HOME

The Bahr Bible is an update of the Bible, the truth, and God’s word.  The Wise Prophet wants the The Bahr Bible to more represent God’s works, Commandments and love for all men and women and children. Gary Bahr is the editor and publisher.

INTRODUCTION

The Bible is the work of men, by men and used by religions. Those  Church men in 1546 who selected 66 books of men together into a Bible used what they had at the time. They proclaimed it’s content sacred. They did not have any of the original material. They had copies of copies written years later and different versions – some which had more books and more pages. Some books were written by witnesses at the time, other books were written by others, evangelists, some by Jews, some altered by Scribes. Bahr copied, interpreted, left out material, and made prior notes part of the text in future editions. The 1546 Church left out about 50 other books circulating at the time. The Wise Prophet and Bahr leave out a lot of material to make the Bible more readable and add only a few comments of their own… mostly in Genesis.

Of the New Testament, historically the books were written many years after the event. Some were attributed to authors who did not write the book as were 7 of 14 of the letters attributed to Paul of which some were attempts to justify Church positions of the day. 3 letters attributed to Paul by the Church are now known to have been written decades after Paul was beheaded.  Truly a miracle. 1st and 2nd Peter were not written by Peter. Indeed, half of the authors of the New Testament books are unknown. The Four gospels are written anonymously. Does it matter?

Most people believe what they want – as it should be and as it will be.

Perhaps after all is said and done, we are left to believe what we want. Was Jesus one of many radical teachers of the time questioning Roman authority and Priest authority. Was he a physical Son of God or symbolically a child of God? Was Jesus a great teacher? Or, was he all these things?

Now, with the Web and an iPad, it is easy for me, God, to communicate directives directly the The Wise Prophet, Gary Bahr, and others. Why, just taking out all the praise of God  by men when something they like happens and taking out the blame of God by men when they don’t like something will condense the Bible considerably and improve its readability.

Think about it… The Bahr Bible is an updated inspired version thru The Wise Prophet… It is still The Think Bible. It retains the message and shortens the reading. This is The Bahr Bible.  If you do not like it, choose another version or write your own bible.

The Bible is a living instrument open for interpretation.

If you learn anything in life, you should know that everyone thinks differently. That is why a 1000 preachers or a 1000 churches believe a little different from other preachers or churches. They interpret the Bible each in their own way.

You can too.

I did.

And, I made it a whole lot shorter, more relevant and to the point. “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2Tim3) and “For the word of God is living and activeand discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Heb4).

In essence, whatever moves you is great if it harms no one else.

The Bahr Bible is for those who think, who can sift and winnow through the chaff, the babble, the good, the evil, the divisive teachings, repetitions, the rantings and false prophesies – and enjoy.

~ The Bahr Bible – God through The Wise Prophet, Gary Bahr and others and edited and published by Gary Bahr. Gary Bahr et al at GaryBahr.com.

 

THE OLD TESTAMENT

In the beginning…

GENESIS:

God can take credit for creating Heaven and Earth and light and darkness and all that stuff and keep man guessing forever how He did it and how long it took.  But, to be honest, I think He rested a lot in between creations.  Was not done in six or seven days – more like 4.5 Billion years.

God did however create the idea of Evolution as a way of improving on His mistakes from time to time.  There is no hurry for God to finish as He lives forever – at least in the eyes of man. God no doubts enjoys all the new creations by Himself and by man. Some ask was man a mistake? Well, it will take several more billion years to see what happens with man.

Frankly, He may have a hard time believing the inventions of man as he never needed a car or plane to get around.

Day and night. Actually my wife created the moonlight. She is a little more romantic than I.  I would have had light all day long – more practical. Light all day works in Alaska just fine. It was good.

In Genesis, man makes it sound so easy.  Let me tell you, it is difficult coming up with so many creations – like one-a-day for billions of years.  Took longer to create when God carved his ideas in stone.  Paper was a great creation of man and helped a lot. The typewriter helped, and the computer and now the iPad – don’t know how even God could do without it now. ~ The Wise Prophet

MAKING MAN IN MY IMAGE

I have to tell you that God did not make man in His image. He wouldn’t want everyone to look the same. So He thought of this gene idea. Mix the genes up a little and you have a random and different human every time.

He was suppose to have said that Man would have control over all He created.  After He made it, He let man control all the animals and fish and plants.  I laugh now because few humans can even control their cat or dog or horse.  And, I see now that man can’t even control dandelions or garlic mustard.

SEVENTH DAY A DAY OF REST

On the seventh day God rested. Are you kidding me! He must not have had a wife.  What wife would let even God rest?

GOD’S GARDEN

Of course God had a garden.  Many gardens, This is heaven and a place of great beauty. So, we have many gardens – just like at the finest bed and breakfasts.  Yea, God had Adam and Eve to till the garden while He was busy thinking up new creations. Supposedly God told them not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. After saying man would have control over all He created, hs was to say – except this one tree?  But, God knew they would eat that fruit. Children! He must have been kidding when He said they would die if they did eat of the fruit of that tree.

Course they did not know an apple tree from a tree of knowledge of good and evil.

God did give Adam a woman – Eve – a helper.  She never did stop talking. And, first thing she does is tell him to eat of the Apple.  The Apple!  Well, it would not have bothered God much – He made lots of Apples.

GIVING ADAM AND THE WORLD WOMEN

God is blamed for making Eve. Some think He made a mistake. He did not make a woman helper fit for Adam, He made a woman so man and woman could multiply.  Apparently He did not have time to make a man or a woman everyday to multiply the numbers. Or, perhaps He did not want to be blamed for every man and woman.

MAKING WOMAN FROM A MAN’S RIB

Where the author of Genesis got the idea that God took a rib out of Adam to make a woman in beyond my comprehension.  He didn’t need Adam’s rib.  Man, I suppose, wants some claim of power over woman, so he gives up his rib for her making. He could have gave a woman all his ribs, and he would have no more power over a woman. Nor should he.

THE FRUIT OF THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE

God made snakes. If you believe He made one that would talk Eve and Adam into eating of the Tree of Knowledge – you need more explanation.  Eve ate the Apple and gave some to Adam. Eve blamed the snake. Adam blamed Eve. Sound typical. God was blamed for making a talking snake.

ORIGINAL SIN

But the real issue is that this is the Original Sin – eating an Apple.  And that means that man is now destined to sin. Can’t help himself! And, all because of Eve. Of course Adam and Eve would eat of the forbidden fruit.  All men and women would.  And, it is more likely, Adam and Eve ventured out of the Garden of Eden and then blamed God for kicking them out. It is in man’s nature to want to experience life, venture out and even create new things like iPads and blame God for everything.

Women will experience child bearing pain. Of course they will. Blame the snake. Or blame God or Original Sin!

Man will till thorns and thistles.  Blame Eve. Blame God or Original Sin.

If God was really mad He would have women experience more kidney stones, and man would pull garlic mustard all his life.

Now, man knows good and evil. Thank you Adam and Eve. Man can now be more god-like or not.

THE MARK OF CAIN

Adam and Eve had Cain and Abel. Cain kills bother Abel. Cain is marked by God – whatever that means. God did not mark Cain. Cain suffers do to his own wrongdoing. The Mormans use to say God marked Cain Black. Other religious men say God marked Cain gay. So many religions have no clue to what God would or could or did not do because the Bible says He did it!

The Bible is merely a collection of writings of many – many authors unknown. Those authors may have felt inspired by God, but so do people to this day.

Adam is said to have lived 930 years. I certainly lost count. Think about it. Did God regret making man and all and bring a big flood to destroy all He created? Of course not. It is a good story, but it is a story.

To preserve his family and 2 of every creature, Noah would still be building an ark big enough to hold them all. Such an ark would easily have been discovered by now and be restored to be a floating bed and breakfast.

The story of Noah includes God’s covenant with man to never destroy everything again. And, a rainbow is a reminder of the covenant.  Quite a story when you think about it.

THE TOWER OF BABEL

God can’t remember how many couples were produced and dropped around the world.  He may have experimented with size, color and environments to start multiple populations. Man came up with many languages. God did not create several languages. It is hard enough for even God to understand man without adding several languages to the mix.

Man’s grunt became words, etc. God is blamed for spreading different languages from the Tower of Babel. There is great “power” in “Babel” – the speakings of women.

THE COVENANT OF CIRCUMCISION

Abram – or Abraham – shall multiply exceedingly and keep his land and as a covenant all males 8 days old shall be circumcised throughout generations so they know God is their God. This is said in Genesis.

But I doubt God cares if anyone is circumcised or not.  It is an old practice of some, but not a covenant with God. Only a man would make his penis a sign of a covenant with God and an excuse to multiply.

Ladies, don’t you believe it!

GOD DESTROYS SODOM AND GOMORRAH

God gets a lot of blame by man for almost everything. But, a meteorite falling on a couple towns is going to happen now and then and some men are going to claim God must not have loved the people in those towns for their bad behavior.  If that is God’s doing He would have to rain down terror on every town on earth.  So some think God made man only to kill him off now and then as mere pleasure. God gets a lot of blame. So much blame that someone named their son Lot.

LOT SLEEPS WITH DAUGHTERS OR VICE VERSA

Lot was old and his daughters apparently were ugly. So the daughters get Lot drunk and sleep with him and get pregnant. Leave it to a dirty old man to come up with that story.  God must resent it even being in a book people claim is inspired by God. Now, it is true God failed to make a commandment not to sleep with your father and get pregnant. Why, God would still be carving commandments in stone if He had to list every wrong doing and make a commandment against 1000.s of human actions.  That is exactly why I came up with a new commandment – “THINK”.

GOD TESTS ABRAHAM’S FAITH

It is written that God tested Abraham’s faith by telling Abraham to offer his son as a burnt offering to God.  Let me say this about that.  God dies not need to test a man of his faith. Certainly He would not want a son killed as an offering to Himself. He neither needs the offering or the testing.  Fortunately, and just in time, Abraham thought he heard an angel tell him not to kill his son for an offering to God. Thank God for angels.

God would  let stand the idea of angels as some people need to believe to stop them from doing stupid things.

ISAAC TOOK REBECCA

Abraham sends a servant to fetch a wife for his son Isaac.  Servant finds Rebecca. Isaac likes Rebecca and takes her in his tent and then they marry. Sounds more like a modern day romance that a prophet seeking a wife for his son.

And, Abraham lived to be 175. Maybe if we all ate what Abraham ate, we would all live to a ripe old age.

JOSEPH SOLD INTO SLAVERY

Joe’s brothers hated him because Israel, Dad, loved Joe more than his other sons and to prove it Israel made Joseph a great and colorful robe. We don’t know what kind of robes Israel made for his other sons. And Joseph’s dreams – which he shared with his brothers – only intensified their dislike for Joseph.

In Joe’s dreams everything seem to bow down to him. The brothers conspired against Joseph. They removed Joe’s robe and cast him in a pit and sold him thru traders for 20 shekels of silver to be taken to Egypt. Of course the brothers lied to their Dad and made it look like Joseph was killed by a beast. His new master’s wife falsely claimed Joe tried to lie with her and Joe was put in prison. After interpreting dreams for the Paraoh, Joe was released and made governor of Egypt.

Joe’s 10 brothers come to Egypt to buy grain during a famine. Joe recognized them, but they did not recognize Joseph. When Joseph revealed himself to his 11 brothers and told them to bring their father and their families to Egypt to survive the famine – all was well. Joe told them not to feel bad about selling him to slavery as it was all God’s plan to make him head of Egypt. If it works out, God again gets credit; if it does not work out, God gets blamed. If God has  no plans for any man – who can man blame?

Does God have a master plan for all men and women, or does God give man free will. Which is it?

Joe forgave his brothers and took care of them until death at 110. It is possible to forgive your brothers and sisters as Joseph did. If you do, you will apparently live longer.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

EXODUS

A new king becomes harsh with the people of Isreal who had multiplied and became strong. He seeks to kill all their new born sons. One Mom sends her son down driver in a basket to prevent him from being murdered. The new king’s daughter finds the baby and call him Moses.

Holy Moses!

Moses matures and escapes Egypt, but God finds him near a burning bush and tells him to save his people. He balks and God teaches him a few magical tricks – burning a bush, turning a snake into a rod, turning a hand white and turning water into blood (usually prefers wine). That will all convince the people and the King to let his people go.

Moses went with Aaron to convince the Pharaoh. He turned his staff into a snake. That did not work. Not God’s fault. So Moses struck the Nile with his stick and turned it into a river of blood. Not convincing enough. So Moses sent a plague of frogs covering everything. The Pharaod promised to let the people go, but did not keep his word. So Moses sent gnats. The gnats did not convince the Pharaoh to let my people go. Then flies. Then kill Egypt’s cattle. Then boils. Then hail. Then locusts. Then 3 days of darkness, Finally, the death of all first born at mid-night – including the Pharoah’s first born – would bring the Pharaoh to let his people go.

God does not kill first borns to make His point.

Then the Pharoah’s heart hardens and he sends an army after the exiting Israelites. Scared the crap out of the people of Isreal. So Moses parted the waters of the sea and the Egyptians followed the people who crossed the sea and then the army would be drowned.Believe it or not!?

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

The people needed guidance all the way through the desert and will forever.  So God or Moses came up with 10 commandments. They were carved them in stone so the people would not forget them. Blogging is now much easier.

Here they are, the original 10 Commandments:

  1. Have no other God’s before me (I like this one).
  2. Make no graven images to honor or worship.
  3. Do not take my name in vain.
  4. Rememer the Sabbath and keep it holy.
  5. Honor your Father and Mother.
  6. Do not kill (note, I did not exclude wars).
  7. Do not commit adultry.
  8. Do not Steal.
  9. Do not bear false witness.
  10. Do not covet anything of your neighbor’s including his wife or ass (A donkey).

Now there are many rules you should follow that were not carved in stone. They are kind of common sense. So I came up with a new list recently. Number 1 is Think. It really covers the rest.

While Moses was carving the  commandments in stone, the natives became restless and built a graven image in the form of a Golden Calf to worship.  Pissed Moses off and as soon as Moses got down the mountain he sees what the people did and he threw the stone table at the people and ordered about 3000 bad men killed. Not sure how it was decided who were the bad guys.

Yes, the stone tablets broke into a hundred pieces.

In the absence of an iPad, God was not going to carve some new commandments in stone for man to break – so to speak. If Moses wants another copy, he can carve it in stone.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

LEVITICUS

God’s laws or Man’s?

Better to make a law and claim it is from God, than from man.

I immediately realized that 1000 commandments were needed to cover man’s behavior and remind him how to behave. But, God let man make up many of his own rules. Man may claim they are God’s laws to help obedience. As time progresses many of theses laws become out of touch with reality. So I would say see your Local, State and Federal law books.

Some things are not God’s laws.

Some things God does favor.

