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

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Introduction

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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, the Anointed One, to sit on his throne, he foreseeing this spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, the Anointed One, 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 Anointed One, 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, Anointed, 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, 3 P.M.. 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 alms, 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 alms, 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 the Anointed One 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 alms, 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 the Anointed One 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 the Anointed Jesus, who was ordained for you before, whom heaven must receive up unto 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 the Anointed One 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, to the day 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

see notes

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 Anointed. 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.

Simon, being convicted of his wickedness by the Apostle Peter, undertook a great journey from the east across the sea, and fled to the west, thinking that this was the only way for him to live according to his own mind.

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 forty miles away 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, in A.D. 40, when many days were fulfilled, 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.

About this time, about A.D. 40, Nero’s father, Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus, died, and Nero was then brought up by his mother, Agrippina the Younger, a great-granddaughter of the emperor Augustus.

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, all Judea and Galilee and Samaria, 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, about 3 P.M., fifteen hundred hours military time, 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. For they had not believed that God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life. 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.

After the capture of their city by Pompey in 63 B.C., experience and apprehension through the subsequent seventy-eight year period afterward had taught the Jews much. Availing themselves of the corrupt policy of the Claudian era to purchase the right of fortification, they now raised in time of peace such walls as were suited for war. Since the inhabitants of the newly-built part of the city called Bezetha in the Jewish language, which, interpreted in the Grecian language, may be called New City, stood in need of protection, King Agrippa began the wall enclosing it; but he ceased when he had only laid the foundation, fearing that Claudius Caesar should suspect that so strong a wall was built as a prelude to introducing major changes in public affairs.

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. The river Euphrates was dried up and became passable. 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, A.D. 44 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 through 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, “Consecrate 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.

In A.D. 48, Agrippina, after poisoning her second husband, helped 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.

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
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

see notes

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 of Moses 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 of Moses, 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 of Moses, 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 of Moses 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 of Moses. 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 of Moses 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 of Moses, 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. 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 confirmed 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-bond 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 alone 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

see notes

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. 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.

In Judea, where secular matters were going from bad to worse, the governor Felix had to capture imposters and brigands on a daily basis. When the high priest Jonathan continually urged him to improve his administration, Felix hired sicarii, "dagger-men", terrorist Assassins, to murder him. When they were not punished, the sicarii boldly attacked their enemies with hidden daggers, even in the Temple area, defiling the Temple.

An Egyptian imposter promised his followers to make the walls of Jerusalem fall down at his command. Felix attacked them on the Mount of Olives and killed four hundred, taking two hundred prisoners, although the imposter escaped. At Caesarea, a quarrel broke out between Jews and Syrians over equal civil rights. The Jews claimed precedence because Herod had founded the city, while the Syrians asserted that the place had been Strato's Tower before Herod, without any Jew living there. When both sides started stoning each other, Felix intervened with his troops and many Jews were killed. He then sent leaders of both parties to argue their case before Nero in Rome.

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”?
Again, when he 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 to which of the angels has he said at any time,
“Sit at my right hand, unto 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 own 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 of Moses; 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 up to 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 of Moses, 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 being God's 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. Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers. For though they were indeed true believers in Jesus and disciples before Paul came to them, they had not believed there is a Holy Spirit and, like Apollos before them, had known nothing of baptism into Christ Jesus. Thus tongues were a sign for unbelievers. 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."

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 the eye did not see, and the 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 together 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 together.
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 to 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, shadowboxing, 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 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 chatter; 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 am 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 up unto the day 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 of Moses. 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.

Meanwhile, Agrippina, ceaselessly pursuing her intrigues to bring her son Nero to power, eliminated her opponents among Claudius’s palace advisers.

The great foreign-policy problem of the time was that of Armenia. 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, Tiridates the First, had made himself king of Armenia with the support of its people. 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, "the kings of 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. Thirty-three 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. 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. An advance on Armenia from one side was often interpreted as a pretext for war by the other, and now, about A.D. 52-53, the Parthian prince Tiridates had made himself king of Armenia with the support of its people. 

During the reign of Claudius, at the time of the famine, as a warning from heaven, the "river Euphrates was dried up to prepare the way for the kings of the east", making it passable.

The faith of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ having been spread among men by the Apostles and brothers, the enemy of salvation, seeking to capture the imperial city, sent Simon Magus there, the man who was previously rebuked by Peter in Samaria for seeking to purchase from the Apostles the power of laying hands on believers who had been baptized that they might receive the Holy Spirit. Thereafter avoiding the Apostles, he had quickly fled overseas from East to West so that he could live as he pleased. With the enemy assisting his sorcery, he attached to himself many in Rome and deceived them. Simon worked many magic rites during Claudius's reign, by the demons who possessed him. At Rome he was deemed to be a god, and was honored as a god with a statue erected on a site in the River Tiber between the two bridges. It carries an inscription in Latin, which many have interpreted as saying SIMONI DEO SANCTO, which means "To Simon the Holy God". Nearly all Samaritans and a few in other nations at the time of the Apostles also confessed him as the Supreme God and worshiped him. A woman named Helen, who had previously lived in a brothel at Tyre and traveled around with him, the worshipers called the First Emanation from him, his original Thought and Concept.

