16 The plans and reflections of the heart belong to man,
But the [wise] answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
All the ways of a man are clean and innocent in his own eyes [and he may see nothing wrong with his actions],
But the Lord weighs and examines the motives and intents [of the heart and knows the truth].
[a]Commit your works to the Lord [submit and trust them to Him],
And your plans will succeed [if you respond to His will and guidance].
The Lord has made everything for its own purpose,
Even the wicked [according to their role] for the day of evil.
Everyone who is proud and arrogant in heart is disgusting and exceedingly offensive to the Lord;
Be assured he will not go unpunished.
By mercy and lovingkindness and truth [not superficial ritual] wickedness is cleansed from the heart,
And by the fear of the Lord one avoids evil.
When a man’s ways please the Lord,
He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
Better is a little with righteousness
Than great income [gained] with injustice.
A man’s mind plans his way [as he journeys through life],
But the Lord directs his steps and establishes them.
A divine decision [given by God] is on the lips of the king [as His representative];
His mouth should not be unfaithful or unjust in judgment.
A just balance and [honest] scales are the Lord’s;
All the weights of the bag are His concern [established by His eternal principles].
It is repulsive [to God and man] for kings to behave wickedly,
For a throne is established on righteousness (right standing with God).
Righteous lips are the delight of kings,
And he who speaks right is loved.
The wrath of a king is like a messenger of death,
But a wise man will appease it.
In the light of the king’s face is life,
And his favor is like a cloud bringing the spring rain.
How much better it is to get wisdom than gold!
And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver.
The highway of the upright turns away and departs from evil;
He who guards his way protects his life (soul).
Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before a fall.
It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly
Than to divide the spoil with the proud (haughty, arrogant).
He who pays attention to the word [of God] will find good,
And blessed (happy, prosperous, to be admired) is he who trusts [confidently] in the Lord.
The wise in heart will be called understanding,
And sweet speech increases persuasiveness and learning [in both speaker and listener].
Understanding (spiritual insight) is a [refreshing and boundless] wellspring of life to those who have it,
But to give instruction and correction to fools is foolishness.
The heart of the wise instructs his mouth [in wisdom]
And adds persuasiveness to his lips.
Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,
Sweet and delightful to the soul and healing to the body.
There is a way which seems right to a man and appears straight before him,
But its end is the way of death.
The appetite of a worker works for him,
For his hunger urges him on.
A worthless man devises and digs up evil,
And the words on his lips are like a scorching fire.
A perverse man spreads strife,
And one who gossips separates intimate friends.
A violent and exceedingly covetous man entices his neighbor [to sin],
And leads him in a way that is not good.
He who [slyly] winks his eyes does so to plot perverse things;
And he who compresses his lips [as if in a secret signal] brings evil to pass.
The silver-haired head is a crown of splendor and glory;
It is found in the way of righteousness.
He who is slow to anger is better and more honorable than the mighty [soldier],
And he who rules and controls his own spirit, than he who captures a city.
The lot is cast into the lap,
[b]But its every decision is from the Lord.
17 Better is a dry morsel [of food served] with quietness and peace
Than a house full of feasting [served] with strife and contention.
A wise servant will rule over the [unworthy] son who acts shamefully and brings disgrace [to the family]
And [the worthy servant] will share in the inheritance among the brothers.
The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold,
But the Lord tests hearts.
An evildoer listens closely to wicked lips;
And a liar pays attention to a destructive and malicious tongue.
Whoever mocks the poor taunts his Maker,
And he who rejoices at [another’s] disaster will not go unpunished.
Grandchildren are the crown of aged men,
And the glory of children is their fathers [who live godly lives].
Excellent speech does not benefit a fool [who is spiritually blind],
Much less do lying lips benefit a prince.
A bribe is like a bright, precious stone in the eyes of its owner;
Wherever he turns, he prospers.
He who covers and forgives an offense seeks love,
But he who repeats or gossips about a matter separates intimate friends.
A reprimand goes deeper into one who has understanding and a teachable spirit
Than a hundred lashes into a fool.
A rebellious man seeks only evil;
Therefore a cruel messenger will be sent against him.
Let a man meet a [ferocious] bear robbed of her cubs
Rather than the [angry, narcissistic] fool in his folly.
Whoever returns evil for good,
Evil will not depart from his house.
The beginning of strife is like letting out water [as from a small break in a dam; first it trickles and then it gushes];
Therefore [c]abandon the quarrel before it breaks out and tempers explode.
He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the righteous
Are both repulsive to the Lord.
Why is there money in the hand of a fool to buy wisdom,
When he has no common sense or even a heart for it?
A friend loves at all times,
And a brother is born for adversity.
A man lacking common sense gives a pledge
And becomes guarantor [for the debt of another] in the presence of his neighbor.
He who loves transgression loves strife and is quarrelsome;
He who [proudly] raises his gate seeks destruction [because of his arrogant pride].
