10 Here are some proverbs of Solomon: Children with good sense make their parents happy, but foolish children make them sad. 2 What you gain by doing evil won’t help you at all, but being good[a] can save you from death.
3 If you obey the Lord, you won’t go hungry; if you are wicked, God won’t let you have what you want. 4 Laziness leads to poverty; hard work makes you rich. 5 At harvest season it’s smart to work hard, but stupid to sleep.
6 Everyone praises good people, but evil hides behind the words of the wicked. 7 Good people are remembered long after they are gone, but the wicked are soon forgotten.
8 If you have good sense, you will listen and obey; if all you do is talk, you will destroy yourself. 9 You will be safe, if you always do right, but you will get caught, if you are dishonest. 10 Deceit causes trouble, and foolish talk will bring you to ruin.[b] 11 The words of good people are a source of life, but evil hides behind the words of the wicked.
12 Hatred stirs up trouble; love overlooks the wrongs that others do. 13 If you have good sense, it will show when you speak. But if you are stupid, you will be beaten with a stick. 14 If you have good sense, you will learn all you can, but foolish talk will soon destroy you.
15 Great wealth can be a fortress, but poverty is no protection at all. 16 If you live right, the reward is a good life; if you are evil, all you have is sin.
17 Accept correction, and you will find life; reject correction, and you will miss the road. 18 You can hide your hatred by telling lies, but you are a fool to spread lies. 19 You will say the wrong thing if you talk too much— so be sensible and watch what you say. 20 The words of a good person are like pure silver, but the thoughts of an evil person are almost worthless. 21 Many are helped by useful instruction, but fools are killed by their own stupidity.
22 When the Lord blesses you with riches, you have nothing to regret.[c] 23 Fools enjoy doing wrong, but anyone with good sense enjoys acting wisely. 24 What evil people dread most will happen to them, but good people will get what they want most. 25 Those crooks will disappear when a storm strikes, but God will keep safe all who obey him. 26 Having a lazy person on the job is like a mouth full of vinegar or smoke in your eyes.
27 If you respect the Lord, you will live longer; if you keep doing wrong, your life will be cut short. 28 If you obey the Lord, you will be happy, but there is no future for the wicked. 29 The Lord protects everyone who lives right, but he destroys anyone who does wrong. 30 Good people will stand firm, but the wicked will lose their land. 31 Honest people speak sensibly, but deceitful liars will be silenced. 32 If you obey the Lord, you will always know the right thing to say. But no one will trust you if you tell lies.
Watch What You Say and Do
11 The Lord hates anyone who cheats, but he likes everyone who is honest. 2 Too much pride can put you to shame. It’s wiser to be humble. 3 If you do the right thing, honesty will be your guide. But if you are crooked, you will be trapped by your own dishonesty.
4 When God is angry, money won’t help you. Obeying God is the only way to be saved from death. 5 If you are truly good, you will do right; if you are wicked, you will be destroyed by your own sin. 6 Honesty can keep you safe, but if you can’t be trusted, you trap yourself. 7 When the wicked die, their hopes die with them. 8 Trouble goes right past the Lord’s people and strikes the wicked.
9 Dishonest people use gossip to destroy their neighbors; good people are protected by their own good sense. 10 When honest people prosper and the wicked disappear, the whole city celebrates. 11 When God blesses his people, their city prospers, but deceitful liars can destroy a city.
12 It’s stupid to say bad things about your neighbors. If you are sensible, you will keep quiet. 13 A gossip tells everything, but a true friend will keep a secret. 14 A city without wise leaders will end up in ruin; a city with many wise leaders will be kept safe.
15 It’s a dangerous thing to guarantee payment for someone’s debts. Don’t do it! 16 A gracious woman will be respected, but a man must work hard to get rich.[d] 17 Kindness is rewarded— but if you are cruel, you hurt yourself. 18 Meanness gets you nowhere, but goodness is rewarded. 19 Always do the right thing, and you will live; keep on doing wrong, and you will die.
20 The Lord hates sneaky people, but he likes everyone who lives right. 21 You can be sure of this: All crooks will be punished, but God’s people won’t. 22 A beautiful woman who acts foolishly is like a gold ring on the snout of a pig. 23 Good people want what is best, but troublemakers hope to stir up trouble.[e]
24 Sometimes you can become rich by being generous or poor by being greedy. 25 Generosity will be rewarded: Give a cup of water, and you will receive a cup of water in return. 26 Charge too much for grain, and you will be cursed; sell it at a fair price, and you will be praised. 27 Try hard to do right, and you will win friends; go looking for trouble, and you will find it. 28 Trust in your wealth, and you will be a failure, but God’s people will prosper like healthy plants.
