22 A good name [earned by honorable behavior, godly wisdom, moral courage, and personal integrity] is more desirable than great riches;
And favor is better than silver and gold.
The rich and poor have a common bond;
The Lord is the Maker of them all.
A prudent and far-sighted person sees the evil [of sin] and hides himself [from it],
But the naive continue on and are punished [by suffering the consequences of sin].
The reward of humility [that is, having a realistic view of one’s importance] and the [reverent, worshipful] fear of the Lord
Is riches, honor, and life.
Thorns and snares are in the way of the obstinate [for their lack of honor and their wrong-doing traps them];
He who guards himself [with godly wisdom] will be far from them and avoid the consequences they suffer.
Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents],
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
The rich rules over the poor,
And the borrower is servant to the lender.
He who sows injustice will reap [a harvest of] trouble,
And the rod of his wrath [with which he oppresses others] will fail.
He who is generous will be blessed,
For he gives some of his food to the poor.
Drive out the scoffer, and contention will go away;
Even strife and dishonor will cease.
He who loves purity of heart
And whose speech is gracious will have the king as his friend.
The eyes of the Lord keep guard over knowledge and the one who has it,
But He overthrows the words of the treacherous.
The lazy one [manufactures excuses and] says, “There is a lion outside!
I will be killed in the streets [if I go out to work]!”
The mouth of an immoral woman is a deep pit [deep and inescapable];
He who is cursed by the Lord [because of his adulterous sin] will fall into it.
Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;
The rod of discipline [correction administered with godly wisdom and lovingkindness] will remove it far from him.
He who oppresses or exploits the poor to get more for himself
Or who gives to the rich [to gain influence and favor], will only come to poverty.
Listen carefully and hear the [a]words of the wise,
And apply your mind to my knowledge;
For it will be pleasant if you keep them in mind [incorporating them as guiding principles];
Let them be ready on your lips [to guide and strengthen yourself and others].
So that your trust and reliance and confidence may be in the Lord,
I have taught these things to you today, even to you.
Have I not written to you excellent things
In counsels and knowledge,
To let you know the certainty of the words of truth,
That you may give a correct answer to him who sent you?
Do not rob the poor because he is poor [and defenseless],
Nor crush the afflicted [by legal proceedings] at the gate [where the city court is held],
For the Lord will plead their case
And take the life of those who rob them.
Do not even associate with a man given to angry outbursts;
Or go [along] with a hot-tempered man,
Or you will learn his [undisciplined] ways
And get yourself trapped [in a situation from which it is hard to escape].
Do not be among those who give pledges [involving themselves in others’ finances],
Or among those who become guarantors for others’ debts.
If you have nothing with which to pay [another’s debt when he defaults],
Why should his creditor take your bed from under you?
Do not move the ancient landmark [at the boundary of the property]
Which your fathers have set.
Do you see a man skillful and experienced in his work?
He will stand [in honor] before kings;
He will not stand before obscure men.
23 When you sit down to dine with a ruler,
Consider carefully what is [set] before you;
For you will put a knife to your throat
If you are a man of great appetite.
Do not desire his delicacies,
For it is deceptive food [offered to you with questionable motives].
Do not weary yourself [with the overwhelming desire] to gain wealth;
Cease from your own understanding of it.
When you set your eyes on wealth, it is [suddenly] gone.
For wealth certainly makes itself wings
Like an eagle that flies to the heavens.
Do not eat the bread of a selfish man,
Or desire his delicacies;
For as he thinks in his heart, so is he [in behavior—one who manipulates].
He says to you, “Eat and drink,”
Yet his heart is not with you [but it is begrudging the cost].
The morsel which you have eaten you will vomit up,
And you will waste your compliments.
Do not speak in the ears of a fool,
For he will despise the [godly] wisdom of your words.
Do not move the ancient landmark [at the boundary of the property]
And do not go into the fields of the fatherless [to take what is theirs],
For their Redeemer is strong and mighty;
He will plead their case against you.