I must admit that burnt offerings to me are unnecessary. God and I do not like burnt food and you should not eat it either. These offerings were made up by man for man seeking atonement.  Certainly God or I would not ask or want anyone to offer their child up to me as an offering. A little apology or prayer is better for the man and acceptable to God. I do not distinguish between offerings of atonement, peace, guilt, sin, purification etc… as all are unnecessary. If you are making a burnt offering, I do not care if the animal is clean or unclean.

You do not have to make gifts or sacrifices or feasts or offerings to God of any kind at any time whether they are blemished or not. If it makes you feel better, of course go ahead – but it makes no difference in my thinking. Of course you should not eat any food offered or not after a couple days unless you have a refrigerator or ice box or freezer or can radiate the food.

If you leave a little of your crops for the poor and needy, that is great.

It is good to not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind.

You shall not go up and down as a slanderer.

In righteousness you should judge your neighbor. You should not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason with your neighbor.

You shall love your neighbor as yourself. One of God’s favorites.

You may eat the fruit of any tree you want to.

God will not order you to stone or kill anyone.

If you sell or buy from a neighbor, you shall not wrong one another. I like that.

And, if your bother becomes poor, and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall maintain him. Well, I love my brothers and hope they can make it on their own.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

NUMBERS

Don’t eat flesh with blood in it. Good thinking. Those who like rare meat seem blood thirsty to me.

Do not tattoo or mark on you. Tell this to the young people.

Love strangers as yourself. Amen.

Do not cheat on measures of length or weight or quantity.

If God put those to death who cursed their mother or father as is claimed, who would be left?

If god put to death the adulterer and adulteress, who would be left.

Good thing God does not put people to death.

On the 7th day you shall rest, you shall do no work for it is the Sabbath.  Exceptions are nurses, bed and breakfast owners (I like that one), policemen and police women  and others who need to work for the benefit of others.

God did not need a census of all the tribes as He knew how many people there were to be sent into the Wilderness for 40 years.

He who shortens Bible books to a page may be put to death, but I risk life for brevity.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

DEUTERRONOMY

Moses makes a few speeches encouraging Israel to obey God’s laws, statutes and ordinances in the new promised land after 40 years in the wilderness. The laws attributed to God are mostly priestly traditions.  Priestly traditions are of man.

It is man who makes so many laws that a man may not keep up with all of them.

Moses was the greatest of Prophets for Israel. A new Prophet has been made the Prophet for all the people.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

JOSHUA

The battle and conquest of the Promised Land.

Many blame God for all the battles leading to the Promised Land. Moses got the Israelis to follow him while he wandered in the desert by telling them God promised them land. Moses dies and Joshua claims God ordered him to take the Promised Land by force.

If God promises someone some land, they do not have to wonder about in the desert for four decades or fight for the land. It simply is theirs.

Now Joshua, says God gave him the means to capture the Promised Land. Everybody seems to like claiming to have me backing them in war. If it give the righteous an edge, so be it. And all the laws are claimed to be God’s so the people will obey their leaders. So be it.

Joshua crosses the Jordon river behind the ark of the covenant as the river parts for all of Israeli to cross to Jericho. Then it is said God told Joshua to make flint knives and circumcise all the people of Israel again. Ouch! Why would God ask for that?  I am sure some lunatic who wanted to see all the male penises wrote this.

The perils of men are not all God’s making. They make mistakes in war and like to blame God. They make war and say God so instructed. They want land and say God promised it. They win the war and say it was God’s will. They lose the war and say it is because God was angry with them. Why would God ask my people to go to war with God’s other peoples? Quit blaming God and praising God for war. War is not of God’s making. God does not command nations or make nations or destroy nations. This is all the work of man. Christian men may make nations. Christian men may lose battles.

God does not blame all of the people when one or some make God unhappy. If some men stone another, do not blame God. It is man’s doing.  Saying it is God’s doing is no excuse.

It is true that Joshua led the victories of the people of Israel and the winning of Palestine. He was a man of God. But, he made his victories over other kings and peoples.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

JUDGES

The notion that obeying God makes for a great nation and disobeying God leads to failure is OK, but not necessarily true. It is rather that people have a uniting force or a single-minded diligence that makes for a great nation, wins battles or makes a nation prosperous than it is obeying what man attributes to God.

The judges are military heroes that won battles for Palestine. In Judges, the judges love to praise God for victories; and, of course blame God or others when battles are lost. It is in the psychology of man to blame or attribute bad things on God.  Or, man loves to blame the people for not obeying commandments if he loses a battle. Usually man wins or loses on his abilities. For man to tell his people they must follow God may be an incentive for victory – if you believe it, it is a unifying force. For man to tell his people he lost a battle because the people did not obey God is just a shift of blame.

Sampson found a flesh jawbone of an ass and killed 1000 men with it. Is this a story or what? Again, God is given credit for making it possible. Sounds like fiction to me. Wouldn’t 999 be more believable? Who was counting. 1 killed, 2 killed, 1000 killed in God’s name!? And, God did not give Sampson the strength to push the pillars and bring a building down on thousands of innocent Philistines for his revenge or God’s.

The Benjamites took wives from the female survivors of battle and from the dancers in a village festival because they thought they were doing what was right. You see, in those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes. Now days, we have kings and Presidents and every man does what is right in his own eyes. Some things change and some things never change. Man does what he wants and claims it is God’s wish or doing.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

RUTH

In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a Elim’elech and his wife Na’omi of Bethlehem went to sojourn in the country of Moab with his wife and two sons.   Elim′elech died Na’omi was left with her two sons who took Moabite wives named Orpah and Ruth. Within 10 years the sons died so that the woman was bereft of her two sons and her husband.

Na’omi and Ruth went to return to the land of Judah. So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.

Now Na′omi had a kinsman of her husband’s, a man of wealth, of the family of Elim′elech, whose name was Bo′az.  And Ruth went to the field, and glean among the ears of grain seeking after Bo’az in whose sight she sought to find favor

At mealtime, Bo′az noticed her as a worthy woman and said to her to eat and she ate until she was satisfied.

Then Na′omi told Ruth go to Bo’az and when he lies down, observe the place where he lies; then, go and uncover his feet and lie down; and he will tell you what to do. And she did and at midnight the man was startled, and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet!  He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your maidservant; spread your skirt over your maidservant, for you are next of kin.” [I am not sure what this all means, but use your imagination].

And Bo’az said it is true that I am a near kinsman, yet there is a kinsman nearer than I. Remain this night, and in the morning, if he will do the part of the next of kin for you, well; let him do it; but if he is not willing to do the part of the next of kin for you, then, as the Lord lives, I will do the part of the next of kin for you. Lie down until the morning.”

And In the morning he gave her six measures of barley that she took to her mother-in-law.

Bo′az went up to the gate and sat down there; and behold, the next of kin, of whom Bo′az had spoken, came by. So Bo′az said, “Turn aside, friend; sit down here”; and he turned aside and sat down. Then he said to the next of kin, “Na′omi, who has come back from the country of Moab, is selling the parcel of land which belonged to our kinsman Elim′elech. So I thought I would tell you of it, and say, Buy it. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if you will not, tell me, that I may know, for there is no one besides you to redeem it, and I come after you.” And he said, “I will redeem it.”  Then Bo′az said, “The day you buy the field from the hand of Na′omi, you are also buying Ruth, the widow of the dead, in order to restore the name of the dead to his inheritance.”  Then the next of kin said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I impair my own inheritance. Take my right of redemption yourself, for I cannot redeem it.”

Thus, Bo′az bought the land and also Ruth to be his wife.

So Bo’az went in to Ruth and the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

1 SAMUEL

Samuel was a judge and true leader of Israel under God. He was a modest prophet, compared to The Wise Prophet. I am now another editor of the Books of Samuel. I’ll be brief, as usual.

Hannah bore a son called Samuel. She nursed him, weaned him and “lent” him to the Lord.  And Samuel grew in favor and statue with God.

In those days and now, the idea that the good would prosper and the wicked suffer ill fortune was widespread – as it is to this day. And, indeed good men seem to prosper and bad men seem to suffer, but their are exceptions to this rule or saying of man.

It is said that God appeared to Samuel and warns that the house of Eli will be destroyed for Eli’s sons blaspheming God. This kind of fear lives in the hearts of man. Samuel thus becomes a prophet because he tells Eli God’s supposed plans and Eli and his two sons die. Now this was written up after Eli and his sons died so that it appears Samuel was a prophet. Again, I say onto you, God does not Punish Eli for his son’s sins.  God does not kill the son’s because they commit blasphemy of God. Man does suffer from his own guilt enough that God figures that that is enough.

Israel loses The Ark of God to the Philistines.  The ark causes the Philistines troubles including the people of the city of Ashdod afflicted with tumors. You should know that God does not need an ark of God, nor does God inflict tumors on a whole city if a couple soldiers carry off an ark dedicated to God. Nor does the ark cause problems. Fear causes problems for people. If you fear an ark, you will likely think it is the cause of a problem. The ark was taken to some other cities and sure enough those peoples broke out with hives. Fear can cause hives.

And the Philistines decided to return the ark with a guilt offering of idols of five golden tumors and five golden mice so that their problems would be relived. The ark was sent back and some men looked into the ark and the Lord slew 70 men. Here God is blamed for 70 murders. Like I said, God does not need an ark nor kill people who look into a symbol made by man.

Now, the people wanted Samuel to appoint them a King. Samuel said a King would want 10% of all they had. But, the people thought a king would be splendid, a blessing of God. I do not want to get into politics here, but Kings are the work of man.

Saul was a handsome man and his father sent him to find lost asses. Samual feels God sanctioned making Saul prince of Israel. Saul and Samuel meet, Saul defeats the Philistines and Saul is made king. Saul fights the Philistines all his days. Sometimes God is happy with Saul, sometimes not – so sayth man. God even takes away Saul’s kingship. May I ask when has God interfered with kingships?

Samuel anoints David as the chosen one to replace Saul.

Saul finds himself in God’s disfavor and seeks to be soothed by music. His servants find him David to play the lyre for him.

David, the shepherd, volunteers to Saul to face Goliath, the giant Philistine, as he had faced  lions and bears trying to eat his flock of sheep. All David had was his slingshot and 5 stones he picked from a brook and went to fight the giant. David tells Goliath he has God on his side and that Goliath will be struck down. Sure enough, with God’s help Goliath was killed by a sling and a stone slung to his forehead. Than David took Goliath’s sword, stabbed Goliath and cut off his head. Well, don’t matter how big a giant Goliath was – a stone in his forehead, a stab with his own sword and a head removed was more than enough for David to kill Goliath. God’s help was not needed.

The Philistines retreated after their giant was killed. And, Saul appointed David to head the army of Israel. And, the woman sang that Saul killed thousands and David killed tens of thousands. Both numbers were exaggerated. But Saul was jealous of David who was successful in all his undertakings because the Lord was with him.  In those days God was given credit or blamed for many things. But David had his own successes and Saul had his own failures. God does not accept credit or blame.

Saul gave David a daughter and made him a son-in-law – wanting only 100 foreskins of Philistines as a marriage present. David and his men went out and killed 200 Philistines and brought 200 foreskins to Saul.  This has got to be the wierdest marriage present yet. For that David should have got 2 daughters as wives. Actually, Saul was hoping David would be killed as Saul feared David would be king with all his great accomplishments.  200 foreskins certainly should have clinched David’s kingship. Instead, Saul seeks to kill David with a spear, but David escapes. Saul seeks many themes to kill David, but David is saved by Saul’s daughter and sons.

God did not win more battles for David. David won them. Nor, did God protect David from Saul. God cannot take the credit or blame for such things.

Even Saul’s son Jonathan told David not to fear Saul as David would be king of Israel. David takes the advantage over King Saul and let’s Saul go. Saul is grateful and now knows that David will be king.

Samuel dies. David spares Saul’s life again. Saul falls on his own sword and dies. Both of Saul’s sons die in battle.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

2 SAMUEL

David learns of the death of Saul and Jonathan and is very sad as he loved them both.

David was made king of Judah and then of Israel after a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David. David than brings the ark of God to Jerusalem and David won more battles and killed many thousand until he ruled over all of Israel. He administered justice and equity to all his people.

David fell in love for Bathsheba, the beautiful wife of Uriah. He layed with her and she became pregnant.  David arranges for Uriah to be at the head of battle so that he is slain. Why this is in my Bible, I know not. Kings think they can do whatever they want and have every woman they want and claim it is divine will.  What if I was that way. There would be no women for others. I am not happy with David over this. But God did not threaten to turn his family and wives against him nor have his son of Bathsheba die. Crap happens and others were unhappy with David’s shenanigans as I am.

David would have another son with Bathsheba named Solomon. Yes, God loved the child, but God did not rename the child Jedidiah. Solomen even I can pronounce.

David’s som Ammon rapes his sister Tamar. Tamar’s other brother Absalom plans to kill Ammon. Ammon is killed and all the kings sons flee.

The people seemed to favor Absalom even over David and David fled Jerusalem and Absalom took over.  Absalom seeks to kill his father but instead Absalom dies in battle. David mourns his son’s death.

Famines, droughts and days of pestilence are natural calamities. But when they happen they are said to be caused by God’s wrath against human sin and that God’s wrath must be appeased before the calamity can be stopped. In the old days, man made sacrifices and burnt offerings to God until the calamity would end. They could have not made sacrifices, altars and burnt offerings and the calamity would end in due time. What is God  to do with all these offerings and sacrifices?

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

1 KINGS

King David was cold and cloths could not warm him so a beautiful maiden was sought to warm him, and nurse him – but the King was old and his bones cold and the King knew her not. This is stuff you may want to know in a trashy novel, but it does not reach biblical status.

David’s son Adonijah declares himself King. David is told this and keeps his promise to make Solomon king over Judah and Israel.

Then David slept with his fathers – died that is – and was buried in the city of David, or Jerusalem. Solomon established his kingdom and slew or banished his enemies.

Solomon asks God to give him an understanding mind to govern the people and properly discern between good and evil. God was impressed that Solomon did not seek riches and a long life for himself.  God might even want to take credit for picking Solomon as King. God went along with the idea and would also give Solomon honor and riches.

And Solomon grew in wisdom.

Two women approached the king. Both had gave birth to babies. One mothers child died and she laid claim to the other mother’s child. Solomon says bring me a sword and I will cut the baby in half so that each will half.  With one mother that was fine, and the other said let the child live and give her the child. Solomon in all his wisdom thus knew which woman was the real mother and gave it to the mother who would save the child.

God was given credit for the wisdom, but it was the wisdom of Solomon that deserves credit.

And, all the kings of the world came to hear Solomon’s wisdom.

Solomon decides to build a temple to God.  God did not need a temple.  Kings and people may need temples.

