The Bible says God is a God of deliverances. Many times this wonderful article by A. W. Tozer has delivered me from unwitting entanglement in fear, guilt, compulsion, and more. Positively, it faithfully calls me back to the one true place of rest: the presence of our loving Heavenly Father.

May it be a blessing to you.

God Is Easy To Live With

By A. W. Tozer

Satan’s first attack upon the human race was his sly effort to destroy Eve’s confidence in the kindness of God. Unfortunately for her and for us, he succeeded all too well. From that day on, men have had a false conception of God, and it is exactly this that has cut out from under them the ground of righteousness, and driven them to reckless and destructive living.

Nothing twists and deforms the soul more than a low or unworthy conception of God. Certain sects, such as the Pharisees, while they held that God was stern and austere, managed to maintain a fairly high level of external morality; but their righteousness was only outward. Inwardly they were “white sepulchres,” as our Lord Himself told them. Their wrong conception of God resulted in a wrong idea of worship. To a Pharisee, the service of God was a bondage that he did not love but from which he could not escape without a loss too great to bear. The God of the Pharisee was not an easy God to live with, so his religion became grim and hard and loveless. It had to be so, for our notion of God must always determine the quality of our religion.

Much Christianity since the days of Christ’s flesh has also been grim and severe. And the cause has been the same – an unworthy or an inadequate view of God. Instinctively we try to be like our God, and if He is conceived to be stern and exacting, so will we ourselves be.

From a failure to properly understand God comes a world of unhappiness among good Christians even today. The Christian life is thought to be a glum, unrelieved cross-carrying under the eye of a stern Father who expects much and excuses nothing. He is austere, peevish, highly temperamental, and extremely hard to please. The kind of life which springs out of such libelous notions must of necessity be but a parody on the true life in Christ.

It is most important to our spiritual welfare that we hold in our minds always a right conception of God. If we think of Him as cold and exacting, we shall find it impossible to love Him, and our lives will be ridden with servile fear. If, again, we hold Him to be kind and understanding our whole inner life will mirror that idea.

He Is All Love

The truth is that God is the most winsome of all beings, and His service is one of unspeakable pleasure. He is all love, and those who trust Him need never know anything but that love. He is just, indeed, and He will not condone sin; but through the blood of the everlasting covenant He is able to act toward us exactly as if we had never sinned. Toward the trusting sons of men His mercy will always triumph over justice.

Fellowship with God is delightful beyond all telling. He communes with His redeemed ones in an easy, uninhibited fellowship that is restful and healing to the soul. He is not sensitive or selfish or temperamental. What He is today we shall find Him tomorrow and the next day and the next year. He is not hard to please, though He may be hard to satisfy. He expects of us only what He has Himself first supplied. He is quick to mark every simple effort to please Him, and just as quick to overlook imperfections when He knows we meant to do His will. He loves us for ourselves and values our love more than galaxies of newly created worlds.

Unfortunately, many Christians cannot get free from their perverted notions of God, and these notions poison their hearts and destroy their inward freedom. These friends serve God grimly, as the elder brother did, doing what is right without enthusiasm and without joy, and seem altogether unable to understand the buoyant, spirited celebration when the prodigal comes home. Their idea of God rules out the possibility of His being happy in His people, and they attribute the singing and shouting to sheer fanaticism. Unhappy souls, these, doomed to go heavily on their melancholy way, grimly determined to do right if the heavens fall, and to be in the winning side in the day of judgment.

He Remembers Our Frame

How good it would be if we could learn that God is easy to live with. He remembers our frame and knows that we are dust. He may sometimes chasten us, it is true, but even this He does with a smile: the proud, tender smile of a Father who is bursting with pleasure over an imperfect but promising son or daughter who is coming every day to look more and more like the One whose child he is.

Some of us are religiously jumpy and self-conscious because we know that God sees our every thought and is acquainted with all our ways. We need not be. God is the sum of all patience and the essence of kindly good will. We please Him most, not by frantically trying to make ourselves good, but by throwing ourselves into His arms with all our imperfections, and believing that He understands everything and loves us still.

A. W. Tozer was a man known for his personal intimacy with God and for inspiring in others that same intimacy. He authored over a dozen books, and is probably best known for The Pursuit Of God and Knowledge Of The Holy. Born in Pennsylvania in 1897, he became a pastor at the age of 22. Tozer pastored a Christian and Missionary Alliance Church in Chicago for 31 years, and later served a congregation in Toronto, Canada, where he died in 1963.

 

 

A Gift from Above

1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him in order to show his bond-servants the things that must shortly come to pass. And having sent his angel, he signified them through the angel1 to his bond-servant John, who bore witness to everything he saw: the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed is he who reads—and blessed are those who hear—the words of this2 prophecy; and blessed are those who believe and obey3 the things written in it, for the appointed time is near.

Greeting and Doxology

4 John, to the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace to you, and peace, from him who is,4 and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before5 his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ: the faithful witness, the firstborn from among the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us, and who freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and who made us to be a kingdom, and priests to his God and Father: To him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him. And all the tribes of the earth will wail and beat their breasts because of him.6 So shall it surely be.7 Amen!

8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “he who is, and who was, and who is to come—the mighty ruler over all.”8

John’s Vision on the Lord’s Day

9 I, John, your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patient endurance that are found in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony concerning9 Jesus. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day; and I heard behind me a loud voice—it sounded like a trumpet— 11 saying, “Write down what you see on a scroll and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamum, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”

12 So I turned to see whose voice it was10 that was speaking behind me; and when I had turned, I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands One like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to his feet, and girded with a golden sash extending to his breasts. 14 His head and his hair were white like white wool, as white as snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire. 15 His feet were like burnished bronze, as if refined11 in a furnace. And his voice was like the roar of mighty12 waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth there went forth a two-edged sword, great and sharp. And his face was like the sun shining in its strength.

17 Now when I saw him, I fell at his feet like a dead man. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Don’t be afraid: I am the first and the last 18 and the living One! Yes, I was dead. But look: I am alive forevermore,13 and I possess the keys of death and Hades. 19 So write down the things you have seen, and the things that are, and the things that will take place soon after them.14 20 As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the messengers15 of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

Notes

  1. Lit. and having sent, he signified (them, it) through his angel
  2. Lit. the
  3. Lit. who keep (guard, observe, obey)
  4. Ex. 3:14
  5. Lit. who (that) are before
  6. Dan. 7:13; Zech. 12:10-14
  7. Or So may it be; lit. Yes, certainly!
  8. Or the Almighty, the All-Powerful
  9. Lit. of
  10. Lit. to see the voice
  11. Or made to glow
  12. Or many
  13. Lit. to the ages of the ages
  14. Lit. after these things
  15. Or angels; and so throughout chapters 2-3

 

Message to Ephesus

2 “To the messenger of the church in Ephesus write: Thus says the One who holds the seven stars in his right hand, and who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: 2 I know your works and your toil and your patient endurance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, but have put to the test those who call themselves apostles (though they are not), and have found them to be false. 3 I also know that you continue to persevere,1 and that you have endured much for my name’s sake, yet not grown weary. 4 But this I have against you: You have left your first love. 5 Therefore, remember the place from which you have fallen, and repent and do the first works.2 Otherwise I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. 6 But this you do have, that you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I hate as well. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant him to eat from the tree of life in the paradise of God.

Message to Smyrna

8 “And to the messenger of the church in Smyrna write: Thus says the first and the last, the One who died but came to life again: 9 I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the slander3 of those who call themselves Jews, and who are not, but who are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Don’t be afraid of the things you are soon to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, so that you may be tested: For ten days you will have tribulation. Stay faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches. He who overcomes will never be harmed by the second death.

Message to Pergamum

12 “And to the messenger of the church in Pergamum write: Thus says the One who has the two-edged sword, great and sharp: 13 I know where you dwell—the place of Satan’s throne. Yet you cling to my name, and did not deny your faith in me,4 even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death among you, in the place where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you, for you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who instructed Balak to place5 a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, enticing them to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to engage in sexual immorality. 15 Thus, you too have among you those who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 So repent, or else I will come to you swiftly and wage war against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant6 him to partake of the hidden manna; and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone: a name that no one knows except the one who receives it.

Message to Thyatira

18 “And to the messenger of the church in Thyatira write: Thus says the Son of God, the One whose eyes are like a flame of fire, and his feet like burnished bronze: 19 I know your works, and7 your love and faith and service and your patient endurance, and that your latest works are greater than your first. 20 But this I have against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and leads my bond-servants astray, teaching them to engage in sexual immorality, and to eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she is unwilling to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw8 her into a sickbed; and I will throw those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works; 23 and I will destroy her children with death itself.9 Then all the churches will know that I am the One who searches the minds and the hearts, and that I will repay10 each one of you according to your deeds. 24 But to the rest of you in Thyatirato all who11 do not hold this teaching, and who have not known12 “the deep things of Satan,”13 as they like to call them—I say: I place no further burden upon you. 25 Nevertheless, what you do have, cling to it until I come. 26 To him who overcomes and keeps my works until the end, I will grant authority over the nations. 27And he will be to them as a shepherd14 with a rod of iron, as when a potter’s jars are broken into pieces,15 just as I myself have received from my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

Notes

  1. Lit. have perseverance (endurance, patience)
  2. Or the works you did at the first
  3. Or blasphemy
  4. Or my faith; lit. the faith of me
  5. Lit. throw
  6. Lit. give to
  7. Or even
  8. Lit. am throwing
  9. Or with deadly disease
  10. Lit. give to
  11. Lit. as many as
  12. Lit. who did not (come to) know
  13. Or the depths (deep secrets) of Satan
  14. Lit. will shepherd (rule) them
  15. See Ps. 2:8-9

 

Message to Sardis

3 “To the messenger of the church in Sardis write: Thus says the One who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars: I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but are dead. Wake up and watch, and strengthen the things that remain, things that have long been close to death; for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. 3 So remember how you first received and heard—and obey and repent! If, therefore, you will not wake up and watch, I will come like a thief—and you will have no idea of the hour in which I shall fall upon you.1 But you do have a few names in Sardis who have not stained their garments; and these will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. 5 He who overcomes will be clothed in this way: in garments of white. And I will never erase his name from the Scroll2 of Life, but will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

Message to Philadelphia

“And to the messenger of the church in Philadelphia write: Thus says the One who is holy and true, who holds the key of David, and who opens so that no one can shut, and shuts so that no one can open:3 8 I know your works (see, I have placed before you an open door which no one can shut), that4 you have a little strength, and have kept my word, and have not denied5 my name. 9 Behold, I grant6 that some from the synagogue of Satan—some of those who say they are Jews, and are not, but lie—behold, I will cause them to come and bow down at your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept my command to patiently endure, I in turn will keep you from the hour of testing that is soon to come upon the whole world, in order to test those who dwell upon the earth. 11 I am coming swiftly: Cling to what you have, so that no one steals your victor’s wreath. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, never to go out again.7 Moreover, I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God (the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God), and my new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

Message to Laodicea

14 “To the messenger of the church in Laodicea write: Thus says the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the origin8 of the creation of God: 15 I know your works, that you are neither hot nor cold. If only you were hot or cold! 16 So then: Because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am poised to spew you out of my mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have acquired wealth in abundance, and stand in need of nothing,” yet fail to see that you are wretched and pitiful and poor and blind and naked, 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in fire, so that you can acquire true wealth; and white garments, so that you can clothe yourself, concealing the shame of your nakedness; and eye salve with which to anoint your eyes, so that you can truly see. 19 All whom I love, I reprove and discipline. So be zealous and repent. 20 Look, I’ve been standing at the door, knocking! If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him; and I will dine with him, and he with me. 21 To him who overcomes, I will grant him to sit down with me on my throne, just as I too overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”

Notes

  1. Lit. you will by no means know what sort of hour I will come upon (against) you
  2. Or Book
  3. Is. 22:22
  4. Or works. Behold, I have . . . shut because
  5. Lit. did not deny
  6. Or decree; lit. give
  7. Lit. and he will by no means go outside
  8. Or beginning, ruler

 

A Vision of God, the Sovereign Creator and Judge

4 After these things I looked, and behold: a door standing open in the sky.1 And I heard the first voice—the one which had spoken with me, sounding like a trumpet—saying, “Come up here and I will show you the things that must take place after these things.”

2 All at once I was in the Spirit, and behold: a throne standing2 in heaven, with One3 seated on the throne! 3 Now in appearance the One seated there is like a precious stone—like a jasper and a carnelian; and around the throne there is a rainbow,4 in appearance like an emerald. 4 Moreover, around the throne there are twenty-four other thrones; and seated on the thrones are twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden victor’s wreaths upon their heads. 5 Out of the throne, in constant procession, come flashes of lightning, and rumblings, and claps of thunder. And before the throne, ever burning, are seven lamps5 of fire, which are the seven spirits of God. 6 And before the throne there is something like a sea of glass,6 like crystal.

