1 I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. 2 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. 5 For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is. 6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. 8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. 9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. 11 In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. 16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. 19 They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow. 20 Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied: 2 “Can a man be of benefit to God? Can even a wise person benefit him? 3 What pleasure would it give the Almighty if you were righteous? What would he gain if your ways were blameless? 4 “Is it for your piety that he rebukes you and brings charges against you? 5 Is not your wickedness great? Are not your sins endless? 6 You demanded security from your relatives for no reason; you stripped people of their clothing, leaving them naked. 7 You gave no water to the weary and you withheld food from the hungry, 8 though you were a powerful man, owning land— an honored man, living on it. 9 And you sent widows away empty-handed and broke the strength of the fatherless. 10 That is why snares are all around you, why sudden peril terrifies you, 11 why it is so dark you cannot see, and why a flood of water covers you. 12 “Is not God in the heights of heaven? And see how lofty are the highest stars! 13 Yet you say, ‘What does God know? Does he judge through such darkness? 14 Thick clouds veil him, so he does not see us as he goes about in the vaulted heavens.’ 15 Will you keep to the old path that the wicked have trod? 16 They were carried off before their time, their foundations washed away by a flood. 17 They said to God, ‘Leave us alone! What can the Almighty do to us?’ 18 Yet it was he who filled their houses with good things, so I stand aloof from the plans of the wicked. 19 The righteous see their ruin and rejoice; the innocent mock them, saying, 20 ‘Surely our foes are destroyed, and fire devours their wealth.’ 21 “Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. 22 Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart. 23 If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored: If you remove wickedness far from your tent 24 and assign your nuggets to the dust, your gold of Ophir to the rocks in the ravines, 25 then the Almighty will be your gold, the choicest silver for you. 26 Surely then you will find delight in the Almighty and will lift up your face to God. 27 You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fulfill your vows. 28 What you decide on will be done, and light will shine on your ways. 29 When people are brought low and you say, ‘Lift them up!’ then he will save the downcast. 30 He will deliver even one who is not innocent, who will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.”
1 Then Job replied: 2 “Even today my complaint is bitter; his hand is heavy in spite of my groaning. 3 If only I knew where to find him; if only I could go to his dwelling! 4 I would state my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments. 5 I would find out what he would answer me, and consider what he would say to me. 6 Would he vigorously oppose me? No, he would not press charges against me. 7 There the upright can establish their innocence before him, and there I would be delivered forever from my judge. 8 “But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. 9 When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him. 10 But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. 11 My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. 12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread. 13 “But he stands alone, and who can oppose him? He does whatever he pleases. 14 He carries out his decree against me, and many such plans he still has in store. 15 That is why I am terrified before him; when I think of all this, I fear him. 16 God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me. 17 Yet I am not silenced by the darkness, by the thick darkness that covers my face.
1 “Why does the Almighty not set times for judgment? Why must those who know him look in vain for such days? 2 There are those who move boundary stones; they pasture flocks they have stolen. 3 They drive away the orphan’s donkey and take the widow’s ox in pledge. 4 They thrust the needy from the path and force all the poor of the land into hiding. 5 Like wild donkeys in the desert, the poor go about their labor of foraging food; the wasteland provides food for their children. 6 They gather fodder in the fields and glean in the vineyards of the wicked. 7 Lacking clothes, they spend the night naked; they have nothing to cover themselves in the cold. 8 They are drenched by mountain rains and hug the rocks for lack of shelter. 9 The fatherless child is snatched from the breast; the infant of the poor is seized for a debt. 10 Lacking clothes, they go about naked; they carry the sheaves, but still go hungry. 11 They crush olives among the terraces ; they tread the winepresses, yet suffer thirst. 12 The groans of the dying rise from the city, and the souls of the wounded cry out for help. But God charges no one with wrongdoing. 13 “There are those who rebel against the light, who do not know its ways or stay in its paths. 14 When daylight is gone, the murderer rises up, kills the poor and needy, and in the night steals forth like a thief. 15 The eye of the adulterer watches for dusk; he thinks, ‘No eye will see me,’ and he keeps his face concealed. 16 In the dark, thieves break into houses, but by day they shut themselves in; they want nothing to do with the light. 17 For all of them, midnight is their morning; they make friends with the terrors of darkness. 18 “Yet they are foam on the surface of the water; their portion of the land is cursed, so that no one goes to the vineyards. 19 As heat and drought snatch away the melted snow, so the grave snatches away those who have sinned. 20 The womb forgets them, the worm feasts on them; the wicked are no longer remembered but are broken like a tree. 21 They prey on the barren and childless woman, and to the widow they show no kindness. 22 But God drags away the mighty by his power; though they become established, they have no assurance of life. 23 He may let them rest in a feeling of security, but his eyes are on their ways. 24 For a little while they are exalted, and then they are gone; they are brought low and gathered up like all others; they are cut off like heads of grain. 25 “If this is not so, who can prove me false and reduce my words to nothing?”