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Greetings from Paul

This letter is from Paul, Silas,[a] and Timothy.

We are writing to the church in Thessalonica, to you who belong to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

May God give you grace and peace.

The Faith of the Thessalonian Believers

We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly. As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We know, dear brothers and sisters,[b] that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people. For when we brought you the Good News, it was not only with words but also with power, for the Holy Spirit gave you full assurance[c] that what we said was true. And you know of our concern for you from the way we lived when we were with you. So you received the message with joy from the Holy Spirit in spite of the severe suffering it brought you. In this way, you imitated both us and the Lord. As a result, you have become an example to all the believers in Greece—throughout both Macedonia and Achaia.[d]

And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere, even beyond Macedonia and Achaia, for wherever we go we find people telling us about your faith in God. We don’t need to tell them about it, for they keep talking about the wonderful welcome you gave us and how you turned away from idols to serve the living and true God. 10 And they speak of how you are looking forward to the coming of God’s Son from heaven—Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment.

Footnotes

  1. 1:1 Greek Silvanus, the Greek form of the name.
  2. 1:4 Greek brothers.
  3. 1:5 Or with the power of the Holy Spirit, so you can have full assurance.
  4. 1:7 Macedonia and Achaia were the northern and southern regions of Greece.

24 Don’t envy evil people
    or desire their company.
For their hearts plot violence,
    and their words always stir up trouble.

A house is built by wisdom
    and becomes strong through good sense.
Through knowledge its rooms are filled
    with all sorts of precious riches and valuables.

The wise are mightier than the strong,[a]
    and those with knowledge grow stronger and stronger.
So don’t go to war without wise guidance;
    victory depends on having many advisers.

Wisdom is too lofty for fools.
    Among leaders at the city gate, they have nothing to say.

A person who plans evil
    will get a reputation as a troublemaker.
The schemes of a fool are sinful;
    everyone detests a mocker.

10 If you fail under pressure,
    your strength is too small.

11 Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to die;
    save them as they stagger to their death.
12 Don’t excuse yourself by saying, “Look, we didn’t know.”
    For God understands all hearts, and he sees you.
He who guards your soul knows you knew.
    He will repay all people as their actions deserve.

13 My child,[b] eat honey, for it is good,
    and the honeycomb is sweet to the taste.
14 In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul.
    If you find it, you will have a bright future,
    and your hopes will not be cut short.

15 Don’t wait in ambush at the home of the godly,
    and don’t raid the house where the godly live.
16 The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.
    But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.

17 Don’t rejoice when your enemies fall;
    don’t be happy when they stumble.
18 For the Lord will be displeased with you
    and will turn his anger away from them.

19 Don’t fret because of evildoers;
    don’t envy the wicked.
20 For evil people have no future;
    the light of the wicked will be snuffed out.

21 My child, fear the Lord and the king.
Don’t associate with rebels,
22     for disaster will hit them suddenly.
Who knows what punishment will come
    from the Lord and the king?

More Sayings of the Wise

23 Here are some further sayings of the wise:

It is wrong to show favoritism when passing judgment.
24 A judge who says to the wicked, “You are innocent,”
    will be cursed by many people and denounced by the nations.
25 But it will go well for those who convict the guilty;
    rich blessings will be showered on them.

26 An honest answer
    is like a kiss of friendship.

27 Do your planning and prepare your fields
    before building your house.

28 Don’t testify against your neighbors without cause;
    don’t lie about them.
29 And don’t say, “Now I can pay them back for what they’ve done to me!
    I’ll get even with them!”

30 I walked by the field of a lazy person,
    the vineyard of one with no common sense.
31 I saw that it was overgrown with nettles.
    It was covered with weeds,
    and its walls were broken down.
32 Then, as I looked and thought about it,
    I learned this lesson:
33 A little extra sleep, a little more slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest—
34 then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit;
    scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.

More Proverbs of Solomon

25 These are more proverbs of Solomon, collected by the advisers of King Hezekiah of Judah.

It is God’s privilege to conceal things
    and the king’s privilege to discover them.

No one can comprehend the height of heaven, the depth of the earth,
    or all that goes on in the king’s mind!

Remove the impurities from silver,
    and the sterling will be ready for the silversmith.
Remove the wicked from the king’s court,
    and his reign will be made secure by justice.