Now between the throne and the twenty-four elders, and encircling the throne,7 there are four living creatures,8 full of eyes in front and behind. 7 The first living creature is like a lion, the second is like a calf, the third has a face like a man, and the fourth is like an eagle in flight. 8 Each of the four living creatures has six wings, and the creatures9 are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they take no rest, saying, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God, the mighty ruler over all, who was and who is and who is to come!”

9 Now whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to the One seated on the throne—to him who lives forever and ever— 10 the twenty-four elders immediately fall down10 before the One seated on the throne, and worship11 him who lives forever and ever; and they throw12 down their victor’s wreaths before the throne, saying, 11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for you created all things, and through your will they came to be and were fashioned as they are.”

Notes

  1. Or heaven
  2. Or set, situated
  3. Or Someone, a Person
  4. Or was a halo, and so throughout these two paragraphs, where the verb “to be” and its tense must be supplied.
  5. Or torches
  6. Or a sea as clear as glass
  7. Lit. Now (and) in the midst of the throne and around the throne
  8. Or beings; lit. living ones
  9. Lit. they
  10. Lit. will fall down
  11. Lit. will worship
  12. Lit. will throw

 

A Vision of Christ, the Sovereign Redeemer

Then I saw a scroll in the right hand of the One seated upon the throne, a scroll with writing inside and out, and fastened with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel crying out1 in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and unfasten its seals?” 3 But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or look inside it. 4 So I broke down, sobbing with grief, because no one could be found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside it. But then one of the elders said to me, “Don’t weep! Look, the Lion from the tribe of Judah—the Root of David—has overcome so as to open the scroll and unfasten its seven seals!”

6 Then I saw a Lamb—as if it had been slain—standing between the elders and the throne with the four living creatures.2 And he had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. And he came up and took the scroll out of the right hand of the One seated on the throne. 8 Now when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each of them having a harp and golden bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they began to sing3 a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to unfasten its seals, for you were slain, and with your blood you have purchased for God a people from every tribe and tongue and people and nation; 10 and you have made them a kingdom, and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”

11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice4 of many angels around the throne, and the voice of the living creatures and the elders. And in number the angels were5 myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands; 12 and with a loud voice they all were saying, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” 13 And I heard every creature that is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea—and everything that is in them—saying, “To the One who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb, be praise and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever!” 14 And the four living creatures kept on saying, “Amen!” And the elders fell down and worshiped.

Notes

  1. Or proclaiming
  2. Lit. Then I saw in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, a lamb
  3. Lit. And they sing
  4. Or sound
  5. Lit. and the number of them was

 

The Six Seals

6 Then I watched as the Lamb broke open one of the seven seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come!” So I looked, and behold, a white horse, and the One1 seated upon it holding a bow; and a victor’s wreath was given to him, after which2 he went forth conquering and intent on conquest.3

War

3 Now when he broke open the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come!” 4 And another horse, red like fire, came out; and it was granted to the one seated on it to take peace from the earth, and that men would4 slaughter one another. And a great sword was given to him.

Scarcity

5 And when he broke open the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, “Come!” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and the one seated on it holding a pair of scales in his hand. 6 Then I heard what sounded like a voice coming from the midst5 of the four living creatures, saying, “A quart6 of wheat for a day’s wages, and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages;7 but do no harm to the oil8 and the wine.”

Death

7 And when he broke open the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature, saying, “Come.” 8 Then I looked, and behold, a pale gray horse. And the name of the one riding on it was Death; and Hades was following close behind him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword, and with famine, and with deadly disease, and by9 the wild beasts of the earth.

Martyrs

9 And when he broke open the fifth seal, I saw beneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony they had maintained. 10 And they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “O Ruler of all—holy and true—how long will you refrain from judging those who live on the earth, and from avenging our blood?” 11 Then a white robe was given to each of them, and they were told they must rest a little while longer, until the full number of their brothers and fellow servants who are destined to be killed as they were is attained.10

Final Judgment

12 Now when he broke open the sixth seal, I looked, and there was a great shaking.11 And the sun turned black—black as sackcloth made of hair—and the whole moon turned the color of blood,12 13 and the stars in the sky fell to the earth, as though a fig tree shaken by a mighty wind were casting its unripe figs to the ground; 14 and the sky withdrew13 like a rolled-up scroll, and every mountain and every island was dislodged from its site. 15 Then the kings of the earth, and the leading men of the cities, and the commanders of thousands, and the rich, and the powerful, and every slave, and every free man hid themselves in the caves and crags of the mountains. 16 And they said to the rocks and the mountains, “Fall on us! Hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

Notes

  1. Or one; but see Psalm 45:3-5
  2. Lit. and
  3. Lit. and in order to conquer
  4. Lit. that they would
  5. Lit. a voice in the midst
  6. Lit. choenix
  7. Lit. denarius
  8. Or olive oil
  9. Or beneath
  10. Lit. until their fellow servants and their brothers would also be complete, those about to be killed as they also
  11. Or earthquake; but see Matt. 24:29
  12. Lit. became (appeared) like blood
  13. Lit. split, parted

 

144,000 Sealed

7 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind could blow on the earth, or on the sea, or on any tree. 2 And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God; and with a loud voice he cried out to the four angels to whom it was given to harm the earth and the sea, 3 saying, “Do no harm to the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.

4 Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000, sealed from all the tribes of the sons of Israel. 5 From the tribe of Judah, 12,000 were sealed; from the tribe of Reuben, 12,000; from the tribe of Gad, 12,000; 6 from the tribe of Asher, 12,000; from the tribe of Naphtali, 12,000; from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000; from the tribe of Simeon, 12,000; from the tribe of Levi, 12,000; from the tribe of Issachar, 12,000; 8 from the tribe of Zebulun, 12,000; from the tribe of Joseph, 12,000; and from the tribe of Benjamin, 12,000 were sealed.

Life and Worship Around the Throne

After these things I looked, and behold, a great throng that no one could number, drawn from every nation, and from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white and holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And with a loud voice they kept crying out, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God: to the One seated upon the throne, and to the Lamb.” 11 Now all the angels were stationed around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell face down before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might belong to our God, forever and ever! Amen!”

13 Then one of the elders responded, saying to me, “These who are arrayed in white robes: Who are they, and where have they come from?” 14 So I said to him, “My lord, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who came1 out of the great tribulation, and who washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 For this reason they are before the throne of God, worshiping and serving2 him day and night in his sanctuary; and the One who is seated on the throne will spread his tent over them. 16 Never again will they hunger or thirst, neither shall the sun nor any deadly heat beat down upon them. 17 For the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them, and he will guide them to the springs of the waters of life. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Notes

  1. Lit. who come
  2. Lit. and they serve (worship)

 

The Seventh Seal

Now when the Lamb broke open the seventh seal, silence fell in heaven for about half an hour. 2 Then I saw the seven angels who were stationed before God; and seven trumpets were given to them. 3 Then another angel holding a golden censer came up and was stationed beside the altar; and much incense was given to him, so that he might mingle it with1 the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar that stands before the throne. 4 So the smoke of the incense, mingled with the prayers of the saints, ascended out of the angel’s hand in the sight of2 God. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it down to the earth; and there were claps of thunder, and rumblings, and flashes of lightning, and a shaking of the earth.3 6 And the seven angels holding the seven trumpets prepared themselves, so that they might sound them.

The First Four Trumpets

7 So the first angel blew his trumpet, and there came hail and fire, mingled with blood; and they were4 thrown down to the earth, and a third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.

Then the second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, ablaze with fire, was hurled into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood, 9 a third of the living creatures in the sea5 died, and a third of the ships were completely destroyed.

10 Then the third angel blew his trumpet, and there fell from heaven a great star, burning like a torch; and it fell on a third of the rivers, and on the springs of waters. 11 Now the name of the star is Wormwood. So a third of the waters were turned to wormwood, and many men died by reason of the waters, because the waters were made bitter.6

12 Then the fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars were stricken, so that a third of them were covered with darkness; and for a third of the day no light went forth, and for a third of the night as well.

13 Then I looked, and I heard the cry of a solitary eagle flying in the sky overhead,7 saying with a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe to those who live on the earth, because of the rest of the blasts of the trumpets of the three angels who are about to sound them!”

Notes

  1. Lit. give (it) with
  2. Or before, in the presence of
  3. Lit. and an earthquake (storm)
  4. Lit. it was
  5. Lit. the creatures of the sea having souls (life)
  6. Or poisoned
  7. Lit. in mid-heaven, mid-air

 

The Fifth Trumpet

9 Then the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from heaven1 to the earth; and the key to the shaft of the abyss was given to him. 2 So he opened the shaft of the abyss, and smoke like the smoke of a great furnace billowed out of the shaft; and the sun was darkened, and the air as well, because of the smoke rising out the shaft.

Then locusts came out of the smoke and went into the earth; and power was given to them, like the power possessed by the scorpions of the earth. 4 And the locusts were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree—only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5 And the locusts were allowed to test them by torment2 for five months, but not to kill them; and their torment was like the torment caused by a scorpion when it stings a man. 6 And in those days men will seek death but by no means find it; and they will long to die, but death will flee from them.

7 Now in appearance the locusts resembled horses prepared for battle.3 On their heads they wore something like crowns, as if of gold. Their faces were like the faces of men, 8 their hair like the hair of women, and their teeth like the teeth of lions. 9 They had breastplates like those that are made of iron;4 and the sound of their wings was like the sound of many horse-drawn chariots rushing into battle. 10 Moreover, they have tails with stingers like scorpions; and their power to harm men for five months resides in their tails. 11 And they have as king over them the angel of the abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon,5 but whose name in Greek is Apollyon.6

12 The first woe is past. Behold, after these things two more woes are still to come!

The Sixth Trumpet

13 Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a solitary voice coming from the four horns of the golden altar that stands before God. 14 It said to the sixth angel holding the sixth trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates!” 15 Then the four angels—prepared for this very hour and day and month and year—were released to kill a third of mankind. 16 And the number of the warriors on horseback was twice ten thousand, times ten thousand; I distinctly heard their number.7 17 And in my vision the horses and their riders looked like this:8 The riders had breastplates that were red like fire, and blue like hyacinth, and yellow like sulfur. The heads of the horses were like the heads of lions; and fire and smoke and sulfur came pouring forth from their mouths. 18 By means of these three plagues—the fire and the smoke and the sulfur that continually poured forth from their mouths—a third of mankind was killed. 19 For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails, because their tails are like many-headed serpents;9 and with their tails10 they do great harm. 20 Yet the rest of mankind—those who were not killed by these three plagues—did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship the demons and the idols made of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, idols that can neither see nor hear nor walk. 21 Nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.

Notes

  1. Or the sky
  2. Or to torment (test with torture)
  3. For the sake of clarity several conjunctions in this single-sentence paragraph have not been translated
  4. Lit. like breastplates of iron
  5. I.e. Destruction
  6. I.e. Destroyer
  7. Or I listened carefully to their number
  8. Lit. And thus did I see the horses in the vision and those who rode on them
  9. Lit. like serpents having heads
  10. Lit. them

 

An Angel With an Open Scroll

10 Then I saw another strong angel coming down out of heaven, clothed with a cloud; and a1 rainbow was above2 his head, and his face shone like the sun, and his feet were like pillars of fire; 2 and in his hand he held a small, unfurled scroll.3 Placing his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, 3 he cried out with a loud voice, like a lion when it roars; and when he cried out, the seven thunders raised4 their voices. 4 Now when the seven thunders had spoken,5 I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven, saying, “Seal up the things the seven thunders spoke, and do not write them down.”

Then the angel I saw standing on the sea and the land lifted up his right hand to heaven; and he swore by him who lives forever and ever—the One who created heaven and all that is in it,6 and the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it—that no longer will there be any delay, 7 but that in the days of the sounding7 of the seventh angel, when he is ready to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be brought to completion, just as he proclaimed8 to his servants the prophets.

8 Then the voice I had heard from heaven began to speak with me again, saying, “Go and receive the unfurled scroll which is in the hand of the angel standing on the sea and the land.” So I went over to the angel and said to him, “Give me the little scroll.” Then he said to me, “Take it and eat it: It will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet like honey.” 10 So I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it; and in my mouth it was sweet like honey, but when I had eaten it my stomach grew bitter. 11 Then they said to me, “You must prophesy again over many peoples and nations and languages and kings.”

