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At that time the prophets Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo prophesied to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem. They prophesied in the name of the God of Israel who was over them. Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jehozadak[a] responded by starting again to rebuild the Temple of God in Jerusalem. And the prophets of God were with them and helped them.

But Tattenai, governor of the province west of the Euphrates River,[b] and Shethar-bozenai and their colleagues soon arrived in Jerusalem and asked, “Who gave you permission to rebuild this Temple and restore this structure?” They also asked for[c] the names of all the men working on the Temple. But because their God was watching over them, the leaders of the Jews were not prevented from building until a report was sent to Darius and he returned his decision.

Tattenai’s Letter to King Darius

This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai the governor, Shethar-bozenai, and the other officials of the province west of the Euphrates River sent to King Darius:

“To King Darius. Greetings.

“The king should know that we went to the construction site of the Temple of the great God in the province of Judah. It is being rebuilt with specially prepared stones, and timber is being laid in its walls. The work is going forward with great energy and success.

“We asked the leaders, ‘Who gave you permission to rebuild this Temple and restore this structure?’ 10 And we demanded their names so that we could tell you who the leaders were.

11 “This was their answer: ‘We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the Temple that was built here many years ago by a great king of Israel. 12 But because our ancestors angered the God of heaven, he abandoned them to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon,[d] who destroyed this Temple and exiled the people to Babylonia. 13 However, King Cyrus of Babylon,[e] during the first year of his reign, issued a decree that the Temple of God should be rebuilt. 14 King Cyrus returned the gold and silver cups that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Temple of God in Jerusalem and had placed in the temple of Babylon. These cups were taken from that temple and presented to a man named Sheshbazzar, whom King Cyrus appointed as governor of Judah. 15 The king instructed him to return the cups to their place in Jerusalem and to rebuild the Temple of God there on its original site. 16 So this Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundations of the Temple of God in Jerusalem. The people have been working on it ever since, though it is not yet completed.’

17 “Therefore, if it pleases the king, we request that a search be made in the royal archives of Babylon to discover whether King Cyrus ever issued a decree to rebuild God’s Temple in Jerusalem. And then let the king send us his decision in this matter.”

Footnotes

  1. 5:2 Aramaic Jozadak, a variant spelling of Jehozadak.
  2. 5:3 Aramaic the province beyond the river; also in 5:6.
  3. 5:4 As in one Hebrew manuscript and Greek and Syriac versions; Masoretic Text reads Then we told them.
  4. 5:12 Aramaic Nebuchadnezzar the Chaldean.
  5. 5:13 King Cyrus of Persia is here identified as the king of Babylon because Persia had conquered the Babylonian Empire.

Greetings from Paul

This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News. God promised this Good News long ago through his prophets in the holy Scriptures. The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, and he was shown to be[a] the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit.[b] He is Jesus Christ our Lord. Through Christ, God has given us the privilege[c] and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name.

And you are included among those Gentiles who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ. I am writing to all of you in Rome who are loved by God and are called to be his own holy people.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

God’s Good News

Let me say first that I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith in him is being talked about all over the world. God knows how often I pray for you. Day and night I bring you and your needs in prayer to God, whom I serve with all my heart[d] by spreading the Good News about his Son.

10 One of the things I always pray for is the opportunity, God willing, to come at last to see you. 11 For I long to visit you so I can bring you some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord. 12 When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.

13 I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters,[e] that I planned many times to visit you, but I was prevented until now. I want to work among you and see spiritual fruit, just as I have seen among other Gentiles. 14 For I have a great sense of obligation to people in both the civilized world and the rest of the world,[f] to the educated and uneducated alike. 15 So I am eager to come to you in Rome, too, to preach the Good News.

16 For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.[g] 17 This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”[h]

God’s Anger at Sin

18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.[i] 19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. 23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. 26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.

28 Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. 29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. 30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. 31 They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. 32 They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.

Footnotes

  1. 1:4a Or and was designated.
  2. 1:4b Or by the Spirit of holiness; or in the new realm of the Spirit.
  3. 1:5 Or the grace.
  4. 1:9 Or in my spirit.
  5. 1:13 Greek brothers.
  6. 1:14 Greek to Greeks and barbarians.
  7. 1:16 Greek also the Greek.
  8. 1:17 Or “The righteous will live by faith.” Hab 2:4.
  9. 1:18 Or who, by their wickedness, prevent the truth from being known.

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