From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by order of God our Savior and Christ Jesus our hope -
To Timothy, my true son in the faith: May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace.
I want you to stay in Ephesus, just as I urged you when I was on my way to Macedonia. Some people there are teaching false doctrines, and you must order them to stop.
Tell them to give up those legends and those long lists of ancestors, which only produce arguments; they do not serve God's plan, which is known by faith.
The purpose of this order is to arouse the love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a genuine faith.
Some people have turned away from these and have lost their way in foolish discussions.
They want to be teachers of God's law, but they do not understand their own words or the matters about which they speak with so much confidence.
We know that the Law is good if it is used as it should be used.
It must be remembered, of course, that laws are made, not for good people, but for lawbreakers and criminals, for the godless and sinful, for those who are not religious or spiritual, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers,
for the immoral, for sexual perverts, for kidnappers, for those who lie and give false testimony or who do anything else contrary to sound doctrine.
That teaching is found in the gospel that was entrusted to me to announce, the Good News from the glorious and blessed God.
I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength for my work. I thank him for considering me worthy and appointing me to serve him,
even though in the past I spoke evil of him and persecuted and insulted him. But God was merciful to me because I did not yet have faith and so did not know what I was doing.
And our Lord poured out his abundant grace on me and gave me the faith and love which are ours in union with Christ Jesus.
This is a true saying, to be completely accepted and believed: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I am the worst of them,
but God was merciful to me in order that Christ Jesus might show his full patience in dealing with me, the worst of sinners, as an example for all those who would later believe in him and receive eternal life.
To the eternal King, immortal and invisible, the only God - to him be honor and glory forever and ever! Amen.
Timothy, my child, I entrust to you this command, which is in accordance with the words of prophecy spoken in the past about you. Use those words as weapons in order to fight well,
and keep your faith and a clear conscience. Some people have not listened to their conscience and have made a ruin of their faith.
Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have punished by handing them over to the power of Satan; this will teach them to stop their blasphemy.
Those who go to Egypt for help are doomed! They are relying on Egypt's vast military strength - horses, chariots, and soldiers. But they do not rely on the Lord, the holy God of Israel, or ask him for help.
He knows what he is doing! He sends disaster. He carries out his threats to punish evil people and those who protect them.
The Egyptians are not gods - they are only human. Their horses are not supernatural. When the Lord acts, the strong nation will crumble, and the weak nation it helped will fall. Both of them will be destroyed.
The Lord said to me, "No matter how shepherds yell and shout, they can't scare away a lion from an animal that it has killed; in the same way, there is nothing that can keep me, the Lord Almighty, from protecting Mount Zion.
Just as a bird hovers over its nest to protect its young, so I, the Lord Almighty, will protect Jerusalem and defend it."
God said, "People of Israel, you have sinned against me and opposed me. But now, come back to me!
A time is coming when all of you will throw away the sinful idols you made out of silver and gold.
Assyria will be destroyed in war, but not by human power. The Assyrians will run from battle, and their young men will be made slaves.
Their emperor will run away in terror, and the officers will be so frightened that they will abandon their battle flags." The Lord has spoken - the Lord who is worshiped in Jerusalem and whose fire burns there for sacrifices.
Some day there will be a king who rules with integrity, and national leaders who govern with justice.
Each of them will be like a shelter from the wind and a place to hide from storms. They will be like streams flowing in a desert, like the shadow of a giant rock in a barren land.
Their eyes and ears will be open to the needs of the people.
They will not be impatient any longer, but they will act with understanding and will say what they mean.
No one will think that a fool is honorable or say that a scoundrel is honest.
A fool speaks foolishly and thinks up evil things to do. What he does and what he says are an insult to the Lord, and he never feeds the hungry or gives thirsty people anything to drink.
A stupid person is evil and does evil things; he plots to ruin the poor with lies and to keep them from getting their rights.
But an honorable person acts honestly and stands firm for what is right.
You women who live an easy life, free from worries, listen to what I am saying.
You may be satisfied now, but this time next year you will be in despair because there will be no grapes for you to gather.
You have been living an easy life, free from worries; but now, tremble with fear! Strip off your clothes and tie rags around your waist.
Beat your breasts in grief because the fertile fields and the vineyards have been destroyed,
and thorn bushes and briers are growing on my people's land. Weep for all the houses where people were happy and for the city that was full of life.
Even the palace will be abandoned and the capital city totally deserted. Homes and the forts that guarded them will be in ruins forever. Wild donkeys will roam there, and sheep will find pasture there.
