2 You men think you are wise, but just listen to me! 3 Think about my words, as you would taste food. 4 Then we can decide the case and give a just verdict. 5 Job claims he is innocent and God is guilty of mistreating him. 6 Job also argues that God considers him a liar and that he is suffering severely in spite of his innocence. 7 But to tell the truth, Job is shameless! 8 He spends his time with sinners, 9 because he has said, “It doesn’t pay to please God.”
If Any of You Are Smart
10 If any of you are smart, you will listen and learn that God All-Powerful does what is right. 11 God always treats everyone the way they deserve, 12 and he is never unfair. 13 From the very beginning, God has been in control of all the world.
14 If God took back the breath that he breathed into us, 15 we humans would die and return to the soil. 16 So be smart and listen! 17 The mighty God is the one who brings about justice, and you are condemning him. 18 Indeed, God is the one who condemns unfair rulers. 19 And God created us all; he has no favorites, whether rich or poor. 20 Even powerful rulers die in the darkness of night when they least expect it, just like the rest of us.
God Watches Everything We Do
21 God watches everything we do. 22 No evil person can hide in the deepest darkness. 23 And so, God doesn’t need to set a time for judgment. 24 Without asking for advice, God removes mighty leaders and puts others in their place. 25 He knows what they are like, and he wipes them out in the middle of the night. 26 And while others look on, he punishes them because they were evil 27 and refused to obey him. 28 The persons they mistreated had prayed for help, until God answered their prayers. 29 When God does nothing, can any person or nation find fault with him? 30 But still, he punishes rulers who abuse their people.[a]
31 Job, you should tell God that you are guilty and promise to do better. 32 Then ask him to point out what you did wrong, so you won’t do it again. 33 Do you make the rules, or does God? You have to decide— I can’t do it for you; now make up your mind. 34 Job, anyone with good sense can easily see 35 that you are speaking nonsense and lack good judgment. 36 So I pray for you to suffer as much as possible for talking like a sinner. 37 You have rebelled against God, time after time, and have even insulted us.
Are You Really Innocent?
35 Elihu said:
2 Job, are you really innocent in the sight of God?[b] 3 Don’t you honestly believe it pays to obey him? 4 I will give the answers to you and your friends. 5 Look up to the heavens 6 and think! Do your sins hurt God? 7 Is any good you may have done at all helpful to him? 8 The evil or good you do only affects other humans.
9 In times of trouble, everyone begs the mighty God to have mercy. 10 But after their Creator helps them through hard times, they forget about him, 11 though he makes us wiser than animals or birds. 12 God won’t listen to the prayers of proud and evil people. 13 If God All-Powerful refuses to answer their empty prayers, 14 he will surely deny your impatient request to face him in court. 15 Job, you were wrong to say God doesn’t punish sin. 16 Everything you have said adds up to nonsense.
34.30people: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verses 29,30.
35.2are. . . God: Or “is it right for you to accuse God?”
15 Some people came from Judea and started teaching the Lord’s followers that they could not be saved, unless they were circumcised as Moses had taught. 2 This caused trouble, and Paul and Barnabas argued with them about this teaching. So it was decided to send Paul and Barnabas and a few others to Jerusalem to discuss this problem with the apostles and the church leaders.
The Church Leaders Meet in Jerusalem
3 The men who were sent by the church went through Phoenicia and Samaria, telling how the Gentiles had turned to God. This news made the Lord’s followers very happy. 4 When the men arrived in Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church, including the apostles and the leaders. They told them everything God had helped them do. 5 But some Pharisees had become followers of the Lord. They stood up and said, “Gentiles who have faith in the Lord must be circumcised and told to obey the Law of Moses.”
6 The apostles and church leaders met to discuss this problem about Gentiles. 7 They had talked it over for a long time, when Peter got up and said:
My friends, you know that God decided long ago to let me be the one from your group to preach the good news to the Gentiles. God did this so that they would hear and obey him. 8 He knows what is in everyone’s heart. And he showed that he had chosen the Gentiles, when he gave them the Holy Spirit, just as he had given his Spirit to us. 9 God treated them in the same way that he treated us. They put their faith in him, and he made their hearts pure.
10 Now why are you trying to make God angry by placing a heavy burden on these followers? This burden was too heavy for us or our ancestors. 11 But our Lord Jesus was kind to us, and we are saved by faith in him, just as the Gentiles are.
12 Everyone kept quiet and listened as Barnabas and Paul told how God had given them the power to work a lot of miracles and wonders for the Gentiles.
13 After they had finished speaking, James[a] said:
My friends, listen to me! 14 Simon Peter[b] has told how God first came to the Gentiles and made some of them his own people. 15 This agrees with what the prophets wrote,
16 “I, the Lord, will return and rebuild David’s fallen house. I will build it from its ruins and set it up again. 17 Then other nations will turn to me and be my chosen ones. I, the Lord, say this. 18 I promised it long ago.”
19 And so, my friends, I don’t think we should place burdens on the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 We should simply write and tell them not to eat anything that has been offered to idols. They should be told not to eat the meat of any animal that has been strangled or that still has blood in it. They must also not commit any terrible sexual sins.[c]
21 We must remember that the Law of Moses has been preached in city after city for many years, and every Sabbath it is read when we Jews meet.
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