He who has a crooked mind finds no good,
And he who is perverted in his language falls into evil.
He who becomes the parent of a fool [who is spiritually blind] does so to his sorrow,
And the father of a fool [who is spiritually blind] has no joy.
A happy heart is good medicine and a joyful mind causes healing,
But a broken spirit dries up the bones.
A wicked man receives a bribe from the [hidden] pocket
To pervert the ways of justice.
[Skillful and godly] wisdom is in the presence of a person of understanding [and he recognizes it],
But the eyes of a [thickheaded] fool are on the ends of the earth.
A foolish son is a grief and anguish to his father
And bitterness to her who gave birth to him.
It is also not good to fine the righteous,
Nor to strike the noble for their uprightness.
He who has knowledge restrains and is careful with his words,
And a man of understanding and wisdom has a cool spirit (self-control, an even temper).
Even a [callous, arrogant] fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise;
When he closes his lips he is regarded as sensible (prudent, discreet) and a man of understanding.
18 He who [willfully] separates himself [from God and man] seeks his own desire,
He quarrels against all sound wisdom.
A [closed-minded] fool does not delight in understanding,
But only in revealing his personal opinions [unwittingly displaying his self-indulgence and his stupidity].
When the wicked man comes [to the depth of evil], contempt [of all that is pure and good] also comes,
And with inner baseness (dishonor) comes outer shame (scorn).
The words of a man’s mouth are like deep waters [copious and difficult to fathom];
The fountain of [mature, godly] wisdom is like a bubbling stream [sparkling, fresh, pure, and life-giving].
To show respect to the wicked person is not good,
Nor to push aside and deprive the righteous of justice.
A fool’s lips bring contention and strife,
And his mouth invites a beating.
A fool’s mouth is his ruin,
And his lips are the snare of his soul.
The words of a whisperer (gossip) are like dainty morsels [to be greedily eaten];
They go down into the innermost chambers of the body [to be remembered and mused upon].
He who is careless in his work
Is a brother to him who destroys.
The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
The righteous runs to it and is safe and set on high [far above evil].
The rich man’s wealth is his strong city,
And like a high wall [of protection] in his own imagination and conceit.
Before disaster the heart of a man is haughty and filled with self-importance,
But humility comes before honor.
He who answers before he hears [the facts]—
It is folly and shame to him.
The spirit of a man sustains him in sickness,
But as for a broken spirit, who can bear it?
The mind of the prudent [always] acquires knowledge,
And the ear of the wise [always] seeks knowledge.
A man’s gift [given in love or courtesy] makes room for him
And brings him before great men.
The first one to plead his case seems right,
Until another comes and cross-examines him.
[d]To cast lots puts an end to quarrels
And decides between powerful contenders.
A brother offended is harder to win over than a fortified city,
And contentions [separating families] are like the bars of a castle.
A man’s stomach will be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth;
He will be satisfied with the consequence of his words.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.
He who finds a [[e]true and faithful] wife finds a good thing
And obtains favor and approval from the Lord.
The poor man pleads,
But the rich man answers roughly.
The man of too many friends [chosen indiscriminately] will be broken in pieces and come to ruin,
But there is a [true, loving] friend who [is reliable and] sticks closer than a brother.
6 Working together with Him, we strongly urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain [by turning away from sound doctrine and His merciful kindness]. 2 For He says,
“At the acceptable time (the time of grace) I listened to you,
And I helped you on the day of salvation.”
Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation”—
3 we put no obstruction in anyone’s path, so that the ministry will not be discredited, 4 but we commend ourselves in every way as servants of God: in great endurance, in sufferings, in hardships, in distresses, 5 in beatings, in imprisonments, in riots, in labors, in sleepless nights, in hunger, 6 in purity and sincerity, in knowledge and spiritual insight, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, 7 in [speaking] the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand [like holding the sword to attack] and for the left [like holding the shield to defend], 8 amid glory and dishonor; by evil report and good report; branded as deceivers and yet [vindicated as] truthful; 9 as unknown [to the world], yet well-known [by God and His people]; as dying, yet we live; as punished, yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet bestowing riches on many; as having nothing, yet possessing all things.
11 We are speaking freely to you, Corinthians [we are keeping nothing back], and our heart is opened wide. 12 There is no limit to our affection for you, but you are limited in your own affection [for us]. 13 Now in the same way as a fair exchange [for our love toward you]—I am speaking as [I would] to children—open wide [your hearts] to us also.
14 Do not be unequally bound together with unbelievers [do not make mismatched alliances with them, inconsistent with your faith]. For what partnership can righteousness have with lawlessness? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony can there be between Christ and Belial (Satan)? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said:
“I will dwell among them and walk among them;
And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
“So come out from among unbelievers and be separate,” says the Lord,
“And do not touch what is unclean;
And I will graciously receive you and welcome you [with favor],
And I will be a Father to you,
And you will be My sons and daughters,”
Says the Lord Almighty.