Ecclesiastes 7; Ecclesiastes 8; Ecclesiastes 9; 2 Corinthians 13

Viewing Multiple Passages

Ecclesiastes 7

1 A good name is better than expensive perfume, and the day you die is better than the day you're born.
2 It is better to go to a funeral than to a banquet because that is where everyone will end up. Everyone who is alive should take this to heart!
3 Sorrow is better than laughter because, in spite of a sad face, the heart can be joyful.
4 The minds of wise people think about funerals, but the minds of fools think about banquets.
5 It is better to listen to wise people who reprimand you than to fools who sing your praises.
6 The laughter of a fool is like the crackling of thorns burning under a pot. Even this is pointless.
7 Oppression can turn a wise person into a fool, and a bribe can corrupt the mind.
8 The end of something is better than its beginning. It is better to be patient than arrogant.
9 Don't be quick to get angry, because anger is typical of fools.
10 Don't ask, "Why were things better in the old days than they are now?" It isn't wisdom that leads you to ask this!
11 Wisdom is as good as an inheritance. It is an advantage to everyone who sees the sun.
12 Wisdom protects us just as money protects us, but the advantage of wisdom is that it gives life to those who have it.
13 Consider what God has done! Who can straighten what God has bent?
14 When times are good, be happy. But when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one time as well as the other so that mortals cannot predict their future.
15 I have seen it all in my pointless life: Righteous people die in spite of being righteous. Wicked people go on living in spite of being wicked.
16 Don't be too virtuous, and don't be too wise. Why make yourself miserable?
17 Don't be too wicked, and don't be a fool. Why should you die before your time is up?
18 It's good to hold on to the one and not let go of the other, because the one who fears God will be able to avoid both extremes.
19 Wisdom will help a wise person more than ten rulers can help a city.
20 Certainly, there is no one so righteous on earth that he always does what is good and never sins.
21 Don't take everything that people say to heart, or you may hear your own servant cursing you.
22 Your conscience knows that you have cursed others many times.
23 I used wisdom to test all of this. I said, "I want to be wise, but it is out of my reach."
24 Whatever wisdom may be, it is out of reach. It is deep, very deep. Who can find out what it is?
25 I turned my attention to study, to explore, and to seek out wisdom and the reason for things. I learned that wickedness is stupid and foolishness is madness.
26 I find that a woman whose thoughts are [like] traps and snares is more bitter than death itself. Even her hands are [like] chains. Whoever pleases God will escape her, but she will catch whoever continues to sin.
27 The spokesman said, "This is what I've found: I added one thing to another in order to find a reason for things.
28 I am still seeking a reason for things, but have not found any. I found one man out of a thousand who had it, but out of all these I didn't find one woman.
29 I have found only this: God made people decent, but they looked for many ways [to avoid being decent]."

Ecclesiastes 8

1 Who is really wise? Who knows how to explain things? Wisdom makes one's face shine, and it changes one's grim look.
2 I [advise] you to obey the king's commands because of the oath you took in God's presence.
3 Don't be in a hurry to leave the king's service. Don't take part in something evil, because he can do whatever he pleases.
4 Since a king's word has such power, no one can ask him what he is doing.
5 Whoever obeys his commands will avoid trouble. The mind of a wise person will know the right time and the right way [to act].
6 There is a right time and a right way [to act] in every situation. Yet, a terrible human tragedy hangs over people.
7 They don't know what the future will bring. So who can tell them how things will turn out?
8 No one has the power to prevent the spirit of life from leaving. No one has control over the day of his own death. There is no way to avoid the war [against death]. Wickedness will not save wicked people [from dying].
9 I have seen all of this, and I have carefully considered all that is done under the sun whenever one person has authority to hurt others.
10 Then I saw wicked people given an [honorable] burial. They used to go in and out of the holy place. They were praised in the city for doing such things. Even this is pointless.
11 When a sentence against a crime isn't carried out quickly, people are encouraged to commit crimes.
12 A sinner may commit a hundred crimes and yet live a long life. Still, I know with certainty that it will go well for those who fear God, because they fear him.
13 But it will not go well for the wicked. They will not live any longer. Their lives are like shadows, because they don't fear God.
14 There is something being done on earth that is pointless. Righteous people suffer for what the wicked do, and wicked people get what the righteous deserve. I say that even this is pointless.
15 So I recommend the enjoyment [of life]. People have nothing better to do under the sun than to eat, drink, and enjoy themselves. This joy will stay with them while they work hard during their brief lives which God has given them under the sun.
16 When I carefully considered how to study wisdom and how to look at the work that is done on earth (even going without sleep day and night),
17 then I saw everything that God has done. No one is able to grasp the work that is done under the sun. However hard a person may search for it, he will not find [its meaning]. Even though a wise person claims to know, he is not able to grasp it.