Apply your heart to discipline
And your ears to words of knowledge.
Do not withhold discipline from the child;
If you [b]swat him with a reed-like rod [applied with godly wisdom], he will not die.
You shall [c]swat him with the reed-like rod
And rescue his life from Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead).
My son, if your heart is wise,
My heart will also be glad;
Yes, my heart will rejoice
When your lips speak right things.
Do not let your heart envy sinners [who live godless lives and have no hope of salvation],
But [continue to] live in the [reverent, worshipful] fear of the Lord day by day.
Surely there is a future [and a reward],
And your hope and expectation will not be cut off.
Listen, my son, and be wise,
And direct your heart in the way [of the Lord].
Do not associate with heavy drinkers of wine,
Or with gluttonous eaters of meat,
For the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty,
And the drowsiness [of overindulgence] will clothe one with rags.
Listen to your father, who sired you,
And do not despise your mother when she is old.
[d]Buy truth, and do not sell it;
Get wisdom and instruction and understanding.
The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice,
And he who sires a wise child will have joy in him.
Let your father and your mother be glad,
And let her who gave birth to you rejoice [in your wise and godly choices].
My son, give me your heart
And let your eyes delight in my ways,
For a prostitute is a deep pit,
And an immoral woman is a narrow well.
She lurks and lies in wait like a robber [who waits for prey],
And she increases the faithless among men.
Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has strife? Who has complaining?
Who has wounds without cause?
Whose eyes are red and dim?
Those who linger long over wine,
Those who go to taste mixed wine.
Do not look at wine when it is red,
When it sparkles in the glass,
When it goes down smoothly.
At the last it bites like a serpent
And stings like a viper.
Your [drunken] eyes will see strange things
And your mind will utter perverse things [untrue things, twisted things].
And you will be [as unsteady] as one who lies down in the middle of the sea,
And [as vulnerable to disaster] as one who lies down on the top of a ship’s mast, saying,
“They struck me, but I was not hurt!
They beat me, but I did not feel it!
When will I wake up?
I will seek more wine.”
24 Do not be envious of evil men,
Nor desire to be with them;
For their minds plot violence,
And their lips talk of trouble [for the innocent].
Through [skillful and godly] wisdom a house [a life, a home, a family] is built,
And by understanding it is established [on a sound and good foundation],
And by knowledge its rooms are filled
With all precious and pleasant riches.
A wise man is strong,
And a man of knowledge strengthens his power;
For by wise guidance you can wage your war,
And in an abundance of [wise] counselors there is victory and safety.
Wisdom is too exalted for a [hardened, arrogant] [e]fool;
He does not open his mouth in the gate [where the city’s rulers sit in judgment].
He who plans to do evil
Will be called a schemer or deviser of evil.
The devising of folly is sin,
And the scoffer is repulsive to men.
If you are slack (careless) in the day of distress,
Your strength is limited.
Rescue those who are being taken away to death,
And those who stagger to the slaughter, Oh hold them back [from their doom]!
If you [claim ignorance and] say, “See, we did not know this,”
Does He not consider it who weighs and examines the hearts and their motives?
And does He not know it who guards your life and keeps your soul?
And will He not repay [you and] every man according to his works?
My son, eat honey, because it is good,
And the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.
Know that [skillful and godly] wisdom is [so very good] for your life and soul;
If you find wisdom, then there will be a future and a reward,
And your hope and expectation will not be cut off.
Do not lie in wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous;
Do not destroy his resting place;
For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again,
But the wicked stumble in time of disaster and collapse.
Do not rejoice and gloat when your enemy falls,
And do not let your heart be glad [in self-righteousness] when he stumbles,
Or the Lord will see your gloating and be displeased,
And turn His anger away from your enemy.
Do not get upset because of evildoers,
Or be envious of the wicked,
For there will be no future for the evil man;
The lamp of the wicked will be put out.
