3 My son, do not forget my [a]teaching,
But let your heart keep my commandments;
For length of days and years of life [worth living]
And tranquility and prosperity [the wholeness of life’s blessings] they will add to you.
Do not let mercy and kindness and truth leave you [instead let these qualities define you];
Bind them [securely] around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
So find favor and high esteem
In the sight of God and man.
Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart
And do not rely on your own insight or understanding.
[b]In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him,
And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord [with reverent awe and obedience] and turn [entirely] away from evil.
It will be health to your body [your marrow, your nerves, your sinews, your muscles—all your inner parts]
And refreshment (physical well-being) to your bones.
Honor the Lord with your wealth
And with the first fruits of all your crops (income);
Then your barns will be abundantly filled
And your vats will overflow with new wine.
My son, do not reject or take lightly the discipline of the Lord [learn from your mistakes and the testing that comes from His correction through discipline];
Nor despise His rebuke,
For those whom the Lord loves He corrects,
Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.
Happy [blessed, considered fortunate, to be admired] is the man who finds [skillful and godly] wisdom,
And the man who gains understanding and insight [learning from God’s word and life’s experiences],
For wisdom’s profit is better than the profit of silver,
And her gain is better than fine gold.
She is more precious than rubies;
And nothing you can wish for compares with her [in value].
Long life is in her right hand;
In her left hand are riches and honor.
Her ways are highways of pleasantness and favor,
And all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her,
And happy [blessed, considered fortunate, to be admired] is everyone who holds her tightly.
The Lord by His wisdom has founded the earth;
By His understanding He has established the heavens.
By His knowledge the deeps were broken up
And the clouds drip with dew.
My son, let them not escape from your sight,
But keep sound wisdom and discretion,
And they will be life to your soul (your inner self)
And a gracious adornment to your neck (your outer self).
Then you will walk on your way [of life] securely
And your foot will not stumble.
When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
Do not be afraid of sudden fear
Nor of the storm of the wicked when it comes [since you will be blameless];
For the Lord will be your confidence, firm and strong,
And will keep your foot from being caught [in a trap].
[c]Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due [its rightful recipients],
When it is in your power to do it.
Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back,
And tomorrow I will give it,”
When you have it with you.
Do not devise evil against your neighbor,
Who lives securely beside you.
Do not quarrel with a man without cause,
If he has done you no harm.
Do not envy a man of violence
And do not choose any of his ways.
For the devious are repulsive to the Lord;
But His private counsel is with the upright [those with spiritual integrity and moral courage].
The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked,
But He blesses the home of the just and righteous.
Though He scoffs at the scoffers and scorns the scorners,
Yet He gives His grace [His undeserved favor] to the humble [those who give up self-importance].
The wise will inherit honor and glory,
But dishonor and shame is conferred on fools.
4 Hear, O children, the instruction of a father,
And pay attention [and be willing to learn] so that you may gain understanding and intelligent discernment.
For I give you good doctrine;
Do not [d]turn away from my instruction.
When I was a son with my father (David),
Tender and the only son in the sight of my mother (Bathsheba),
He taught me and said to me,
“Let your heart hold fast my words;
Keep my commandments and live.
“Get [skillful and godly] wisdom! Acquire understanding [actively seek spiritual discernment, mature comprehension, and logical interpretation]!
Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth.
“Do not [e]turn away from her (Wisdom) and she will guard and protect you;
Love her, and she will watch over you.
“The beginning of wisdom is: Get [skillful and godly] wisdom [it is preeminent]!
And with all your acquiring, get understanding [actively seek spiritual discernment, mature comprehension, and logical interpretation].
“Prize wisdom [and exalt her], and she will exalt you;
She will honor you if you embrace her.
“She will place on your head a garland of grace;
She will present you with a crown of beauty and glory.”
Hear, my son, and accept my sayings,
And the years of your life will be many.
I have instructed you in the way of [skillful and godly] wisdom;
I have led you in upright paths.
When you walk, your steps will not be impeded [for your path will be clear and open];
And when you run, you will not stumble.
Take hold of instruction; [actively seek it, grip it firmly and] do not let go.
Guard her, for she is your life.
Do not enter the path of the wicked,
And do not go the way of evil men.
Avoid it, do not travel on it;
Turn away from it and pass on.
For the wicked cannot sleep unless they do evil;
And they are deprived of sleep unless they make someone stumble and fall.
For they eat the bread of wickedness
And drink the wine of violence.
But the path of the just (righteous) is like the light of dawn,
That shines brighter and brighter until [it reaches its full strength and glory in] the perfect day.
The way of the wicked is like [deep] darkness;
They do not know over what they stumble.
My son, pay attention to my words and be willing to learn;
Open your ears to my sayings.
Do not let them escape from your sight;
Keep them in the center of your heart.
For they are life to those who find them,
And healing and health to all their flesh.
Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.
Put away from you a deceitful (lying, misleading) mouth,
And put devious lips far from you.
Let your eyes look directly ahead [toward the path of moral courage]
And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you [toward the path of integrity].
Consider well and watch carefully the path of your feet,
And all your ways will be steadfast and sure.
Do not turn away to the right nor to the left [where evil may lurk];
Turn your foot from [the path of] evil.
5 My son, be attentive to my wisdom [godly wisdom learned by costly experience],
Incline your ear to my understanding;
That you may exercise discrimination and discretion (good judgment),
And your lips may reserve knowledge and answer wisely [to temptation].