According to tradition, Simon took the lead in all heresies leading away from Christ, and primary among them the gnostics, who are trained in sorcery and magical arts. His original followers, while displaying the outward form of religious piety, and pretending to have the modest philosophy of the Christians which is famous among all for purity of life, turn from Christ and prostrate themselves in idolatry before pictures and images of Simon and Helen. They worship them with incense, sacrifices and libations, and their more secret rituals are so full of frenzy, madness, and degradation that it is not only impossible to commit them to writing in detail, but to even utter them with the lips and tongue to decent persons in words without causing scandal. They include the so-called "deep things of Satan", and they glory in their shame. The most disgusting and foul crime imaginable is completely surpassed by the utterly repulsive heresy of these worshipers, drenched in vice, who take advantage of the needs of weak women, burdened with sins and moved by various impulses, who will listen to anybody and are ever learning, yet never coming to a knowledge of the truth. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption.

This was the wickedness which that malignant power, the enemy of all good, and the robber of human salvation, made use of, in order to make Simon Magus the father and author of this heresy. In Rome his success was short-lived. For during the same reign of Claudius, about A.D. 53, the gracious Providence of God brought Peter also to Rome. Peter, with Mark accompanying him as he Taught the Good News of light and the Word that saves souls, having come at last to Rome, extinguished and immediately destroyed Simon's power, along with the man himself. According to tradition he fell headlong into the Tiber and drowned.

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.

By this time, 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 Assembly, 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 charism, 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 of Moses 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 of Moses 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 of Moses, 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 of Moses 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 of Moses 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; 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 shall 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 unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto 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 to spare you I did not come to Corinth. 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, so 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’s 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 impoverished, 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

see notes

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. Concerning the Gentiles who believe, the Apostles and Presbyters together with the Holy Spirit and Peter and James, in 50 had written their decision that they should observe no such thing as circumcision and the law of Moses, except that they should keep themselves from food offered to idols, from blood, from strangled things, and from sexual immorality. Paul wrote to the Galatians and the Thessalonians, and established communities of believers throughout Greece and Asia. Peter had come to Rome. 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. It was about this time 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. 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. Claudius had put forty senators to death, but, between 54 and the year 62, there were no like incidents in Nero’s reign.

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 Tiberius Claudius 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, 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 seventeen. 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.

Agrippina completed her work with the poisoning of Britannicus in A.D. 55; and some contemporaries 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 the Praetorian prefect, Sextus Afranius Burrus, formerly her partisan, 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.

To his credit 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. 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.

Meanwhile, the imperial government had some success in the east.

Again, 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 an act of 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. About one year after Britannicus was poisoned in 55, and two years after Nero's accession as emperor of Rome in 54, Nero soon became infamous for his personal debaucheries and extravagances. His nocturnal rioting in the streets was a scandal as early as A.D. 56. In 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 56-57 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 judiciously 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 under the malign influence of the genius of the emperor 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 powerful 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, maiestas. God allowed Nero to expose the fraudulent gods of Rome, the worship of the Senate and 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. Those at Tyre in Syria and these, knowing in the Spirit what would happen to him, had 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." Paul was determined to go to Jerusalem for the sake of the Gospel of God.

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.”

Paul obeyed them, submitting himself to their authority in all humility.

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, rioting. 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.”

(This corresponds to 9 P.M., twenty-one hundred hours military time.) 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 alms, 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 assemblies 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 headlong with them plunging into the same swamp of riotous excess, 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

see notes

Forty-one

Chapter 41 Bible texts

While Paul was in prison, James wrote the following letter:

