1 The proverbs (truths obscurely expressed, maxims) of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
To know [skillful and godly] wisdom and instruction;
To discern and comprehend the words of understanding and insight,
To receive instruction in wise behavior and the discipline of wise thoughtfulness,
Righteousness, justice, and integrity;
That prudence (good judgment, astute common sense) may be given to the naive or inexperienced [who are easily misled],
And knowledge and discretion (intelligent discernment) to the youth,
The wise will hear and increase their learning,
And the person of understanding will acquire wise counsel and the skill [to steer his course wisely and lead others to the truth],
To understand a proverb and a figure [of speech] or an enigma with its interpretation,
And the words of the wise and their riddles [that require reflection].
The [reverent] fear of the Lord [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome] is the beginning and the preeminent part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence];
But arrogant [a]fools despise [skillful and godly] wisdom and instruction and self-discipline.
My son, hear the instruction of your father,
And do not reject the teaching of your mother.
For they are a garland of grace on your head,
And chains and ornaments [of gold] around your neck.
My son, if sinners entice you,
Do not consent.
If they say, “Come with us;
Let us lie in wait to shed blood,
Let us ambush the innocent without cause;
Let us swallow them alive like Sheol (the place of the dead),
Even whole, as those who go down to the pit [of death];
We will find and take all kinds of precious possessions,
We will fill our houses with spoil;
Throw in your lot with us [they insist];
We will all have one money bag [in common],”
My son, do not walk on the road with them;
Keep your foot [far] away from their path,
For their feet run to evil,
And they hurry to shed blood.
Indeed, it is useless to spread the baited net
In the sight of any bird;
But [when these people set a trap for others] they lie in wait for their own blood;
They set an ambush for their own lives [and rush to their destruction].
So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain;
Greed takes away the lives of its possessors.
[b]Wisdom shouts in the street,
She raises her voice in the markets;
She calls out at the head of the noisy streets [where large crowds gather];
At the entrance of the city gates she speaks her words:
“How long, O naive ones [you who are easily misled], will you love being simple-minded and undiscerning?
How long will scoffers [who ridicule and deride] delight in scoffing,
How long will fools [who obstinately mock truth] hate knowledge?
“If you will turn and pay attention to my rebuke,
Behold, I [Wisdom] will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you.
“Because I called and you refused [to answer],
I stretched out my hand and no one has paid attention [to my offer];
And you treated all my counsel as nothing
And would not accept my reprimand,
I also will laugh at your disaster;
I will mock when your dread and panic come,
When your dread and panic come like a storm,
And your disaster comes like a whirlwind,
When anxiety and distress come upon you [as retribution].
“Then they will call upon me (Wisdom), but I will not answer;
They will seek me eagerly but they will not find me,
Because they hated knowledge
And did not choose the fear of the Lord [that is, obeying Him with reverence and awe-filled respect],
They would not accept my counsel,
And they spurned all my rebuke.
“Therefore they shall eat of the fruit of their own [wicked] way
And be satiated with [the penalty of] their own devices.
“For the turning away of the [c]naive will kill them,
And the careless ease of [self-righteous] fools will destroy them.
“But whoever listens to me (Wisdom) will live securely and in confident trust
And will be at ease, without fear or dread of evil.”
2 My son, if you will receive my words
And treasure my commandments within you,
So that your ear is attentive to [skillful and godly] wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding [seeking it conscientiously and striving for it eagerly];
Yes, if you cry out for insight,
And lift up your voice for understanding;
If you seek skillful and godly wisdom as you would silver
And search for her as you would hidden treasures;
Then you will understand the [reverent] fear of the Lord [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome]
And discover the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives [skillful and godly] wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He stores away sound wisdom for the righteous [those who are in right standing with Him];
He is a shield to those who walk in integrity [those of honorable character and moral courage],
He guards the paths of justice;
And He preserves the way of His saints (believers).
Then you will understand righteousness and justice [in every circumstance]
And integrity and every good path.
For [skillful and godly] wisdom will enter your heart
And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
Discretion will watch over you,
Understanding and discernment will guard you,
To keep you from the way of evil and the evil man,
From the man who speaks perverse things;
From those who leave the paths of uprightness
To walk in the ways of darkness;
Who find joy in doing evil
And delight in the perversity of evil,
Whose paths are crooked,
And who are devious in their ways;
To keep you from the immoral woman;
From the seductress with her flattering words,
Who leaves the companion (husband) of her youth,
And forgets the covenant of her God.
For her house leads down to death
And her paths lead to the dead;
None who go to her return again,
Nor do they regain the paths of life—
So you will walk in the way of good men [that is, those of personal integrity, moral courage and honorable character],
And keep to the paths of the righteous.
For the upright [those who are in right standing with God] will live in the land
And those [of integrity] who are blameless [in God’s sight] will remain in it;
But the wicked will be cut off from the land
And the treacherous shall be [forcibly] uprooted and removed from it.
16 Now concerning the money collected for [the relief of] the saints [in Jerusalem], you are to do the same as I directed the churches of Galatia to do. 2 On the first day of every week each one of you is to put something aside, in proportion to his prosperity, and save it so that no collections [will need to] be made when I come. 3 When I arrive, I will send whomever you approve with letters [of authorization] to take your gift [of charity and love] to Jerusalem; 4 and if it is fitting for me to go too, they will accompany me.
5 I will visit you after I go through Macedonia, for I am only passing through Macedonia; 6 but it may be that I will stay with you [for a while], or even spend the winter, so that you may send me on my way to wherever I may go afterward. 7 For I do not wish to see you right now just in passing, but I hope to remain with you for some time [later on], if the Lord permits. 8 But I will stay in Ephesus until [a]Pentecost, 9 because a wide door for effective service has opened to me [in Ephesus, a very promising opportunity], and there are many adversaries.
10 If Timothy comes, see to it that [you put him at ease, so that] he has nothing to fear in regard to you, for he is [devotedly] doing the Lord’s work, just as I am. 11 So allow no one to treat him with disdain [as if he were inconsequential]. But send him off [cordially, and speed him on his way] in peace, so that he may come to me, for I am expecting him [to come along] with the other brothers.
12 As for our brother Apollos, I have strongly encouraged him to visit you with the other brothers. It was not at all his desire to come now, but he will come when he has the opportunity.
13 Be on guard; stand firm in your faith [in God, respecting His precepts and keeping your doctrine sound]. Act like [mature] men and be courageous; be strong. 14 Let everything you do be done in love [motivated and inspired by God’s love for us].
15 Brothers and sisters, you know that those of the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves for ministry to [b]God’s people—now I urge you 16 to be subject to such leaders [treating them with courtesy and respect], and to everyone who helps in the work and labors [for the benefit of yourselves and the church]. 17 I rejoice because Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus have arrived, for they have made up for your absence. 18 They have refreshed my spirit as well as yours. So fully acknowledge such men and deeply appreciate them.
19 The churches of Asia send you their greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church [that meets] in their house, send you their warm greetings in the Lord. 20 All the believers greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss.
21 This greeting is in my own hand—Paul. 22 If anyone does not love the Lord [does not obey and respect and believe in Jesus Christ and His message], he is to be accursed. Maranatha (O our Lord, come)! 23 The grace of our Lord Jesus [His unmerited favor, His spiritual blessing, His profound mercy] be with you. 24 My love be with all of you in Christ Jesus. Amen.