16 We humans make plans, but the Lord has the final word. 2 We may think we know what is right, but the Lord is the judge of our motives. 3 Share your plans with the Lord, and you will succeed.
4 The Lord has a reason for everything he does, and he lets evil people live only to be punished. 5 The Lord doesn’t like anyone who is conceited— you can be sure they will be punished. 6 If we truly love God, our sins will be forgiven; if we show him respect, we will keep away from sin. 7 When we please the Lord, even our enemies make friends with us. 8 It’s better to be honest and poor than to be dishonest and rich.
9 We make our own plans, but the Lord decides where we will go. 10 Rulers speak with authority and are never wrong. 11 The Lord doesn’t like it when we cheat in business. 12 Justice makes rulers powerful. They should hate evil 13 and like honesty and truth. 14 An angry ruler can put you to death. So be wise! Don’t make one angry. 15 When a ruler is happy and pleased with you, it’s like refreshing rain, and you will live.
16 It’s much better to be wise and sensible than to be rich. 17 God’s people avoid evil ways, and they protect themselves by watching where they go. 18 Too much pride will destroy you. 19 You are better off to be humble and poor than to get rich from what you take by force. 20 If you know what you’re doing,[a] you will prosper. God blesses everyone who trusts him. 21 Good judgment proves that you are wise, and if you speak kindly, you can teach others. 22 Good sense is a fountain that gives life, but fools are punished by their foolishness. 23 You can persuade others if you are wise and speak sensibly.
24 Kind words are like honey— they cheer you up and make you feel strong. 25 Sometimes what seems right is really a road to death. 26 The hungrier you are, the harder you work. 27 Worthless people plan trouble. Even their words burn like a flaming fire. 28 Gossip is no good! It causes hard feelings and comes between friends.
29 Don’t trust violent people. They will mislead you to do the wrong thing. 30 When someone winks or grins behind your back, trouble is on the way. 31 Gray hair is a glorious crown worn by those who have lived right. 32 Controlling your temper is better than being a hero who captures a city. 33 We make our own decisions, but the Lord alone determines what happens.
Our Thoughts Are Tested by the Lord
17 A dry crust of bread eaten in peace and quiet is better than a feast eaten where everyone argues. 2 A hard-working slave will be placed in charge of a no-good child, and that slave will be given the same inheritance that each child receives. 3 Silver and gold are tested by flames of fire; our thoughts are tested by the Lord. 4 Troublemakers listen to troublemakers, and liars listen to liars. 5 By insulting the poor, you insult your Creator. You will be punished if you make fun of someone in trouble. 6 Grandparents are proud of their grandchildren, and children should be proud of their parents.
7 It sounds strange for a fool to talk sensibly, but it’s even worse for a ruler to tell lies. 8 A bribe works miracles like a magic charm that brings good luck. 9 You will keep your friends if you forgive them, but you will lose your friends if you keep talking about what they did wrong. 10 A sensible person accepts correction, but you can’t beat sense into a fool.
11 Cruel people want to rebel, and so vicious attackers will be sent against them. 12 A bear robbed of her cubs is far less dangerous than a stubborn fool. 13 You will always have trouble if you are mean to those who are good to you. 14 The start of an argument is like a water leak— so stop it before real trouble breaks out. 15 The Lord doesn’t like those who defend the guilty or condemn the innocent. 16 Why should fools have money for an education when they refuse to learn?
17 A friend is always a friend, and relatives are born to share our troubles. 18 It’s stupid to guarantee someone else’s loan. 19 The wicked and the proud love trouble and keep begging to be hurt. 20 Dishonesty does you no good, and telling lies will get you in trouble. 21 It’s never pleasant to be the parent of a fool and have nothing but pain. 22 If you are cheerful, you feel good; if you are sad, you hurt all over.
