1 Listen to this, all you people! Pay attention, everyone in the world! 2 High and low, rich and poor—listen! 3 For my words are wise, and my thoughts are filled with insight. 4 I listen carefully to many proverbs and solve riddles with inspiration from a harp. 5 Why should I fear when trouble comes, when enemies surround me? 6 They trust in their wealth and boast of great riches. 7 Yet they cannot redeem themselves from death by paying a ransom to God. 8 Redemption does not come so easily, for no one can ever pay enough 9 to live forever and never see the grave. 10 Those who are wise must finally die, just like the foolish and senseless, leaving all their wealth behind. 11 The grave is their eternal home, where they will stay forever. They may name their estates after themselves, 12 but their fame will not last. They will die, just like animals. 13 This is the fate of fools, though they are remembered as being wise. Interlude 14 Like sheep, they are led to the grave, where death will be their shepherd. In the morning the godly will rule over them. Their bodies will rot in the grave, far from their grand estates. 15 But as for me, God will redeem my life. He will snatch me from the power of the grave. Interlude 16 So don’t be dismayed when the wicked grow rich and their homes become ever more splendid. 17 For when they die, they take nothing with them. Their wealth will not follow them into the grave. 18 In this life they consider themselves fortunate and are applauded for their success. 19 But they will die like all before them and never again see the light of day. 20 People who boast of their wealth don’t understand; they will die, just like animals.
1 The LORD, the Mighty One, is God, and he has spoken; he has summoned all humanity from where the sun rises to where it sets. 2 From Mount Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines in glorious radiance. 3 Our God approaches, and he is not silent. Fire devours everything in his way, and a great storm rages around him. 4 He calls on the heavens above and earth below to witness the judgment of his people. 5 “Bring my faithful people to me— those who made a covenant with me by giving sacrifices.” 6 Then let the heavens proclaim his justice, for God himself will be the judge. Interlude 7 “O my people, listen as I speak. Here are my charges against you, O Israel: I am God, your God! 8 I have no complaint about your sacrifices or the burnt offerings you constantly offer. 9 But I do not need the bulls from your barns or the goats from your pens. 10 For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. 11 I know every bird on the mountains, and all the animals of the field are mine. 12 If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for all the world is mine and everything in it. 13 Do I eat the meat of bulls? Do I drink the blood of goats? 14 Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High. 15 Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.” 16 But God says to the wicked: “Why bother reciting my decrees and pretending to obey my covenant? 17 For you refuse my discipline and treat my words like trash. 18 When you see thieves, you approve of them, and you spend your time with adulterers. 19 Your mouth is filled with wickedness, and your tongue is full of lies. 20 You sit around and slander your brother— your own mother’s son. 21 While you did all this, I remained silent, and you thought I didn’t care. But now I will rebuke you, listing all my charges against you. 22 Repent, all of you who forget me, or I will tear you apart, and no one will help you. 23 But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me. If you keep to my path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God.”
1 This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News. 2 God promised this Good News long ago through his prophets in the holy Scriptures. 3 The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, 4 and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name. 6 And you are included among those Gentiles who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ. 7 I am writing to all of you in Rome who are loved by God and are called to be his own holy people. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. 8 Let me say first that I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith in him is being talked about all over the world. 9 God knows how often I pray for you. Day and night I bring you and your needs in prayer to God, whom I serve with all my heart by spreading the Good News about his Son. 10 One of the things I always pray for is the opportunity, God willing, to come at last to see you. 11 For I long to visit you so I can bring you some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord. 12 When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours. 13 I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to visit you, but I was prevented until now. I want to work among you and see spiritual fruit, just as I have seen among other Gentiles. 14 For I have a great sense of obligation to people in both the civilized world and the rest of the world, to the educated and uneducated alike. 15 So I am eager to come to you in Rome, too, to preach the Good News. 16 For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. 17 This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” 18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. 19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. 21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. 23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. 26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved. 28 Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. 29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. 30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. 31 They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. 32 They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.