97 God rules: there’s something to shout over!
On the double, mainlands and islands—celebrate!
2 Bright clouds and storm clouds circle ’round him;
Right and justice anchor his rule.
3 Fire blazes out before him,
Flaming high up the craggy mountains.
4 His lightnings light up the world;
Earth, wide-eyed, trembles in fear.
5 The mountains take one look at God
And melt, melt like wax before earth’s Lord.
6 The heavens announce that he’ll set everything right,
And everyone will see it happen—glorious!
7-8 All who serve handcrafted gods will be sorry—
And they were so proud of their ragamuffin gods!
On your knees, all you gods—worship him!
And Zion, you listen and take heart!
Daughters of Zion, sing your hearts out:
God has done it all, has set everything right.
9 You, God, are High God of the cosmos,
Far, far higher than any of the gods.
10 God loves all who hate evil,
And those who love him he keeps safe,
Snatches them from the grip of the wicked.
11 Light-seeds are planted in the souls of God’s people,
Joy-seeds are planted in good heart-soil.
12 So, God’s people, shout praise to God,
Give thanks to our Holy God!
98 Sing to God a brand-new song.
He’s made a world of wonders!
He rolled up his sleeves,
He set things right.
2 God made history with salvation,
He showed the world what he could do.
3 He remembered to love us, a bonus
To his dear family, Israel—indefatigable love.
The whole earth comes to attention.
Look—God’s work of salvation!
4 Shout your praises to God, everybody!
Let loose and sing! Strike up the band!
5 Round up an orchestra to play for God,
Add on a hundred-voice choir.
6 Feature trumpets and big trombones,
Fill the air with praises to King God.
7 Let the sea and its fish give a round of applause,
With everything living on earth joining in.
8 Let ocean breakers call out, “Encore!”
And mountains harmonize the finale—
9 A tribute to God when he comes,
When he comes to set the earth right.
He’ll straighten out the whole world,
He’ll put the world right, and everyone in it.
99 1-3 God rules. On your toes, everybody!
He rules from his angel throne—take notice!
God looms majestic in Zion,
He towers in splendor over all the big names.
Great and terrible your beauty: let everyone praise you!
Holy. Yes, holy.
4-5 Strong King, lover of justice,
You laid things out fair and square;
You set down the foundations in Jacob,
Foundation stones of just and right ways.
Honor God, our God; worship his rule!
Holy. Yes, holy.
6-9 Moses and Aaron were his priests,
Samuel among those who prayed to him.
They prayed to God and he answered them;
He spoke from the pillar of cloud.
And they did what he said; they kept the law he gave them.
And then God, our God, answered them
(But you were never soft on their sins).
Lift high God, our God; worship at his holy mountain.
Holy. Yes, holy is God our God.
16 1-2 Be sure to welcome our friend Phoebe in the way of the Master, with all the generous hospitality we Christians are famous for. I heartily endorse both her and her work. She’s a key representative of the church at Cenchrea. Help her out in whatever she asks. She deserves anything you can do for her. She’s helped many a person, including me.
3-5 Say hello to Priscilla and Aquila, who have worked hand in hand with me in serving Jesus. They once put their lives on the line for me. And I’m not the only one grateful to them. All the non-Jewish gatherings of believers also owe them plenty, to say nothing of the church that meets in their house.
Hello to my dear friend Epenetus. He was the very first follower of Jesus in the province of Asia.
6 Hello to Mary. What a worker she has turned out to be!
7 Hello to my cousins Andronicus and Junias. We once shared a jail cell. They were believers in Christ before I was. Both of them are outstanding leaders.
8 Hello to Ampliatus, my good friend in the family of God.
9 Hello to Urbanus, our companion in Christ’s work, and my good friend Stachys.
10 Hello to Apelles, a tried-and-true veteran in following Christ.
Hello to the family of Aristobulus.
11 Hello to my cousin Herodion.
Hello to those who belong to the Lord from the family of Narcissus.
12 Hello to Tryphena and Tryphosa—such diligent women in serving the Master.
Hello to Persis, a dear friend and hard worker in Christ.
13 Hello to Rufus—a good choice by the Master!—and his mother. She has also been a dear mother to me.
14 Hello to Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and also to all of their families.
15 Hello to Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas—and all the followers of Jesus who live with them.
16 Holy embraces all around! All the churches of Christ send their warmest greetings!
17-18 One final word of counsel, friends. Keep a sharp eye out for those who take bits and pieces of the teaching that you learned and then use them to make trouble. Give these people a wide berth. They have no intention of living for our Master Christ. They’re only in this for what they can get out of it, and aren’t above using pious sweet talk to dupe unsuspecting innocents.
19-20 And so while there has never been any question about your honesty in these matters—I couldn’t be more proud of you!—I want you also to be smart, making sure every “good” thing is the real thing. Don’t be gullible in regard to smooth-talking evil. Stay alert like this, and before you know it the God of peace will come down on Satan with both feet, stomping him into the dirt. Enjoy the best of Jesus!
21 And here are some more greetings from our end. Timothy, my partner in this work, Lucius, and my cousins Jason and Sosipater all said to tell you hello.
22 I, Tertius, who wrote this letter at Paul’s dictation, send you my personal greetings.
23 Gaius, who is host here to both me and the whole church, wants to be remembered to you.
Erastus, the city treasurer, and our good friend Quartus send their greetings.
25-26 All of our praise rises to the One who is strong enough to make you strong, exactly as preached in Jesus Christ, precisely as revealed in the mystery kept secret for so long but now an open book through the prophetic Scriptures. All the nations of the world can now know the truth and be brought into obedient belief, carrying out the orders of God, who got all this started, down to the very last letter.
27 All our praise is focused through Jesus on this incomparably wise God! Yes!