1 As dead flies cause even a bottle of perfume to stink, so a little foolishness spoils great wisdom and honor. 2 A wise person chooses the right road; a fool takes the wrong one. 3 You can identify fools just by the way they walk down the street! 4 If your boss is angry at you, don’t quit! A quiet spirit can overcome even great mistakes. 5 There is another evil I have seen under the sun. Kings and rulers make a grave mistake 6 when they give great authority to foolish people and low positions to people of proven worth. 7 I have even seen servants riding horseback like princes—and princes walking like servants! 8 When you dig a well, you might fall in. When you demolish an old wall, you could be bitten by a snake. 9 When you work in a quarry, stones might fall and crush you. When you chop wood, there is danger with each stroke of your ax. 10 Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed. 11 If a snake bites before you charm it, what’s the use of being a snake charmer? 12 Wise words bring approval, but fools are destroyed by their own words. 13 Fools base their thoughts on foolish assumptions, so their conclusions will be wicked madness; 14 they chatter on and on. No one really knows what is going to happen; no one can predict the future. 15 Fools are so exhausted by a little work that they can’t even find their way home. 16 What sorrow for the land ruled by a servant, the land whose leaders feast in the morning. 17 Happy is the land whose king is a noble leader and whose leaders feast at the proper time to gain strength for their work, not to get drunk. 18 Laziness leads to a sagging roof; idleness leads to a leaky house. 19 A party gives laughter, wine gives happiness, and money gives everything! 20 Never make light of the king, even in your thoughts. And don’t make fun of the powerful, even in your own bedroom. For a little bird might deliver your message and tell them what you said.
1 Send your grain across the seas, and in time, profits will flow back to you. 2 But divide your investments among many places, for you do not know what risks might lie ahead. 3 When clouds are heavy, the rains come down. Whether a tree falls north or south, it stays where it falls. 4 Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest. 5 Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things. 6 Plant your seed in the morning and keep busy all afternoon, for you don’t know if profit will come from one activity or another—or maybe both. 7 Light is sweet; how pleasant to see a new day dawning. 8 When people live to be very old, let them rejoice in every day of life. But let them also remember there will be many dark days. Everything still to come is meaningless. 9 Young people, it’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do. 10 So refuse to worry, and keep your body healthy. But remember that youth, with a whole life before you, is meaningless.
1 Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say, “Life is not pleasant anymore.” 2 Remember him before the light of the sun, moon, and stars is dim to your old eyes, and rain clouds continually darken your sky. 3 Remember him before your legs—the guards of your house—start to tremble; and before your shoulders—the strong men—stoop. Remember him before your teeth—your few remaining servants—stop grinding; and before your eyes—the women looking through the windows—see dimly. 4 Remember him before the door to life’s opportunities is closed and the sound of work fades. Now you rise at the first chirping of the birds, but then all their sounds will grow faint. 5 Remember him before you become fearful of falling and worry about danger in the streets; before your hair turns white like an almond tree in bloom, and you drag along without energy like a dying grasshopper, and the caperberry no longer inspires sexual desire. Remember him before you near the grave, your everlasting home, when the mourners will weep at your funeral. 6 Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young, before the silver cord of life snaps and the golden bowl is broken. Don’t wait until the water jar is smashed at the spring and the pulley is broken at the well. 7 For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it. 8 “Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless.” 9 Keep this in mind: The Teacher was considered wise, and he taught the people everything he knew. He listened carefully to many proverbs, studying and classifying them. 10 The Teacher sought to find just the right words to express truths clearly. 11 The words of the wise are like cattle prods—painful but helpful. Their collected sayings are like a nail-studded stick with which a shepherd drives the sheep. 12 But, my child, let me give you some further advice: Be careful, for writing books is endless, and much study wears you out. 13 That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. 14 God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.
1 This letter is from Paul, an apostle. I was not appointed by any group of people or any human authority, but by Jesus Christ himself and by God the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead. 2 All the brothers and sisters here join me in sending this letter to the churches of Galatia. 3 May God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. 4 Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live. 5 All glory to God forever and ever! Amen. 6 I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News 7 but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ. 8 Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you. 9 I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed. 10 Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant. 11 Dear brothers and sisters, I want you to understand that the gospel message I preach is not based on mere human reasoning. 12 I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me. Instead, I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ. 13 You know what I was like when I followed the Jewish religion—how I violently persecuted God’s church. I did my best to destroy it. 14 I was far ahead of my fellow Jews in my zeal for the traditions of my ancestors. 15 But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him 16 to reveal his Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles. When this happened, I did not rush out to consult with any human being. 17 Nor did I go up to Jerusalem to consult with those who were apostles before I was. Instead, I went away into Arabia, and later I returned to the city of Damascus. 18 Then three years later I went to Jerusalem to get to know Peter, and I stayed with him for fifteen days. 19 The only other apostle I met at that time was James, the Lord’s brother. 20 I declare before God that what I am writing to you is not a lie. 21 After that visit I went north into the provinces of Syria and Cilicia. 22 And still the churches in Christ that are in Judea didn’t know me personally. 23 All they knew was that people were saying, “The one who used to persecute us is now preaching the very faith he tried to destroy!” 24 And they praised God because of me.