My son, fear the Lord and the king;
And do not associate with those who are given to change [of allegiance, and are revolutionary],
For their tragedy will rise suddenly,
And who knows the punishment that both [the Lord and the king] will bring on the rebellious?
These also are sayings of the wise:
To show partiality in judgment is not good.
He who says to the wicked, “You are righteous,”
Peoples will curse him, nations will denounce him;
But to those [honorable judges] who rebuke the wicked, it will go well with them and they will find delight,
And a good blessing will come upon them.
He kisses the lips [and wins the hearts of people]
Who gives a right and straightforward answer.
Prepare your work outside
And get it ready for yourself in the field;
[f]Afterward build your house and establish a home.
Do not be a witness against your [g]neighbor without cause,
And do not deceive with your lips [speak neither lies nor half-truths].
Do not say, “I will do to him as he has done to me;
I will pay the man back for his deed.”
I went by the field of the lazy man,
And by the vineyard of the man lacking understanding and common sense;
And, behold, it was all overgrown with thorns,
And nettles were covering its surface,
And its stone wall was broken down.
When I saw, I considered it well;
I looked and received instruction.
“Yet a little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to rest [and daydream],”
Then your poverty will come as a robber,
And your want like an armed man.
8 Now, brothers and sisters, we want to tell you about the grace of God which has been evident in the churches of Macedonia [awakening in them a longing to contribute]; 2 for during an ordeal of severe distress, their abundant joy and their deep poverty [together] overflowed in the wealth of their lavish generosity. 3 For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave voluntarily, 4 begging us insistently for the privilege of participating in the service for [the support of] the saints [in Jerusalem]. 5 Not only [did they give materially] as we had hoped, but first they gave themselves to the Lord and to us [as His representatives] by the will of God [disregarding their personal interests and giving as much as they possibly could]. 6 So we urged Titus that, as he began it, he should also complete this gracious work among you as well.
7 But just as you excel in everything, [and lead the way] in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in genuine concern, and in your love for us, see that you excel in this gracious work [of giving] also. 8 I am not saying this as a command [to dictate to you], but to prove, by [pointing out] the enthusiasm of others, the sincerity of your love as well. 9 For you are recognizing [more clearly] the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [His astonishing kindness, His generosity, His gracious favor], that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich (abundantly blessed). 10 I give you my opinion in this matter: this is to your advantage, who were the first to begin a year ago not only to take action [to help the believers in Jerusalem], but also [the first] to desire to do it. 11 So now finish this, so that your eagerness in desiring it may be equaled by your completion of it, according to your ability. 12 For if the eagerness [to give] is there, it is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have. 13 For it is not [intended] that others be relieved [of their responsibility] and that you be [a]burdened [unfairly], but [b]that there be equality [in sharing the burden]— 14 at this present time your surplus [over necessities] is going to supply their need, so that [at some other time] their surplus may be given to supply your need, that there may be equality; 15 as it is written [in Scripture], “He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not lack.”
16 But thanks be to God who puts the same genuine concern for you in the heart of Titus. 17 For Titus not only accepted our appeal, but was so very interested in you that he has gone to visit you of his own accord. 18 And we have sent along with him the [c]brother who is praised in the gospel [ministry] throughout all the churches; 19 and not only this, but he has also been appointed by the churches to travel with us in regard to this gracious offering which we are administering for the glory of the Lord Himself, and to show our eagerness [as believers to help one another]. 20 We are taking precaution so that no one will [find anything with which to] discredit us in our administration of this generous gift. 21 For we have regard for what is honorable [and above suspicion], not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. 22 We have sent with them our brother, whom we have often tested and found to be diligent in many things, but who is now even more diligent [than ever] because of his great confidence in you. 23 As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker in your service; and as for the [other two] brothers, they are [special] [d]messengers of the churches, a glory and credit to Christ. 24 Therefore, show these men, in the sight of the churches, the proof of your love and our reason for being proud of you.