But once more God will send us his spirit. The wasteland will become fertile, and fields will produce rich crops.
Everywhere in the land righteousness and justice will be done.
Because everyone will do what is right, there will be peace and security forever.
God's people will be free from worries, and their homes peaceful and safe
(But hail will fall on the forests, and the city will be torn down.)
How happy everyone will be with plenty of water for the crops and safe pasture everywhere for the donkeys and cattle.
Our enemies are doomed! They have robbed and betrayed, although no one has robbed them or betrayed them. But their time to rob and betray will end, and they themselves will become victims of robbery and treachery.
Lord, have mercy on us. We have put our hope in you. Protect us day by day and save us in times of trouble.
When you fight for us, nations run away from the noise of battle.
Their belongings are pounced upon and taken as loot.
How great the Lord is! He rules over everything. He will fill Jerusalem with justice and integrity
and give stability to the nation. He always protects his people and gives them wisdom and knowledge. Their greatest treasure is their reverence for the Lord.
The brave are calling for help. The ambassadors who tried to bring about peace are crying bitterly.
The highways are so dangerous that no one travels on them. Treaties are broken and agreements are violated. No one is respected any more.
The land lies idle and deserted. The forests of Lebanon have withered, the fertile valley of Sharon is like a desert, and in Bashan and on Mount Carmel the leaves are falling from the trees.
The Lord says to the nations, "Now I will act. I will show how powerful I am.
You make worthless plans and everything you do is useless. My spirit is like a fire that will destroy you.
You will crumble like rocks burned to make lime, like thorns burned to ashes.
Let everyone near and far hear what I have done and acknowledge my power."
The sinful people of Zion are trembling with fright. They say, "God's judgment is like a fire that burns forever. Can any of us survive a fire like that?"
You can survive if you say and do what is right. Don't use your power to cheat the poor and don't accept bribes. Don't join with those who plan to commit murder or to do other evil things.
Then you will be safe; you will be as secure as if in a strong fortress. You will have food to eat and water to drink.
Once again you will see a king ruling in splendor over a land that stretches in all directions.
Your old fears of foreign tax collectors and spies will be only a memory.
You will no longer see any arrogant foreigners who speak a language that you can't understand.
Look at Zion, the city where we celebrate our religious festivals. Look at Jerusalem! What a safe place it will be to live in! It will be like a tent that is never moved, whose pegs are never pulled up and whose ropes never break.
The Lord will show us his glory. We will live beside broad rivers and streams, but hostile ships will not sail on them.
All the rigging on those ships is useless; the sails cannot be spread! We will seize all the wealth of enemy armies, and there will be so much that even the lame can get a share. The Lord himself will be our king; he will rule over us and protect us.
No one who lives in our land will ever again complain of being sick, and all sins will be forgiven.
Teach me, Lord, the meaning of your laws, and I will obey them at all times.
Explain your law to me, and I will obey it; I will keep it with all my heart.
Keep me obedient to your commandments, because in them I find happiness.
Give me the desire to obey your laws rather than to get rich.
Keep me from paying attention to what is worthless; be good to me, as you have promised.
Keep your promise to me, your servant - the promise you make to those who obey you.
Save me from the insults I fear; how wonderful are your judgments!
I want to obey your commands; give me new life, for you are righteous.
Show me how much you love me, Lord, and save me according to your promise.
Then I can answer those who insult me because I trust in your word.
Enable me to speak the truth at all times, because my hope is in your judgments.
I will always obey your law, forever and ever.
I will live in perfect freedom, because I try to obey your teachings.
I will announce your commands to kings and I will not be ashamed.
I find pleasure in obeying your commands, because I love them.
I respect and love your commandments; I will meditate on your instructions.
Remember your promise to me, your servant; it has given me hope.
Even in my suffering I was comforted because your promise gave me life.
The proud are always scornful of me, but I have not departed from your law.
I remember your judgments of long ago, and they bring me comfort, O Lord.
When I see the wicked breaking your law, I am filled with anger.
During my brief earthly life I compose songs about your commands.
In the night I remember you, Lord, and I think about your law.
I find my happiness in obeying your commands.
You are all I want, O Lord; I promise to obey your laws.
I ask you with all my heart to have mercy on me, as you have promised!
I have considered my conduct, and I promise to follow your instructions.
Without delay I hurry to obey your commands.
The wicked have laid a trap for me, but I do not forget your law.
In the middle of the night I wake up to praise you for your righteous judgments.
I am a friend of all who serve you, of all who obey your laws.
Lord, the earth is full of your constant love; teach me your commandments.