1 These are more proverbs of Solomon, collected by the advisers of King Hezekiah of Judah. 2 It is God’s privilege to conceal things and the king’s privilege to discover them. 3 No one can comprehend the height of heaven, the depth of the earth, or all that goes on in the king’s mind! 4 Remove the impurities from silver, and the sterling will be ready for the silversmith. 5 Remove the wicked from the king’s court, and his reign will be made secure by justice. 6 Don’t demand an audience with the king or push for a place among the great. 7 It’s better to wait for an invitation to the head table than to be sent away in public disgrace. Just because you’ve seen something, 8 don’t be in a hurry to go to court. For what will you do in the end if your neighbor deals you a shameful defeat? 9 When arguing with your neighbor, don’t betray another person’s secret. 10 Others may accuse you of gossip, and you will never regain your good reputation. 11 Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket. 12 To one who listens, valid criticism is like a gold earring or other gold jewelry. 13 Trustworthy messengers refresh like snow in summer. They revive the spirit of their employer. 14 A person who promises a gift but doesn’t give it is like clouds and wind that bring no rain. 15 Patience can persuade a prince, and soft speech can break bones. 16 Do you like honey? Don’t eat too much, or it will make you sick! 17 Don’t visit your neighbors too often, or you will wear out your welcome. 18 Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an ax, wounding them with a sword, or shooting them with a sharp arrow. 19 Putting confidence in an unreliable person in times of trouble is like chewing with a broken tooth or walking on a lame foot. 20 Singing cheerful songs to a person with a heavy heart is like taking someone’s coat in cold weather or pouring vinegar in a wound. 21 If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat. If they are thirsty, give them water to drink. 22 You will heap burning coals of shame on their heads, and the LORD will reward you. 23 As surely as a north wind brings rain, so a gossiping tongue causes anger! 24 It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home. 25 Good news from far away is like cold water to the thirsty. 26 If the godly give in to the wicked, it’s like polluting a fountain or muddying a spring. 27 It’s not good to eat too much honey, and it’s not good to seek honors for yourself. 28 A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.
1 Honor is no more associated with fools than snow with summer or rain with harvest. 2 Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse will not land on its intended victim. 3 Guide a horse with a whip, a donkey with a bridle, and a fool with a rod to his back! 4 Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools, or you will become as foolish as they are. 5 Be sure to answer the foolish arguments of fools, or they will become wise in their own estimation. 6 Trusting a fool to convey a message is like cutting off one’s feet or drinking poison! 7 A proverb in the mouth of a fool is as useless as a paralyzed leg. 8 Honoring a fool is as foolish as tying a stone to a slingshot. 9 A proverb in the mouth of a fool is like a thorny branch brandished by a drunk. 10 An employer who hires a fool or a bystander is like an archer who shoots at random. 11 As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness. 12 There is more hope for fools than for people who think they are wise. 13 The lazy person claims, “There’s a lion on the road! Yes, I’m sure there’s a lion out there!” 14 As a door swings back and forth on its hinges, so the lazy person turns over in bed. 15 Lazy people take food in their hand but don’t even lift it to their mouth. 16 Lazy people consider themselves smarter than seven wise counselors. 17 Interfering in someone else’s argument is as foolish as yanking a dog’s ears. 18 Just as damaging as a madman shooting a deadly weapon 19 is someone who lies to a friend and then says, “I was only joking.” 20 Fire goes out without wood, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops. 21 A quarrelsome person starts fights as easily as hot embers light charcoal or fire lights wood. 22 Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one’s heart. 23 Smooth words may hide a wicked heart, just as a pretty glaze covers a clay pot. 24 People may cover their hatred with pleasant words, but they’re deceiving you. 25 They pretend to be kind, but don’t believe them. Their hearts are full of many evils. 26 While their hatred may be concealed by trickery, their wrongdoing will be exposed in public. 27 If you set a trap for others, you will get caught in it yourself. If you roll a boulder down on others, it will crush you instead. 28 A lying tongue hates its victims, and flattering words cause ruin.
1 I really don’t need to write to you about this ministry of giving for the believers in Jerusalem. 2 For I know how eager you are to help, and I have been boasting to the churches in Macedonia that you in Greece were ready to send an offering a year ago. In fact, it was your enthusiasm that stirred up many of the Macedonian believers to begin giving. 3 But I am sending these brothers to be sure you really are ready, as I have been telling them, and that your money is all collected. I don’t want to be wrong in my boasting about you. 4 We would be embarrassed—not to mention your own embarrassment—if some Macedonian believers came with me and found that you weren’t ready after all I had told them! 5 So I thought I should send these brothers ahead of me to make sure the gift you promised is ready. But I want it to be a willing gift, not one given grudgingly. 6 Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. 7 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” 8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. 9 As the Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.” 10 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. 11 Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. 12 So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God. 13 As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ. 14 And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you. 15 Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!