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are in the Dispersion: Greetings.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you fall into various temptations, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. Let endurance have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach; and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, without any doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed. For let that man not think that he will receive anything from the Lord. He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
But let the brother in humble circumstances glory in his high position; and the rich, in that he is made humble, because like the flower in the grass, he will pass away. For the sun arises with the scorching wind, and withers the grass, and the flower in it falls, and the beauty of its appearance perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in his pursuits.
Blessed is the man who endures temptation, for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to those who love him. Let no man say when he is tested, “I am tested by God,” for God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed. Then the lust, when it has conceived, bears sin; and the sin, when it is full grown, produces death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, nor shadow of turning. Of his own will he gave birth to us by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.
So, then, my beloved brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore, putting away all filthiness and overflowing of wickedness, receive with humility the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not only hearers, deluding your own selves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his natural face in a mirror; for he sees himself, and goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of freedom, and continues, not being a hearer who forgets, but a doer of the work, this man will be blessed in what he does. If anyone among you thinks himself to be religious while he does not bridle his tongue, but deceives his heart, this man’s religion is worthless. Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
My brothers, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ of glory with partiality. For if a man with a gold ring, in fine clothing, comes into your synagogue, and a poor man in filthy clothing also comes in; and you pay special attention to him who wears the fine clothing, and say, “Sit here in a good place”; and you tell the poor man, “Stand there,” or “Sit by my footstool”; have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers. Did God not choose those who are poor in this world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the Kingdom which he promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Do the rich not oppress you, and personally drag you before the courts? Do they not blaspheme the honorable name by which you are called? However, if you fulfill the royal law, according to the Scripture,
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself,”
you do well. But if you show partiality, you commit sin, being convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law, and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. For he who said,
“Do not commit adultery,”
also said,
“Do not commit murder.”
Now if you do not commit adultery, but murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak, and so do, as men who are to be judged by a law of freedom. For judgment is without mercy to him who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
What good is it, my brothers, if a man says he has faith, but has no works? Can faith save him? And if a brother or sister is naked and in lack of daily food, and one of you tells them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled”; and yet you did not give them the things the body needs, what good is it? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead in itself. Yes, a man will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without works, and I by my works will show you my faith.
You believe that God is one. You do well. The demons also believe, and shudder. But do you want to know, vain man, that faith apart from works is dead? Was Abraham our father not justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith worked with his works, and by works faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says,
“Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him as righteousness”;
and he was called the Friend of God. You see then that by works, a man is justified, and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works, in that she received the messengers, and sent them out another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead.
Let not many of you be Teachers, my brothers, knowing that we will receive heavier judgment. For in many things we all stumble. If anyone does not stumble in word, the same is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body also. Indeed, we put bits into the horses’ mouths so that they may obey us, and we guide their whole body. Behold, the ships also, though they are so big and are driven by fierce winds, are yet guided by a very small rudder, wherever the pilot desires. So the tongue is also a little member, and boasts great things. See how a small fire can spread to a large forest! And the tongue is a fire. The world of iniquity among our members is the tongue, which defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature, and is set on fire by Gehenna. For every kind of animal, bird, creeping thing, and sea creature, is tamed, and has been tamed by mankind. But nobody can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the image of God. Out of the same mouth comes blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send out from the same opening fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, yield olives, or a vine figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh water.
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by his good conduct that his deeds are done in gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not boast and do not lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, sensual, and demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition are, there is confusion and every evil deed. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceful, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Where do wars and fightings among you come from? Do they not come from your pleasures that war in your members? You lust, and do not have. You murder and covet, and cannot obtain. You fight and make war. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask, and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it for your pleasures. You adulterers and adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain,
“The Spirit who lives in us yearns jealously”?
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says,
“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 
Be subject therefore to God. But resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament, mourn, and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he will exalt you.
Do not speak against one another, brothers. He who speaks against a brother and judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge. Only one is the lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge another?
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow let us go into this city, and spend a year there, trade, and make a profit.” Whereas you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. For what is your life? For you are a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away. For you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will both live, and do this or that.” But now you glory in your boasting. All such boasting is evil. To him therefore who knows to do good, and does not do it, to him it is sin.
Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming on you. Your riches are corrupted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and your silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be for a testimony against you, and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up your treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you have kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of those who reaped have entered into the ears of the Lord of Armies. You have lived delicately on the earth, and taken your pleasure. You have nourished your hearts as in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have murdered the righteous one. He does not resist you.
Be patient therefore, brothers, before the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it, before it receives the early and late rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
Do not grumble, brothers, against one another, so that you will not be judged. Behold, the judge stands at the door. Take, brothers, for an example of suffering and of patience, the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we call them blessed who endured. You have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen in the Lord the outcome, and how the Lord is full of compassion and mercy. But above all things, my brothers, do not swear—not by heaven, or by the earth, or by any other oath; but let your “yes” be “yes”, and your “no”, “no”; so that you do not fall into hypocrisy.
Is any among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praises. Is any among you sick? Let him call for the Presbyters of the Assembly, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the Name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will heal him who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
Confess your offenses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerfully effective. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. He prayed again, and the sky gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.
Brothers, if any among you wanders from the truth and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.


Paul had been in prison two years when Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus; and desiring to gain favor with the Jews, Felix left Paul in bonds. Porcius Festus was procurator of Judea from about A.D. 59.

Festus therefore, having come into the province, after three days went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea. Then the high priest and the principal men of the Jews informed him against Paul, and they begged him, asking a favor against him, that he would summon him to Jerusalem; plotting to kill him on the way. However Festus answered that Paul should be kept in custody at Caesarea, and that he himself was about to depart shortly. “Let them therefore”, said he, “that are in power among you go down with me, and if there is anything wrong in the man, let them accuse him.”

When he had stayed among them more than ten days, he went down to Caesarea, and on the next day he sat on the judgment seat, and commanded Paul to be brought. When he had come, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing against him many and grievous charges which they could not prove, while he said in his defense, “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the Temple, nor against Caesar, have I sinned at all.”

But Festus, desiring to gain favor with the Jews, answered Paul and said, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem, and be judged by me there concerning these things?”

But Paul said, “I am standing before Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you also know very well. For if I have done wrong, and have committed anything worthy of death, I do not refuse to die; but if none of those things is true that they accuse me of, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar!”

Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you shall go.”

Now when some days had passed, King Herod Agrippa the Second and Bernice arrived at Caesarea, and greeted Festus. (This Agrippa was the son and successor of the same Herod Agrippa the First who killed James the brother of John with the sword, and whom the angel struck down because he did not give God the glory; and he was eaten by worms and died.) As he stayed there many days, Festus laid Paul’s case before the king, saying, “There is a certain man left a prisoner by Felix; about whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, asking for a sentence against him. To whom I answered that it is not the custom of the Romans to give up any man to destruction, before the accused has met the accusers face to face, and has had opportunity to make his defense concerning the matter laid against him. When therefore they had come together here, I did not delay, but on the next day sat on the judgment seat, and commanded the man to be brought. Concerning whom, when the accusers stood up, they brought no charge of such things as I supposed; but had certain questions against him about their own religion, and about one Jesus, who was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive. Being perplexed how to inquire concerning these things, I asked whether he was willing to go to Jerusalem and there be judged concerning these matters. But when Paul had appealed to be kept for the decision of the emperor, I commanded him to be kept, before I send him to Caesar.”

Agrippa said to Festus, “I also would like to hear the man myself.”

“Tomorrow,” he said, “you shall hear him.”