For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey [like a honeycomb]
And her speech is smoother than oil;
But in the end she is bitter like [the extract of] wormwood,
Sharp as a two-edged sword.
Her feet go down to death;
Her steps take hold of Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead),
So that she does not think [seriously] about the path of life;
Her ways are aimless and unstable; you cannot know where her path leads.
Now then, my sons, listen to me
And do not depart from (forget) the words of my mouth.
Let your way [in life] be far from her,
And do not go near the door of her house [avoid even being near the places of temptation],
Or you will give your honor to others,
And your years to the cruel one,
And strangers will be filled with your strength
And your hard-earned wealth will go to the house of a foreigner [who does not know God];
And you will groan when your life is ending,
When your flesh and your body are consumed;
And you say, “How I hated instruction and discipline,
And my heart despised correction and reproof!
“I have not listened to the voice of my teachers,
Nor have I inclined my ear to those who instructed me.
“I was almost in total ruin
In the midst of the assembly and congregation.”
[f]Drink water from your own [g]cistern [of a pure marriage relationship]
And fresh running water from your own well.
Should your [h]springs (children) be dispersed,
As streams of water in the streets?
[Confine yourself to your own wife.] Let your children be yours alone,
And not the children of strangers with you.
Let your fountain (wife) be blessed [with the rewards of fidelity],
And rejoice in the wife of your youth.
Let her be as a loving hind and graceful doe,
Let her breasts refresh and satisfy you at all times;
Always be [i]exhilarated and delight in her love.
Why should you, my son, be exhilarated with an immoral woman
And embrace the bosom of an outsider (pagan)?
For the ways of man are directly before the eyes of the Lord,
And He carefully watches all of his paths [all of his comings and goings].
The iniquities done by a wicked man will trap him,
And he will be held with the cords of his sin.
He will die for lack of instruction (discipline),
And in the greatness of his foolishness he will go astray and be lost.
1 Paul, an apostle (special messenger, personally chosen representative) of Christ Jesus (the Messiah) by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
To the church of God which is at Corinth, and to all the [a]saints (God’s people) throughout Achaia (southern Greece):
2 Grace to you and peace [inner calm and spiritual well-being] from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed [gratefully praised and adored] be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts and encourages us in every trouble so that we will be able to comfort and encourage those who are in any kind of trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For just as Christ’s sufferings are ours in abundance [as they overflow to His followers], so also our comfort [our reassurance, our encouragement, our consolation] is abundant through Christ [it is truly more than enough to endure what we must]. 6 But if we are troubled and distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted and encouraged, it is for your comfort, which works [in you] when you patiently endure the same sufferings which we [b]experience. 7 And our [c]hope for you [our confident expectation of good for you] is firmly grounded [assured and unshaken], since we know that just as you share as partners in our sufferings, so also you share as partners in our comfort.
8 For we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about [d]our trouble in [the west coast province of] Asia [Minor], how we were utterly weighed down, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life [itself]. 9 Indeed, we felt within ourselves that we had received the sentence of death [and were convinced that we would die, but this happened] so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead. 10 He rescued us from so great a threat of death, and will continue to rescue us. On Him we have set our hope. And He will again rescue us [from danger and draw us near], 11 while you join in helping us by your prayers. Then thanks will be given by many persons on our behalf for the gracious gift [of deliverance] granted to us through the prayers of many [believers].
12 This is our [reason for] proud confidence: our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world [in general], and especially toward you, with pure motives and godly sincerity, not in human wisdom, but in the grace of God [that is, His gracious lovingkindness that leads people to Christ and spiritual maturity]. 13 For we write you nothing other than what you read and understand [there is no double meaning in what we say]. And I hope you will [accurately] understand [divine things] until the end; 14 just as you have [already] partially understood us, [and one day will recognize] that you can be proud of us just as we are of you, in the day of our Lord Jesus.
15 It was with this confidence that I planned at first to visit you, so that you might receive twice a token of grace; 16 that is, [I wanted] to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and [then] to come back to you [on my return] from Macedonia, and have you send me on my way to Judea. 17 So then, was I indecisive or capricious when I was [originally] planning this? Or the things I plan, do I plan [e]in a self-serving way like a worldly man, ready to say, “Yes, yes” and “No, no” [at the same time]? 18 But [as surely as] God is faithful and means what He says, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No” [at the same time]. 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, by me, Silvanus, and Timothy, was not “Yes” and “No,” but has proved to be “Yes” in Him [true and faithful, the divine “Yes” affirming God’s promises]. 20 For as many as are the promises of God, in Christ they are [all answered] “Yes.” So through Him we say our “Amen” to the glory of God. 21 Now it is God who establishes and confirms us [in joint fellowship] with you in Christ, and who has anointed us [empowering us with the gifts of the Spirit]; 22 it is He who has also put His seal on us [that is, He has appropriated us and certified us as His] and has given us the [Holy] Spirit in our hearts as a pledge [like a security deposit to guarantee the fulfillment of His promise of eternal life].
23 But I call on God as my soul’s witness, that it was to spare you [pain and discouragement] that I did not come again to Corinth— 24 not that we rule [like dictators] over your faith, but rather we work with you for [the increase of] your joy; for in your faith you stand firm [in your strong conviction that Jesus of Nazareth—the Messiah—is the Son of God, through whom we obtain eternal salvation].