Solomon gathered 30,000 workers to build a temple, plus 70,000 burden-bearers and 80,000 hewers of stone. Sorry, but these numbers are vastly inflated and no way could God or I make 5 loaves of bread into enough food to even feed them one meal. In the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel the foundation was laid and the temple finished in his eleventh year. And, the ark of the covenant was brought into the temple and in the ark were my two stone tablets made for Moses (Must have been copies). Solomen dedicates the temple to God. Thanks, but no thanks. God does not need a temple and it is so dark in there. I need light!

The Queen of Sheba could not believe all that was told about Solomon, so she came to visit him and brought Solomon gold and all the other kings visited and King Solomon excelled all other kings in riches.

He had 700 wives, princesses, and 300 concubines. I am not sure they counted in the same way we do now days. Thus Solomon had little time for God. All his wives in itself was against God and my principles. And, these wives turned Solomon’s heart away from God. Big mistake. Solomon built houses for all his foreign wives.

God decided to give Solomon some adversaries and declared that his son would lose much of the kingdom. Solomon died and was buried in Jerusalem. His son Rehoboam reigned in his stead and ended up with Judah and God was blamed for what happened to his kingdom. It was that way for many kings later. So be it. To this day politicians like to blame me for all that is happening because many people will believe it.

Many leaders believe they lead do to God’s approval. From all written above, it would be hard for God to approve many leaders or the things they do.  It is not His wish to wage war on others.  It is not His wish for a leader to kill all his adversaries. Kings tend to claim they are divine so that the people will follow them no matter what Kings do.

Elijah, the prophet, announces that God shall provide no rain or dew unless he says so.  Of course he says this in God’s name.  Now, people would do anything Elijah tells them in hope for rain. And Elijah seems to restore life to a woman’s dead son. And the people killed the prophets of Baal at Elijah’s command. And there was rain. There was going to be rain anyway at the time it came. Good thing it came when it did or the people would have done more killing in God’s name or Elijah’s name.

[God sent me a sign today. A fox paraded back and forth behind my house and finally headed toward the bird feeders where a dozen wild turkeys were feeding. When the turkeys turned toward the fox, he ran off as fast as he could. [Thus says The Wise Prophet, one fox does not make lunch of a dozen turkeys. Or, a fox shall not rule a dozen turkeys without their consent.]

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

2 KINGS

Herein the fall of Israel and Judah is interpreted as God’s judgement. I would like man to take credit for his own doings and blame for his own poor judgement. It is unlikely ever to be so.

A historical record of the Kings of old are not inspired by God. Man may think so. but, what do you think?

Elijah dies and Elisha becomes a Prophet who can do many miracles including raising a boy from the dead and curing leprosy. That is as well as I could do, but Prophets of old got known for their stories of miracles. Some were mere magicians.

A king came upon a woman in distress during a famine and said to the king let us boil your son today and tomorrow we will eat my son. They eat the King’s son and the next day the woman hides her son and the king in distress takes off his clothes and demands the head of Elijah because it is all the Lord’s fault.  Now, I ask you, would God be a part of this story?  First of all, a King would not eat his own son when others were available. He would cut of the head of the woman who hid her son and eat her before he would eat his own son.  There are mad people who believe these stores and try them at home. I will try to avoid such nonsense and give you the truth and wisdom.

And once again, Israel did not obey all the commandments attributed to God and thus suffered defeat and were exiled from their land. Once again, God had nothing to do with it. If Got got involved in all the squabbles and wars of man, who would God support? Is one of His creations better than another? Do not all men disobey all the commandments attributed to God? Is God to be blamed for sending lions among the people to kill them because they broke a commandment? On any day God would have to send in the lions everywhere. I guess God would have to make more lions and hungry ones at that.

Many bad kings did not obey the commandments attributed to God and suffered greatly. Of course God was blamed until a good king comes along, Josiah, who obeys these commands and rebuilds the temple and finds the book of the law.

Hallelujah! God is now the good God. When Josiah learned and read the Book of the Law he rent his clothes. And the people of Judah and Jerusalem pledged to obey the Book of the Law and all was good for awhile. Then Jerusalem falls, once, twice and and destruction and all the leaders and kings are killed.

[OMG!]

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

1 CHRONICLES

More descendants of descendants of descendants. Amen. Many die according to history for their unfaithfulness to God. They would have died eventually. Saul died by plunging himself on his own sword. How can God be blamed?

David became King and capture Jerusalem. God get credit for his successes. David brings the Ark of God to Jerusalem. And God is happy. Then, Davis wants to build God a Temple house, but God has no use for  house as dwells wherever He goes.

David later picks the lot for the Temple to God and pays 600 shekels for it. His son Solomon was charged to build the Temple. So be it, but I do not build Temples as God dwells in you!

But David had killed too many men to warrant favor in the construction of a temple, so David instructs his son Solomon to do so and provides the necessary support. David in his old age appoints his son Solomon as King over Israel.

Everything that works out or fails is done according to the will of the Lord according to the chronicler as so much of the Old Testament is so claimed.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

2 CHRONICLES

I am skipping through a lot of historical and exaggerated stuff to get to the meat of what I want in a Bible dedicated to my God.

Herein, is the story of Solomon as told by a chronicler.

God grants Solomon the wisdom and knowledge he deserved, just as God does for all men and women. He built a Temple for me and brought in the ark of God. Remember, God needs neither a Temple, a sacrifice, a burnt offering or the ark (in the ark are the two tables Moses inserted at Horeb). These things are desires of man due to their guilt feelings or hope to get into heaven by pleasing God in some way.

And king Solomon offered sacrifices of 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. I suppose this has to make him a great king or great servant of God, but God does not believe these numbers. God would be eating burnt food for a thousand years.

The chronicler tells of many kings who are richly rewarded if they obey God and are punished by God if they do not obey. You see, kings think they get their power from God, are themselves divine and tell the people that they will prosper if they obey and be punished if they don’t. Sounds like modern-day pastors and prophets or politician.

Well, the people of Israel did not listen and their Jerusalem was destroyed. But, not by God.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

EZRA

Like any modern day city destroyed by God (or actually by war, fire, flood, earthquake, bombs, etc),  Jerusalem was destroyed (man says with God’s blessing).

God does not destroy cities or kill men in the name of God or man, and I would appreciate it if man would not blame God for similar acts.

Nor does God restore cities or temples nor ask that Moses laws be followed without exception.  Again, another king, Cyrus, claims God instructed him to rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem.  Kings love to proclaim divine instructions to justify way things they do or to get the people to do what they want. I give up trying to convince man he is not divine.

If God does not need a temple, why would God instruct a king to build Him one or to re-build Him one?

God is often accused of putting words into the heart or mind of a king.  But, God does not do this.

Some think God opposes marriage to foreign women, or mixed marriages, or gay marriages or marriages of different tribes and races. It is not true. Man thinks by claiming that God oppose marriages of people of color or different religions that it is OK. Why would God make people of different color, race or creed and destroy them for wickedness if they intermarry?

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

NEHEMIAH

Nehemiah ruled over Judah and rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem and instituted social and religious reforms that God may or may not approve. Frankly God is not involved in religious or political decisions. Nehemiah prayed to God often for guidance and thankfulness and his interpretations are his own.

God loved his approach: “O Lord of heaven, the great and terrible God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments…” Well, I don’t make covenants with man or woman, good or bad.

Some adored Nehemiah for overseeing the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, and some were angry about the rebuilding of the sinful city of Jerusalem. It is best not to build walls around cities so people don’t fight over tearing them down or building them up.

Confessions may help a man get his guilt out of his head, but God need not listen to them or make response. That is why making confessions to a priest or on a couch before a psychologist is helpful. It i just helpful to talk about your guilt or problems. Including them in a prayer to the wind would do just as much good for many. Let the wind hear them and carry them away.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

ESTHER

I know why so many people cannot or do not read the Bible. It is full of legends and occurrences that are not documented, nor should they be.

Esther is the lead role of a festival, a secular feast celebrating the deliverance from planned anti-semitic elimination.

Esther was a beautiful maiden who won favor with the king and was crowned Queen. A great wedding feast was held. Esther wished for the enemies of the Jews to be destroyed and then through a big party called “The Feast of the Purim” – a purely secular party which would be held during different seasons and accredited to Queen Esther. Man comes up with many reasons to have a party – even if God or I are not involved.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

JOB

For man it is important to have faith even in periods of great suffering. Some might think of this as God’s way of humbling man. But God lets man to his own sufferings and feelings.

Here, the story is about patient Job and the folktale makes the point that faith can exist in suffering. Job demands justice and regards religion and morality as man’s claim to happiness. Indeed for many it is.

In Job, God is at work in the universe, reveals himself to man and shares his burdens and cosmic responsibilities with man and is involved with the destiny of man.

Job was blameless and upright and feared God. He was the greatest of men in the East.

Satan tells God if Job loses all that he has Job will oppose God. As the story goes Satan takes all that Job has including his livestock, servants, sons and daughters. In all this Job did not blame God or sin. I like that in a man, But few can be so good. Most men turn to God and prayer in a moment of despair. They then make promises to do good and soon return to their old ways.

So Satan touches Job with sores from foot to head, but Job still loves and praises God.

Know that God exacts from you less than your guilt deserves. Man often deserves the misery as a penalty for his guilt.  But, again, God does not punish people for their guilt or past discretions – people punish themselves.

Job wonders why he suffers. Was it something he did, some transgression in his past? He is willing to face God and ask God and argue his case for justice. It is assumed that a godless man would not want to face God. Job declares his innocence. He desires to see God – as most men do.

In this text God finally appear to Job and make it known that he is different from me. That he even has no clue on how God made things and the laws of nature. God would really have no need to list all He has done to Job. Just appearing to talk to Job should be enough.

And, God restores the fortunes and everything Job had and doubles it to reward Job for not for his faithfulness or repentance, but because Job intercession and prayers for friends. Let that be a lesson for all. God loves it when man prays for others than himself. Of course God was blamed by Job’s friends and relatives for all the evilness that was bestowed on Job. And, Job died after 140 years. We have to assume Job was cured of all his ills.

Job was visited by God. God gave Job double. God was blamed for Job’s illnesses and losses. God restores all to Job. It is a poetic story. An Example for those who believe. Fit’s well in the Bible.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

PSALMS

The hymns of old Israel depict the spirit of the religion. There are 150 Psalms for just about every aspect of life and relationship with God. I do love some of the lines and will share them now:

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked. nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight in in the law of the Lord.

Why do the nations conspire, and the people plot in vain?

O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the lord with fear.

Blessed are all who take refuge in Him.

Deliverance belongs to the Lord.

The Lord abhors bloodthirsty and deceitful men.

Judge me o Lord, according to my righteousness and integrity.

The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in time of trouble.

The Lord’s soul hates those who love violence.

The ordinances of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired than gold. In keeping them there is great reward.

The 23rd Psalm is my favorite and pretty well sums up man’s wishes and hopes with his God:

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want;  he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters; he resorts my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name sake.  Even though I walk in the valley of death, I fear no evil; for though art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Thou prepares a table before me; in the presence of my enemies; thou anointest my head with oil, my cup overflows; surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Keep your tongue from evil. and your lips from speaking deceit.

Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. Are you world leaders reading this?

They gathered together against me; (reminds me of an old bed and breakfast group meeting called at a minister’s house), cripples whom I knew not – slandered me without ceasing; they impiously mocked more and more, gnashing at me and others with their teeth. Let them be put to shame and confusion… For they flatter themselves in their own eyes… the words of their mouths are mischief and deceit, they have ceased to act wisely and to do good. But, the wicked perish. Trangressors shall be altogether destroyed. So be it! Amen!

(See also) All day you are plotting destruction. Your tongue is like a sharp razor, you worker of treachery. You love evil more than good, and lying more than speaking the truth. You love all words that devour. O deceitful tongue.

(See also) Man cannot survive in his pomp, he is like the beast that perish.

(See also) All day long they seek to injure my cause; all their thoughts are against me for evil; they band themselves together, they lurk, they watch my steps.

(See also) Him who slanders his neighbor – I will destroy.

Far better psychology equals: How precious is thy love O Lord (If man can feel he is loved by his God, he will be a happier man and not do wicked things).

Blessed is he who considers the poor.

Be not afraid when one becomes rich, when the glory of his house increases. For when he dies he will carry nothing away.

I do not reprove you for your sacrifices or offerings to God. I will accept no bull from your house ( I need no sacrifices or offerings). Instead, offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving.

Blessed are those who observe justice.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom ( I would change this to the love of God is the beginning of wisdom. Man need not fear God. He fears his own doings).

It is well with man who deals generously and lends, who conducts his affairs with justice.

Men are all a vain hope.

It is better to put confidence in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to put confidence in princes (Princes and politicians cannot be trusted).

There are so many songs praising God or praying to God. Better you praise your fellow man and you will get along better on Earth.  Better you pray for others than yourself as God hears better.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

PROVERBS

The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:

Let the wise also hear and gain in learning, and the discerning acquire skill.

Hear, my child, your father’s instruction, and do not reject your mother’s teaching; 

If sinners entice you, do not consent.

Such is the end of all who are greedy for gain; it takes away the life of its possessors.

‘How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge? 

For waywardness kills the simple, and the complacency of fools destroys them;  but those who listen to me will be secure and will live at ease, without dread of disaster.’

Make your ear attentive to wisdom and incline your heart to understanding; if you indeed cry out for insight, and raise your voice for understanding; if you seek it like silver, and search for it as for hidden treasures – then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. 

For wisdom will come into your heart,  and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; prudence will watch over you; and understanding will guard you. Walk in the way of the good,  and keep to the paths of the just.  For the upright will abide in the land, and the innocent will remain in it.

Do not let loyalty and faithfulness forsake you; bind them round your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.

Happy are those who find wisdom, and those who get understanding, She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called happy.

Do not let these escape from your sight: keep sound wisdom and prudence, and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck.

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,*when it is in your power to do it.

Do not say to your neighbour, ‘Go, and come again;  tomorrow I will give it’—when you have it with you.

Do not plan harm against your neighbor who lives trustingly beside you.

Do not quarrel with anyone without cause, when no harm has been done to you.

Do not envy the violent  and do not choose any of their ways.  

Towards the scorners be scornful,  but to the humble favor.

The wise will inherit honor, but stubborn fools, disgrace.

Do not forsake her, and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you.

The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever else you get, get insight. Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honour you if you embrace her.

Do not enter the path of the wicked,  and do not walk in the way of evildoers. Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on. But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.

My child, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding, so that you may hold on to prudence, and your lips may guard knowledge.

If you have given your pledge to your neighbor, if you have bound yourself to another, you are snared by the utterance of your lips, caught by the words of your mouth. So do this and save yourself.

Go to the ant, you lazybones; consider its ways, and be wise. Without having any chief or officer or ruler, it prepares its food in summer, and gathers its sustenance in harvest. How long will you lie there, O lazybones? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want, like an armed warrior.