29 Fools who cause trouble in the family won’t inherit a thing. They will end up as slaves of someone with good sense. 30 Live right, and you will eat from the life-giving tree. And if you act wisely, others will follow.[f] 31 If good people are rewarded[g] here on this earth, all who are cruel and mean will surely be punished.
You Can’t Hide behind Evil
12 To accept correction is wise, to reject it is stupid. 2 The Lord likes everyone who lives right, but he punishes everyone who makes evil plans. 3 Sin cannot offer security! But if you live right, you will be as secure as a tree with deep roots. 4 A helpful wife is a jewel for her husband, but a shameless wife will make his bones rot.
5 Good people have kind thoughts, but you should never trust the advice of someone evil. 6 Bad advice is a deadly trap, but good advice is like a shield. 7 Once the wicked are defeated, they are gone forever, but no one who obeys God will ever be thrown down. 8 Good sense is worthy of praise, but stupidity is a curse. 9 It’s better to be ordinary and have only one servant[h] than to think you are somebody and starve to death. 10 Good people are kind to their animals, but a mean person is cruel.
11 Hard working farmers have more than enough food; daydreamers are nothing more than stupid fools. 12 An evil person tries to hide behind evil;[i] good people are like trees with deep roots. 13 We trap ourselves by telling lies, but we stay out of trouble by living right. 14 We are rewarded or punished for what we say and do. 15 Fools think they know what is best, but a sensible person listens to advice.
16 Losing your temper is foolish; ignoring an insult is smart. 17 An honest person tells the truth in court, but a dishonest person tells nothing but lies. 18 Sharp words cut like a sword, but words of wisdom heal. 19 Truth will last forever; lies are soon found out. 20 An evil mind is deceitful, but gentle thoughts bring happiness. 21 Good people never have trouble, but troublemakers have more than enough. 22 The Lord hates every liar, but he is the friend of all who can be trusted. 23 Be sensible and don’t tell everything you know— only fools spread foolishness everywhere.
24 Work hard, and you will be a leader; be lazy, and you will end up a slave. 25 Worry is a heavy burden, but a kind word always brings cheer. 26 You are better off to do right, than to lose your way by doing wrong.[j] 27 Anyone too lazy to cook will starve, but a hard worker is a valuable treasure.[k] 28 Follow the road to life, and you won’t be bothered by death.
4 God has been kind enough to trust us with this work. That’s why we never give up. 2 We don’t do shameful things that must be kept secret. And we don’t try to fool anyone or twist God’s message around. God is our witness that we speak only the truth, so others will be sure that we can be trusted. 3 If there is anything hidden about our message, it is hidden only to someone who is lost.
4 The god who rules this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers. They cannot see the light, which is the good news about our glorious Christ, who shows what God is like. 5 We are not preaching about ourselves. Our message is that Jesus Christ is Lord. He also sent us to be your servants. 6 The Scriptures say, “God commanded light to shine in the dark.” Now God is shining in our hearts to let you know that his glory is seen in Jesus Christ.
7 We are like clay jars in which this treasure is stored. The real power comes from God and not from us. 8 We often suffer, but we are never crushed. Even when we don’t know what to do, we never give up. 9 In times of trouble, God is with us, and when we are knocked down, we get up again. 10-11 We face death every day because of Jesus. Our bodies show what his death was like, so that his life can also be seen in us. 12 This means that death is working in us, but life is working in you.
13 In the Scriptures it says, “I spoke because I had faith.” We have that same kind of faith. So we speak 14 because we know that God raised the Lord Jesus to life. And just as God raised Jesus, he will also raise us to life. Then he will bring us into his presence together with you. 15 All of this has been done for you, so that more and more people will know how kind God is and will praise and honor him.
Faith in the Lord
16 We never give up. Our bodies are gradually dying, but we ourselves are being made stronger each day. 17 These little troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory that will make all our troubles seem like nothing. 18 Things that are seen don’t last forever, but things that are not seen are eternal. That’s why we keep our minds on the things that cannot be seen.
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