23 Crooks accept secret bribes to keep justice from being done. 24 Anyone with wisdom knows what makes good sense, but fools can never make up their minds. 25 Foolish children bring sorrow to their father and pain to their mother. 26 It isn’t fair to punish the innocent and those who do right. 27 It makes a lot of sense to be a person of few words and to stay calm. 28 Even fools seem smart when they are quiet.
It’s Wrong to Favor the Guilty
18 It’s selfish and stupid to think only of yourself and to sneer at people who have sense.[b] 2 Fools have no desire to learn; they would much rather give their own opinion. 3 Wrongdoing leads to shame and disgrace. 4 Words of wisdom are a stream that flows from a deep fountain. 5 It’s wrong to favor the guilty and keep the innocent from getting justice.
6 Foolish talk will get you into a lot of trouble. 7 Saying foolish things is like setting a trap to destroy yourself. 8 There’s nothing so delicious as the taste of gossip! It melts in your mouth. 9 Being lazy is no different from being a troublemaker.
10 The Lord is a mighty tower where his people can run for safety— 11 the rich think their money is a wall of protection.
12 Pride leads to destruction; humility leads to honor. 13 It’s stupid and embarrassing to give an answer before you listen. 14 Being cheerful helps when we are sick, but nothing helps when we give up. 15 Everyone with good sense wants to learn. 16 A gift will get you in to see anyone. 17 You may think you have won your case in court, until your opponent speaks. 18 Drawing straws is one way to settle a difficult case. 19 Making up with a friend you have offended[c] is harder than breaking through a city wall.
20 Make your words good— you will be glad you did. 21 Words can bring death or life! Talk too much, and you will eat everything you say. 22 A man’s greatest treasure is his wife— she is a gift from the Lord. 23 The poor must beg for help, but the rich can give a harsh reply. 24 Some friends don’t help,[d] but a true friend is closer than your own family.
16.20know what. . . doing: Or “do what you’re taught.”
18.1sense: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 1.
18.19Making. . . offended: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
18.24Some. . . help: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
6 We work together with God, and we beg you to make good use of God’s kindness to you. 2 In the Scriptures God says,
“When the time came, I listened to you, and when you needed help, I came to save you.”
That time has come. This is the day for you to be saved.
3 We don’t want anyone to find fault with our work, and so we try hard not to cause problems. 4 But in everything and in every way we show that we truly are God’s servants. We have always been patient, though we have had a lot of trouble, suffering, and hard times. 5 We have been beaten, put in jail, and hurt in riots. We have worked hard and have gone without sleep or food. 6 But we have kept ourselves pure and have been understanding, patient, and kind. The Holy Spirit has been with us, and our love has been real. 7 We have spoken the truth, and God’s power has worked in us. In all our struggles we have said and done only what is right.
8 Whether we were honored or dishonored or praised or cursed, we always told the truth about ourselves. But some people said we did not. 9 We are unknown to others, but well known to you. We seem to be dying, and yet we are still alive. We have been punished, but never killed, 10 and we are always happy, even in times of suffering. Although we are poor, we have made many people rich. And though we own nothing, everything is ours.
11 Friends in Corinth, we are telling the truth when we say that there is room in our hearts for you. 12 We are not holding back on our love for you, but you are holding back on your love for us. 13 I speak to you as I would speak to my own children. Please make room in your hearts for us.
The Temple of the Living God
14 Stay away from people who are not followers of the Lord! Can someone who is good get along with someone who is evil? Are light and darkness the same? 15 Is Christ a friend of Satan?[a] Can people who follow the Lord have anything in common with those who don’t? 16 Do idols belong in the temple of God? We are the temple of the living God, as God himself says,
“I will live with these people and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
17 The Lord also says,
“Leave them and stay away! Don’t touch anything that isn’t clean. Then I will welcome you 18 and be your Father. You will be my sons and my daughters, as surely as I am God, the All-Powerful.”
6.15Satan: The Greek text has “Beliar,” which is another form of the Hebrew word “Belial,” meaning “wicked” or “useless.” The Jewish people sometimes used this as a name for Satan.
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