Notes

  1. Lit. the
  2. Or upon
  3. Or small open book
  4. Lit. spoke, uttered
  5. Lit. spoke
  6. Lit. the things in it
  7. Or voice
  8. 8. Lit. just as he proclaimed (announced) the good news

 

Measured for Protection

11 Then I was given a measuring rod that looked like a staff; and I was told, “Get up and measure the sanctuary1 of God, and the altar, and those who worship in it. 2 But as for the courtyard outside the sanctuary, leave it out and do not measure it, for it has been handed over to the Gentiles.2 For forty-two months they will trample the holy city under foot. 3 But I will give authority3 to my two witnesses; and for 1,260 days they will prophesy, clothed in sackcloth.”4

The Ministry of the Two Witnesses

4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the whole earth. 5 And if anyone tries5 to harm them, fire goes forth from their mouths and consumes their enemies; this is how anyone who tries to harm them must be destroyed.6 6 These two have authority to shut up heaven7 so that no rain will fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have authority over the waters, to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often they desire.

The Persecution of the Two Witnesses

7 Now when they have finished bringing their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will wage war against them, and overcome them, and kill them. 8 And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which the Spirit calls8 Sodom and Egypt—the very place where9 their Lord was crucified. 9 For three and a half days men from all the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gloat over their dead bodies, and will not permit their bodies to be buried.10 10 Moreover, those who dwell on the earth will rejoice at their death,11 and celebrate, and give gifts to one another because these two prophets had tormented all who dwell upon the earth.

The Rescue of the Two Witnesses

11 But after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God entered them and they stood on their feet; and great fear fell on those who beheld them. 12 And they heard a loud voice from heaven, saying to them, “Come up here!” So they ascended into heaven in the cloud; and their enemies beheld them. 13 And in that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; and in the earthquake the names of seven thousand men12 were erased,13 and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

14 The second woe is past; behold, the third woe is coming quickly!

The Seventh Trumpet: Coming, Judgment, and Kingdom

15 Then the seventh angel sounded, and loud voices rose up in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever.” 16 And the twenty-four elders who were seated before God on their thrones fell to their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying, “We give you thanks, O Lord God, the mighty ruler over all—you who are and who were—for you have taken up your great power and begun to reign. 18 Yes,14 the nations were enraged; but your wrath has come,15 as well as the time for the dead to be judged, and for all your bond-servants—the prophets and the saints and those who fear your name, both small and great—to receive their reward, and for you to destroy the destroyers of the earth.” 19 Then the sanctuary of God in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant appeared in his sanctuary; and there were flashes of lightning, and rumblings, and claps of thunder, and an earthquake, and a great storm of hail.

Notes

  1. Or temple
  2. Or nations
  3. Or power
  4. The Greek contains no quotation marks
  5. Lit. desires, intends
  6. Or killed
  7. Or the sky
  8. Lit. which spiritually is called
  9. Lit. Egypt, where also
  10. Lit. their corpses to be placed in a tomb
  11. Lit. over them
  12. Lit. seven thousand names of men
  13. Lit. abolished (killed, destroyed)
  14. Lit. and (indeed)
  15. Lit. came

 

The Woman

12 Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, having the moon beneath her feet, and on her head a victor’s wreath composed of twelve stars. 2 And the woman was pregnant, and crying out in pain, and struggling to give birth.

The Dragon

Then another sign appeared in heaven; and behold, a great dragon, red like fire, having seven heads and ten horns; and on his heads, seven diadems.1 4 And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them down to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child as soon as she gave birth.

The Son

5 And the woman gave birth to a son, a male child who will soon be like a shepherd with a rod of iron to all the nations;2 and her child was caught up3 to God and to his throne. 6 Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, so that there she may be nourished for 1,260 days.

War in the Heavenlies

7 Then war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. Now the dragon and his angels fought back, 8 but he could not prevail; and no longer was any place found for them in heaven. 9 So the great dragon—the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, he who deceives the whole world—was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 And then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brotherhood has been thrown down—he who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 But they overcame him through the blood of the Lamb and through the word of their testimony; and they did not love their lives, even in the face of death.4 12 For this reason, rejoice you heavens, and all5 who dwell6 within them! But woe to the earth and the sea, for the devil has come down to you, filled with great wrath, knowing that his time is short.”

Help in the Wilderness

13 Now when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he pursued7 the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14 But she was given the two wings of the great eagle, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time away from the face of the serpent. 15 And the serpent, following behind the woman, poured forth water from his mouth in order to sweep her away. 16 But the earth gave help to the woman, opening its mouth and swallowing up the river that the dragon was spewing out of his mouth. 17 So the dragon was enraged at the woman, and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring: all8 who keep the commandments of God, and who hold fast to the testimony of Jesus.

Notes

  1. I.e. a jeweled crown or headband symbolizing rulership
  2. Lit. who will soon shepherd all the nations with a rod of iron; Psalm 2:9
  3. Lit. seized, snatched
  4. Lit. their life until death; see John 12:25
  5. Lit. those
  6. Lit. tabernacle
  7. Or persecuted
  8. Lit. seed: those

 

The Beast from the Sea

13 Now the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads; and upon his horns were ten diadems, and upon his heads, blasphemous names. 2 The beast that I saw was like a leopard, but his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority. 3 Now one of the heads of the beast looked as if it had received a fatal wound—a fatal wound that was healed. So the whole earth marveled and followed after the beast. 4 And they worshiped the dragon, for the dragon had given his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast?” and “Who can wage war against him?”

War on the Saints

Now the beast was given a mouth uttering great boasts and blasphemies; and for forty-two months he was given authority to act.1 6 So he opened his mouth to speak blasphemies against God: to speak evil of2 his name and of his tabernacle (that is, those who dwell in heaven). Moreover, it was granted to him to wage war against the saints and overpower them; and authority over every tribe and people and language and nation was given to him. 8 And all who dwell upon the earth will worship the beast, all whose name has not been written from the founding of the world in the Scroll of Life that belongs to the Lamb who was slain.3 9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear: 10 If anyone is meant for4 captivity, into captivity he will go; if anyone is meant to be killed5 with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. Herein lies the faith and patient endurance6 of the saints.

The Beast from the Earth

11 Then I saw another beast rising up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. 12 And he exercises all the authority of the first beast on his behalf,7 and compels the whole earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. 13 He also performs great signs, even causing fire to fall from the sky to the earth in the sight of men. 14 And he deceives those who dwell upon the earth by means of the signs he was given to perform on behalf of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who carries8 the wound from the sword, but who came to life. 15 And it was granted to him to give breath9 to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast could both10 speak and act, so that whoever refuses to worship the image of the beast might be put to death.11 16 And he forces all men—the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free and the slaves—to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead. 17 And he requires that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark: either the name of the beast or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom: Let him who understands work out12 the number of the beast, for it is the number of man.13 And his number is 666.

Notes

  1. Or he was permitted to exercise authority
  2. Or slander, revile, blaspheme
  3. Or written in the Scroll of Life that belongs to the Lamb who . . . of the world.
  4. Or possibly takes, leads into
  5. Many mss kills
  6. Lit. Here is the endurance and faith
  7. Or in his presence
  8. Lit. has
  9. Or spirit, life
  10. Or even, also
  11. Or both speak and cause whoever . . . of the beast to be put to death.
  12. Or calculate, compute, figure out, reckon, determine
  13. Lit. for (the) number is (that) of (a) man

 

The Song of the Redeemed

14 Then I looked, and behold: the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion; and with him were 144,000, having his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a sound coming out of heaven, like the sound of many waters and loud thunder; and the sound I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps. 3 Now those whom I saw1 were singing a new song before the throne, and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one was able to learn the song except the 144,000 who were purchased from the earth. 4 These are those who did not defile themselves2 with women (for they are virgins), those who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These were purchased from among men as first fruits for3 God and the Lamb. 5 And no lie was found in their mouth: They are faultless.4

An Everlasting Gospel

6 Then I saw another angel flying high in the sky overhead,5 having an everlasting gospel to proclaim to the inhabitants of the earth, even to every nation and tribe and language and people. 7 And with a loud voice he kept on saying, “Fear God and give him glory, for the hour of his judgment has come; and worship him who made the heavens and the earth, the sea and the springs of water.” 8 And another angel, a second, followed after the first, saying, “Fallen, fallen! Babylon the great is utterly fallen—she who caused6 all the nations to drink from the wine of the lust that drives7 her immorality.”8

Wrath and Blessing

9 Then another angel, a third, followed them both, saying in a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, or9 receives the mark on his forehead or his hand, 10 he also will drink from the wine of the wrath of God, wrath that is mixed full strength in the cup of his anger; and he will be tormented with fire and burning sulfur before10 all the holy angels and before the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment will go up forever and ever; day and night they will have no rest—those who worship the beast and his image, or who receive11 the mark of his name.” 12 Here is the patient endurance of the saints: of all12 who cling to the commandments of God, and to the faith that Jesus brought.13

13 Then I heard a voice coming out of heaven, saying, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from this time forth!’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from all their toil,14 for their works follow after them.”

Coming and Judgment

14 Then I looked, and behold: a white cloud, and seated on the cloud One like a son of man, with a golden victor’s wreath upon his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand. 15 And another angel came forth from the sanctuary, crying with a loud voice to the One who was seated on the cloud, “Send forth your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” 16 So the One who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.

17 Then another angel came forth from the sanctuary in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 18 And after him, another angel came forth from the altar: the angel having authority over its15 fire. With a loud voice he called out to the angel with the sharp sickle, saying, “Send forth your sharp sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, for her grapes are ripe for harvest.” 19 So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth; and he gathered up the vine of the earth and threw it into the great wine press of the wrath of God. 20 And the wine press was trodden outside the city; and blood reaching up to the horses’ bridles poured out of the winepress to a distance of 1,600 stadia.

Notes

  1. Lit. And they
  2. Or were not defiled
  3. Lit. to
  4. Or without blemish (blame); some mss for they are faultless
  5. Lit. in mid-heaven
  6. Lit. has caused
  7. Or the wine of the wrath of (belonging to)
  8. The Greek denotes sexual immorality of all kinds
  9. Or and
  10. Or in the presence (sight) of
  11. Lit. or if someone receives
  12. Lit. saints: those
  13. Or and to their faith in Jesus; lit. the faith of Jesus
  14. Lit. from their toils (labors)
  15. Lit. the

 

The Song of Moses

15 Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and wondrous: seven angels having seven final1 plagues, for with them the wrath of God was brought to completion.

2 I also saw what looked like a sea of glass, mingled with fire; and I saw those who had triumphed over the beast and his image and the number of his name, standing beside the sea of glass, holding harps that came from God.2 3 And they sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and wondrous are your works, O Lord God, the mighty ruler over all! Righteous and true are your ways, O King of the nations! 4 Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name, since you alone are holy? For all the nations will come and worship3 before you, for your righteous judgments4 have been revealed.”

5 Now after these things I looked, and the sanctuary of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened; and the seven angels who had the seven plagues came out of the sanctuary, dressed in linen, pure5 and bright, and wearing golden sashes around their chests. Then one of the four living creatures gave the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever. 8 And the sanctuary was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no one was able to enter the sanctuary until the seven plagues of the seven angels were brought to an end.

Notes

  1. Or last
  2. Lit. standing by (on) the sea . . . having harps of God
  3. Or bow; kneel in worship
  4. Or acts
  5. Or clean

 

The Seven Bowls of God’s Wrath

16 Then I heard a loud voice coming from the sanctuary, saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath onto1 the earth.”

Onto the Earth

2 So the first angel went and poured out his bowl onto the earth; and a foul and painful sore broke out on those who had the mark of the beast, and on those who worshiped his image.

Onto the Sea

3 Then the second angel poured out his bowl onto the sea, and the sea turned to blood, blood like that of a dead man; and every sea creature with the breath of life died.

Onto the Fresh Waters

4 Then the third angel poured out his bowl onto the rivers and the springs of water; and they too turned to blood. And I heard the angel of the waters saying, “Righteous are you—the One who is and who was, the Holy One—in judging as you have.2 6 For they poured out the blood of the saints and the prophets, and you have given them blood to drink, just as they deserve.” And I heard the altar reply, saying, “Yes, Lord God—the mighty ruler over all—your judgments are righteous and true!”

Onto the Sun

8 Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl onto the sun, and it was granted to the sun to scorch men with fire. 9 So men were scorched with intense3 heat; and they railed against the name of God, who had authority over all these plagues; and they refused to4 repent and give5 him glory.

Onto the Throne of the Beast

10 Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl onto the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was covered with darkness. And men gnawed their tongues because of the pain; 11 and because of their pains and their sores they railed against the God of heaven; and they did not repent of their evil deeds.

