I can't impress this on you too strongly. God is looking over your shoulder. Christ himself is the Judge, with the final say on everyone, living and dead. He is about to break into the open with his rule,
so proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don't ever quit. Just keep it simple.
You're going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food - catchy opinions that tickle their fancy.
They'll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages.
But you - keep your eye on what you're doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God's servant.
You take over. I'm about to die, my life an offering on God's altar.
This is the only race worth running. I've run hard right to the finish, believed all the way.
All that's left now is the shouting - God's applause! Depend on it, he's an honest judge. He'll do right not only by me, but by everyone eager for his coming.
Get here as fast as you can.
Demas, chasing fads, went off to Thessalonica and left me here. Crescens is in Galatia province, Titus in Dalmatia.
Luke is the only one here with me. Bring Mark with you; he'll be my right-hand man
since I'm sending Tychicus to Ephesus.
Bring the winter coat I left in Troas with Carpus; also the books and parchment notebooks.
Watch out for Alexander the coppersmith.
Fiercely opposed to our Message, he caused no end of trouble. God will give him what he's got coming.
At my preliminary hearing no one stood by me. They all ran like scared rabbits. But it doesn't matter -
the Master stood by me and helped me spread the Message loud and clear to those who had never heard it. I was snatched from the jaws of the lion!
God's looking after me, keeping me safe in the kingdom of heaven. All praise to him, praise forever! Oh, yes!
Say hello to Priscilla and Aquila; also, the family of Onesiphorus.
Erastus stayed behind in Corinth. I had to leave Trophimus sick in Miletus.
Try hard to get here before winter. Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all your friends here send greetings.
God be with you. Grace be with you.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)