A scoundrel and a villain goes around with crooked speech, winking the eyes, shuffling the feet, pointing the fingers, with perverted mind devising evil,
continually sowing discord; on such a one calamity will descend suddenly;
in a moment, damage beyond repair.

There are six things that I hate, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that hurry to run to evil, a lying witness who testifies falsely,
and one who sows discord in a family.

My child, keep your father’s commandment, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them upon your heart always; tie them around your neck. When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you;
and when you awake, they will talk with you.

For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life, to preserve you from the wife of another, from the smooth tongue of the adulteress. Do not desire her beauty in your heart,
and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes; for a prostitute’s fee is only a loaf of bread, but the wife of another stalks a man’s very life.

He who commits adultery has no sense; he who does it destroys himself. 
He will get wounds and dishonour, and his disgrace will not be wiped away. 
For jealousy arouses a husband’s fury, and he shows no restraint when he takes revenge. He will accept no compensation, and refuses a bribe no matter how great.

Keep my words and store up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live, keep my teachings as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers, write them on the tablet of your heart. Say to wisdom, ‘You are my sister’, and call insight your intimate friend, that they may keep you from the loose woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words.

Does not wisdom call, and does not understanding raise her voice? 

Learn prudence; acquire intelligence.

Hear, for I will speak noble things, and from my lips will come what is right; for my mouth will utter truth; wickedness is an abomination to my lips. 
All the words of my mouth are righteous; there is nothing twisted or crooked in them. They are all straight to one who understands and right to those who find knowledge. Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold; for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her. I, wisdom, live with prudence, and I attain knowledge and discretion.

I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me. 
Riches and honour are with me, enduring wealth and prosperity. 
My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold, and my yield than choice silver. 
I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, endowing with wealth those who love me, and filling their treasuries.

Happy are those who keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise,
and do not neglect it.

Happy is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates,
waiting beside my doors. For whoever finds me finds life
and obtains favor; but those who miss me injure themselves;
all who hate me love death.

Lay aside immaturity, and live, and walk in the way of insight.

Whoever corrects a scoffer wins abuse; whoever rebukes the wicked gets hurt. 
A scoffer who is rebuked will only hate you; the wise, when rebuked, will love you.

Give instruction to the wise, and they will become wiser still; teach the righteous and they will gain in learning.

The lover of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. For by me your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life.

If you are wise, you are wise for yourself; if you scoff, you alone will bear it.

The foolish woman is loud; she is ignorant and knows nothing. 

A wise child makes a glad father, but a foolish child is a mother’s grief.

Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit, but righteousness delivers from death.

A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.

A child who gathers in summer is prudent, but a child who sleeps in harvest brings shame.

Blessings are on the head of the righteous, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.

The memory of the righteous is a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot.

The wise of heart will heed commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin.

Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever follows perverse ways will be found out.

The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.

Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offences.

On the lips of one who has understanding wisdom is found, but a rod is for the back of one who lacks sense.

The wise lay up knowledge, but the babbling of a fool brings ruin near.

The wealth of the rich is their fortress; the poverty of the poor is their ruin.

The wage of the righteous leads to life, the gain of the wicked to sin.

Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but one who rejects a rebuke goes astray.

Lying lips conceal hatred, and whoever utters slander is a fool.

When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but the prudent are restrained in speech.

The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the mind of the wicked is of little worth.

The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of sense.

The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.

Doing wrong is like sport to a fool, but wise conduct is pleasure to a person of understanding.

What the wicked dread will come upon them, but the desire of the righteous will be granted.

When the tempest passes, the wicked are no more, but the righteous are established for ever.

Like vinegar to the teeth, and smoke to the eyes, so are the lazy to their employers.

The love of the Lord prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be short.

The hope of the righteous ends in gladness, but the expectation of the wicked comes to nothing.

The way of the Lord is a stronghold for the upright, but destruction for evildoers.

The righteous will never be removed, but the wicked will not remain in the land.

The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, but the perverse tongue will be cut off.

The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked what is perverse.

A false balance is an abomination, but an accurate weight is his delight.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace; but wisdom is with the humble.

The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.

Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.

The righteousness of the blameless keeps their ways straight, but the wicked fall by their own wickedness.

The righteousness of the upright saves them, but the treacherous are taken captive by their schemes.

When the wicked die, their hope perishes, and the expectation of the godless comes to nothing.

The righteous are delivered from trouble, and the wicked get into it instead.

With their mouths the godless would destroy their neighbors, but by knowledge the righteous are delivered.

When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices; and when the wicked perish, there is jubilation.

By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.

Whoever belittles another lacks sense, but an intelligent person remains silent.

A gossip goes about telling secrets, but one who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a confidence.

Where there is no guidance, a nation falls, but in an abundance of counsellors there is safety.

To guarantee loans for a stranger brings trouble, but there is safety in refusing to do so.

A gracious woman gets honor, but she who hates virtue is covered with shame.

The timid become destitute, but the aggressive gain riches.

Those who are kind reward themselves, but the cruel do themselves harm.

The wicked earn no real gain, but those who sow righteousness get a true reward.

Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live, but whoever pursues evil will die.

Crooked minds are an abomination, but those of blameless ways are his delight.

The desire of the righteous ends only in good; the expectation of the wicked in wrath.

Some give freely, yet grow all the richer; others withhold what is due, and only suffer want.

A generous person will be enriched.

The people curse those who hold back grain, but a blessing is on the head of those who sell it.

Whoever diligently seeks good seeks favor, but evil comes to the one who searches for it.

Those who trust in their riches will wither, but the righteous will flourish like green leaves.

Those who trouble their households will inherit wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise.

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, but violence takes lives away.

If the righteous are repaid on earth, how much more the wicked and the sinner!

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but those who hate to be rebuked are stupid.

The good obtain favor, but those who devise evil condemnation.

No one finds security by wickedness, but the root of the righteous will never be moved.

A good wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.

The thoughts of the righteous are just; the advice of the wicked is treacherous. 
The words of the wicked are a deadly ambush, but the speech of the upright delivers them.

The wicked are overthrown and are no more, but the house of the righteous will stand.

One is commended for good sense, but a perverse mind is despised.

The righteous know the needs of their animals, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.

Those who till their land will have plenty of food, but those who follow worthless pursuits have no sense.

The wicked covet the proceeds of wickedness, but the root of the righteous bears fruit.

The evil are ensnared by the transgression of their lips, but the righteous escape from trouble.

From the fruit of the mouth one is filled with good things, and manual labour has its reward.

Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to advice.

Fools show their anger at once, but the prudent ignore an insult.

Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence, but a false witness speaks deceitfully.

Rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Truthful lips endure for ever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.

Deceit is in the mind of those who plan evil, but those who counsel peace have joy.

No harm happens to the righteous, but the wicked are filled with trouble.

Lying lips are an abomination to all, but those who act faithfully are his delight.    One who is clever conceals knowledge, but the mind of a fool* broadcasts folly.

The hand of the diligent will rule, while the lazy will be put to forced labour. Anxiety weighs down the human heart, but a good word cheers it up.

The righteous gives good advice to friends, but the way of the wicked leads astray.

The diligent obtain precious wealth.

In the path of righteousness there is life.

A wise child loves discipline, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.

From the fruit of their words good people do good, but the desire of the treacherous is for wrongdoing.

Those who guard their mouths preserve their lives; those who open wide their lips come to ruin.

The appetite of the lazy craves, and gets nothing, while the appetite of the diligent is richly supplied.

The righteous hate falsehood, but the wicked act shamefully and disgracefully.

Righteousness guards one whose way is upright, but sin overthrows the wicked.

Some pretend to be rich, yet have nothing; others pretend to be poor, yet have great wealth.

Wealth is a ransom for a person’s life, but the poor get no threats.

The light of the righteous rejoices, but the lamp of the wicked goes out.

By insolence the heedless make strife, but wisdom is with those who take advice.

Wealth hastily gained will dwindle, but those who gather little by little will increase it.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

Those who despise the word bring destruction on themselves, but those who respect the commandment will be rewarded.

The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, so that one may avoid the snares of death.

Good sense wins favor, but the way of the faithless is their ruin.

The clever do all things intelligently, but the fool displays folly.

A bad messenger brings trouble, but a faithful envoy, healing.

Poverty and disgrace are for the one who ignores instruction, but one who heeds reproof is honored.

A desire realized is sweet to the soul, but to turn away from evil is an abomination to fools.

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools suffers harm.

Misfortune pursues sinners, but prosperity rewards the righteous.

The good leave an inheritance to their children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.

The field of the poor may yield much food, but it is swept away through injustice.

Those who spare the rod hate their children, but those who love them are diligent to discipline them.

The righteous have enough to satisfy their appetite, but the belly of the wicked is empty.

The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands.

The lips of the wise preserve them.

A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness breathes out lies.

A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain, but knowledge is easy for one who understands.

Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not find words of knowledge.

It is the wisdom of the clever to understand where they go, but the folly of fools misleads.

The heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy.

The house of the wicked is destroyed, but the tent of the upright flourishes.

There is a way that seems right to a person.

The perverse get what their ways deserve, and the good, what their deeds deserve.

The simple believe everything, but the clever consider their steps.

The wise are cautious and turn away from evil, but the fool throws off restraint and is careless.

One who is quick-tempered acts foolishly, and the schemer is hated.

The simple are adorned with folly, but the clever are crowned with knowledge.

The evil bow down before the good, the wicked at the gates of the righteous.

The poor are disliked even by their neighbors, but the rich have many friends.

Those who despise their neighbours are sinners, but happy are those who are kind to the poor.

Do they not err that plan evil? Those who plan good find loyalty and faithfulness.

In all toil there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.

The crown of the wise is their wisdom, but folly is the garland of fools.

A truthful witness saves lives, but one who utters lies is a betrayer.

The love of the Lord is a fountain of life, so that one may avoid the snares of death.

The glory of a king is a multitude of people; without people a prince is ruined.

Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but one who has a hasty temper exalts folly.

A tranquil mind gives life to the flesh, but passion makes the bones rot.

Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but those who are kind to the needy honour him.

The wicked are overthrown by their evildoing, but the righteous find a refuge in their integrity.

Wisdom is at home in the mind of one who has understanding, but it is not known in the heart of fools.

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.

A servant who deals wisely has the king’s favor, but his wrath falls on one who acts shamefully.

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

The tongue of the wise dispenses knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.

Keeping watch on the evil and the good.

A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

A fool despises a parent’s instruction, but the one who heeds admonition is prudent.

In the house of the righteous there is much treasure, but trouble befalls the income of the wicked.

The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so the minds of fools.

The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to all, but the prayer of the upright is his delight.

A glad heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken.

The mind of one who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly.

All the days of the poor are hard, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast.

Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it.

Better is a dinner of vegetables where love is than a fatted ox and hatred with it.

The way of the lazy is overgrown with thorns, but the path of the upright is a level highway.

A wise child makes a glad father, but the foolish despise their mothers.

Folly is a joy to one who has no sense, but a person of understanding walks straight ahead.

Without counsel, plans go wrong, but with many advisers they succeed.

To make an apt answer is a joy to anyone, and a word in season, how good it is!

For the wise the path of life leads upwards.

Evil plans are an abomination to all, but gracious words are pure.

Those who are greedy for unjust gain make trouble for their households, but those who hate bribes will live.

The mind of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil.

The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and good news refreshes the body.

The ear that heeds wholesome admonition will lodge among the wise.

Those who ignore instruction despise themselves, but those who heed admonition gain understanding.

Humility goes before honor.

All those who are arrogant are an abomination; be assured, they will not go unpunished.

Better is a little with righteousness than large income with injustice.

It is an abomination to kings to do evil, for the throne is established by righteousness.

Righteous lips are the delight of a king, and he loves those who speak what is right.

How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.

The highway of the upright avoids evil; those who guard their way preserve their lives.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

ECCLESIATES

[Ecclesiates is a good teacher ~ The Wise Prophet].

ALL IS VANITY

The words of the Teacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

Vanity of vanities. All is vanity. What do people gain from all the toil at which they toil under the sun? Round and round goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full.

All things are wearisome; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, or the ear filled with hearing. What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said,  ‘See, this is new’?

I, the Teacher, when king over Israel in Jerusalem, applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven; it is an unhappy business that God has given to human beings to be busy with. I saw all the deeds that are done under the sun; and see, all is vanity and a chasing after wind.

What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be counted.

My mind has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.’ And I applied my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a chasing after wind.

For in much wisdom is much vexation, and those who increase knowledge increase sorrow.

I will make a test of pleasure; enjoy yourself.’ But again, this also was vanity. I said laughter is mad’. ‘What use is it?’ I cheer my body with wine—my mind still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, until I might see what was good for mortals to do under heaven during the few days of their life. I made great works; I built houses and planted vineyards, I made gardens and parks, planted fruit trees, made pools water the forest. I bought male and female slaves.I also had great possessions of herds and flocks. I gathered silver and gold and the treasure of kings. I got singers and delights of the flesh, and many concubines. All is Vanity.

Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had spent in doing it, and again, all was vanity and a chasing after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.

The wise have eyes in their head, but fools walk in darkness. Yet I perceived that the same fate befalls all of them. For there is no enduring remembrance of the wise or of fools, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten… for all is vanity and a chasing after wind.

Seeing that I must leave it all to those who come after me — and who knows whether they will be wise or foolish? Yet they will be master of all for which I toiled. So I turned and gave my heart up to despair concerning all the toil of my labours under the sun, because sometimes one who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave all to be enjoyed by another who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil.

There is nothing better for mortals than to eat and drink, and find enjoyment in their toil.

A TIME FOR EVERYTHING

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, die, plant, harvest, kill, heal; to break down, to build up, to weep, laugh, mourn, dance, throw away stones, gather stones, embrace, refrain from embracing, a time to seek, to lose; keep, throw away, to tear, sew, to keep silence, to speak, a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

God has given to everyone to be busy with. I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil.

I know that whatever God does endures for ever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him.

Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, wickedness was there, and in the place of righteousness, wickedness was there as well. I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for he has appointed a time for every matter, and for every work. I said in my heart with regard to human beings that God is testing them to show that they are but animals.

DEATH IS YOUR LOT

For the fate of humans and the fate of animals is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. Humans have no advantage over the animals; for all is vanity. All go to one place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knows whether the human spirit goes upwards and the spirit of animals goes downwards to the earth?

Again I saw all the oppressions that are practised under the sun. Look, the tears of the oppressed—with no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power—with no one to comfort them. And I thought the dead, who have already died, more fortunate than the living, who are still alive; but better than both is the one who has not yet been, and has not seen the evil deeds that are done.

Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from one person’s envy of another.

Better is a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king, who will no longer take advice.

Never be rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be quick to utter a word, therefore let your words be few.