Ecclesiastes 9

1 Now, I have carefully thought about all this, and I explain it in this way: Righteous people and wise people, along with their accomplishments, are in God's hands. No one knows whether there will be love or hatred.
2 Everything turns out the same way for everyone. All people will share the same destiny, whether they are righteous, wicked, or good, clean or unclean, whether they offer sacrifices or don't offer sacrifices. Good people are treated like sinners. People who take oaths are treated like those who are afraid to take oaths.
3 This is the tragedy of everything that happens under the sun: Everyone shares the same destiny. Moreover, the hearts of mortals are full of evil. Madness is in their hearts while they are still alive. After that, they join the dead.
4 But all who are among the living have hope, because a living dog is better than a dead lion.
5 The living know that they will die, but the dead don't know anything. There is no more reward for the dead when the memory of them has faded.
6 Their love, their hate, and their passions have already vanished. They will never again take part in anything that happens under the sun.
7 Go, enjoy eating your food, and drink your wine cheerfully, because God has already accepted what you've done.
8 Always wear clean clothes, and never go without lotion on your head.
9 Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, during all your brief, pointless life. God has given you your pointless life under the sun. This is your lot [in life] and what you get for the hard work that you do under the sun.
10 Whatever presents itself for you to do, do it with [all] your might, because there is no work, planning, knowledge, or skill in the grave where you're going.
11 I saw something else under the sun. The race isn't [won] by fast runners, or the battle by heroes. Wise people don't necessarily have food. Intelligent people don't necessarily have riches, and skilled people don't necessarily receive special treatment. But time and unpredictable events overtake all of them.
12 No one knows when his time will come. Like fish that are caught in a cruel net or birds caught in a snare, humans are trapped by a disaster when it suddenly strikes them.
13 I also have seen this example of wisdom under the sun, and it made a deep impression on me.
14 There was a small town with a few soldiers in it, and a powerful king came to attack it. He surrounded it and blockaded it.
15 A poor, wise person was found in that town. He saved the town using his wisdom. But no one remembered that poor person.
16 So I said, "Wisdom is better than strength," even though that poor person's wisdom was despised, and no one listened to what he said.
17 One should pay more attention to calm words from wise people than shouting from a ruler of fools.
18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner can destroy much that is good.

2 Corinthians 13

1 This is the third time that I'll be visiting you. Every accusation must be verified by two or three witnesses.
2 I already warned you when I was with you the second time, and even though I'm not there now, I'm warning you again. When I visit you again, I won't spare you. That goes for all those who formerly led sinful lives as well as for all the others.
3 Since you want proof that Christ is speaking through me, that's what you'll get. Christ isn't weak in dealing with you. Instead, he makes his power felt among you.
4 He was weak when he was crucified, but by God's power he lives. We are weak with him, but by God's power we will live for you with his help.
5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are still in the Christian faith. Test yourselves! Don't you recognize that you are people in whom Jesus Christ lives? Could it be that you're failing the test?
6 I hope that you will realize that we haven't failed the test.
7 We pray to God that you won't do anything wrong. It's not that we want to prove that we've passed the test. Rather, we want you to do whatever is right, even if we seem to have failed.
8 We can't do anything against the truth but only to help the truth.
9 We're glad when we are weak and you are strong. We are also praying for your improvement.
10 That's why I'm writing this letter while I'm not with you. When I am with you I don't want to be harsh by using the authority that the Lord gave me. The Lord gave us this authority to help you, not to hurt you.
11 With that, brothers and sisters, I must say goodbye. Make sure that you improve. Accept my encouragement. Share the same attitude and live in peace. The God of love and peace will be with you.
12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All of God's holy people greet you.
13 May the Lord Jesus Christ's good will, God's love, and the Holy Spirit's presence be with all of you!