Onto the Great River

12 Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl onto the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to make way for the kings from the east. 13 And I saw three unclean spirits proceeding from the mouth of the dragon, and from the mouth of the beast, and from the mouth of the false prophet; and the spirits looked like frogs. 14 For they are demonic spirits6 performing miraculous signs, spirits that7 go out to8 the kings of the whole world to gather them together for the battle of the great day of God, the mighty ruler over all. 15 (“Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is he who stays awake and guards his garments, lest he walk about naked, with his shame exposed for all to see!”9) 16 So they gathered them together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.10

Onto the Air

17 Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl onto the air, and a loud voice from the throne came out of the sanctuary, saying, “It is done!” 18 And there were flashes of lightning and rumblings and claps of thunder and a great earthquake—an earthquake so immense and powerful that nothing like it had ever occurred since the day that man appeared upon the earth. 19 Then the great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Thus was Babylon the great remembered11 before God, so that he might give to her12 the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. 20 And every island fled away, and not a single mountain was found. 21 And great hailstones, weighing about a talent each, rained down from heaven onto men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of hail, for the destruction it brought13 was exceedingly great.

Notes

  1. Lit. into
  2. Lit. because you judged these things
  3. Lit. great
  4. Lit. and they did not
  5. Lit. to give
  6. Lit. spirits of demons
  7. Or signs that; lit. which
  8. Or upon
  9. Lit. naked, and they see his shame
  10. Hebrew: Mount of Megiddo
  11. Lit. And Babylon the great was remembered
  12. Lit. God, to give to her
  13. Lit. for its plague

 

The Harlot and the Beast

17 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came up and spoke with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who is seated on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth engaged in sexual immorality, so that the inhabitants of the earth became drunk with the wine of her fornication.”

3 So he carried me away in the Spirit1 to a wilderness. And there I saw a woman seated on a scarlet beast, a beast filled with blasphemous names, and having seven heads and ten horns. 4 Now the woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls; and in her hand she held a golden cup filled with abominations and the unclean things of her sexual immorality. 5 And a name was written on her forehead, a mystery: “Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots, and of all the detestable things of the earth.” 6 And I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses2 of Jesus. And when I saw her, I wondered with great wonder.

7 So the angel said to me, “Why did you wonder? I will declare to you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that is carrying her. 8 The beast that you saw once was, and now is not, but soon will arise out of the abyss, only to go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth—those whose names have not been written in the Scroll of Life from the founding of the world—will stand in awe when3 they see the beast that once was, and now is not, but soon will be present. Here is the mind that has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated. 10 They are also seven kings: five have fallen, one now is, but the other has not yet come; and when he does come, he must remain a little while. 11 Now the beast that once was, but now is not, is himself also an eighth, yet one of the seven; and he will go4 to destruction.

12 “As for the ten horns you saw, they are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom;5 but they will receive authority to rule as kings for one hour with the beast. 13 These will have a single goal, and will therefore give their power and authority to the beast. 14 They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with him are the called, and the chosen, and the faithful.”

15 Then he said to me, “The waters you saw—those on which the harlot is seated—are peoples and multitudes and nations and languages. 16 And the beast and the ten horns that you saw will hate the harlot, and will make her desolate, and will strip her bare; and they will devour her flesh and consume her with fire. 17 For God will have placed it in their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give6 their royal authority to the beast until all the words of God are fulfilled.

18 “As for the woman you saw, she is the great city that holds dominion over all the kings of the earth.”

Notes

  1. Or in spirit
  2. Or martyrs
  3. Or because
  4. Lit. goes
  5. Or royal power
  6. Lit. his purpose, and to make a single purpose (plan), and to give

 

Babylon Is Fallen

18 After these things I saw another angel coming down out of heaven, having great authority; and the earth was illumined with his glory. 2 And with a mighty voice he cried out, saying, “Fallen, fallen, Babylon the great is fallen, and has become a habitation of demons, and a prison for every unclean spirit, and a prison for every unclean bird, and a prison for every unclean and detestable beast.1 3 For all the nations have drunk2 from the wine of the lust that drives her sexual immorality; and the kings of the earth have lain3 with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich through the power of her sensuality.”4

4 Then I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins and receive of her plagues; 5 for her sins are piled as high as heaven,5 and God has remembered her iniquities. 6 Just as she paid out, so you must pay her back; indeed, you must pay her back double in accordance with all her deeds. In the cup that she mixed, mix twice as much for her; 7 in the measure that she glorified herself and lived in luxury, in that same measure give her torment and grief, for she says in her heart, ‘I am seated as a queen, and am not a widow: I will never see grief.’ 8 For this reason her plagues will come upon her in a single day: pestilence6 and grief and famine. And she will be consumed by fire, for the Lord God who judges her is strong.7

9Now when the kings of the earth who lived with her in luxury8 and immorality gaze at the smoke from the fire that consumes her,9 they will weep and wail over her. 10 Standing at a distance for fear of her torment, they will say, ‘Alas, alas!10 The great city! Babylon, the strong city! For in a single hour your punishment11 has come upon you.

11The merchants of the earth also will weep and mourn over her, for no one purchases their cargoes anymore: 12 cargoes of gold and silver and precious stones and pearls; of fine linen; of purple and silk and scarlet fabric; of all sorts of citron wood, and of every kind of vessel made of ivory and costly woods and bronze and iron and marble; 13 of cinnamon and spice and incense and perfumed ointment12 and frankincense; of wine and olive oil and fine flour and wheat; of cattle and sheep and horses and four-wheeled chariots and the bodies and lives13 of men.14

14Indeed, your ripe summer fruit—the craving of your soul—has departed from you; and all your refined and luxurious items are torn from you, never to be found again!

15The merchants who sold these things and grew rich because of her will stand at a distance for fear of her torment. With weeping and mourning 16 they will say, ‘Alas, alas!15 The great city, she who was arrayed in fine linen, and in purple and scarlet fabrics, and who was adorned with gold and pearls and precious stones! 17 For in a single hour such great wealth has been16 brought to ruin!’ And all the ship’s captains, and all who travel17 from port to port, and all sailors, and as many as earn their living at sea—all of them stood at a distance. 18 And when they saw the smoke from the fire that burned her, they began to cry out, saying, ‘What can compare with18 the great city?’ 19 So they threw dust on their heads, and with weeping and mourning they began to cry out, saying, ‘Alas, alas!19 The great city, in which all who had ships at sea grew rich because of her great wealth! For in a single hour she has been20 brought to ruin!’

20Rejoice over her, O heaven; and rejoice, all you saints and apostles and prophets; for God has judged her just as she judged you!”21

21 Then a strong angel picked up a stone—it looked like a great millstone—and he threw it into the sea, saying, “Thus shall Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with sudden violence, 22 never again to be found. 22 And the sound of harpists and musicians and flautists and trumpeters will never again be heard in you; and no tradesman plying any trade will ever again be found in you; and the sound of a mill will never again be heard in you; 23 and the light of a lamp will never again shine in you; and the voice of a bridegroom and his bride will never again be heard in you. For your merchants were the great men of the earth, for all the nations were deceived by your sorcery. 24 And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain upon the earth.

Notes

  1. Some mss omit the final phrase
  2. Some mss fallen
  3. Lit. engaged in sexual immorality
  4. Or luxury
  5. Lit. until heaven
  6. Or death
  7. Some interpreters close the quotes here
  8. Or sensuality
  9. Lit. the smoke of her fire
  10. Or Woe, woe (to, because of)
  11. Or judgment, sentence
  12. Or myrrh
  13. Lit. souls
  14. I.e. slaves
  15. Or Woe, woe!
  16. Lit. was
  17. Or navigate
  18. Or who is like
  19. See note 15
  20. Lit. was
  21. Lit. for God judged your judgment from her
  22. Or a sudden surge of force

 

A Hallelujah Chorus

19 After these things I heard, as it were, the voice1 of a great crowd in heaven, saying, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for his judgments are righteous and true; for he has judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her harlotry, and he has avenged the blood of his bond-servants shed by her hand.

3 Then for a second time they said, “Hallelujah! The smoke from her burning2 goes up forever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God, who is seated3 on the throne. And they said, “Amen! Hallelujah!”

5 Then a voice came from the throne, saying, “Give praise to our God, all you his bond-servants, and4 all who fear him, both small and great.”

And I heard, as it were, the voice5 of a great crowd, and the voice of many waters, and the voice of mighty rolls of thunder, saying, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God—the mighty ruler over all—has begun to reign!6 7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has prepared herself; 8 for7 it was granted to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”

Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage feast of the Lamb.’” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” 10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you don’t do that! I am only your fellow servant, and the fellow servant of your brothers who keep8 the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

Coming and Judgment

11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold: a white horse! And he who was seated upon it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he was judging and waging war.9 12 Now his eyes were like a flame of fire, and on his head were many diadems. And a name was written on him, a name that none had ever known but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a robe that was dipped in blood; and his name was called the Word of God. 14 Now the armies in heaven—arrayed in fine linen, white and clean—were following him on white horses. 15 And out of his mouth there proceeds a sharp sword, so that with it he may strike the nations. And he will be to them like a shepherd10 with a rod of iron; and he will tread them down in the vat of the wine11 of the fierceness of the wrath of God, the mighty ruler over all.12 16 And he has a name written on his robe and on his thigh: “King of kings, and Lord of lords.”

17 Then I saw a single13 angel standing in the sun; and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds flying in the sky overhead,14 “Come, assemble yourselves for the great supper of God, 18 so that you may devour the flesh of kings, and the flesh of commanders, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, both slave and free, small and great.”

19 Then I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and all their armies gathered together to wage war against him who was seated on the horse, and against his army. 20 But the beast was seized, and along with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs in his presence, the signs by which he had deceived those who took the mark of the beast and worshiped his image; and the two of them were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. 21 As for the rest, they were killed with the sword that came forth from the mouth of him who was seated on the horse; and all the birds were filled with their flesh.

Notes

  1. Or sound, noise, cry, roar
  2. Lit. her smoke
  3. Lit. worshiped the God, the One seated upon the throne, saying,
  4. Or even; some mss omit this word
  5. Or sound
  6. Or reigns; lit. reigned
  7. Lit. and
  8. Or hold; lit. the ones having
  9. Lit. he judges and wages war
  10. Lit. he will shepherd them
  11. Or in the winepress
  12. Is. 63:1-3
  13. Lit. one
  14. Lit. in mid-heaven

 

The Binding of Satan

20 Then I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, holding in his hand a great chain and the key to the abyss. And he seized the dragon—the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan—and bound him for a thousand years, 3 throwing him into the abyss, and locking and sealing it over him,1 so that he could no longer deceive the nations—not until the thousand years had come to an end.2 After that,3 he must be released for a little while.

The First Resurrection

Then I saw thrones, and they were seated upon them; and authority to judge had been given to them.4 And I saw the souls of those who were beheaded because of their testimony concerning Jesus,5 and because of the word of God. And I saw those who6 had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead or on their hand. And they all came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years had come to an end.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who shares in the first resurrection: Over these the second death holds no sway, but they will be priests of God and of Christ; and they will reign with him throughout the7 thousand years.

The Last Battle

7 Now when the thousand years have come to an end, Satan will be released from his prison. 8 And he will go8 out to deceive the nations that dwell in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—in order to gather them together for the war; and their9 number is like the sands of the seashore. 9 And they went up onto the broad plain10 of the earth, and they surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city; but fire came down from heaven and consumed them. 10 Then the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and burning sulfur, there to join the beast and the false prophet.11 And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

The Judgment

11 Then I saw a great white throne and the One seated upon it, from whose face the earth and the sky fled for safety; but no such place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, both the great and the small, standing before the throne. Then scrolls were opened; and another scroll was opened, which is the Scroll of Life. And the dead were judged based on the things written on the scrolls, that is, according to their deeds. 13 So the sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them; and they all were judged, each according to his12 deeds. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death: the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the Scroll of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Notes

  1. Lit. and he threw . . . and locked (shut) and sealed over him
  2. Or were completed (fulfilled)
  3. Lit. After these things
  4. Lit. and judgment was given to them
  5. Lit. the testimony of Jesus
  6. Or God, even those who
  7. Some mss omit the
  8. Or come
  9. Lit. whose
  10. Or marched across the breadth
  11. Lit. where also the beast and the false prophet (are)
  12. Lit. their

 

The World to Come

21 Then I saw a new sky and a new earth, for the former sky and the former earth had passed away; and there was no longer any sea. 2 And I saw the holy city—New Jerusalem—coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice coming from the throne, saying, “Look, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will tabernacle with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them; 4 and he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death and mourning and crying and pain shall be no more, for the former things have passed away!”

