your good way of life in Christ. For it is better, if it is God’s will, that you suffer for doing well than for doing evil. Because Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring you to God; being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which he also went and preached to the spirits in prison, who before were disobedient, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, while the ship was being built. In it, few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. This is a symbol of baptism, which now saves you—not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a clean conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, angels and authorities and powers being made subject to him.
Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind; for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin; that you no longer should live the rest of your time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past time doing the desire of the Gentiles, and having walked in lewdness, lusts, drunken binges, orgies, carousings, and abominable idolatries. They think it is strange that you do not run with them into the same excess of riot, blaspheming: who will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For to this end the Good News was preached even to the dead, that they might be judged indeed as men in the flesh, but live as to God in the spirit. But the end of all things is near. Therefore be of sound mind, self-controlled, and sober in prayer. And above all things be earnest in your love among yourselves, for love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, employ it in serving one another, as good managers of the grace of God in its various forms. If anyone speaks, let it be as it were the very words of God. If anyone serves, let it be as of the strength which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Beloved, do not be astonished at the fiery trial which has come upon you, to test you, as though a strange thing happened to you. But because you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, rejoice; that at the revelation of his glory you also may rejoice with exceeding joy. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed; because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. On their part he is blasphemed, but on your part he is glorified. For let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or an evil doer, or a meddler in other men’s matters. But if one of you suffers for being a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this matter. For the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God. If it begins first with us, what will happen to those who do not obey the Good News of God? “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will happen to the ungodly and the sinner?” Therefore let them also who suffer according to the will of God in doing good entrust their souls to him, as to a faithful Creator.
I exhort the Presbyters among you, as a fellow Presbyter, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and who will also share in the glory that will be revealed. Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, exercising the oversight, not under compulsion, but voluntarily, not for dishonest gain, but willingly; neither as lording it over those entrusted to you, but making yourselves examples to the flock. When the chief Shepherd is revealed, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.
Likewise, you younger ones, be subject to the Presbyter. Yes, all of you clothe yourselves with humility, to subject yourselves to one another; for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time; casting all your worries on him, because he cares for you.
Be sober and self-controlled. Be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Withstand him steadfast in your faith, knowing that your brothers who are in the world are undergoing the same sufferings. But may the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.
Through Silvanus, our faithful brother, as I consider him, I have written to you briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand.
She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, greets you; and so does Mark, my son.
Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace be to you all who are in Christ Jesus. Amen.


During Nero's reign a great many public abuses were suppressed by imposing heavy penalties, and among the novel enactments were sumptuary laws limiting private expenditure, the substituting of simple cash disbursements for public banquets, and a decree affecting wine shops restricting the food sold in them to green vegetables, dried beans and similar stuffs, where before all kinds of tasty snacks had been displayed.

At first Nero revealed only gradually and secretly his insolence, lust, extravagance, greed and cruelty. They were not merely youthful mistakes. There was no doubt that they were faults of his character.

He gave an immense variety of entertainments: youth games, chariot races in the Roman Circus, stage plays, a gladiatorial show. The series of plays devoted to the hope of his reigning forever he called "the Great Games". He made four hundred senators and six hundred of the equestrian class, equites, many of them rich and respectable, do battle in the arena, and some had to fight wild beasts and perform various duties about the ring. He staged a naval battle on an artificial lake of salt water which had large sea creatures swimming in it; also ballets and competitions of poetry and oratory. Throughout the games all kinds of gifts were scattered to the people: one thousand assorted birds daily, quantities of food parcels, vouchers for grain, clothes, gold, silver, precious stones, pearls, paintings, slaves, transport animals, trained wild beasts, and for ships, blocks of income tenements and farms.

Merchants dealt in cargoes of gold, silver, jewels and pearls, fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet, all kinds of scented wood, all articles of ivory, all articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine four and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is human souls.

When he judged a case, he preferred to defer his judgment to the following day, and then gave it in writing. He ruled that a case should not be presented whole, first by one side, then the other, but that every relevant charge be debated separately. He made each of his judicial advisors write out an opinion on a problem of law instead of consulting them openly, withdrew to study and consider these documents in private, then came to his own conclusion, and passed it off as a majority opinion.

He ordered his consuls to read certain of his speeches sent for the Senate's information, going over the heads of the quaestors, whose business it should have been. He considered a scheme for extending the city wall as far as Ostia, and cutting a canal which would allow ships to sail straight up to Rome; but neither of these plans was realized.

In the practical matters of government, Burrus and Seneca were the effective rulers of the empire to A.D. 62. More and more the spirit of empire, the genius of the emperor, ruled the passions of Nero. After Burrus’s death in 62 Seneca felt that he had lost all influence over Nero, and he retired.

Nero finally announced that his wife Octavia was barren, and divorced her. This act of divorcing Octavia in 62 made Nero so unpopular and caused so great a scandal that he banished Octavia. He was motivated also by his fear that his repudiated wife Octavia was fomenting disaffection at court and among the populace.

Nero then stole Otho's wife Sabina Poppaea. Twelve days after he had divorced Octavia, he married Poppaea, and finally murdered Octavia, having her executed in June A.D. 62 on a charge of adultery.

Such was the state of affairs in that Babylon called Rome.

Acts 19:23–24:27
1 Peter

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