2 “Bear with me a little longer and I will show you that there is more to be said in God’s behalf. 3 I get my knowledge from afar; I will ascribe justice to my Maker. 4 Be assured that my words are not false; one who has perfect knowledge is with you.
5 “God is mighty, but despises no one; he is mighty, and firm in his purpose. 6 He does not keep the wicked alive but gives the afflicted their rights. 7 He does not take his eyes off the righteous; he enthrones them with kings and exalts them forever. 8 But if people are bound in chains, held fast by cords of affliction, 9 he tells them what they have done— that they have sinned arrogantly. 10 He makes them listen to correction and commands them to repent of their evil. 11 If they obey and serve him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment. 12 But if they do not listen, they will perish by the sword[a] and die without knowledge.
13 “The godless in heart harbor resentment; even when he fetters them, they do not cry for help. 14 They die in their youth, among male prostitutes of the shrines. 15 But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction.
16 “He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction, to the comfort of your table laden with choice food. 17 But now you are laden with the judgment due the wicked; judgment and justice have taken hold of you. 18 Be careful that no one entices you by riches; do not let a large bribe turn you aside. 19 Would your wealth or even all your mighty efforts sustain you so you would not be in distress? 20 Do not long for the night, to drag people away from their homes.[b] 21 Beware of turning to evil, which you seem to prefer to affliction.
22 “God is exalted in his power. Who is a teacher like him? 23 Who has prescribed his ways for him, or said to him, ‘You have done wrong’? 24 Remember to extol his work, which people have praised in song. 25 All humanity has seen it; mortals gaze on it from afar. 26 How great is God—beyond our understanding! The number of his years is past finding out.
27 “He draws up the drops of water, which distill as rain to the streams[c]; 28 the clouds pour down their moisture and abundant showers fall on mankind. 29 Who can understand how he spreads out the clouds, how he thunders from his pavilion? 30 See how he scatters his lightning about him, bathing the depths of the sea. 31 This is the way he governs[d] the nations and provides food in abundance. 32 He fills his hands with lightning and commands it to strike its mark. 33 His thunder announces the coming storm; even the cattle make known its approach.[e]
37 “At this my heart pounds and leaps from its place. 2 Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice, to the rumbling that comes from his mouth. 3 He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven and sends it to the ends of the earth. 4 After that comes the sound of his roar; he thunders with his majestic voice. When his voice resounds, he holds nothing back. 5 God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. 6 He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’ 7 So that everyone he has made may know his work, he stops all people from their labor.[f] 8 The animals take cover; they remain in their dens. 9 The tempest comes out from its chamber, the cold from the driving winds. 10 The breath of God produces ice, and the broad waters become frozen. 11 He loads the clouds with moisture; he scatters his lightning through them. 12 At his direction they swirl around over the face of the whole earth to do whatever he commands them. 13 He brings the clouds to punish people, or to water his earth and show his love.
14 “Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God’s wonders. 15 Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash? 16 Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge? 17 You who swelter in your clothes when the land lies hushed under the south wind, 18 can you join him in spreading out the skies, hard as a mirror of cast bronze?
19 “Tell us what we should say to him; we cannot draw up our case because of our darkness. 20 Should he be told that I want to speak? Would anyone ask to be swallowed up? 21 Now no one can look at the sun, bright as it is in the skies after the wind has swept them clean. 22 Out of the north he comes in golden splendor; God comes in awesome majesty. 23 The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power; in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress. 24 Therefore, people revere him, for does he not have regard for all the wise in heart?[g]”
22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, men who were leaders among the believers.23 With them they sent the following letter:
The apostles and elders, your brothers,
To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:
24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said.25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul—26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing.28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements:29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.
30 So the men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter.31 The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message.32 Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers.33 After spending some time there, they were sent off by the believers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them. [a]35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord.
Disagreement Between Paul and Barnabas
36 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.”37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them,38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work.39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus,40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord.41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
Acts 15:34Some manuscripts include here But Silas decided to remain there.
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