So on the next day, when Agrippa and Bernice had come with great pomp, and they had entered into the place of hearing with the commanding officers and principal men of the city, at the command of Festus, Paul was brought in. Festus said, “King Agrippa, and all men who are here present with us, you see this man, about whom all the multitude of the Jews petitioned me, both at Jerusalem and here, crying that he ought not to live any longer. But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death, and as he himself appealed to the emperor I determined to send him. Of whom I have no certain thing to write to the Lord Nero. Therefore I have brought him out before you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, that, after examination, I may have something to write. For it seems to me unreasonable, in sending a prisoner, not to also specify the charges against him.”

Agrippa said to Paul, “You may speak for yourself.”

Then Paul stretched out his hand, and made his defense. “I think myself happy, King Agrippa, that I am to make my defense before you today concerning all the things that I am accused by the Jews, especially because you are expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews. Therefore I beg you to hear me patiently.

“Indeed, all the Jews know my way of life from my youth up, which was from the beginning among my own nation and at Jerusalem; having known me from the first, if they are willing to testify, that after the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. Now I stand here to be judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers, which our twelve tribes, earnestly serving night and day, hope to attain. Concerning this hope I am accused by the Jews, King Agrippa! Why is it judged incredible with you, if God does raise the dead?

“I myself most certainly thought that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. This I also did in Jerusalem. I both shut up many of the saints in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, and when they were put to death I gave my vote against them. Punishing them often in all the synagogues, I tried to make them blaspheme. Being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.

“Whereupon as I traveled to Damascus with the authority and commission from the chief priests, at noon, O king, I saw on the way a light from the sky, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who traveled with me. When we had all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’

“I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’

“He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But arise, and stand on your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose: to appoint you a servant and a witness both of the things which you have seen, and of the things which I will reveal to you; delivering you from the people, and from the Gentiles, to whom I send you, to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive remission of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

“Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to them of Damascus, at Jerusalem, and throughout all the country of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, doing works worthy of repentance. For this reason the Jews seized me in the Temple, and tried to kill me. Having therefore obtained the help that is from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would happen, how the Christ must suffer, and how, by the resurrection of the dead, he would be first to proclaim light both to these people and to the Gentiles.”

As he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Your great learning is driving you insane!”

But he said, “I am not crazy, most excellent Festus, but boldly declare words of truth and reasonableness. For the king knows of these things, to whom also I speak freely. For I am persuaded that none of these things is hidden from him, for this has not been done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.”

Agrippa said to Paul, “With a little persuasion are you trying to make me a Christian?”

Paul said, “I pray to God, that whether with little or with much, not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become such as I am, except for these bonds.”

The king rose up with the governor, and Bernice, and those who sat with them. When they had withdrawn, they spoke to one another, saying, “This man does nothing worthy of death or of bonds.”

Agrippa said to Festus, “This man might have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”

When it was determined that we should sail for Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners to a centurion named Julius, of the Augustan band. Embarking in a ship of Adramyttium, which was about to sail to places on the coast of Asia, we put to sea; Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us. The next day, we touched at Sidon. Julius treated Paul kindly, and gave him permission to go to his friends and refresh himself. Putting to sea from there, we sailed under the lee of Cyprus, because the winds were contrary. When we had sailed across the sea which is off Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia. There the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing for Italy, and he put us on board.

When we had sailed slowly many days, and had come with difficulty opposite Cnidus, the wind not allowing us farther, we sailed under the lee of Crete, opposite Salmone. With difficulty sailing along it we came to a certain place called Fair Havens, near the city of Lasea.

When much time had passed and the voyage was now dangerous, because the Fast of Yom Kippur had now already gone by, Paul admonished them, and said to them, “Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.”

But the centurion gave more heed to the master and to the owner of the ship than to those things which were spoken by Paul. Because the haven was not suitable to winter in, the majority advised going to sea from there, if by any means they could reach Phoenix, and winter there, which is a port of Crete, looking northeast and southeast.

When the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, they weighed anchor and sailed along Crete, close to shore. But before long, a stormy wind beat down from shore, which is called Euroclydon, a Mediterranean typhoon or nor'easter. When the ship was caught, and could not face the wind, we gave way to it, and were driven along. Running under the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were able, with difficulty, to secure the boat. After they had hoisted it up, they used cables to undergird the hull and help reinforce the ship. Fearing that they would run aground on the Syrtis sand bars, they lowered the sea anchor, and so were driven along. As we labored exceedingly with the storm, the next day they began to throw things overboard. On the third day, they threw out the ship’s tackle with their own hands. When neither sun nor stars shone on us for many days, and no small storm pressed on us, all hope that we would be saved was now taken away.

When they had been long without food, Paul stood up in the middle of them, and said, “Sirs, you should have listened to me, and not have set sail from Crete, and have gotten this injury and loss. Now I exhort you to cheer up, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For there stood by me this night an angel, belonging to the God whose I am and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand before Caesar. Behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ Therefore, sirs, take heart! For I believe God, that it will be just as it has been spoken to me. But we must run aground on a certain island.”

But when the fourteenth night had come, as we were driven back and forth in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors surmised that they were drawing near to some land. They took soundings, and found twenty fathoms. After a little while, they took soundings again, and found fifteen fathoms. Fearing that we would run aground on the rocks, they let go four anchors from the stern, and wished for daylight. As the sailors were trying to flee out of the ship, and had lowered the boat into the sea, pretending that they would lay out anchors from the bow, Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, “Unless these stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.”

Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the boat, and let it fall off.

While the day was coming on, Paul begged them all to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you continue fasting, in suspense, having taken nothing. Therefore I beg you to take some food, for this is for your safety; for not a hair will perish from any of your heads.”