Then the One seated upon the throne said, “See, I am making all things new!” And he said, “Write! For these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 Then he said to me, “All has come to pass!1 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To him who thirsts I will grant that he may drink from the spring2 of the water of life without cost. 7 He who overcomes will inherit these things; and I will be God to him, and he a son to me. 8 But as for the cowardly and unbelieving and loathsome and murderers and fornicators and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars—their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

The Bridal City to Come

9 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven final plagues came up and spoke with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 So he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and lofty mountain; and he showed me the holy city—Jerusalem—coming down out of the sky from God, 11 having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like the brilliance of a precious gem, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 She also had a great and lofty wall with twelve gates; and stationed at the gates were twelve angels, and written on the gates were the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. 13 Three of the gates were on the east, and three were on the north, and three were on the south, and three were on the west. 14 Moreover, the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and written upon the foundations were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15 Now the angel who was speaking with me had a measure—a golden reed—so that he could measure the city and her gates and her wall. 16 And the city was laid out as a square, her length being equal to her width. So he measured the city with the reed: 12,000 stadia (her length and width and height were all equal). 17 He also measured her wall: 144 cubits by a man’s measure, and by an angel’s as well.3 18 Now the wall was made of jasper, and the city itself of pure gold, as pure as glass. 19 The foundations of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone: the first with jasper, the second with sapphire, the third with chalcedony, the fourth with emerald, 20 the fifth with sardonyx, the sixth with sardius, the seventh with chrysolite, the eighth with beryl, the ninth with topaz, the tenth with chrysoprase, the eleventh with jacinth, and the twelfth with amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates of the city were twelve pearls: Each of the gates was made from a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, as clear as glass.

22 But I saw no sanctuary in her, for the Lord God, the mighty ruler over all, is her sanctuary, and the Lamb as well. 23 And the city has no need of the sun or the moon to shine on her, for the glory of God illumines4 her, and her lamp is the Lamb. 24 And the nations will walk by her light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into her. 25 And during the day her gates will never be shut, for in that place night will be no more; 26 and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into her. 27 Nothing unclean will ever enter her, nor will anyone who practices abomination or falsehood5—only those whose names are written6 in the Lamb’s Scroll of Life.

Notes

  1. Lit. They have taken place
  2. Or fountain
  3. Lit. which is (that) of an angel
  4. Lit. illumined
  5. he who practices (an) abomination and a lie (falsehood)
  6. Lit. only those who have been written

 

Paradise Regained

22 Then he showed me the river of the water of life—clear and bright as crystal—flowing down1 the middle of her street from the throne of God and the Lamb. And2 on either side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit,3 each yielding its crop month by month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And4 no longer will there be any curse. Moreover, the throne of God and the Lamb will be in her, and his bond-servants will serve him; 4 and they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. Night will be no more, and they will never again need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God himself will give them light. And they will reign forever and ever.

“Worship God!”

6 Then the angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true.5 For6 the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his bond-servants the things that must shortly come to pass.”

7 “Behold, I am coming swiftly. Blessed is he who believes and obeys7 the words of the prophecy contained in this scroll.”

8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw all these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell to the ground to worship at the feet of the angel who was showing them to me. 9 But he said to me, “See that you don’t do that! I am your fellow servant, and the fellow servant of your brothers the prophets, and of those who believe and obey the words contained in this scroll. Worship God!”

The Time is Near

10 Then he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy contained in this scroll, for the appointed time is near. 11 He who does wrong, let him still do wrong; and he who is vile, let him still be vile; and he who is righteous, let him still practice righteousness; and he who is holy, let him still be made holy.”

12 “Behold, I am coming swiftly, and my wages are with me, to pay to each one according to his work. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. 14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may rightfully eat of the tree of life,8 and may enter the city through her gates. 15 Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the sexually immoral and the murderers and the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.9 16 I, Jesus, have sent my angel to bring you word of all these things for the sake of the churches.10 I am the root and offspring of David, the bright morning star.”

17 Now the Spirit and the Bride say, “Come!” So let the one who hears say, “Come!” And let the one who is thirsty come. Let the one who so desires take the water of life without cost!

Warning, Promise, Plea, Farewell

18 I myself testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy contained in this scroll:11 If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues that stand written12 in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes away from the words of the prophecy contained in this scroll,13 God will take away his portion from the tree of life and the holy city:14 from the things that stand written15 in this scroll.

20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming swiftly!”

Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!

21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all. Amen.

Notes

  1. Lit. in
  2. Or possibly flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street and
  3. Or crops of fruit; lit. twelve fruits
  4. Or nations, and
  5. Some interpreters close the quotes here
  6. Lit. And
  7. Lit. who keeps (guards, observes)
  8. Lit. that their authority might be over the tree of life
  9. Or lying; lit. a lie
  10. Lit. my angel to testify to you (all) these things for (in, concerning) the churches
  11. Lit. the words of the prophecy of this scroll
  12. Or plagues described; lit. plagues that have been written
  13. Lit. the words of the scroll of this prophecy
  14. Lit. and out of the holy city
  15. Or are described

Greeting

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the saints and faithful brothers in Christ living in Colossae: Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father.

Gratitude for God’s Grace

We always give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you;1 4 for we have heard about your faith in Christ Jesus, and about the love you have for all the saints, 5 both of which flow from the hope2 that is stored up in heaven for you, a hope you first heard about in the message of God’s truth:3 the gospel that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has done among you since the day you first heard it and came to understand the grace of God in truth— that is, since4 you learned it from our beloved fellow servant, Epaphras, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our5 behalf, and who also told us about your love in the Spirit.

Prayer for God’s Grace

For this reason, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding,6 10 so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11 We also ask that, in accordance with his glorious might, you may be strengthened with all power, for all endurance and all steadfastness, joyfully 12 giving7 thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to partake of the inheritance of the saints in the realm of the light. 13 For he8 has delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption: the forgiveness of our sins.

Prerogatives of the Divine Christ

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, both in the heavens and on the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. All things were created through him and for him; 17 and he is before all things, and in him all things are held together.9 18 He is also the head of the body, the church; and he is the beginning—the firstborn from the dead—so that he himself might have the preeminence10 in all things. 19 For it pleased God that all the fullness should dwell in him,11 20 and that having made peace through the blood of his cross, all things should be reconciled to himself, whether things on the earth or things in the heavens.

Redemption in Christ

21 And you—who formerly were alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds— 22 he now has reconciled through the death of Christ’s physical body,12 in order to present you holy, blameless, and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded, steadfast, and never moved away from the hope of the good news you heard, news that has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have been made a minister.

Marks of a Minister of Christ

24 Now I rejoice in the things I suffer for your sake as13 I fill up in my flesh whatever is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, doing so for the benefit of his body, which is the church. 25 In accordance with the stewardship that God gave to me for your benefit, I have become her servant, with a charge to fully proclaim14 the word of God, 26 the mystery hidden from ages and generations gone by, but now revealed to his saints. 27 To them God was pleased to reveal how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery,15 which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 He is the one we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom, so that we may present every man mature and complete in Christ Jesus. 29 And I too labor towards this end,16 striving in accordance with the working of Christ himself,17 which works in me with great power.

Notes

  1. Or We give thanks . . . always praying for you
  2. Lit. saints, because of the hope
  3. Lit. the word of the truth of the gospel
  4. Lit. just as
  5. Some mss your
  6. Or spiritual wisdom and understanding
  7. Or all steadfastness (longsuffering) with joy, giving
  8. Lit. who
  9. Or continue and cohere; lit. hold together
  10. Lit. might come to hold first place
  11. Lit. For in him he was pleased (for) all the fullness to dwell; or possibly, For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell
  12. Lit. by the body of his flesh through death
  13. Lit. and
  14. Lit. to fulfill
  15. Lit. reveal what is the wealth of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles
  16. Lit. to this end also I labor
  17. Lit. according to his working

 

The Quest for Full Assurance

2 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you, and for those in Laodicea, and for all who have not yet seen me face to face.1 My deep desire and prayer is that their hearts, having been knit together in love, may be strengthened and encouraged to such an extent that they will possess2 all the riches of the full assurance that comes from understanding,3 and that they will fully know4 the mystery of God—which is Christ himself— in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this so that no one will deceive you with persuasive arguments. For though I am absent in the flesh, I am present with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ. 6 Therefore, just as you received Christ Jesus as5 Lord, so too you must live6 in him: rooted and built up in him, firmly established in the faith just as you were taught it, and always overflowing with thanksgiving.

The All-sufficient Christ

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world-system, rather than according to Christ. For all the fullness of the godhead7 dwells in him in bodily form; 10 and in him you have been made complete,8 who is the head over all rule and authority.

11 In him you also were circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands, but accomplished through9 the putting off of the body of the flesh: through the circumcision performed by10 Christ. 12 For you were11 buried with him in baptism, in which also you were raised with him through faith in the mighty working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And when you were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God brought you to life together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 having blotted out the certificate of debt that stood against us with all its legal demands.12 Indeed, he has completely taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross; 15 and having stripped the rulers and authorities of their power, he made a public spectacle of them all, triumphing over them through it.13

Beware of Legalism

16 So then: Let no one act as your judge with respect to food and drink, or in regard to a festival, a new moon, or various Sabbath days. 17 Such things are mere shadows of what was yet to come, whereas the substance14 belongs to Christ.

Beware of Mysticism

18 Let no one rob you of your prize, delighting himself in self-abasement and the worship of angels, going on and on about the things he has seen, inflated for no good reason by his fleshly mind, 19 and failing to hold firmly to the head, from whom the whole body—nourished and knit together by its joints and ligaments—grows with a growth that comes from God.

Beware of Asceticism

20 If you died with Christ to15 the elementary principles of the world-system, why, as though you were still living in the world, do you subject yourselves to its regulations— 21 “Don’t touch! Don’t taste! Don’t handle!” 22 (all of which refer to things meant to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of mere men? 23 These do indeed give an appearance of wisdom in the form of self-made religion, and of a false humility displayed in the severe treatment of the body; but they are of no value whatsoever against the indulgence of the flesh.16

Notes

  1. Lit. my face in the flesh
  2. Lit. even unto
  3. Lit. of understanding
  4. Lit. understanding, unto the full (accurate, intimate) knowledge of
  5. Lit. the
  6. Lit. walk
  7. Or deity
  8. Or been filled, fulfilled
  9. Lit. by
  10. Lit. of
  11. Lit. having been
  12. Lit. ordinances, decrees, judgments
  13. Or him (Christ)
  14. Lit. the body (itself)
  15. Lit. from
  16. Or possibly of no value whatsoever, leading only to the indulgence of the flesh

 

The New Man in Christ

If, then, you were raised together with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, and not on the things of this earth.1 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God; and when Christ, who is our life, appears, you too will appear with him in glory.

5 Therefore you must put to death all that is earthly within you:2 sexual immorality, uncleanness, base passion, evil desire, and covetousness (which is idolatry). Because of these things, the wrath of God will come. 7 And you yourselves once walked in them, when your lives were governed by them.3 But now you must put off all these as well: anger, wrath, malice, slander,4 and obscene talk out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, for you have put off the old man, together with all his practices, 10 and have put on the new man, who is being renewed to true spiritual knowledge as he takes on5 the image of the One who created him. 11 Here6 there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, or free, but Christ is all, and in all.

12 Therefore, as the chosen ones of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and longsuffering. 13 If there are any grievances among you,7 bear with one another and forgive one another: as the Lord also forgave you, so you also should forgive. 14 And above all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond for uniting you as one.8 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which also9 you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell among you richly, in all wisdom10 teaching and admonishing one another, and with psalms,11 hymns and spiritual songs singing with grace12 in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Orderly Relationships

18 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is proper in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and never let yourselves be embittered against them.13 20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. 21 Fathers, don’t press14 your children too hard, or they may lose heart. 22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters15 in all things, not with mere eye-service, as men-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing God. 23 And whatever you do, work at it heartily, as you would for the Lord, and not simply for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.16 It is the Lord Christ whom you serve! 25 But he who does wrong will pay for the wrong he has done; and there is no partiality with God. 4:1 As for you masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.

Notes

  1. Lit. the things upon the earth
  2. Lit. your members which are on the earth
  3. Or (with many mss): the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience, among whom also you formerly walked, when you lived among them (or, in these things)
  4. Or blasphemy
  5. Lit. according to
  6. Lit. where
  7. Lit. if anyone has a complaint about anyone
  8. Lit. which is the perfect uniting bond
  9. Or indeed
  10. Or in (among) you richly in all wisdom, teaching
  11. Or one another with psalms
  12. Or gratitude
  13. Lit. do not be embittered toward them
  14. Lit. provoke (to a negative response)
  15. Lit. masters according to the flesh
  16. Lit. from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance

 

Final Instructions

4 Commit yourselves to a life of prayer, being watchful in it, with thanksgiving. And at the same time pray for us as well, that God would open a door for us to preach the word; that we might declare1 the mystery of Christ, for which also I am in chains. Moreover, pray that when I do make it known, I may speak clearly, just as I should.2 Walk in wisdom towards those on the outside, redeeming the time. Let your words3 always be filled with grace—seasoned with salt—so that you may know how you should respond to each one.