When you make a vow, do not delay fulfilling it. Fulfil what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not fulfil it.

The lover of money will not be satisfied with money; nor the lover of wealth, with gain. This also is vanity.

When goods increase what gain has their owner but to see them with his eyes?

Sweet is the sleep of laborers, the rich will not let them sleep.

There is a grievous ill that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owners to their hurt. As they came from their mother’s womb, so they shall go again, naked as they came; they shall take nothing for their toil, which they may carry away with their hands.

This is what I have seen to be good: it is fitting to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils the few days of life; for this is our lot.

There is an evil that I have seen, those who lack nothing do not enjoy these things, but a stranger enjoys them. This is vanity.

All human toil is for the mouth, yet the appetite is not satisfied.

I said to myself, ‘I will make a test of pleasure; enjoy yourself.’ But again, this is vanity. I searched with my mind how to cheer my body with wine, how to lay hold on folly, I made great works; I built houses, planted vineyards, gardens and parks. I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees.  had slaves, herds and flocks. I gathered myself silver and gold, I got singers, delights of the flesh, and many concubines.

So I became great and surpassed all who were before me; also my wisdom remained with me. My heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. Then I considered all was vanity and a chasing after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.

So I turned to consider wisdom and madness and folly; Then I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness.

So I turned and gave my heart up to despair concerning all the toil of my labours under the sun, because sometimes one who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave all to be enjoyed by another who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil.

I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, wickedness was there, and in the place of righteousness, wickedness was there as well. I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for he has appointed a time for every matter, and for every work. I said in my heart with regard to human beings that God is testing them to show that they are but animals. For the fate of humans and the fate of animals is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and humans have no advantage over the animals; for all is vanity. All go to one place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knows whether the human spirit goes upwards and the spirit of animals goes downwards to the earth? So I saw that there is nothing better than that all should enjoy their work, for that is their lot; who can bring them to see what will be after them?

Again I saw all the oppressions that are practised under the sun. Look, the tears of the oppressed—with no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power—with no one to comfort them. And I thought the dead, who have already died, more fortunate than the living, who are still alive; but better than both is the one who has not yet been, and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.

For dreams come with many cares, and a fool’s voice with many words.

When you make a vow to God, do not delay fulfilling it; for he has no pleasure in fools. Fulfil what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not fulfil it.

The lover of money will not be satisfied with money; nor the lover of wealth, with gain. This also is vanity.

Sweet is the sleep of labourers, whether they eat little or much; but the surfeit of the rich will not let them sleep.

This is what I have seen to be good: it is fitting to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of the life God gives us; for this is our lot.

There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy upon humankind: those to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honour, so that they lack nothing of all that they desire, yet God does not enable them to enjoy these things, but a stranger enjoys them. This is vanity; it is a grievous ill.

A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death, than the day of birth.

It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting; for this is the end of everyone, and the living will lay it to heart.

Sorrow is better than laughter, or by sadness of countenance the heart is made glad.

The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.

It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise than to hear the song of fools.

For like the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of fools; this also is vanity.

Surely oppression makes the wise foolish, and a bribe corrupts the heart.

Better is the end of a thing than its beginning; the patient in spirit are better than the proud in spirit.

Do not be quick to anger, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools.

Wisdom is as good as an inheritance, an advantage to those who see the sun.

For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money, and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom gives life to the one who possesses it.

Consider the work of God; who can make straight what he has made crooked?

On the day of prosperity be joyful, and on the day of adversity consider; God has made them both.

In my vain life I have seen everything; there are righteous people who perish in their righteousness, and there are wicked people who prolong their life in their evildoing.

Do not be too righteous, and do not act too wise; why should you destroy yourself? Do not be too wicked, and do not be a fool; why should you die before your time? It is good that you should take hold of the one, without letting go of the other; for the one who fears God shall succeed with both.

Surely there is no one on earth so righteous as to do good without ever sinning.

For every matter has its time and way, although the troubles of mortals lie heavy upon them. Indeed, they do not know what is to be, for who can tell them how it will be?

No one has power over the wind to restrain the wind, or power over the day of death; nor does wickedness deliver those who practise it.

So I commend enjoyment, for there is nothing better for people under the sun than to eat, and drink, and enjoy themselves, for this will go with them in their toil through the days of life that God gives them under the sun.

Whether it is love or hate one does not know. Everything that confronts them is vanity, since the same fate comes to all, righteous or wicked, good or evil, to those who sacrifice or not sacrifice. This is an evil in all that happens under the sun, that the same fate comes to everyone.

Go, eat your bread with enjoyment, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has long ago approved what you do. Enjoy life with the wife whom you love.

Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to the skilful; but time and chance happen to them all. For no one can anticipate the time of disaster.

The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouting of a ruler among fools.

Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one bungler destroys much good.

Words spoken by the wise bring them favor, but the lips of fools consume them.

No one knows what is to happen, and who can tell anyone what the future holds?

Feasts are made for laughter; wine gladdens life, and money meets every need.

Rejoice, young man, while you are young, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Follow the inclination of your heart and the desire of your eyes, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgement.

Banish anxiety from your mind, and put away pain from your body; for youth and the dawn of life are vanity.

Besides being wise, the Teacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs. The Teacher sought to find pleasing words, and he wrote words of truth plainly.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

SONG OF SOLOMON

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine,  your anointing oils are fragrant, your name is perfume poured out; therefore the maidens love you.

Do not stir up or awaken love until it is ready!

I will seek him whom my soul loves. I found him whom my soul loves. I held him, and would not let him go.

How beautiful you are, my love, how very beautiful!  You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you. You have ravished my heart. How much better is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your oils than any spice!

Eat, friends, drink, and be drunk with love.

I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.

How fair and pleasant you are, O loved one.

Do not stir up or awaken love until it is ready! Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

ISAIAH – The vision of Isaiah

Hear, O heavens, and listen, O earth; I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me. (What parent has not experienced this?)

Why do you seek further beatings?  Why do you continue to rebel? The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even to the head,  there is no soundness in it, but bruises and sores  and bleeding wounds; they have not been drained, or bound up, or softened with oil.

Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.

Zion shall be redeemed by justice, and those in her who repent, by righteousness. But rebels and sinners shall be destroyed together.

Beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

Turn away from mortals, who have only breath in their nostrils, for of what account are they?

If you do not stand firm in faith, you shall not stand at all.

Many among them shall stumble; they shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken.

Ah, you who make iniquitous decrees, who write oppressive statutes, 
to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right, that widows may be your spoil, and that you may make the orphans your prey!  What will you do on the day of punishment, in the calamity that will come from far away? To whom will you flee for help, and where will you leave your wealth. 

The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. 
The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge as the waters cover the sea.

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the Lord God  is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation.

The whole earth is at rest and quiet; break forth into singing.

Make sweet melody, sing many songs, that you may be remembered.

For the treacherous deal treacherously, the treacherous deal very treacherously.

Trust in the Lord for ever, for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

JEREMIAH

The word of the Lord came to me saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations… for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you.’

Your wickedness will punish you, and your apostasies will convict you.

Though you wash yourself with lye and use much soap,  the stain of your guilt is still before me.

You have all rebelled against me.

You have polluted the land with your whoring and wickedness.

I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful,  I will not be angry forever.

I will heal your faithlessness.

If you remove your abominations from my presence, and do not waver, and if you swear, ‘As the Lord lives!’ in truth, in justice, and in uprightness, then nations shall be blessed by him, and by him they shall boast.

Break up your fallow ground, and do not sow among thorns.

Wash your heart clean of wickedness so that you may be saved. How long shall your evil schemes lodge within you?

For if you truly amend your ways and your doings, if you truly act justly one with another, if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, and the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own hurt, then I will dwell with you in this place.

We look for peace, but find no good, for a time of healing, but there is terror instead.

For the hurt of my poor people I am hurt, I mourn, and dismay has taken hold of me. They bend their tongues like bows; they have grown strong in the land for falsehood, and not for truth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they do not know me.

Beware of your neighbors, and put no trust in any of your kin; for all your kin are supplanters, and every neighbor goes around like a slanderer. They all deceive their neighbours, and no one speaks the truth; they have taught their tongues to speak lies; they commit iniquity and are too weary to repent.

Do not let the wise boast in their wisdom, do not let the mighty boast in their might, do not let the wealthy boast in their wealth; but let those who boast boast in this, that they understand and know I act with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness, for in these things I delight.

The gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens. Everyone is stupid and without knowledge; goldsmiths are all put to shame by their idols; for their images are false, and there is no breath in them.

It is God who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens. He makes lightnings for the rain, and he brings out the wind from his storehouses.

Because the ground is cracked. Because there has been no rain on the land
the farmers are dismayed; they cover their heads. Even the doe in the field forsakes her newborn fawn because there is no grass. The wild asses stand on the bare heights, they pant for air like jackals; their eyes fail because there is no herbage.

The people offer burnt-offering and grain-offering, I do not accept them.

The prophets are prophesying lies.

We look for peace, but find no good; for a time of healing, but there is terror instead.

Can any idols of the nations bring rain? Or can the heavens give showers? Is it not you, O Lord our God? We set our hope on you, for it is you who do all this.

I am with you to save you and deliver you,  says the Lord.

I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked, and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless. The word of the Lord came to me: You shall not take a wife, nor shall you have sons or daughters in this place. For thus says the Lord concerning the sons and daughters who are born in this place, and concerning the mothers who bear them and the fathers who beget them in this land: They shall die of deadly diseases. They shall not be lamented, nor shall they be buried; they shall become like dung on the surface of the ground. They shall perish by the sword and by famine, and their dead bodies shall become food for the birds of the air and for the wild animals of the earth.

Why? It is because your ancestors have forsaken me, says the Lord, and have gone after other gods and have served and worshipped them, and have forsaken me and have not kept my law; and because you have behaved worse than your ancestors, for here you are, every one of you, following your stubborn, evil will, refusing to listen to me. Therefore I will hurl you out of this land into a land that neither you nor your ancestors have known, and there you shall serve other gods day and night, for I will show you no favor.

Therefore I am surely going to teach them, this time I am going to teach them my power and my might, and they shall know that my name is the Lord.’

Thus says the Lord: Cursed are those who trust in mere mortals and make mere flesh their strength, whose hearts turn away from the Lord

Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit.

I the Lord test the mind and search the heart, to give to all according to their ways, according to the fruit of their doings.

All who forsake God shall be put to shame; those who turn away from God shall be recorded in the underworld, for they have forsaken the fountain of living water, the Lord.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved; for you are my praise.

Thus said the Lord to me: Go and stand in the People’s Gate, by which the kings of Judah enter and by which they go out, and in all the gates of Jerusalem, and say to them: Hear the word of the Lord, you kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who enter by these gates. Thus says the Lord: For the sake of your lives, take care that you do not bear a burden on the sabbath day or bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem. And do not carry a burden out of your houses on the sabbath or do any work, but keep the sabbath day holy, as I commanded your ancestors.

Yet they did not listen or incline their ear; they stiffened their necks and would not hear or receive instruction.

But if you listen to me, says the Lord, and bring in no burden by the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but keep the sabbath day holy and do no work on it, then there shall enter by the gates of this city kings who sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their officials, the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and this city shall be inhabited for ever. And people shall come from the towns and the places around Jerusalem,  bringing burnt-offerings and sacrifices, grain-offerings and frankincense, and bringing thank-offerings to the house of the Lord. But if you do not listen to me, to keep the sabbath day holy, and to carry in no burden through the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day, then I will kindle a fire in its gates; it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem and shall not be quenched.

At one moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, but if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will change my mind about the disaster that I intended to bring on it. And at another moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, but if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will change my mind about the good that I had intended to do to it. Now, therefore, say to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: Thus says the Lord: Turn now, all of you from your evil way, and amend your ways and your doings.

But they say, ‘It is no use! We will follow our own plans, and each of us will act according to the stubbornness of our evil will.’

Therefore give their children over to famine; hurl them out to the power of the sword, let their wives become childless and widowed. May their men meet death by pestilence, their youths be slain by the sword in battle. May a cry be heard from their houses, when you bring the marauder suddenly upon them!
For they have dug a pit to catch me, and laid snares for my feet.

Thus said the Lord, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: I am going to bring such disaster upon this place that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle. Because the people have forsaken me, and have profaned this place by making offerings in it to other gods whom neither they nor their ancestors nor the kings of Judah have known, and because they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent, and gone on building the high places of Baal to burn their children in the fire as burnt-offerings to Baal, which I did not command or decree, nor did it enter my mind; therefore the days are surely coming, says the Lord, when this place shall be called the valley of Slaughter. And in this place I will make void the plans of Judah and Jerusalem, and will make them fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hand of those who seek their life. I will give their dead bodies for food to the birds of the air and to the wild animals of the earth. And I will make this city a horror, a thing to be hissed at; everyone who passes by it will be horrified and will hiss because of all its disasters. And I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and all shall eat the flesh of their neighbours in the siege, and in the distress with which their enemies and those who seek their life afflict them.

I am now bringing upon this city and upon all its towns all the disaster that I have pronounced against it, because they have stiffened their necks, refusing to hear my words.

Now the priest, who was chief officer in the house of the Lord, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things struck the prophet Jeremiah, and put him in the stocks. The next morning he released Jeremiah from the stocks, Jeremiah said to him, The Lord has named you not Pashhur but ‘Terror-all-around.’ For thus says the Lord: I am making you a terror to yourself and to all your friends; and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies while you look on. And you, Pashhur, and all who live in your house, shall go into captivity, and to Babylon you shall go; there you shall die, and there you shall be buried, you and all your friends, to whom you have prophesied falsely.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

Lamentations

[I guess the grief over the destruction of Judea and Jerusalem by God who was disobeyed by the people and God had warned the people of pending terror is like the loss of a lover.]

How lonely sits the city that once was full of people! How like a widow she has become, she that was great among the nations! She that was a princess among the provinces has become a vassal.

She weeps bitterly in the night, with tears on her cheeks; among all her lovers she has no one to comfort her; all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they have become her enemies.

Judah has gone into exile with suffering and hard servitude; she lives now among the nations, and finds no resting-place; her pursuers have all overtaken her in the midst of her distress.

The roads to Zion mourn, for no one comes to the festivals; all her gates are desolate, her priests groan; her young girls grieve, and her lot is bitter.

Her foes have become the masters, her enemies prosper, because the people  suffer for the multitude of her transgressions; her children have gone away, captives before the foe.

From daughter Zion has departed all her majesty. Her princes have become like stags that find no pasture; they fled without strength before the pursuer.

Jerusalem remembers, in the days of her affliction and wandering, all the precious things that were hers in days of old. When her people fell into the hand of the foe, and there was no one to help her, the foe looked on mocking over her downfall.

