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Proverbs 1-2The Message (MSG)

Wise Sayings of Solomon

A Manual for Living

1-6 These are the wise sayings of Solomon,
    David’s son, Israel’s king—
Written down so we’ll know how to live well and right,
    to understand what life means and where it’s going;
A manual for living,
    for learning what’s right and just and fair;
To teach the inexperienced the ropes
    and give our young people a grasp on reality.
There’s something here also for seasoned men and women,
    still a thing or two for the experienced to learn—
Fresh wisdom to probe and penetrate,
    the rhymes and reasons of wise men and women.

Start with God

Start with God—the first step in learning is bowing down to God;
    only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning.

8-19 Pay close attention, friend, to what your father tells you;
    never forget what you learned at your mother’s knee.
Wear their counsel like flowers in your hair,
    like rings on your fingers.
Dear friend, if bad companions tempt you,
    don’t go along with them.
If they say—“Let’s go out and raise some hell.
    Let’s beat up some old man, mug some old woman.
Let’s pick them clean
    and get them ready for their funerals.
We’ll load up on top-quality loot.
    We’ll haul it home by the truckload.
Join us for the time of your life!
    With us, it’s share and share alike!”—
Oh, friend, don’t give them a second look;
    don’t listen to them for a minute.
They’re racing to a very bad end,
    hurrying to ruin everything they lay hands on.
Nobody robs a bank
    with everyone watching,
Yet that’s what these people are doing—
    they’re doing themselves in.
When you grab all you can get, that’s what happens:
    the more you get, the less you are.

Lady Wisdom

20-21 Lady Wisdom goes out in the street and shouts.
    At the town center she makes her speech.
In the middle of the traffic she takes her stand.
    At the busiest corner she calls out:

22-24 “Simpletons! How long will you wallow in ignorance?
    Cynics! How long will you feed your cynicism?
Idiots! How long will you refuse to learn?
    About face! I can revise your life.
Look, I’m ready to pour out my spirit on you;
    I’m ready to tell you all I know.
As it is, I’ve called, but you’ve turned a deaf ear;
    I’ve reached out to you, but you’ve ignored me.

25-28 “Since you laugh at my counsel
    and make a joke of my advice,
How can I take you seriously?
    I’ll turn the tables and joke about your troubles!
What if the roof falls in,
    and your whole life goes to pieces?
What if catastrophe strikes and there’s nothing
    to show for your life but rubble and ashes?
You’ll need me then. You’ll call for me, but don’t expect
        an answer.
    No matter how hard you look, you won’t find me.

29-33 “Because you hated Knowledge
    and had nothing to do with the Fear-of-God,
Because you wouldn’t take my advice
    and brushed aside all my offers to train you,
Well, you’ve made your bed—now lie in it;
    you wanted your own way—now, how do you like it?
Don’t you see what happens, you simpletons, you idiots?
    Carelessness kills; complacency is murder.
First pay attention to me, and then relax.
    Now you can take it easy—you’re in good hands.”

Make Insight Your Priority

1-5 Good friend, take to heart what I’m telling you;
    collect my counsels and guard them with your life.
Tune your ears to the world of Wisdom;
    set your heart on a life of Understanding.
That’s right—if you make Insight your priority,
    and won’t take no for an answer,
Searching for it like a prospector panning for gold,
    like an adventurer on a treasure hunt,
Believe me, before you know it Fear-of-God will be yours;
    you’ll have come upon the Knowledge of God.

6-8 And here’s why: God gives out Wisdom free,
    is plainspoken in Knowledge and Understanding.
He’s a rich mine of Common Sense for those who live well,
    a personal bodyguard to the candid and sincere.
He keeps his eye on all who live honestly,
    and pays special attention to his loyally committed ones.

9-15 So now you can pick out what’s true and fair,
    find all the good trails!
Lady Wisdom will be your close friend,
    and Brother Knowledge your pleasant companion.
Good Sense will scout ahead for danger,
    Insight will keep an eye out for you.
They’ll keep you from making wrong turns,
    or following the bad directions
Of those who are lost themselves
    and can’t tell a trail from a tumbleweed,
These losers who make a game of evil
    and throw parties to celebrate perversity,
Traveling paths that go nowhere,
    wandering in a maze of detours and dead ends.

16-19 Wise friends will rescue you from the Temptress—
    that smooth-talking Seductress
Who’s faithless to the husband she married years ago,
    never gave a second thought to her promises before God.
Her whole way of life is doomed;
    every step she takes brings her closer to hell.
No one who joins her company ever comes back,
    ever sets foot on the path to real living.

20-22 So—join the company of good men and women,
    keep your feet on the tried-and-true paths.
It’s the men who walk straight who will settle this land,
    the women with integrity who will last here.
The corrupt will lose their lives;
    the dishonest will be gone for good.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

1 Corinthians 16The Message (MSG)

Coming to See You

16 1-4 Regarding the relief offering for poor Christians that is being collected, you get the same instructions I gave the churches in Galatia. Every Sunday each of you make an offering and put it in safekeeping. Be as generous as you can. When I get there you’ll have it ready, and I won’t have to make a special appeal. Then after I arrive, I’ll write letters authorizing whomever you delegate, and send them off to Jerusalem to deliver your gift. If you think it best that I go along, I’ll be glad to travel with them.

5-9 I plan to visit you after passing through northern Greece. I won’t be staying long there, but maybe I can stay awhile with you—maybe even spend the winter? Then you could give me a good send-off, wherever I may be headed next. I don’t want to just drop by in between other “primary” destinations. I want a good, long, leisurely visit. If the Master agrees, we’ll have it! For the present, I’m staying right here in Ephesus. A huge door of opportunity for good work has opened up here. (There is also mushrooming opposition.)

10-11 If Timothy shows up, take good care of him. Make him feel completely at home among you. He works so hard for the Master, just as I do. Don’t let anyone disparage him. After a while, send him on to me with your blessing. Tell him I’m expecting him, and any friends he has with him.

12 About our friend Apollos, I’ve done my best to get him to pay you a visit, but haven’t talked him into it yet. He doesn’t think this is the right time. But there will be a “right time.”

13-14 Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping.

15-16 Would you do me a favor, friends, and give special recognition to the family of Stephanas? You know, they were among the first converts in Greece, and they’ve put themselves out, serving Christians ever since then. I want you to honor and look up to people like that: companions and workers who show us how to do it, giving us something to aspire to.

17-18 I want you to know how delighted I am to have Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus here with me. They partially make up for your absence! They’ve refreshed me by keeping me in touch with you. Be proud that you have people like this among you.

19 The churches here in western Asia send greetings.

Aquila, Priscilla, and the church that meets in their house say hello.

20 All the friends here say hello.

Pass the greetings around with holy embraces!

21 And I, Paul—in my own handwriting!—send you my regards.

22 If anyone won’t love the Master, throw him out. Make room for the Master!

23 Our Master Jesus has his arms wide open for you.

24 And I love all of you in the Messiah, in Jesus.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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