Final Greetings

Tychicus—our beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord—will tell you all the news about me. I am sending him to you for this very reason: so that you may know our circumstances, and that he may encourage your hearts. He is coming with Onesimus, the faithful and beloved brother who is part of your fellowship.4 They will tell you about everything that is happening here.

10 Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, greets you, along with Mark, the cousin of Barnabas (you have received instructions about him: If he comes to you, you are to welcome him), 11 and Jesus, who is called Justus. These are my only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who belong to the circumcision, and they have been a great comfort to me.

12 Epaphras, a member of your fellowship and a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, greets you. He is constantly wrestling in prayer on your behalf, so that you will stand complete and fully assured in all God’s will. 13 For I bear him witness that he is deeply concerned about you,5 and about those in Laodicea and Hierapolis as well.

14 Luke, the beloved physician, sends you his greetings, as does Demas. 15 Greet the brothers in Laodicea, along with Nympha and the church that meets in her house.

Exhortation and Blessing

16 Now when this letter is read among you, make sure it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and make sure you also read the letter that comes from Laodicea.

17 Finally,6 say to Archippus, “See to it that you fulfill the ministry you received in the Lord.”

18 I, Paul, write this salutation with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you all. Amen.

Notes

  1. Lit. open to us a door of the word to speak
  2. Lit. that I might manifest it, as it is necessary for me to speak
  3. Lit. word, speech
  4. Lit. who is (one) of you
  5. Or works hard for you; lit. has much pain concerning you
  6. Lit. And

Greeting

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the church of God in Corinth, together with all the other saints living throughout Achaia: Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The God of All Comfort

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, so that we may comfort those in any trouble with the same comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow into our lives,1 so too does the comfort that comes to us through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which enables you patiently to endure the same sufferings that we also suffer. And our hope for you is steadfast, for we know that just as you share our sufferings, so too you share our comfort.

For we don’t want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia, how we were exceedingly burdened, far beyond our strength, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt like men who were sentenced to die,2 so that we might not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead, 10  who rescued us from so great a peril of death, and who will rescue us again. Yes, we have placed our hope in him, that he will keep on rescuing us, 11 as you too join in helping us through prayer to God on our behalf. And as a result of this, many will give thanks to God on our behalf for the favor granted to us through the prayers of the many.

12 For this is our boast: Our conscience bears witness3 that we have conducted ourselves in the world with the honesty4 and sincerity that come from God; not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, and all the more so towards you. 13 For we are not writing you anything other than what you can read and understand. And I hope you will fully understand— 14even as you already have understood us in part—that we are your boast, just as you also are ours, in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Plans, Promises, Purposes

15 And in this confidence I planned to come to you first, so that you might receive a double benefit. 16 That is, I planned to pass by way of you into Macedonia, and then to come to you again from Macedonia and be helped by you on my way to Judea. 17 So then: When I was planning this, did I do so frivolously? Or the things that I plan, do I plan them according to the flesh, so that I can first say,5 “Yes, Yes,” and then “No, No,”6 all at the same time? 18 But as God is faithful, our word to you is not “Yes and No.” 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was proclaimed among you by us—by me and Silvanus and Timothy—was not “Yes and No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” 20 For as many as the promises of God may be, in Christ7 they are “Yes.” Therefore it is also through him that the Amen is spoken to God, so that he may be glorified through us.8 21 Now the One who establishes us with you in Christ—and who anointed us—is God, 22 who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.9

23 Now I call on God as a witness against my soul, that it was in order to spare you that I didn’t come to Corinth again. 24 Not that we have lordship over your faith, but we labor together with you for your joy; for by faith you stand. 

Notes

  1. Lit. to us
  2. Lit. we had the sentence of death within ourselves
  3. Or our boast: the testimony of our conscience
  4. Or simplicity, transparency; many mss holiness
  5. Lit. so that with me there should be
  6. Some translators: “Yes,” “Yes and No,” and “No”
  7. Lit. him
  8. Lit. Therefore also through him (is) the Amen to God, for glory through us
  9. Or pledge, down payment

 

2 So I made up my mind that I would not come to you again in sorrow. For if I cause you to sorrow, who is left to bring me gladness if not the one I caused to sorrow? And I wrote you this very thing, so that when I came to you I would not be forced to grieve over those who should be bringing me joy, for I had confidence in you all, that my joy would be the joy of all. For in deep distress and anguish of heart I wrote you with many tears, not to make you sad, but to make known to you the love I have for you in such abundance.

But if anyone has caused sorrow, he has caused sorrow, not so much to me, but in a measure (not to put things too severely) to all of you. The punishment agreed upon by the majority is sufficient for someone like this, so that now, by contrast, you should forgive and comfort him, so that such a man will not be swallowed up by excessive grief. Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him. For this is another reason I wrote you: to test you, to see if you would be obedient in all things. 10 Now anyone whom you forgive, I forgive as well; for truly, what I have forgiven—if I have forgiven anything at all1I have forgiven for your sake in the presence of Christ, 11 so that Satan will not take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.

12 Now when I came to Troas intending to proclaim2 Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened to me in3 the Lord, 13 I had no rest in my spirit, for I didn’t find my brother Titus waiting for me. So I bid them farewell and left for Macedonia. 14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ, and who in every place manifests through us the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 15 For to God we are a fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma of death leading to death, and to the other an aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? 17 For unlike so many, we are not peddling the word of God; rather, as men with pure motives—as men sent from God—we speak in Christ in the sight of God.

Notes

  1. Or possibly if there was anything to forgive
  2. Lit. Troas for
  3. Or by

 

Living Epistles

3 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some, letters of commendation to you or from you? You yourselves are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men. You yourselves reveal that you are a letter of Christ, delivered1 by us; a letter not written with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not written on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts, tablets made of flesh.

Such is the confidence we have through Christ towards God. Not that we in ourselves are able to think of anything as coming from ourselves; rather, our ability is from God, who has also made us able ministers of a new covenant: not of the letter, but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

But if the ministry of death, engraved in letters on stone tablets, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not gaze steadily at the face of Moses due to the glory of his countenance—a glory that was passing away—how shall the ministry of the Spirit not come2 with still more glory? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness abounds in glory far more. 10 For in a sense, what once had glory, actually had no glory at all, due to the glory that now surpasses it. 11 For if what is now passing away came with3 glory, how much more will what remains be with glory!

12 Therefore, having a hope such as this, we use great boldness of speech, 13 unlike Moses who would put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel could not gaze steadily at the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were hardened. For to this very day the same veil remains unlifted at the reading of the Old Testament; for only in Christ is it removed.4 15 Yes, to this day when Moses is read a veil lies over their heart; 16 but whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.5 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But all of us, with unveiled faces, beholding6 the glory of the Lord as if in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; and this comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.7

Notes

  1. Lit. revealing that you are an epistle of Christ, ministered (cared for)
  2. Lit. be
  3. Lit. through
  4. Lit. done away with, set aside, abolished, destroyed
  5. See Ex. 34:34
  6. Or possibly reflecting
  7. Lit. even as from the Lord, the Spirit

 

The Way of an Apostle  

4 Therefore, because we have received this ministry by the mercy of God,1 we do not lose heart. But we have renounced shameful, underhanded ways,2 not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by an open proclamation of the truth3 commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whom4 the god of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe, so that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ—who is the image of God—will not shine on them. For we are not proclaiming ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. For the God who said, “Light will shine out of darkness,” is the One 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 earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power may be from God, and not from us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, yet not in despair; persecuted, yet not forsaken; struck down, yet not destroyed— 10 always carrying around in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus as well may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are constantly handed over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So then: Death is at work in5 us, but life in you.

13 Now it is written, “I believed, therefore I spoke out.”6 And since we have that same spirit of faith, we too believe, and therefore also speak out, 14 knowing that he who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will bring us into his presence together with you.7 15 For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which now is spreading through so many8 may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. 

16 This is why we don’t lose heart. For even if our outer man is subject to decay, the inner man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 as we fix our eyes, not on the things that are seen, but on the things that are not seen. For the things that are seen are temporary, but the things that are not seen are eternal.

Notes

  1. Lit. Therefore having this ministry, as we received mercy
  2. Lit. the hidden things of shame
  3. Lit. by the manifestation of the truth
  4. Or among whom, in whose case
  5. Or among
  6. Ps. 116:10
  7. Lit. and will present (us) with you
  8. Lit. increasing through the many

 

The Hope of an Apostle  

5 For we know that if the earthly tent which serves as our home1 is torn down, we have a building that comes from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For here in our present dwelling2 we continually groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, since once we have put it on, we will never again be found naked.3 For truly, as long as we live in this tent, we groan like men bearing burdens,4 not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now he who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also gave us the Spirit as a down payment and a guarantee.

Therefore, being confident at all times, and knowing that as long as we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord 7 (for we walk by faith, and not by sight), we are both confident and well pleased rather to be absent from the body and at home with the Lord. Therefore we also make it our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be well pleasing to him. 10 For we all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for the things he has done in5 the body, whether good or bad.

The Plea of an Apostle 

11 Knowing, then, the fear of the Lord, we persuade men. But we are well known to God; and I trust we are also well known in your consciences. 12 For we are not commending ourselves to you again, but rather giving you an opportunity to boast on our behalf, so that you may have an answer for those who boast only in appearance, and not in heart. 13 For if we were beside ourselves, it was for God; and if we now are sound in mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ compels us, having reached this conclusion: If one died for all, then all died.6 15 And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for him who died and rose again in their behalf.

16 Accordingly, from now on we regard no one according to the flesh. Even if we have known Christ according to the flesh, now we do so no more. 17 Therefore, if any man is in Christ, there7 is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come to be! 18 And all things are from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 namely, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them; and he has entrusted the message of reconciliation to us. 20 Thus, we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God himself were pleading through us. On behalf of Christ we implore you: Be reconciled to God. 21 For he made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

Notes

  1. Lit. our earthly house of the tent
  2. Lit. in this
  3. Or if indeed, when we put it on, we will not be found naked
  4. Lit. we groan, being burdened
  5. Lit. through
  6. Lit. having judged this, that one died for all, therefore all died
  7. Or he

 

The Credentials of an Apostle

6 Moreover, as those who co-labor with him, we also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says, “In a favorable time I have heard you, and in a day of salvation I have brought you help.”1 Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation! We give no opportunity for finding fault, so that our2 ministry will not be discredited. Rather, in every way we commend ourselves as servants of God: in deep3 endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in uprisings, in labors, in sleeplessness, and in frequent hunger;4 in purity, in knowledge, in longsuffering, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in sincere love, in the word of truth, and in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness in the right hand and the left, by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, yet true; as unknown, yet well known; as dying, yet behold, we live; as scourged, yet not executed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing all.

11 O Corinthians! Our mouth has spoken freely to you,5 our heart is opened wide. 12 You are not restrained by us, but you are indeed restrained in your own affections. 13 Now in a fair exchange (I speak as to children), you also should open wide to us!

14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 And what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement does the temple of God have with idols? For we are the temple of the living God, just as God said: “I will live in them and walk among them; I will be their God, and they will be my people.6 17 Therefore come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.7 18 And I will be a father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord, the mighty ruler over all.”8 7:1 Beloved friends, since we have these promises, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Notes

  1. Is. 49:8
  2. Lit. the
  3. Lit. much, great
  4. Lit. fastings
  5. Lit. our mouth is opened to you
  6. Lev. 26:12; Jer. 32:38; Ezek. 37:27
  7. Is. 52:11; Ezek. 20:34, 41
  8. Or Lord, the Almighty; 2 Sam. 7:8, 14; Is. 43:6; Jer. 31:9

 

The Corinthians Absolved and Commended

7 Make room for us in your hearts. We wronged no one, we corrupted no one, and we exploited no one. I am not saying this to condemn you, for I told you earlier that you are in our hearts, both to die together and to live together. Great is my confidence in you,1 and great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort; I am overflowing with joy in the midst of all our afflictions. For even2 when we came into Macedonia, our flesh found no rest; rather, we were afflicted on every side: fights without and fears within. Yet God, who encourages3 the downcast, encouraged us with the coming of Titus; and not only with his coming, but also with the same encouragement with which you had encouraged him, as he told us about your longing, your mourning, and your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced all the more. For even if I saddened you with my letter, I don’t regret it (though I did regret it), for I see that the letter did indeed sadden you (though only for a little while).4 Now I rejoice, not that you were saddened, but that you were saddened to the point of repentance; for you were saddened with a godly sorrow,5 so as not to suffer loss from us in any way. 10 For godly sorrow produces a repentance that leads to salvation, leaving no regret; but the sorrow of the world only produces death. 11 For look at what this very thing—this godly sorrow—has produced among6 you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what yearning, what zeal, what readiness to avenge all wrongs!7 In every way you have shown yourselves innocent in this matter. 12 So then: Though I did indeed write you, it was not simply because of the one who committed the wrong, or because of the one who suffered it, but also so that your devotion to us8 might be revealed to you in the sight of God.