When he had said this, and had taken bread, he gave thanks to God in the presence of all, and he broke it, and began to eat. Then they all cheered up, and they also took food. In all, we were two hundred seventy-six souls on the ship. When they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, throwing out the wheat into the sea. When it was day, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a certain bay with a beach, and they decided to try to drive the ship onto it. Casting off the anchors, they left them in the sea, at the same time untying the rudder ropes. Hoisting up the foresail to the wind, they made for the beach. But coming to a place where two seas met, they ran the vessel aground. The bow struck and remained immovable, but the stern began to break up by the violence of the waves.

The soldiers’ counsel was to kill the prisoners, so that none of them would swim out and escape. But the centurion, desiring to save Paul, stopped them from their purpose, and commanded that those who could swim should throw themselves overboard first to go toward the land; and the rest should follow, some on planks, and some on other things from the ship. So they all escaped safely to the land.

When we had escaped, then they learned that the island was called Malta. The natives showed us uncommon kindness; for they kindled a fire, and received us all, because of the present rain, and because of the cold. But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand. When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped from the sea, yet Justice has not allowed to live.”

However he shook off the creature into the fire, and was not harmed. But they expected that he would have swollen or fallen down dead suddenly, but when they watched for a long time and saw nothing bad happen to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.

Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius, who received us, and courteously entertained us for three days. The father of Publius lay sick of fever and dysentery. Paul entered in to him, prayed, and laying his hands on him, healed him. Then when this was done, the rest also who had diseases in the island came, and were cured. They also honored us with many honors, and when we sailed, they put on board the things that we needed.

After three months, we set sail in a ship of Alexandria which had wintered in the island, whose figurehead on the bow was Castor and Pollux, “The Divine Twin Brothers.” Touching at Syracuse, we stayed there three days. From there we circled around, making a compass of the coast, and arrived at Rhegium. After one day, a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli, where we found brothers, and were entreated to stay with them for seven days. From Rome the brothers, when they heard of us, came south to meet us as far as The Market of Appius and The Three Taverns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God, and took courage. So we came to Rome. When we entered into Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard, but Paul was allowed to stay by himself with the soldier who guarded him.

After three days Paul called together those who were the leaders of the Jews. When they had come together, he said to them, “I, brothers, though I had done nothing against the people, or the customs of our fathers, still was delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans, who, when they had examined me, desired to set me free, because there was no cause of death in me. But when the Jews spoke against it, I was constrained to appeal to Caesar, not that I had anything about which to accuse my nation. For this cause therefore I asked to see you and to speak with you. For because of the expectation of Israel I am bound with this chain.”

They said to him, “We neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor did any of the brothers come here and report or speak any evil of you. But we desire to hear from you what you think. For, as concerning this sect, it is known to us that everywhere it is spoken against.”

When they had appointed him a day, many people came to him at his lodging. He explained to them, testifying about God’s Kingdom, and persuading them concerning Jesus, both from the law of Moses and from the prophets, from morning to evening. Some believed the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved. When they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had spoken one word, “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah, the prophet, to our fathers, saying,

‘Go to this people, and say, in hearing, you will hear, but will in no way understand. In seeing, you will see, but will in no way perceive. For this people’s heart has grown callous. Their ears are dull of hearing. Their eyes they have closed. Lest they should see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their heart, and would turn again, and I would heal them.’

“Be it known therefore to you, that the salvation of God is sent to the Gentiles. They will also listen.”

When he had said these words, the Jews departed, having a great dispute among themselves.

Now about this same period, during the reign of Nero, the Roman-Parthian War of A.D. 58 to 63 was occurring.

James
Acts 25:1–28:29

see notes

Forty-two

Chapter 42 Bible texts

When Porcius Festus replaced Felix, the Jewish leaders accused him before Nero, and Festus would have been punished if his brother Pallas had not interceded. Meanwhile, Festus had to contend with the sicarii who were plundering Judea, and with assorted imposters, and with the controversy over a newly erected western wall of the Temple which blocked Roman surveillance. The priests built a high wall to block the Romans' view and that of King Agrippa the Second, who had the right to appoint high priests, and enjoyed watching activities inside the Temple as he dined high in the Hasmonean palace to the west. Both he and Festus ordered it demolished, but the Jews appealed to Nero. Poppaea, Nero's wife, was sympathetic to the Jews and gained his permission to let the wall stand.

In A.D. 60 Nero appointed Galba governor of Nearer Spain, who served in that post for eight years. At this time in A.D. 60 or 61 a revolt in Britain was headed by Queen Boudicca, also called Boadicea. Meanwhile, Porcius Festus remained procurator of Judea.

Paul stayed two whole years in his own rented house in Rome, and received all who were coming to him, preaching God’s Kingdom, and Teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness, without hindrance.

During this time Paul wrote the following letters:


Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy Our brother, to Philemon, Our beloved fellow worker, to the beloved Apphia, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the Assembly in your house: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers, hearing of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all the saints, that the fellowship of your faith may become effective in the knowledge of every good thing which is in us in Christ Jesus. For we have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.
Therefore though I have all boldness in Christ to command you that which is appropriate, yet for love’s sake I rather beg, being such a one as Paul, the aged, but also a prisoner of Jesus Christ. I beg you for my child, whom I have become the father of in my chains, Onesimus, who once was useless to you, but now is useful to you and to me. I am sending him back. Therefore receive him, that is, my own heart, whom I desired to keep with me, that on your behalf he might serve me in my chains for the Good News. But I was willing to do nothing without your consent, that your goodness would not be as of necessity, but of free will. For perhaps he was therefore separated from you for a while, that you would have him forever, no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me, but how much rather to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.
If then you count me a partner, receive him as you would receive me. But if he has wronged you at all or owes you anything, put that to my account. I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it (not to mention to you that you owe to me even your own self besides). Yes, brother, let me have joy from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in the Lord.
Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even beyond what I say.
Also, prepare a guest room for me, for I hope that through your prayers I will be restored to you.
Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.


Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God,
to the saints who are at Ephesus, and the faithful in Christ Jesus: 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, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ; even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and without defect before him in love; having predestined us for adoption as children through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his desire, to the praise of the glory of his grace, by which he freely gave us favor in the Beloved, in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him to an administration of the fullness of the times, to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things on the earth, in him; in whom also we were assigned an inheritance, having been foreordained according to the purpose of him who does all things according to the counsel of his will; to the end that we should be to the praise of his glory, we who had before hoped in Christ: in whom you also, having heard the word of the truth, the Good News of your salvation—in whom, having also believed, you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is a pledge of our inheritance, to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of his glory.
For this cause I also, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which is among you, and the love which you have toward all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might which he worked in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in that which is to come. He put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things for the Assembly, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
You were made alive when you were dead in transgressions and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the children of disobedience; among whom we also all once lived in the lust of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus; for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, that no one would boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before that we would walk in them.
Therefore remember that once you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “uncircumcision” by that which is called “circumcision”, (in the flesh, made by hands); that you were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off are made near in the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who made both one, and broke down the middle wall of partition, having abolished in the flesh the hostility, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man of the two, making peace; and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, having killed the hostility thereby. He came and preached peace to you who were far off and to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, being built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief cornerstone; in whom the whole building, fitted together, grows into a Holy Temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together for a Habitation of God in the Spirit.
For this cause I, Paul, am the prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles, if it is so that you have heard of the administration of that grace of God which was given me toward you; how that by revelation the mystery was made known to me, as I wrote before in few words, by which, when you read, you can perceive my understanding in the mystery of Christ; which in other generations was not made known to the children of men, as it has now been revealed to his holy Apostles and prophets in the Spirit; that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of his promise in Christ Jesus through the Good News, of which I was made a servant, according to the gift of that grace of God which was given me according to the working of his power. To me, the very least of all saints, was this grace given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all men see what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now through the Assembly the manifold wisdom of God might be made known to the principalities and the powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord; in whom we have boldness and access in confidence through our faith in him. Therefore I ask that you may not lose heart at my troubles for you, which are your glory.
For this cause, I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, that you may be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inward man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; to the end that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be strengthened to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and height and depth, and to know Christ’s love which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to him be the glory in the Assembly and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to walk worthily of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and humility, with patience, bearing with one another in love; being eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you also were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in us all. But to each one of us was the grace given according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Therefore he says,
“When he ascended on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.” 
Now this, “He ascended”, what is it but that he also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.
He gave some to be Apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, shepherds and Teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, to the work of serving, to the building up of the body of Christ; to the day we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a full grown man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we may no longer be children, tossed back and forth and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error; but speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, Christ, the Anointed One; from whom all the body, being fitted and knit together through that which every joint supplies, according to the working in measure of each individual part, makes the body increase to the building up of itself in love.
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their hearts; who having become callous gave themselves up to lust, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you did not learn Christ that way; if indeed you heard him, and were Taught in him, even as truth is in Jesus: that you put away, as concerning your former way of life, the old man, that grows corrupt after the lusts of deceit; and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man, who in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of truth.
Therefore putting away falsehood, speak truth each one with his neighbor. For we are members of one another.
“Be angry, and do not sin.”
Do not let the sun go down on your wrath, and do not give room to the devil. Let him who stole steal no more; but rather let him labor, producing with his hands something that is good, that he may have something to give to him who has need. Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but only what is good for building others up as the need may be, that it may give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, outcry, and slander, be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, just as God also in Christ forgave you.
Be therefore imitators of God, as beloved children. Walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling fragrance. But sexual immorality, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be mentioned among you, as becomes saints; nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not appropriate; but rather giving of thanks.
Know this for sure, that no sexually immoral person, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words. For because of these things, the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but are now light in the Lord. Walk as children of light, for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth, proving what is well pleasing to the Lord. Have no fellowship with the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but rather even reprove them. For the things which are done by them in secret, it is a shame even to speak of. But all things, when they are reproved, are revealed by the light, for everything that reveals is light. Therefore he says,
“Awake, you who sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
Therefore watch carefully how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise; redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Do not be drunken with wine, in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; singing, and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always concerning all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to God, even the Father; subjecting yourselves to one another in the fear of Christ.
Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, and Christ also is the head of the assembly, being himself the savior of the body. But as the Assembly is subject to Christ, so let the wives also be to their own husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Assembly, and gave himself up for it; that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the Assembly to himself gloriously, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without defect. Even so husbands also ought to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord also does the Assembly; because we are members of his body, of his flesh and bones.
“For this cause a man will leave his father and mother, and will be joined to his wife. The two will become one flesh.” 
This mystery is great, but I speak concerning Christ and the Assembly. Nevertheless each of you must also love his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
“Honor your father and mother,”
which is the first commandment with a promise:
“that it may be well with you, and you may live long on the earth.”
You fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but nurture them in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Servants, be obedient to those who according to the flesh are your masters, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as to Christ; not in the way of service only when eyes are on you, as men pleasers; but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men; knowing that whatever good thing each one does, he will receive the same again from the Lord, whether he is bound or free.
You masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with him.
Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world’s rulers of the darkness of this age, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having the utility belt of truth buckled around your waist, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having fitted your feet with the preparation of the Good News of peace; above all, taking up the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; with all prayer and requests, praying at all times in the Spirit, and being watchful to this end in all perseverance and requests for all the saints: on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in opening my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the Good News, for which I am an Ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
But that you also may know my affairs, how I am doing, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will make known to you all things; whom I have sent to you for this very purpose, that you may know Our state, and that he may comfort your hearts.
Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love. Amen.