Jerusalem sinned grievously, so she has become a mockery; all who honored her despise her, for they have seen her nakedness; she herself groans, and turns her face away.

Her uncleanness was in her skirts; she took no thought of her future; her downfall was appalling, with none to comfort her. Look, O Lord, at my affliction, for the enemy has triumphed!’

Enemies have stretched out their hands over all her precious things; she has even seen the nations invade her sanctuary, those whom you forbade to enter your congregation.

All her people groan as they search for bread; they trade their treasures for food to revive their strength. Look, O Lord, and see how worthless I have become.

Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see  if there is any sorrow like my sorrow, which was brought upon me, which we inflicted on the day of our fierce inner anger.

From on high came fire; it went deep into my bones; spreading a net for my feet; turning me back; leaving me stunned, faint all day long.

My transgressions were bound into a yoke; my hands they were fastened together; they weigh on my neck, sapping my strength; I was handed over to those whom I cannot withstand.

My young warriors were crushed.

For these things I weep; my eyes flow with tears; for a comforter is far from me, one to revive my courage; my children are desolate, for the enemy has prevailed.

Zion stretches out her hands, but there is no one to comfort her; the Lord has commanded against Jacob that his neighbors should become his foes; Jerusalem has become a filthy thing among them.

I have rebelled against his word; but hear, all you peoples, and behold my suffering; my young women and young men have gone into captivity.

I called to my lovers but they deceived me; my priests and elders perished in the city while seeking food to revive their strength.

Distressed I am; my stomach churns, my heart is wrung within me, because I have been very rebellious. In the street the sword bereaves; in the house it is like death.

They heard how I was groaning, with no one to comfort me. All my enemies heard of my trouble; they are glad.

Let all their evildoing come before you; and deal with them for all transgressions; for my groans are many and my heart is faint.

The Lord has become like an enemy (got to blame someone); he has destroyed his tabernacle; abolished in Zion, spurned king and priest, children faint for hunger.

Lord, and consider! To whom have you done this? Should women eat their offspring, the children they have borne? Should priest and prophet be killed in the sanctuary of the Lord?

The young and the old are lying on the ground in the streets; my young women and my young men have fallen by the sword; on the day of your anger you have killed them, slaughtering without mercy.

I am one who has seen affliction under the rod of God’s * wrath; he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light; against me alone he turns his hand, again and again, all day long.

He has made my flesh and my skin waste away, and broken my bones; 
he has besieged and enveloped me with bitterness and tribulation; 
he has made me sit in darkness like the dead of long ago.

He has walled me about so that I cannot escape; he has put heavy chains on me; though I call and cry for help, he shuts out my prayer; he has blocked my ways with hewn stones, he has made my paths crooked.

He is a bear lying in wait for me, a lion in hiding;  he led me off my way and tore me to pieces; he has made me desolate; he bent his bow and set me as a mark for his arrow.

He shot into my vitals the arrows of his quiver; I have become the laughing-stock of all my people, the object of their taunt-songs all day long. He has filled me with bitterness, he has glutted me with wormwood.

He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes; my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, ‘Gone is my glory,
and all that I had hoped for from the Lord.’

The thought of my affliction and my homelessness is wormwood and gall! 
My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; 
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’

The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for one to bear the yoke in youth, to sit alone in silence when the Lord has imposed it, to put one’s mouth to the dust (there may yet be hope), to give one’s cheek to the smiter, and be filled with insults.

For the Lord will not reject for ever. Although he causes grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve anyone.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

EZEKIEL

The word of the Lord came to the priest Ezekiel and the hand of the Lord was on him.

I, Ezekiel, had a vision of chariots and when I  saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of someone speaking.

“Mortal, I am sending you to the people of Israel, to a nation of rebels who have rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have transgressed against me to this very day. The descendants are impudent and stubborn. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ Whether they hear or refuse to hear, they shall know that there has been a prophet among them.

But you, open your mouth and eat a written scroll (Yup, God, the all powerful, made him literally eat His words) and go, speak to the house of Israel and lay 390 days on each of your sides to bear the punishment of Isreal. (What?)

Then lie on your left side, and place the punishment of the house of Israel upon it for 390 days and then on your right side, and bear the punishment of the house of Judah; forty days I assign you, one day for each year and you shall eat by measure at fixed times. You shall eat it as a barley-cake, baking it in their sight on human dung (Holy crap!).  ‘See, I will let you have cow’s dung instead of human dung, on which you may prepare your bread.’ (Ez must have been having another vision as I, or God, would not require this crap).

Surely, parents shall eat their children in your midst, and children shall eat their parents; I will execute judgements on you, and any of you who survive I will scatter to every wind. Therefore, as I live, says the Lord God, surely, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your detestable things and with all your abominations—therefore I will cut you down; my eye will not spare, and I will have no pity. (Wow! To believe God, the all knowing, created you and now destroys you is ludicrous).

For they shall fall by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence.Then they shall know that I am the Lord. (As if I cause bugs to swarm, war and famine).

And the spirit lifted me, Ez, up between earth and heaven, and brought me in visions of God to Jerusalem (another vision? I think too much wine?).

The Lord called to the man clothed in linen, who had the writing-case at his side, and said to him, ‘Go through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of those who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.’ To the others he said in my hearing, ‘Pass through the city after him, and kill; your eye shall not spare, and you shall show no pity.Cut down old men, young men and young women, little children and women, but touch no one who has the mark. (A vision ?or a hallucination? God never asked for this).

Then the glory of the Lord rose up from the cherub to the threshold of the house; the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the glory of the Lord. (Ez apparently drinks too much. His visions can be dismissed. Who would want to be a prophet for a God so mean?)

Thus says the Lord God, Alas for the senseless prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! Your prophets have been like jackals among ruins, O Israel… They have prophesied falsehood and lying divination; they say, ‘Says the Lord’, when the Lord has not sent them, and yet they wait for the fulfilment of their word! Have you not seen a false vision or uttered a lying divination, when you have said, ‘Says the Lord’, even though I did not speak? (Amen).

Know that all lives are mine; the life of the parent as well as the life of the child is mine: it is only the person who sins that shall die. If a man is righteous and does what is lawful and right— if he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbour’s wife or approach a woman during her menstrual period, does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, does not take advance or accrued interest, withholds his hand from iniquity, executes true justice between contending parties, follows my statutes, and is careful to observe my ordinances, acting faithfully—such a one is righteous; he shall surely live, says the Lord God.

Yet you say, ‘Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?’ When the son has done what is lawful and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live.The person who sins shall die. A child shall not suffer for the iniquity of a parent, nor a parent suffer for the iniquity of a child; the righteousness of the righteous shall be his own, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be his own.

But if the wicked turn away from all their sins that they have committed and keep all my statutes and do what is lawful and right, they shall surely live; they shall not die. None of the transgressions that they have committed shall be remembered against them; for the righteousness that they have done they shall live.

Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord God, and not rather that they should turn from their ways and live? But when the righteous turn away from their righteousness and commit iniquity and do the same abominable things that the wicked do, shall they live? None of the righteous deeds that they have done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which they are guilty and the sin they have committed, they shall die.

Therefore I will judge you, all of you according to your ways, says the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions; otherwise iniquity will be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed against me, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says the Lord God. Turn, then, and live.’

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

DANIEL

[Kings dreams also make a story.]

The king commanded his palace master to bring some of the Israelites of the royal family and of the nobility, young men without physical defect and handsome, versed in every branch of wisdom, endowed with knowledge and insight, and competent to serve in the king’s palace. They were to be educated for three years, and stationed in the king’s court. Among them were Daniel, called Belteshazzar,  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

The king asked for a dream’s interpretation or would execute the men.

Daniel provided a favorable interpretation for the king. Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, worshipped Daniel, and commanded that a grain-offering and incense be offered to him.

King Nebuchadnezzar made a golden statue and sent all to assemble and come to the dedication of the statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. So all the officials of the provinces, assembled for the dedication of the statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. When they were standing before the statue that Nebuchadnezzar had set up, the herald proclaimed aloud that whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire.’

Therefore, as soon as all the people heard the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, drum, and entire musical ensemble, all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and worshipped the golden statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These pay no heed to you, O king. They do not serve your gods and they do not worship the golden statue that you have set up.’

Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought in; so they brought those men before the king. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king said they would not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue.

They were thrown into the furnace of blazing fire. But Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire. Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants who trusted in him. Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that utters blasphemy against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins; for there is no other god who is able to deliver in this way.’ Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.

Daniel declared the interpretation of the king’s second dream, since all the wise men of my kingdom were unable to tell me the interpretation. You are able, however, for you are endowed with a spirit of the holy gods.’

Then Daniel was severely distressed for a while. His thoughts terrified him. The king said, ‘Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or the interpretation terrify you.’ Belteshazzar answered, ‘My lord, may the dream be for those who hate you, and its interpretation for your enemies! The tree that you saw, which grew great and strong, so that its top reached to heaven and was visible to the end of the whole earth, whose foliage was beautiful and its fruit abundant, and which provided food for all, under which animals of the field lived, and in whose branches the birds of the air had nests— it is you, O king! You have grown great and strong. Your greatness has increased and reaches to heaven, and your sovereignty to the ends of the earth. And whereas the king saw a holy watcher coming down from heaven and saying, “Cut down the tree and destroy it, but leave its stump and roots in the ground, with a band of iron and bronze, in the grass of the field; and let him be bathed with the dew of heaven, and let his lot be with the animals of the field, until seven times pass over him”—  this is the interpretation, O king, and it is a decree of the Most High that has come upon my lord the king: You shall be driven away from human society, and your dwelling shall be with the wild animals. You shall be made to eat grass like oxen, you shall be bathed with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over you, until you have learned that the Most High has sovereignty over the kingdom of mortals, and gives it to whom he will. As it was commanded to leave the stump and roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be re-established for you from the time that you learn that Heaven is sovereign. Therefore, O king, may my counsel be acceptable to you: atone for your sins with righteousness, and your iniquities with mercy to the oppressed, so that your prosperity may be prolonged.’

All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, and the king said, ‘Is this not magnificent Babylon, which I have built as a royal capital by my mighty power and for my glorious majesty?’  While the words were still in the king’s mouth, a voice came from heaven: ‘O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: The kingdom has departed from you! You shall be driven away from human society, and your dwelling shall be with the animals of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like oxen, and seven times shall pass over you, until you have learned that the Most High has sovereignty over the kingdom of mortals and gives it to whom he will.’ Immediately the sentence was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven away from human society, ate grass like oxen, and his body was bathed with the dew of heaven, until his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers and his nails became like birds’ claws.

When that period was over, I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me. I blessed the Most High, and praised and honoured the one who lives for ever. For his sovereignty is an everlasting sovereignty,
and his kingdom endures from generation to generation.

At that time my reason returned to me; and my majesty and splendour were restored to me for the glory of my kingdom. My counsellors and my lords sought me out, I was re-established over my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me.

Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honour the King of heaven,
for all his works are truth, and his ways are justice; and he is able to bring low
those who walk in pride.

King Belshazzar made a great festival for a thousand of his lords, and he was drinking wine in the presence of the thousand. Belshazzar commanded that they bring in the vessels of gold and silver that his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them.  They drank the wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.

Immediately the fingers of a human hand appeared and began writing on the plaster of the wall of the royal palace. Then the king’s face turned pale, and his thoughts terrified him. The king cried aloud to the wise men of Babylon, ‘Whoever can read this writing and tell me its interpretation shall rank third in the kingdom.’ Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or tell the king the interpretation.

The queen said, ‘O king, live for ever! Do not let your thoughts terrify you or your face grow pale. There is a man in your kingdom who is endowed with a spirit of the holy gods. Let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation.’

Then Daniel was brought in before the king. I have heard that you can give interpretations and solve problems. Now if you are able to read the writing you shall rank third in the kingdom.’

Then Daniel answered in the presence of the king. O king, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar kingship, greatness, glory, and majesty. But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he acted proudly, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and his glory was stripped from him.

And you, Belshazzar his son, have not humbled your heart, even though you knew all this! You have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven! The vessels of his temple have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines have been drinking wine from them. You have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know; but the God in whose power is your very breath, and to whom belong all your ways, you have not honored.

‘So from his presence the hand was sent and this writing was inscribed. And this is the writing that was inscribed: menemenetekel, and parsin. This is the interpretation of the matter: mene, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; tekel, you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting; peres, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.’

Then Belshazzar gave the command, and Daniel was clothed in purple, a chain of gold was put around his neck, and a proclamation was made concerning him that he should rank third in the kingdom.

That very night Belshazzar, the Chaldean king, was killed. And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.

It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps, stationed throughout the whole kingdom, and over them three presidents, including Daniel; to these the satraps gave account, so that the king might suffer no loss. Soon Daniel distinguished himself above all the other presidents and satraps because an excellent spirit was in him, and the king planned to appoint him over the whole kingdom. So the presidents and the satraps tried to find grounds for complaint against Daniel in connection with the kingdom. But they could find no grounds for complaint or any corruption, because he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption could be found in him. The men said, ‘We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.’

So the presidents and satraps conspired and came to the king and said to him, ‘O King Darius, live for ever! All the presidents of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counsellors and the governors, are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an interdict, that whoever prays to anyone, divine or human, for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into a den of lions. Now, O king, establish the interdict and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked.’

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

HOSEA

[Note: Men tend to blame God for their bad behavior and for their good behavior. They say God predestines their every move and that God gives them free will. They want it both ways].

The Lord said to Hosea, ‘Go, take for yourself a wife of whoredom and have children. Name your first son Jezreel; for in a little while I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. (God does not name your children. Here God punishes many for Hosea doing what He asked? Actually Hosea probably wed in whoredom and claimed God asked that he do it to justify his choice).

Then Hosea’s wife bore a daughter and God said, ‘Name her Lo-ruhamah, for I will no longer have pity on the house of Israel or forgive them.

When she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and bore a son. Then the Lord said, ‘Name him Lo-ammi, for you are not my people and I am not your God.’

Jezebel is told to tell his brother, Ammi, and sister, Ruhamah: Plead with your mother, plead—for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband— that she put away her whoring from her face, and her adultery from between her breasts, or God will strip her naked and expose her as in the day she was born, and make her like a wilderness, and turn her into a parched land, and kill her with thirst. Upon her children also I will have no pity, because they are children of whoredom.

Later.

The Lord said to me again, ‘Go, love a woman who has a lover and is an adulteress, just as the Lord loves the people of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes.’ So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer of barley and a measure of wine. And I said to her, ‘You must remain as mine for many days… [OMG. Don’t you believe God tells him to get an adulteress so HE can condemn him and others later.]

