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Some practical instructions for Christian living

13 1-3 Never let your brotherly love fail, nor refuse to extend your hospitality to strangers—sometimes men have entertained angels unawares. Think constantly of those in prison as if you were prisoners at their side. Think too of all who suffer as if you shared their pain.

4-5 Both honourable marriage and chastity should be respected by all of you. God himself will judge those who traffic in the bodies of others or defile the relationship of marriage. Keep your lives free from the lust for money: be content with what you have. God has said: ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’.

We, therefore, can confidently say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’

Be loyal to your leaders and, above all, to Christ

Never forget your leaders, who first spoke to you the Word of God. Remember how they lived, and imitate their faith.

8-10 Jesus Christ is always the same, yesterday, today and for ever. Do not be swept off your feet by various peculiar teachings. Spiritual stability depends on the grace of God, and not on rules of diet—which after all have not spiritually benefited those who have made a speciality of that kind of thing. We have an altar from which those who still serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.

11-16 When the blood of animals was presented as a sin-offering by the High Priest in the sanctuary, their bodies were burned outside the precincts of the camp. That is why Jesus, when he sanctified men by the shedding of his own blood, suffered and died outside the city gates. Let us go out to him, then, beyond the boundaries of the camp, proudly bearing his “disgrace”. For we have no permanent city here on earth, we are looking for one in the world to come. Our constant sacrifice to God should be the praise of lips that give thanks to his name. Yet we should not forget to do good and to share our good things with others, for these too are the sort of sacrifices God will accept.

17 Obey your rulers and recognise their authority. They are like men standing guard over your spiritual good, and they have great responsibility. Try to make their work a pleasure and not a burden—by so doing you will help not only them but yourselves.

18-19 Pray for us. Our conscience is clear before God, and our great desire is to lead a life that is completely honest. Please pray earnestly that I may be restored to you the sooner.

20-21 Now the God of peace, who brought back from the dead that great shepherd of the sheep, our Lord Jesus, by the blood of the everlasting agreement, equip you thoroughly for the doing of his will! May he effect in you everything that pleases him through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.

22 All I have said, my brothers, I ask you to accept as though it were an appeal in person, although I have compressed it into a short letter.

23 You will be glad to know that brother Timothy. If he comes here soon, he and I will perhaps visit you together.

24-25 Greetings to all your leaders and all your church members. The Christians of Italy send their greetings. Grace be with you all.