Paul and Timothy, servants of Jesus Christ;
To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the Episcopes and Deacons: Grace to you, and peace from God, our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God whenever I remember you, always in every request of mine on behalf of you all making my requests with joy, for your partnership in furtherance of the Good News from the first day to now; being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will complete it to the day of Jesus Christ. It is even right for me to think this way on behalf of all of you, because I have you in my heart, because, both in my bonds and in the defense and confirmation of the Good News, you all are partakers with me of grace. For God is my witness, how I long after all of you in the tender mercies of Christ Jesus.
This I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment; so that you may approve the things that are excellent; that you may be sincere and without offense to the Day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Now I desire to have you know, brothers, that the things which happened to me have turned out rather to the progress of the Good News; so that it became evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my bonds are in Christ; and that most of the brothers in the Lord, being confident through my bonds, are more abundantly bold to speak the word of God without fear. Some indeed preach Christ even out of envy and strife, and some also out of good will. The former insincerely preach Christ from selfish ambition, thinking that they add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the Good News.
What does it matter? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed. I rejoice in this, yes, and will rejoice. For I know that this will turn out to my salvation, through your supplication and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will in no way be disappointed, but with all boldness, as always, now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will bring fruit from my work; yet I do not know what I will choose. But I am in a dilemma between the two, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Yet, to remain in the flesh is more needful for your sake. Having this confidence, I know that I will remain, yes, and remain with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, that your rejoicing may abound in Christ Jesus in me through my presence with you again.
Only let your way of life be worthy of the Good News of Christ, that, whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your state, that you stand firm in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the Good News; and in nothing frightened by the adversaries, which is for them a proof of destruction, but to you of salvation, and that from God. Because it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in him, but also to suffer on his behalf, having the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear is in me.
If there is therefore any exhortation in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any tender mercies and compassion, make my joy full, by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind; doing nothing through rivalry or through conceit, but in humility, each counting others better than himself; each of you not just looking to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others.
Have this in your mind, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, yes, the death of the cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him, and gave to him the name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, those on earth, and those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
So then, my beloved, even as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who works in you both to will and to work, for his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputes, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without defect in the middle of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you are seen as lights in the world, holding up the word of life; that I may have something to boast in the day of Christ, that I did not run in vain nor labor in vain. Yes, and if I am poured out on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice, and rejoice with you all. In the same way, you also rejoice, and rejoice with me.
But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered up when I know how you are doing. For I have no one else like-minded, who will truly care about you. For they all seek their own, not the things of Jesus Christ. But you know the proof of him, that, as a child serves a father, so he served with me in furtherance of the Good News. Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it will go with me. But I trust in the Lord that I myself also will come shortly. But I counted it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, fellow soldier, and your Apostle and servant of my need; since he longed for you all, and was very troubled, because you had heard that he was sick. For indeed he was sick, nearly to death, but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, that I might not have sorrow on sorrow. I have sent him therefore the more diligently, that, when you see him again, you may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. Receive him therefore in the Lord with all joy, and hold such in honor, because for the work of Christ he came near to death, risking his life to supply that which was lacking in your service toward me.
Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not tiresome, but for you it is safe. Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision. For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh; though I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If any other man thinks that he has confidence in the flesh, I yet more: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the Assembly; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, found blameless.
However, I consider those things that were gain to me as a loss for Christ. Yes most certainly, and I count all things to be a loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and count them nothing but refuse, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, that which is from the law of Moses, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming conformed to his death; if by any means I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect; but I press on, if it is so that I may take hold of that for which also I was taken hold of by Christ Jesus.
Brothers, I do not regard myself as yet having taken hold, but one thing I do. Forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are "perfect", think this way. If in anything you think otherwise, God will also reveal that to you. Nevertheless, to the extent that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule. Let us be of the same mind. Brothers, be imitators together of me, and note those who walk this way, even as you have Us for an example. For many walk, of whom I told you often, and now tell you even weeping, as the enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is the belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who think about earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from where we also wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will change the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of his glory, according to the working by which he is able even to subject all things to himself.
Therefore, my brothers, beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand firm in the Lord, my beloved. I exhort Euodia, and I exhort Syntyche, to think the same way in the Lord. Yes, I beg you also, true partner, help these women, for they labored with me in the Good News, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. Rejoice in the Lord always! Again I will say, “Rejoice!” Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things. The things which you learned, received, heard, and saw in me: do these things, and the God of peace will be with you. But I rejoice in the Lord greatly, that now at length you have revived your thought for me; in which you did indeed take thought, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect to lack, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content in it. I know how to be humbled, and I know also how to abound. In everything and in all things I have learned the secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in need. I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. However you did well that you shared in my affliction. You yourselves also know, you Philippians, that in the beginning of the Good News, when I departed from Macedonia, no Assembly shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you only. For even in Thessalonica you sent once and again to my need. Not that I seek for the gift, but I seek for the fruit that increases to your account. But I have all things, and abound. I am filled, having received from Epaphroditus the things that came from you, a sweet-smelling fragrance, an acceptable and well-pleasing sacrifice to God. My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever! Amen.
Greet every saint in Christ Jesus.
The brothers who are with me greet you.
All the saints greet you, especially those who are of Caesar’s household.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.


Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
We give thanks to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which you have toward all the saints, because of the confident expectation which is laid up for you in the heavens, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the Good News, which has come to you; even as it is in all the world and is bearing fruit and growing, as it does in you also, since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth; even as you learned of Epaphras Our beloved fellow servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on Our behalf, who also declared to Us your love in the Spirit. For this cause, We also, since the day We heard this, do not cease praying and making requests for you, that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, that you may walk worthily of the Lord, to please him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to the might of his glory, for all endurance and perseverance with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the Kingdom of the Son of his love; in whom we have our redemption, the forgiveness of our sins; who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in the heavens and on the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things are held together. He is the head of the body, the Assembly, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For all the fullness was pleased to dwell in him; and through him to reconcile all things to himself, by him, whether things on the earth, or things in the heavens, having made peace through the blood of his cross.
You, being in past times alienated and enemies in your mind in your evil deeds, yet now he has reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and without defect and blameless before him, if it is so that you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and not moved away from the confident expectation of the Good News which you heard, which is being proclaimed in all creation under heaven; of which I, Paul, was made a servant.
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and fill up on my part that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the Assembly; of which I was made a servant, according to the stewardship of God which was given me toward you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden for ages and generations. But now it has been revealed to his saints, to whom God was pleased to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory; whom we proclaim, admonishing every man and Teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus; for which I also labor, striving according to his working, which works in me mightily.
For I desire to have you know how greatly I struggle for you, and for those at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; that their hearts may be comforted, they being knit together in love, and gaining all riches of the full assurance of understanding, that they may know the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden. Now this I say that no one may delude you with persuasiveness of speech. For though I am absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, rejoicing and seeing your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. As therefore you received Christ Jesus, the Lord, walk in him, rooted and built up in him, and confirmed in the faith, even as you were Taught, abounding in it in thanksgiving. Be careful that you do not let anyone rob you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the elements of the world, and not after Christ. For in him all the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily, and in him you are made full, who is the head of all principality and power; in whom you were also circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, in the putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh, in the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. You were dead through your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh. He made you alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, wiping out the handwriting of ordinances which was against us; and he has taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross; having stripped the principalities and the powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
Let no one therefore judge you in eating, or in drinking, or with respect to a feast day or a new moon or a Sabbath day, which are a shadow of the things to come; but the body is Christ’s. Let no one rob you of your prize by a voluntary humility and worshiping of the angels, dwelling in the things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding firmly to the Head, from whom all the body, being supplied and knit together through the joints and ligaments, grows with God’s growth. If you died with Christ from the elements of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to ordinances, “Do not handle, nor taste, nor touch” (all of which perish with use), according to the precepts and doctrines of men? Which things indeed appear like wisdom in self-imposed worship, and humility, and severity to the body; but are not of any value against the indulgence of the flesh.
If then you were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, our life, is revealed, then you will also be revealed with him in glory. Put to death therefore your members which are on the earth: sexual immorality, uncleanness, depraved passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry; for which things’ sake the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience. You also once walked in those, when you lived in them; but now you also put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and shameful speaking out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old man with his doings, and have put on the new man, who is being renewed in knowledge after the image of his Creator, where there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bondservant, freeman; but Christ is all, and in all.
Put on therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, humility, and perseverance; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, if any man has a complaint against any; even as Christ forgave you, so you also do.
Above all these things, walk in love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; in all wisdom Teaching and admonishing one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your heart to the Lord.
Whatever you do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father, through him.
Wives, be in subjection to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
Husbands, love your wives, and do not be bitter against them.
Children, obey your parents in all things, for this pleases the Lord.
Fathers, do not provoke your children, so that they will not be discouraged.
Servants, obey in all things those who are your masters according to the flesh, not just when they are looking, as men pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord, and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. But he who does wrong will receive again for the wrong that he has done, and there is no partiality.
Masters, give to your servants that which is just and equal, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.
Continue steadfastly in prayer, watching therein with thanksgiving; praying together for Us also, that God may open to Us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds; that I may reveal it as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
All my affairs will be made known to you by Tychicus, the beloved brother, faithful servant, and fellow bondservant in the Lord. I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that he may know your circumstances and comfort your hearts, together with Onesimus, the faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will make known to you everything that is going on here. Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, greets you, and Mark, the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you received commandments, if he comes to you, receive him), and Jesus who is called Justus. These are my only fellow workers for God’s Kingdom who are of the circumcision, men who have been a comfort to me.
Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, salutes you, always striving for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. For I testify about him, that he has great zeal for you, and for those in Laodicea, and for those in Hierapolis.
Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas greet you.
Greet the brothers who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the Assembly that is in his house.
When this letter has been read among you, cause it to be read also in the Assembly of the Laodiceans; and that you also read the letter from Laodicea. Tell Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you fulfill it.”
The salutation of me, Paul, with my own hand: remember my bonds.
Grace be with you. Amen.

Josephus Antiquities 20.8.9-11 [182-195]
Acts 28:30-31
Philemon
Ephesians
Philippians
Colossians

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