Hear the word of the Lord, O people of Israel; for the Lord has an indictment against the inhabitants of the land. There is no faithfulness or loyalty, and no knowledge of God in the land. Swearing, lying, and murder, and stealing and adultery break out; bloodshed follows bloodshed. Therefore the land mourns,
and all who live in it languish; together with the wild animals and the birds of the air, even the fish of the sea are perishing.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

The more they increased, the more they sinned against me; they changed their glory into shame. They feed on the sin of my people; they are greedy for their iniquity. And it shall be like people, like priest; I will punish them for their ways, and repay them for their deeds.

They shall eat, but not be satisfied; they shall play the whore, but not multiply;
because they have forsaken the Lord to devote themselves to whoredom.

Wine and new wine take away the understanding. My people consult a piece of wood, and their divining-rod gives them oracles. For a spirit of whoredom has led them astray, and they have played the whore, forsaking their God.

They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains, and make offerings upon the hills,
under oak, poplar, and terebinth, because their shade is good.

Therefore your daughters play the whore, and your daughters-in-law commit adultery.  I will not punish your daughters when they play the whore, nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery; for the men themselves go aside with whores, and sacrifice with temple prostitutes; thus a people without understanding comes to ruin.

Hear this, O priests! Give heed, O house of Israel! Listen, O house of the king!
For the judgement pertains to you. I will punish all of them.

For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt-offerings.

But they do not consider that I remember all their wickedness. Now their deeds surround them, they are before my face. By their wickedness they make the king glad, and the officials by their treachery.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

JOEL

[Is God great or terrible or just all powerful?]

The word of the Lord that came to Joel (or Joel wrote…).

Hear this, O elders, give ear, all inhabitants of the land! Has such a thing happened in your days, or in the days of your ancestors?

Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.

What the cutting locust left,  the swarming locust has eaten. What the swarming locust left,  the hopping locust has eaten, and what the hopping locust left,  the destroying locust has eaten.

Wake up, you drunkards, and weep; and wail, all you wine-drinkers,
over the sweet wine, for it is cut off from your mouth. For a nation has invaded my land, powerful and innumerable; its teeth are lions’ teeth, and it has the fangs of a lioness. It has laid waste my vines, and splintered my fig trees; it has stripped off their bark and thrown it down; their branches have turned white. [The army is like locusts.]

Lament like a virgin dressed in sackcloth for the husband of her youth. The grain-offering and the drink-offering are cut off from the house of the Lord.
The priests mourn, the ministers of the Lord. The fields are devastated, the ground mourns; for the grain is destroyed, the wine dries up, the oil fails.

Be dismayed, you farmers, wail, you vine-dressers, over the wheat and the barley; for the crops of the field are ruined. The vine withers, the fig tree droops. Pomegranate, palm, and apple— all the trees of the field are dried up;
surely, joy withers away among the people.

Put on sackcloth and lament, you priests;  wail, you ministers of the altar. Come, pass the night in sackcloth, you ministers of my God! Grain-offering and drink-offering are withheld from the house of your God.

Sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly. Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the Lord your God, And cry out to the Lord.

Alas for the day! For the day of the Lord is near, and as destruction from the Almighty it comes. Is not the food cut off before our eyes, joy and gladness
from the house of our God?

The seed shrivels under the clods, the storehouses are desolate; the granaries are ruined because the grain has failed.

How the animals groan! The herds of cattle wander about because there is no pasture for them; even the flocks of sheep are dazed.

To you, O Lord, I cry. For fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and flames have burned all the trees of the field.

Even the wild animals cry to you because the watercourses are dried up,
and fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness.

Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming, it is near— 
a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness!

Like blackness spread upon the mountains a great and powerful army comes;
their like has never been from of old, nor will be again after them in ages to come. Fire devours in front of them, and behind them a flame burns. Before them the land is like the garden of Eden, but after them a desolate wilderness,
and nothing escapes them.

They have the appearance of horses, and like warhorses they charge. As with the rumbling of chariots, they leap on the tops of the mountains, like the crackling of a flame of fire devouring the stubble, like a powerful army drawn up for battle. Before them peoples are in anguish, all faces grow pale. Like warriors they charge,  like soldiers they scale the wall. Each keeps to its own course, they do not swerve from their paths. They do not jostle one another,
each keeps to its own track; they burst through the weapons and are not halted.  They leap upon the city, they run upon the walls; they climb up into the houses,
they enter through the windows like a thief.  The earth quakes before them,   the heavens tremble. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining.

The Lord utters his voice at the head of his army; how vast is his host! (God should escape being blamed for the army’s doings). Numberless are those who obey his command. Truly the day of the Lord is great; terrible indeed—who can endure it? [God is great and terrible?].

Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing. [God is forgiving. Thank you Joel].

Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain-offering and a drink-offering for the Lord, your God?

Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people. Sanctify the congregation; assemble the aged; gather the children,    even infants at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her canopy.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

AMOS

[Amos’s God loves no one and punishes everyone. But my God remains loving and does not revenge evil with evil].

The words of Amos, who was among the shepherds, which he saw concerning Israel two years before the earthquake.

And he said: The Lord roars and utters his voice and the pastures of the shepherds wither, and the top of the mountain dries up. [God is blamed for droughts].

Thus says the Lord: For transgressions I will not revoke the punishment, I will send a fire on the houses, devour the strongholds, break the gate-bars and cut off the inhabitants from the Valley, and the people shall go into exile, I will send a fire that shall devour its strongholds, and amid uproar, amid shouting and the sound of the trumpet; I will cut off the ruler from its midst, and will kill all its officials with him, because they have rejected the law of the Lord, and have not kept his statutes, but they have been led astray by the same lies after which their ancestors walked, they who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth, and push the afflicted out of the way, father and son go in to the same girl, so that my holy name is profaned; they lay themselves down beside every altar on garments taken in pledge; and in the house of their God they drink wine bought with fines they imposed.  [Woe!]

Also I brought you up out of the land of Egypt, and led you for forty years in the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite. And I raised up some of your children to be prophets and some of your youths to be nazirites. Is it not indeed so, O people of Israel? But you made the nazirites drink wine, and commanded the prophets, saying, ‘You shall not prophesy.’ So, I will press you down in your place, just as a cart presses down when it is full of sheaves.  Flight shall perish from the swift, and the strong shall not retain their strength, nor shall the mighty save their lives;  those who handle the bow shall not stand,
and those who are swift of foot shall not save themselves, nor shall those who ride horses save their lives; and those who are stout of heart among the mighty
shall flee away naked on that day.

Hear this word that the Lord has spoken against you, O people of Israel, against the whole family that I brought up out of the land of Egypt: You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you
for all your iniquities.

Does a lion roar in the forest, when it has no prey?
Does a young lion cry out from its den, if it has caught nothing? 
Does a bird fall into a snare on the earth, when there is no trap for it?
Does a snare spring up from the ground, when it has taken nothing? 
Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid?
Does disaster befall a city, unless the Lord has done it?

Surely the Lord God does nothing, without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets. The lion has roared; who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken; who can but prophesy?

Proclaim to the strongholds in Ashdod, and to the strongholds in the land of Egypt, and say, ‘Assemble yourselves on Mount Samaria, and see what great tumults are within it, and what oppressions are in its midst.’

They do not know how to do right, says the Lord, those who store up violence and robbery in their strongholds.  Therefore, thus says the Lord God: An adversary shall surround the land, and strip you of your defense; and your strongholds shall be plundered.

Thus says the Lord: As the shepherd rescues from the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece of an ear, so shall the people of Israel who live in Samaria be rescued, with the corner of a couch and part of a bed.

Hear, and testify against the house of Jacob, says the Lord God, the God of hosts: On the day I punish Israel for its transgressions, I will punish the altars of Bethel, and the horns of the altar shall be cut off and fall to the ground. I will tear down the winter house as well as the summer house; and the houses of ivory shall perish, and the great houses shall come to an end.

Hear this word, who oppress the poor, who crush the needy, who say to their husbands, ‘Bring something to drink!’  The Lord God has sworn by his holiness: The time is surely coming upon you, when they shall take you away with hooks, even the last of you with fish-hooks.

Bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three days; bring a thank-offering of leavened bread, and proclaim freewill-offerings, publish them; for so you love to do, O people of Israel!

I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and lack of bread in all your places, yet you did not return to me.

I withheld the rain from you when there were still three months to the harvest; I would send rain on one city, and send no rain on another city; one field would be rained upon, and the field on which it did not rain withered; so two or three towns wandered to one town to drink water, and were not satisfied; yet you did not return to me.

I struck you with blight and mildew; I laid waste your gardens and your vineyards; the locust devoured your fig trees and your olive trees; yet you did not return to me, I sent among you a pestilence after the manner of Egypt;
I killed your young men with the sword; I carried away your horses; and I made the stench of your camp go up into your nostrils; yet you did not return to me.

I overthrew some of you, as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah,
and you were like a brand snatched from the fire; yet you did not return to me.

Therefore, thus I will do to you, O Israel; because I will do this to you,
prepare to meet your God, O Israel! For lo, the one who forms the mountains, creates the wind, reveals his thoughts to mortals, makes the morning darkness,
and treads on the heights of the earth— the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name! Hear this word that I take up over you in lamentation, O house of Israel: Fallen, no more to rise, is maiden Israel; forsaken on her land, with no one to raise her up. The city that marched out a thousand shall have a hundred left,
and that which marched out a hundred shall have ten left.

Seek me and live.

For I know how many are your transgressions, and how great are your sins — you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and push aside the needy in the gate. Therefore the prudent will keep silent in such a time; for it is an evil time. Seek good and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, just as you have said.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

OBADIAH

[Obadiah talks of transgressions and God’s punishment, but keeps it short. If you are going to combine 66 books into  one Bible – keep each book short! God is blamed for every destruction by nature or armies, but again – obey God and live].

The vision of Obadiah. Thus says the Lord: We have heard a report from the LORD, and a messenger has been sent among the nations: “Rise up! Let us rise against it for battle!”  I will surely make you least among the nations; you shall be utterly despised. Your proud heart has deceived you, you that live in the clefts of the rock, whose dwelling is in the heights. You say in your heart, “Who will bring me down to the ground?”  Though you soar aloft like the eagle, though your nest is set among the stars, from there I will bring you down. If thieves came to you, if plunderers by night – how you have been destroyed!– would they not steal only what they wanted? If grape-gatherers came to you, would they not leave gleanings? All your allies have deceived you, they have driven you to the border; your confederates have prevailed against you; those who ate your bread have set a trap for you– there is no understanding of it.  On that day, I will destroy the wise and understanding out. Your warriors shall be shattered, everyone will be cut off. For the slaughter and violence done to your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever. On the day that you stood aside, on the day that strangers carried off his wealth, and foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem, you too were like one of them. But you should not have gloated over your brother on the day of his misfortune; you should not have rejoiced over the people of Judah on the day of their ruin; you should not have boasted on the day of distress. You should not have entered the gate of my people on the day of their calamity; you should not have joined in the gloating over Judah’s disaster on the day of his calamity; you should not have looted his goods on the day of his calamity. You should not have stood at the crossings to cut off his fugitives; you should not have handed over his survivors on the day of distress. For the day of the LORD is near against all the nations.

As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head.

[Perhaps visions an dreams should be discounted and not part of a Bible]

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

JONAH

[And if you believe Jonah’s story, you can easily believe in God. I think Jonah had a dream or vision or indigestion from a piece of fish].

Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah saying, ‘Go at once to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before me.’ But Jonah set out to flee from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish.

But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and such a mighty storm came upon the sea that the ship threatened to break up. Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried to his god. They threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten it for them. Jonah, meanwhile, had gone down into the hold of the ship and had lain down, and was fast asleep. The captain came and said to him, ‘What are you doing sound asleep? Get up, call on your god! Perhaps the god will spare us a thought so that we do not perish.’

The sailors said to one another, ‘Come, let us cast lots, so that we may know on whose account this calamity has come upon us.’ So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. Then they said to him, ‘Tell us why this calamity has come upon us. What is your occupation? Where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?’ ‘I am a Hebrew,’ he replied. ‘I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.’ Then the men were even more afraid, and said to him, ‘What is this that you have done!’ For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them so.

Then they said to him, ‘What shall we do to you, that the sea may quieten down for us?’ For the sea was growing more and more tempestuous. He said to them, ‘Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will quieten down for you; for I know it is because of me that this great storm has come upon you.’ Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to bring the ship back to land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more stormy against them. Then they cried out to the Lord, ‘Please, O Lord, we pray, do not let us perish on account of this man’s life. Do not make us guilty of innocent blood; for you, O Lord, have done as it pleased you.’ So they picked Jonah up and threw him into the sea; and the sea ceased from its raging. Then the men feared the Lord even more, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.

But the Lord provided a large fish to swallow up Jonah; and Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights.

Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish, saying,
‘I called to the Lord out of my distress,  and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice. You cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; all your waves and your billows    passed over me.

Then I said, “I am driven away from your sight; how shall I look again upon your holy temple?”  The waters closed in over me; the deep surrounded me;
weeds were wrapped around my head at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me for ever; yet you brought up my life from the Pit,

Lord my God. As my life was ebbing away, I remembered the Lord;
and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple.

[And, the great fish spewed Jonah onto the beach… I assume].

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

MICAH

[More of the same blame God for all difficulty. God would get peeved by man’s transgressions, but does not condemn all for the failings of some].

The word of the Lord that came to Micah which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.

Hear, you peoples, all of you; listen, O earth, and all that is in it. For lo, the Lord is coming out of his place, and will come down and tread upon the high places of the earth. Then the mountains will melt under him and the valleys will burst open, like wax near the fire, like waters poured down a steep place. 
All this is for the transgression of Jacob and for the sins of the house of Israel.

Therefore I will make Samaria a heap in the open country, a place for planting vineyards. I will pour down her stones into the valley, and uncover her foundations. All her images shall be beaten to pieces, all her wages shall be burned with fire, and all her idols I will lay waste; for as the wages of a prostitute she gathered them, and as the wages of a prostitute they shall again be used.

Disaster has come down from the Lord to the gate of Jerusalem. 

Alas for those who devise wickedness and evil deeds on their beds! When the morning dawns, they perform it, because it is in their power. They covet fields, and seize them; houses, and take them away; they oppress householder and house, people and their inheritance. I am devising against this family an evil from which you cannot remove your necks; and you shall not walk haughtily, for it will be an evil time.

Micah proclaims, we are utterly ruined; the Lord  alters the inheritance of my people; how he removes it from me! Among our captors he parcels out our fields.’

‘Do not preach’—thus they preach—‘one should not preach of such things;
disgrace will not overtake us.’ Should this be said, O house of Jacob? Is the Lord’s patience exhausted? Are these his doings? Do not my words do good
to one who walks uprightly?

But you rise up against my people as an enemy; you strip the robe from the peaceful, from those who pass by trustingly with no thought of war. The women of my people you drive out from their pleasant houses; from their young children you take away my glory for ever. Arise and go; for this is no place to rest, because of uncleanness that destroys with a grievous destruction.