13 For all these reasons9 we are greatly encouraged. And in addition to our own encouragement, we rejoiced still more to see the joy of Titus, because you all have refreshed his spirit. 14 For if in any way I boasted to him about you, I was never put to shame; but just as everything we spoke to you was spoken in truth, so our boasting to10 Titus has proven true as well. 15 And his affections for you abound all the more when he remembers how you all obeyed, and how you welcomed him with fear and trembling. 16 I rejoice that in all things I have complete confidence in you.

Notes

  1. Or great is my boldness in speaking to you
  2. Or For truly
  3. Or comforts, consoles
  4. Or (though I did regret it, for I see . . . a little while).
  5. Lit. with a sorrow according to God
  6. Or in
  7. Lit. what vengeance!
  8. Lit. earnestness in our behalf
  9. Lit. For this reason
  10. Or before

 

The Grace of Giving

8 Now we want to make known to you, brothers, the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia, how in a great test marked by severe affliction their abundant joy and deep poverty overflowed in the riches of their liberality. For I can testify that according to their ability—yes, and beyond their ability—they gave freely, 4 earnestly entreating us for the favor of participating in this ministry to the saints. And they did so, not as we had expected,1 but instead gave themselves first to the Lord, and then to us, by the will of God. Therefore, since Titus had previously initiated this gracious work among you, we have urged him to complete it for2 you as well. But just as you excel in all things—in faith, in utterance, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in the love we inspired in you3see to it that you also excel in this work of grace.

I am not saying this by way of command, but rather as one who is testing the genuineness of your love through the diligence of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you, through his poverty, might become rich. 10 Therefore, since this opportunity is much to your advantage, I will give you my view on the matter: A year ago you not only began to do this work, but also to desire it. 11 But now you must finish the work as well, so that just as you earnestly desired to do it, so too you will actually bring it to completion, drawing on whatever resources you may have.4 12 For if the willingness is present, the gift is received according to what a person has, not according to what he doesn’t have. 13 Now I say all this, not so that others may be eased and you burdened, 14 but rather as a matter of equity.5 For your abundance at this present time will make up for their lack, so that one day their abundance may likewise make up for your lack—so that equity may prevail. 15 As it is written, “He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little.”6

16 But thanks be to God, who placed in the heart of Titus the same earnest care that I myself have for you. 17 For not only did he agree to our request, but being quite eager for the task, he is coming to you7 of his own free will. 18 Moreover, we have sent with him the brother whose praise in the ministry of the gospel has spread throughout all the churches. 19 And not only that, but the churches have chosen him to travel with us as we administer this gracious gift for the glory of the Lord himself, and also to show how eager we are to help. 20 We have made these arrangements as a precaution, so that no one will8 discredit us in our administration of this generous gift; 21 for we always keep in mind what is right, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. 22 And we have sent with them our brother whom we have proven many times, and found eager9 in many matters, but now all the more so because of his great confidence in you. 23 If there are questions about Titus, he is my companion and fellow worker for your good; and if there are questions about our brothers, they are messengers of the churches and the glory of Christ. 24 So then: In full view of the churches, you must show these men the depth of your love, and why we are constantly boasting about you.

Notes

  1. Lit. hoped
  2. Or possibly among
  3. Or imparted to you; lit. the love from us in you; some mss, your love for us
  4. Lit. out of what (is yours) to have
  5. Or fairness
  6. Or had no lack; see Ex. 6:18
  7. Lit. he departed to you
  8. Lit. avoiding this, that anyone should
  9. Or diligent

 

Wisdom in Giving

9 For concerning this ministry to the saints, there is really no need for me to write you, since I know how eager you are to help. Indeed, on this subject1 I keep boasting about you to the Macedonians, saying that Achaia has been ready to give since last year. And your zeal has stirred up most of them. Nevertheless, I’ve sent the brothers on ahead so that our boasting over you in this matter will not prove to be hollow; so that, as I said, you may be ready. Otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we (not to mention you!) would be put to shame with respect to this confidence. 5 For this reason I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to come to you in advance and prepare ahead of time the generous gift you had previously promised, so that it may indeed be ready as a generous gift, and not as an obligation tainted by covetousness.2

The Manifold Fruits of Giving

But remember this:3 He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Let each one of you give just as he has purposed in his heart, neither grudgingly nor out of compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace overflow to you, so that you yourselves, always having everything that you need, will overflow in every kind of good work. As it is written, “He has scattered far and wide, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” 4 10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing, and will increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way5 for a lavish6 generosity which, through us, will result in7 thanksgiving to God. 12 For the administration of this gift not only meets the needs of the saints, but also overflows in many expressions of gratitude to God. 13 Because this ministry is a proof of your faith,8 they will glorify God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them, and with everyone else. 14 Moreover, in their prayers on your behalf they will long for your welfare9 because of the surpassing grace of God at work within you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

Notes

  1. Lit. concerning which
  2. Lit. and not as covetousness
  3. Or But this (I say)
  4. Ps. 112:9
  5. Or in all things
  6. Lit. for all
  7. Lit. through us produces
  8. Lit. Because of the proof of this ministry
  9. Lit. for you

 

Paul Defends His Ministry

10 Now I myself, Paul, (the man who is timid when he’s with you face to face, but bold towards you when absent) plead with you, 2 asking that when I am present with you again I will not have to be bold with the confidence I expect to display1 towards those who think of us as if we walked 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 fleshly, but mighty through God for the destruction of fortresses. We are pulling down arguments2 and every high thing that is lifted up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive for obedience to Christ; and we are ready to punish all disobedience whenever your obedience is complete.

You are only looking on the face of things.3 If anyone is confident within himself that he belongs to Christ, let him look within and remind himself of this:4 Just as he belongs to Christ, so too do we! For though I could boast even more about our authority—authority the Lord gave us for building you up, not tearing you down—I will not be put to shame by doing so; otherwise I might seem to be terrifying you with my letters. 10 “For his letters,” they say, “are weighty and forceful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech beneath contempt.” 11 Let such a man consider this: What we are in word by our letters when we’re away, we also will be in our deeds when present.

12 For we dare not classify or compare ourselves with any5 of those who are commending themselves; for6 when they measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, they are acting in ignorance.7 13 We, however, will not boast beyond our proper measure,8 but only within the measure of the sphere of service that God has assigned to us as our measure—a sphere that reaches all the way to you. 14 For we are not overextending ourselves (as indeed we would be if we hadn’t come to you); for we were the first to reach you—far off as you were9—with the gospel of Christ. 15 No, we are not boasting beyond our measure: that is, in other men’s labors. But we do have this hope, that as your faith grows, you will enlarge us even more in our own sphere, 16 so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not boast about work previously accomplished in another man’s sphere of service. 17 Rather, let him who boasts boast in the Lord.10 18 For it is not the one who commends himself who stands approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.

Notes

  1. Lit. the boldness with which I expect to be bold
  2. Or speculations, lines of reason
  3. Or Look at things straight in the face!
  4. Lit. let him consider this again within himself
  5. Or some
  6. Lit. but
  7. Or are not wise; lit. do not understand
  8. Or limit, boundary
  9. Lit. to reach even until you
  10. Jer. 9:24

 

True and False Apostles

11 I hope you will bear with me in a little foolishness (though in fact you already are bearing with me).1 For I am jealous for you with God’s own jealousy, seeing that I betrothed you to one husband in order to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I fear that just as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, so too your minds will somehow be drawn away from a pure, single-hearted devotion to Christ.2 For if someone comes to you and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached; or if you receive a different spirit than the one you originally received, or a different gospel than the one you originally accepted—you put up with it all too well!

For I do not consider myself at all inferior to these “super-apostles” in your midstBut even if I am untrained in speaking, I am not in knowledge, as indeed we have already made clear to you in every possible way.3 Or did I commit a sin when I humbled myself so that you could be exalted—that is, when4 I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge? I robbed other churches, taking wages from them so that I could minister to you. And when I was present with you and stood in need, I was a burden to no one, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied me with all that I lacked.5 Indeed, in every respect I kept myself from being a burden to you, and I will continue to do so. 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no one will keep me from boasting about this6 in the regions of Achaia! 11 Why? Because I don’t love you? God knows!

Compulsory Boasting

12 But what I am doing, I will certainly7 continue to do, in order to cut off every opportunity from those who are looking for a way to be considered our equals in the things8 they boast about. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light; 15 therefore it is no great surprise9 if his servants also transform themselves into servants of righteousness—whose final end will be according to their deeds.

16 I will say it again: Let no one think me a fool. But if you do, at least receive me as a fool, so that I too may boast a little. 17 (What I am about to speak in this boastful confidence, I do not speak according to the Lord, but rather as one who speaks like a fool.)10 18 Seeing that many boast according to the flesh, I will do so as well. 19 For you—wise as you are—gladly put up with fools! 20 For if someone brings you into bondage, if someone devours you, if someone takes advantage of you, if someone exalts himself, if someone slaps you in the face, you actually put up with it! 21 Though it be to our disgrace, I confess that we were too weak for that!

Suffering for Christ

But whatever anyone else may dare to boast about (I am speaking like a fool),11 I dare to do the same. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am speaking like a madman!) I far more: in labors more abundant, in imprisonments more frequent, in stripes beyond measure, in deaths often. 24 Five times I received from the Jews forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I spent in the deep. 26 On my frequent journeys I’ve been in danger from rivers, in danger from robbers, in danger from my countrymen, in danger from the Gentiles, in danger in the city, in danger in the wilderness, in danger at sea, and in danger among false brothers. 27 I have been in toil and hardship, in many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, in frequent fasts, and in cold and lack of proper clothing.12 28 And besides all these outward things,13 there is that which comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?

30 If I must boast, I will boast about the things that display my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is blessed forever, knows I am not lying: 32 In Damascus, the governor under king Aretas was guarding the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, trying to arrest me; 33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and so escaped from his hands.

Notes

  1. Or possibly and indeed, bear with me!
  2. Lit. from the sincerity (simplicity) and purity which (is) to Christ
  3. Lit. in all things in all ways
  4. Lit. because
  5. Or for when the brothers came . . . they fully supplied
  6. Lit. this boast will not be stopped for me
  7. Lit. also, even, indeed
  8. Lit. the thing, the matter
  9. Or matter
  10. Lit. but as in foolishness
  11. Lit. I speak in foolishness
  12. Lit. in cold and nakedness
  13. Or besides everything else

 

Further Boasting

12 Further boasting is necessary. Though it profits little,1 I will now proceed to visions and revelations from the Lord.  I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body or out of the body I don’t know, only God knows—this man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know that this man—whether in the body or out of the body I don’t know, only God knows—4was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words which are not lawful for anyone to speak. About such a man I will indeed boast; but about myself I will not boast, unless it pertains to my weaknesses. For even if I did decide to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be telling the truth. But I choose to refrain, so that no one’s idea of me will be based on something beyond what he actually sees in me or hears from me—7that is, on the surpassing greatness of these revelations.

And so, in order to keep me from becoming proud, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan sent to buffet me, to keep me from being lifted up with pride. Three times I pleaded with the Lord concerning this affliction, that it would depart from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, rather than complain, I will gladly boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Accordingly, I now take pleasure in the weaknesses, insults, distresses, persecutions, and difficulties that I suffer in the cause of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

11 I’ve become a fool; and you yourselves drove me to it. Actually,2 I should have been commended by you, for in no way did I fail to compare3 with these super-apostles,4 even though I am nothing. 12 Indeed, the things that mark a true apostle—signs, wonders, and miraculous works of power5—were all performed among you with the utmost6 patience and perseverance. 13 In what respect were you inferior to the rest of the churches, except that I myself was not a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong!