Don’t demand an audience with the king
    or push for a place among the great.
It’s better to wait for an invitation to the head table
    than to be sent away in public disgrace.

Just because you’ve seen something,
    don’t be in a hurry to go to court.
For what will you do in the end
    if your neighbor deals you a shameful defeat?

When arguing with your neighbor,
    don’t betray another person’s secret.
10 Others may accuse you of gossip,
    and you will never regain your good reputation.

11 Timely advice is lovely,
    like golden apples in a silver basket.

12 To one who listens, valid criticism
    is like a gold earring or other gold jewelry.

13 Trustworthy messengers refresh like snow in summer.
    They revive the spirit of their employer.

14 A person who promises a gift but doesn’t give it
    is like clouds and wind that bring no rain.

15 Patience can persuade a prince,
    and soft speech can break bones.

16 Do you like honey?
    Don’t eat too much, or it will make you sick!

17 Don’t visit your neighbors too often,
    or you will wear out your welcome.

18 Telling lies about others
    is as harmful as hitting them with an ax,
wounding them with a sword,
    or shooting them with a sharp arrow.

19 Putting confidence in an unreliable person in times of trouble
    is like chewing with a broken tooth or walking on a lame foot.

20 Singing cheerful songs to a person with a heavy heart
    is like taking someone’s coat in cold weather
    or pouring vinegar in a wound.[c]

21 If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat.
    If they are thirsty, give them water to drink.
22 You will heap burning coals of shame on their heads,
    and the Lord will reward you.

23 As surely as a north wind brings rain,
    so a gossiping tongue causes anger!

24 It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic
    than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home.

25 Good news from far away
    is like cold water to the thirsty.

26 If the godly give in to the wicked,
    it’s like polluting a fountain or muddying a spring.

27 It’s not good to eat too much honey,
    and it’s not good to seek honors for yourself.

28 A person without self-control
    is like a city with broken-down walls.

26 Honor is no more associated with fools
    than snow with summer or rain with harvest.

Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow,
    an undeserved curse will not land on its intended victim.

Guide a horse with a whip, a donkey with a bridle,
    and a fool with a rod to his back!

Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools,
    or you will become as foolish as they are.

Be sure to answer the foolish arguments of fools,
    or they will become wise in their own estimation.

Trusting a fool to convey a message
    is like cutting off one’s feet or drinking poison!

A proverb in the mouth of a fool
    is as useless as a paralyzed leg.

Honoring a fool
    is as foolish as tying a stone to a slingshot.

A proverb in the mouth of a fool
    is like a thorny branch brandished by a drunk.

10 An employer who hires a fool or a bystander
    is like an archer who shoots at random.

11 As a dog returns to its vomit,
    so a fool repeats his foolishness.

12 There is more hope for fools
    than for people who think they are wise.

13 The lazy person claims, “There’s a lion on the road!
    Yes, I’m sure there’s a lion out there!”

14 As a door swings back and forth on its hinges,
    so the lazy person turns over in bed.

15 Lazy people take food in their hand
    but don’t even lift it to their mouth.

16 Lazy people consider themselves smarter
    than seven wise counselors.

17 Interfering in someone else’s argument
    is as foolish as yanking a dog’s ears.

18 Just as damaging
    as a madman shooting a deadly weapon
19 is someone who lies to a friend
    and then says, “I was only joking.”

20 Fire goes out without wood,
    and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.

21 A quarrelsome person starts fights
    as easily as hot embers light charcoal or fire lights wood.

22 Rumors are dainty morsels
    that sink deep into one’s heart.

23 Smooth[d] words may hide a wicked heart,
    just as a pretty glaze covers a clay pot.

24 People may cover their hatred with pleasant words,
    but they’re deceiving you.
25 They pretend to be kind, but don’t believe them.
    Their hearts are full of many evils.[e]
26 While their hatred may be concealed by trickery,
    their wrongdoing will be exposed in public.

27 If you set a trap for others,
    you will get caught in it yourself.
If you roll a boulder down on others,
    it will crush you instead.

28 A lying tongue hates its victims,
    and flattering words cause ruin.

Footnotes

  1. 24:5 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads A wise man is strength.
  2. 24:13 Hebrew My son; also in 24:21.
  3. 25:20 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads pouring vinegar on soda.
  4. 26:23 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads Burning.
  5. 26:25 Hebrew seven evils.

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