Crafty Love, Holy Fear

14 Take note: I am ready to come to you a third time. And I will not be a burden to you; for I don’t want what belongs to you, but rather you yourselves. For the children should not save up for the parents, but the parents for the children. 15 And I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more, will I be loved less? 16 Be that as it may, I didn’t burden you (though, crafty as I am, I did take you in by trickery!). 17 Did I take advantage of you through anyone I sent you? 18 I urged Titus to go to you, and I sent our brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not conduct ourselves7 in the same spirit? Did we not walk in the same steps?

19 Have you been thinking all this time8 that we are defending ourselves to you? Actually, we are speaking to you in Christ in the sight of God. Moreover, everything we do, beloved friends, we do for your edification. 20 For I fear that when I come to you I might not find you such as I wish, and that you might not find me such as you wish. I fear that there will be strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes,9 backbiting, gossip, arrogance, and disturbances. 21 I fear that when I come again my God will humble me in your midst, and that I will mourn10 over many of those who previously sinned, and who still have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and licentiousness in which they have been engaged.11

Notes

  1. Lit. It does not truly profit, but
  2. Lit. for
  3. Or was I inferior to; lit. lag behind
  4. Or the most eminent apostles
  5. Lit. powers
  6. Lit. all
  7. Lit. walk
  8. Or All this time you have been thinking
  9. Or selfish ambitions, factions
  10. Or grieve
  11. Lit. that they practiced

 

Test Yourselves Before I Come!

13 This will be the third time I have come to you: “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every controversy will be resolved.”1 I said it before when I was present with you the second time, and now, while absent, I say it again to those who previously sinned, and to all the rest who continue in sin: If I come again, I will spare no one— since you are looking for proof of the Christ who speaks through2 me, and who is not weak towards you, but mighty among you. For he was indeed crucified due to weakness; but now he lives because of the power of God. For in him we too are weak, but we will live with him because the power of God directed towards you.

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves. Or don’t you realize that Jesus Christ lives within you3—unless, of course, you fail the test? But I hope you will realize that we ourselves do not fail the test. Now we pray to God that you will do no wrong—not so that we ourselves will appear to have passed the test, but so that you will do what is right, even if we seem to have failed it. For we can do nothing against the truth, only for it. For we rejoice when we ourselves are weak and you are strong (indeed, we pray for this very thing: your spiritual strengthening).4 10 This is why I am writing you these things while still absent, so that when I arrive I will not have to use severity in the exercise of5 the authority the Lord has given me for building you up, and not for tearing you down.

Admonitions and Benediction

11 Finally, brothers, rejoice! Strive for perfection,6 encourage one another,7 be like-minded, and live in peace—and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All the saints greet you. 14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship8 of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

Notes

  1. Lit. every matter will be established; Deut. 19:15
  2. Lit. in, by
  3. Lit. Or do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you
  4. Lit. this also we pray (wish): your strengthening (completeness, perfection)
  5. Lit. in accordance with
  6. Or become complete; aim for restoration; set things in order
  7. Or be encouraged
  8. Or communion

 

Greeting

1 James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes that are scattered abroad.1 Greetings.

Trials, Endurance, Wisdom

2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you fall2 into various kinds of trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 But be sure to let endurance finish all its work,3 so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. 5 And if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask it of God, who gives to everyone generously and without reproach; and it will be granted to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, without doubting; for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 Such a man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 for he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Let All the Saints Glory

9 Let the brother of humble means glory in his exaltation; 10 but let the rich man glory in his humiliation, for like a flower of the field he is soon to pass away. 11 For when the sun rises with a scorching heat and withers the plant, its flower falls off and its beauty is brought to an end. So too will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

Understanding Temptation

12 Blessed is the man who bears up under trial, for when he has passed the test4 he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I’m being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he himself tempt anyone. 14 Rather, each person is tempted when he is lured away and enticed by his own evil desires. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

16 My beloved brothers, don’t be deceived: 17 Every generous act,5 and every completed6 gift is from above, and descends from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow cast by turning.7 18 Having willed it long ago,8 he gave us new birth through the message of truth, so that we might be a kind of first fruits of all his creatures.

Hearers and Doers

19 This, my beloved brothers, you understand.9 But let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce10 the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore, setting aside all moral filth and every residue of evil,11 receive with quiet submissiveness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be12 doers of the word, and not mere hearers who deceive themselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man gazing in a mirror at the face with which he was born.13 24 For once he has gazed at himself and gone his way, he immediately forgets what he looked like.14 25 But he who gazes into the perfect law of liberty, and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work it requires—that man will be blessed in what he does.

26 If anyone thinks of himself as religious, yet doesn’t bridle his tongue, but instead deceives his own heart, that man’s religion is worthless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of God the Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

Notes

  1. Lit. in the dispersion
  2. Lit. fall so as to be surrounded, engulfed
  3. Lit. But (and) let endurance have (its) perfect (complete) work
  4. Or been approved
  5. Lit. good act of giving
  6. Or perfect
  7. Lit. shadow of turning
  8. Lit. It having been willed
  9. Or My beloved brothers, understand (this):
  10. Lit. work
  11. Lit. overflow of evil
  12. Or show yourselves, appear as
  13. Lit. intently looking at the face of his birth in a mirror
  14. Lit. of what sort he was

 

The Sin of Personal Favoritism

2 My brothers, show no partiality as you hold your faith in1 our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2 For suppose a man enters your assembly wearing gold rings and fine apparel, but after that a poor man wearing shabby clothes. 3 Now if you look at the man wearing fine apparel and say to him, “Sit here in a good place,” and then say to the poor man, “Stand over there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,” 4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and so become judges with evil motives? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers: Has not God chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith, and to be heirs of the kingdom he has promised to those who love him? 6 Yet you have dishonored the poor man! Don’t the rich oppress you? Aren’t they the very ones who drag you into the courts? 7 Don’t they blaspheme the fair2 name by which you are called? 8 If you truly fulfill the royal law by living in accordance with this Scripture—“You shall love your neighbor as yourself”3 —you are doing well. 9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and stand convicted by the Law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole Law but stumbles at just one point, he has broken the entire code.4 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,”5 also said, “Do not murder.”6 Now if you don’t commit adultery but you do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the Law. 12 Therefore, speak and act as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgment7 will be without mercy to him who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Living Faith Works!

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but has no works? Can such “faith”8 save him? 15 If a brother or sister lacks proper clothing and daily food, 16 and one of you says to him, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” yet you fail to give him the things he needs for his body, what good is that? 17 So too, “faith,” if it has no works, is dead, since it exists all by itself. 18 Moreover, someone will say to you, “You have ‘faith’ and I have works.9 Show me your faith without works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19 You believe there is one God?10 You do well. But the demons also11 believe—and shudder!12

20 Now, are you willing, you foolish man, to be shown that faith without works is of no use at all? 21 Was not Abraham our father said13 to be righteous because of14 his works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 Do you see15 that faith was co-laboring with his works, and that by means of works his faith was made complete? 23 And so the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”16 and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see, then, that a man is said to be righteous because of his works, and not because of “faith” alone. 25 And in the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also shown to be righteous because of her works, when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so too “faith” without works is dead.

Notes

  1. Lit. Do not have with partiality the faith of
  2. Or noble; lit. good
  3. Lev. 19:18
  4. Lit. has become guilty of all
  5. Deut. 5:18
  6. Deut. 5:17
  7. Lit. the judgment
  8. Lit. Can the faith
  9. Some interpreters close quotes here
  10. Or that God is one
  11. Or but even the demons
  12. Some interpreters close quotes here
  13. Or shown
  14. Lit. from, out of
  15. Or You see
  16. Gen.15:6

 

Taming the Tongue

3 My brothers, not many of you should become teachers, since we who teach will incur a stricter judgment. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. If someone never stumbles1 in what he says,2 he is a perfect3 man, able to bridle his whole body as well. 3 Now once we’ve put bits in horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we can direct their whole body. 4 Consider also the ships: Though they are quite large and driven along by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the helmsman is inclined to go.4 5 Just so with the tongue: Though it’s a small member of the body, it boasts great things! Behold how great a forest is set ablaze by such a little fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a5 world of iniquity situated in our very members: It defiles the whole body, sets on fire the entire course of human life,6 and is itself set on fire by hell.7 7 For every kind of wild animal, bird, reptile, and sea creature can be tamed,8 and has been tamed, by mankind. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless9 evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who have been made in the likeness of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed both blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things should not be so! 11 Does a spring pour forth both sweet and bitter water from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can salt water10 produce fresh.

Two Kinds of Wisdom

13 Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good conduct that his deeds are being done in the humility and gentleness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and thereby lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, unspiritual,11 and demonic. 16 For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there is also disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield,12 full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, and without hypocrisy. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by13 those who make peace.

Notes

  1. Or does not stumble
  2. Lit. in word
  3. Or mature
  4. Lit. wherever the inclination of the helmsman directs
  5. Lit. the
  6. Lit. the wheel of birth (life)
  7. Lit. Gehenna, the place of final punishment for the wicked
  8. Lit. is (being) tamed
  9. Some mss uncontrollable
  10. Or a salt water spring
  11. Lit. soulish, (merely) natural
  12. Or accommodating, reasonable
  13. Or for

 

The Origin of Strife and Its Cure

Where do the quarrels and fights that occur among you come from? Is this not the source: your desires for pleasure, desires that wage war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have, so you commit murder. You also covet and cannot obtain, so you quarrel and fight.1 You don’t have because you don’t ask; 3 you ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives, in order to spend what you receive on your pleasures. 4 Adulteresses! Don’t you see that friendship with the world is hostility towards God? Therefore, whoever desires to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think the Scripture says in vain that while the spirit he caused to live within us lusts to the point of envy,  6 he grants an overruling grace?2 This is why it states: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”3

So then: Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn, and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he will lift you up.

On Judging and Boasting

11 Brothers, do not speak evil against one another. He who speaks against a brother, or judges his brother, is speaking against the Law, and judging the Law. But if you are judging the Law, you are not a doer of the Law, but a judge. 12 There is one lawgiver and judge: He who is able to save and destroy. So4 who are you to judge your neighbor?

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, engage in business, and make a profit,” 14 when in fact you have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow; for you are a wisp of smoke that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you should say, “If the Lord wills it, we shall live and do this or that.” 16 But as it is, in your arrogance you go on boasting. All such boasting is evil. 17 Consequently, he who knows the good he ought to do, but fails to do it, for him it is sin.

Notes

  1. Or You lust and do not have; you murder and covet, but cannot obtain; you quarrel and fight
  2. Lit. envy; but he gives a greater grace
  3. Prov. 3:34
  4. Lit. but, and

 

A Final Warning to Rich Oppressors

5 Come now, you rich, weep and wail over the calamities1 that are coming upon you! 2 Your riches are corroded and your garments are consumed by moths. 3 Your gold and silver are covered with rust, and their rust will be a witness against you, and it will devour your flesh like fire. You have stored up your treasures in the last days. 4 Listen! The wages of the laborers who mowed your fields—wages you kept back by fraud—are crying out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5 You have lived in luxury on the earth, and have given yourselves to pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned—yes, you have murdered—the righteous man. He does not oppose2 you at all.

The Way of the Saints

7 Therefore be patient, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. Observe how the farmer waits expectantly for the precious fruit of the earth, patiently watching3 over it until it receives both the early and late rains. You too must be patient. Strengthen and establish your hearts,4 for the coming of the Lord is near.

9 Brothers, don’t murmur and complain against each other, so that you won’t be judged: Look, the Judge is standing at the doors!5 10 Brothers, for an example of suffering and great patience take the prophets who spoke out in the name of the Lord: 11 Behold, we think of them as blessed who endured such hardship! You have heard of the patience and steadfastness of Job; and you have seen the purpose of the Lord for his life—that the Lord is merciful and full of compassion.

12 But above all, my brothers, you must not swear: neither by heaven, nor by earth, nor with any other oath. Rather, let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No” be “No,” so that you will not fall under judgment.

The Place and Power of Prayer

13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praises to God. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15 and the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. Moreover, if he has committed sins, they6 will be forgiven him. 16 Therefore confess your sins one to another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed: The energetic prayer of a righteous man has great power.7 17 Elijah was a man with a nature just like ours, and he fervently prayed8 that it would not rain; and for three years and six months the land received no rain. 18 Then he prayed again, and the heavens9 gave rain and the earth brought forth her fruit!

Rescue the Wanderers

19 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and one of you brings him back,10 20 let him realize that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins.

Notes

  1. Or miseries
  2. Or though he does not oppose
  3. Lit. showing great patience
  4. Lit. make your hearts firm
  5. Or possibly gates
  6. Lit. it
  7. Or can accomplish much; lit. (the) energized (working, active, operative) prayer of a righteous (man) is very strong
  8. Lit. prayed with prayer
  9. Or heaven; lit. the heaven
  10. Lit. and someone turns him