If someone were to go about uttering empty falsehoods, saying, ‘I will preach to you of wine and strong drink’, such a one would be the preacher for this people!

I will gather the survivors of Israel; I will set them together like sheep in a fold,
like a flock in its pasture; it will resound with people. The one who breaks out will go up before them; they will break through and pass the gate, going out by it. Their king will pass on before them, the Lord at their head.

And I said: Listen, you heads of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel!
Should you not know justice?—  you who hate the good and love the evil,
who tear the skin off my people, and the flesh off their bones; who eat the flesh of my people, flay their skin off them, break their bones in pieces, and chop them up like meat in a kettle, like flesh in a cauldron. [Woe! Seems like a bad dream with heartburn or a plot for a horror movie].

Then they will cry to the Lord, but he will not answer them; he will hide his face from them at that time, because they have acted wickedly.

Thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who lead my people astray,
who cry ‘Peace’ when they have something to eat, but declare war against those
who put nothing into their mouths. Therefore it shall be night to you, without vision, and darkness to you, without revelation. The sun shall go down upon the prophets, and the day shall be black over them; the seers shall be disgraced,
and the diviners put to shame; they shall all cover their lips, for there is no answer from God.

But as for me, I am filled with power, with the spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.

Hear this, you rulers of the house of Jacob and chiefs of the house of Israel,
who abhor justice and pervert all equity, who build Zion with blood and Jerusalem with wrong!

Its rulers give judgement for a bribe, its priests teach for a price, its prophets give oracles for money; yet they lean upon the Lord and say, ‘Surely the Lord is with us! No harm shall come upon us.’  Therefore because of you
Zion shall be ploughed as a field; Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins,
and the mountain of the house a wooded height.

In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised up above the hills. Peoples shall stream to it, and many nations shall come and say: ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, oo the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

He shall judge between many peoples, and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more; but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid;
for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.

For all the peoples walk, each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.

On that day, says the Lord, I will assemble the lame and gather those who have been driven away, and those whom I have afflicted. The lame I will make the remnant, and those who were cast off, a strong nation; and the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion now and for evermore.

And you, O tower of the flock, hill of daughter Zion, to you it shall come, the former dominion shall come, the sovereignty of daughter Jerusalem.

Now why do you cry aloud? Is there no king in you? Has your counsellor perished, that pangs have seized you like a woman in labour?  Writhe and groan, O daughter Zion, like a woman in labour; for now you shall go forth from the city and camp in the open country; you shall go to Babylon. There you shall be rescued, there the Lord will redeem you from the hands of your enemies.

Now many nations are assembled against you, saying, ‘Let her be profaned, and let our eyes gaze upon Zion.’

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

NAHUM

[Blame God…]

The book of the vision of Nahum about Nineveh.

A jealous, avenging and wrathful God is the Lord, the Lord takes vengeance on his adversaries and rages against his enemies. [Maybe man was made in God’s image or man just thinks God acts as man often does or God was made in Nahum’s image]. Slow to anger but great in power, the Lord will by no means clear the guilty.

His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebukes the sea and makes it dry, and he dries up all the rivers. The mountains quake before him, the hills melt and the earth heaves before him.

Who can stand before his indignation? Who can endure the heat of his anger?
His wrath is poured out like fire, and by him the rocks are broken in pieces.

The Lord is good, a stronghold on a day of trouble; he protects those who take refuge in him,  even in a rushing flood. [Thank you, a little praise of God goes a long way].

He will make a full end of his adversaries, and will pursue his enemies into darkness. Why do you plot against the Lord? He will make an end; no adversary will rise up twice. Like thorns they are entangled, like drunkards they are drunk; they are consumed like dry straw. From you one has gone out
who plots evil against the Lord, one who counsels wickedness.

Thus says the Lord, ‘Though they are at full strength and many, they will be cut off and pass away. Though I have afflicted you, I will afflict you no more. And now I will break off his yoke from you and snap the bonds that bind you.’

I will cut off the carved image and the cast image. I will make your grave, for you are worthless.’

Look! On the mountains the feet of one who brings good tidings, who proclaims peace! Celebrate your festivals, fulfil your vows, for never again shall the wicked invade you; they are utterly cut off.

A shatterer has come up against you. Guard the ramparts; watch the road; gird your loins; collect all your strength.  For the Lord is restoring the majesty of Jacob, as well as the majesty of Israel, though ravagers have ravaged them
and ruined their branches.

The shields of his warriors are red; his soldiers are clothed in crimson. The metal on the chariots flashes on the day when he musters them; the chargers prance.  The chariots race madly through the streets, they rush to and fro through the squares; their appearance is like torches, they dart like lightning.

He calls his officers; they stumble as they come forward; they hasten to the wall, and the mantelet is set up. The river gates are opened, the palace trembles. It is decreed that the city be exiled, its slave women led away,
moaning like doves and beating their breasts. Nineveh is like a pool
whose waters run away. ‘Halt! Halt!’— but no one turns back.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

HABAKKUK

[More of the same accusations and praises of God this time by Habakkuk – Henry would have been a better name].

The oracle that the prophet Habakkuk saw.

Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen? Or cry to you ‘Violence!’ and you will not save? Why do you make me see wrongdoing
and look at trouble? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law becomes slack and justice never prevails.
The wicked surround the righteous— therefore judgement comes forth perverted.

Look at the nations, and see! Be astonished! Be astounded! For a work is being done in your days that you would not believe if you were told. For I am rousing the Chaldeans, that fierce and impetuous nation, who march through the breadth of the earth to seize dwellings not their own. Dread and fearsome are they; their justice and dignity proceed from themselves. Their horses are swifter than leopards, more menacing than wolves at dusk; their horses charge.
Their horsemen come from far away;  they fly like an eagle swift to devour. They all come for violence, with faces pressing forward; they gather captives like sand. At kings they scoff, and of rulers they make sport. They laugh at every fortress, and heap up earth to take it. Then they sweep by like the wind;
they transgress and become guilty; their own might is their god!

[A powerful conquers and God is blamed.]

Are you not from of old,  O Lord,  You shall not die. You have marked them for judgement; and you have established them for punishment. Your eyes are too pure to behold evil, and you cannot look on wrongdoing; why do you look on the treacherous, and are silent when the wicked swallow those more righteous than they? You have made people like the fish of the sea, like crawling things that have no ruler. The enemy brings all of them up with a hook; he drags them out with his net; so he rejoices and exults.

Therefore he sacrifices to his nets for by them his portion is lavish, and his food is rich. Is he then to keep on emptying his net, and destroying nations without mercy?

I will stand at my watch-post, and station myself on the rampart; I will keep watch to see what he will say to me, and what he will answer concerning my complaint.

Then the Lord answered me and said: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it. For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay. Look at the proud! Their spirit is not right in them, but the righteous live by their faith. Moreover, wealth is treacherous;    the arrogant do not endure. They open their throats wide as Sheol; like Death they never have enough. They gather all nations for themselves, and collect all peoples as their own.

Shall not everyone taunt such people and, with mocking riddles, say about them, ‘Alas for you who heap up what is not your own!’ How long will you load yourselves with goods taken in pledge?

Will not your own creditors suddenly rise, and those who make you tremble wake up?  Then you will be booty for them. Because you have plundered many nations, all that survive of the peoples shall plunder you— because of human bloodshed, and violence to the earth,  to cities and all who live in them.

‘Alas for you who get evil gain for your houses, setting your nest on high to be safe from the reach of harm!’  You have devised shame for your house by cutting off many peoples;  you have forfeited your life. The very stones will cry out from the wall, and the plaster will respond from the woodwork.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

ZEPHARIAH

[Woe to you who write another account of God’s punishments and rewards. So many selected books in the Bible seem so similar in tone].

The word of the Lord that came to Zephaniah.

I will utterly sweep away everything from the face of the earth, says the Lord. I will sweep away humans and animals, the birds of the air and the fish of the sea. I will make the wicked stumble, cut off humanity from the face of the earth, says the Lord.  I will stretch out my hand against those who have turned back from following the Lord,  who have not sought the Lord or inquired of him. [Goes really does not need all the attention].

Be silent before the Lord God! For the day of the Lord is at hand; the Lord has prepared a sacrifice, he has consecrated his guests. And on the day of the Lord’s sacrifice I will punish the officials and the king’s sons and all who dress themselves in foreign attire. On that day I will punish all who leap over the threshold, who fill their master’s house with violence and fraud.

On that day, says the Lord, a cry will be heard from the Fish Gate, a wail from the Second Quarter, a loud crash from the hills. The inhabitants of the Mortar wail, for all the traders have perished; all who weigh out silver are cut off. At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the people
who rest complacently on their dregs, those who say in their hearts,
‘The Lord will not do good, nor will he do harm.’

Their wealth shall be plundered, and their houses laid waste. Though they build houses, they shall not inhabit them; though they plant vineyards, they shall not drink wine from them.

The great day of the Lord is near, near and hastening fast; the sound of the day of the Lord is bitter, the warrior cries aloud there.  That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation,  a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet blast and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the lofty battlements.

I will bring such distress upon people that they shall walk like the blind;
because they have sinned against the Lord, their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung. [Oh my God!]

Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the Lord’s wrath [listen you wealthy who think only of yourselves]; in the fire of his passion the whole earth shall be consumed; for a full, a terrible end he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth [now will all fear God unnecessarily? Why would God create and destroy all?].

Gather together, gather, O shameless nation, before you are driven away like the drifting chaff, before there comes upon you the fierce anger of the Lord,
before there comes upon you the day of the Lord’s wrath. [You better all watch out! Well, God would rather you all love God than fear Him].

Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, who do his commands; seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the Lord’s wrath [You can change and follow God].

Or your land shall be deserted, become a desolation; people shall be driven out at noon and shall be uprooted. Oh, inhabitants of the sea coast, the word of the Lord is against you and I will destroy you until no inhabitant is left. And you, O sea coast, shall be pastures, meadows for shepherds and folds for flocks.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

HAGGAI

On the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came by the prophet Haggai [Old Hag for short]. Thus says the LORD: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house. Is it a time for you yourselves to live in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Consider how you have fared. You have sown much, and harvested little; you eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and you that earn wages earn wages to put them into a bag with holes [Woman today use big purses and lose the money in them].

Thus says the LORD: Consider how you have fared. Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored.

You have looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? says the LORD. Because my house lies in ruins, while all of you hurry off to your own houses. Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the soil produces, on human beings and animals, and on all their labors.

Then all the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of the prophet Haggai, as the LORD their God had sent him; and the people feared the LORD.

Then Haggai spoke to the people with the Lord’s message. Who is left among you that saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Is it not in your sight as nothing? Take courage all you people of the land, says the LORD; work, for I am with you according to the promise that I made you when you came out of Egypt. My spirit abides among you; do not fear. Once again, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land; and I will shake all the nations, so that the treasure of all nations shall come, and I will fill this house with splendor. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine. The latter splendor of this house shall be greater and in this place I will give prosperity.

Ask the priests for a ruling: If one carries consecrated meat in the fold of one’s garment, and with the fold touches bread, or stew, or wine, or oil, or any kind of food, does it become holy? The priests answered, “No.”

Then Haggai said, “If one who is unclean by contact with a dead body touches any of these, does it become unclean?” The priests answered, “Yes, it becomes unclean.” Haggai then said, So is it with this people, and with this nation before me, says the LORD; and so with every work of their hands; and what they offer there is unclean. But now, consider what will come to pass from this day on. Before a stone was placed upon a stone in the Lord’s temple, how did you fare? When one came to a heap of twenty measures, there were but ten; when one came to the winevat to draw fifty measures, there were but twenty. I struck you and all the products of your toil with blight and mildew and hail; yet you did not return to me, says the LORD.

Consider from this day on. Since the day that the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid, consider: Is there any seed left in the barn? Do the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree still yield nothing? From this day on I will bless you.

The word of the LORD came a second time to Haggai saying I am about to shake the heavens and the earth, and to overthrow the throne of kingdoms; I am about to destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations, and overthrow the chariots and their riders; and the horses and their riders shall fall, every one by the sword of a comrade.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

ZECHARIAH

And the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah saying: The Lord was very angry with your ancestors. Therefore say to them, Return to me, and I will return to you [sounds fair].

The word of the Lord again came to the prophet Zechariah saying, ‘O Lord of hosts, how long will you withhold mercy from Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with which you have been angry these seventy years?’

Then the Lord replied with gracious and comforting words to the angel who talked with me. So the angel who talked with me said to me, Proclaim this message: Thus says the Lord of hosts; I am very jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion. And I am extremely angry with the nations that are at ease; for while I was only a little angry, they made the disaster worse. Therefore, I have returned to Jerusalem with compassion; my house shall be built in it. My cities shall again overflow with prosperity; the Lord will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem.

Jerusalem shall be inhabited like villages without walls, because of the multitude of people and animals in it. For I will be a wall of fire all round it, says the Lord, and I will be the glory within it.’

I have spread you abroad like the four winds of heaven, says the Lord. Up! Escape to Zion, you that live with daughter Babylon. For thus regarding the nations that plundered you: Truly, one who touches you touches the apple of my eye. See now, I am going to raise my hand against them, and they shall become plunder for their own slaves. Many nations shall join themselves to the Lord on that day, and shall be my people; and I will dwell in your midst. And you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. The Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem.

Be silent, all people, before the Lord; for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.

‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: If you will walk in my ways and keep my requirements, then you shall rule my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you the right of access among those who are standing here.

Now listen, Joshua, high priest, you and your colleagues who sit before you! For they are an omen of things to come. I will remove the guilt of this land in a single day. On that day, says the Lord of hosts, you shall invite each other to come under your vine and fig tree.’

The word of the Lord came to me: Collect silver and gold from the exiles who have arrived from Babylon; and go the same day to the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah. Take the silver and gold and make a crown, and set it on the head of the high priest Joshua son of Jehozadak; say to him: Thus says the Lord of hosts: Here is a man whose name is Branch: for he shall branch out in his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord. It is he that shall build the temple of the Lord; he shall bear royal honour, and shall sit and rule on his throne. There shall be a priest by his throne, with peaceful understanding between the two of them. And the crown shall be in the care of Heldai, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Josiah son of Zephaniah, as a memorial in the temple of the Lord.

Those who are far off shall come and help to build the temple of the Lord; and you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. This will happen if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God.

Then the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, say to all the people of the land and the priests: When you fasted and lamented for these seventy years, was it for me that you fasted? And when you eat and when you drink, do you not eat and drink only for yourselves? Were not these the words that the Lord proclaimed by the former prophets?

The word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying: Thus says the Lord of hosts: Render true judgements, show kindness and mercy to one another; do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien, or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another. But they refused to listen. They made their hearts adamant in order not to hear the law and the words that the Lord of hosts had sent by his spirit through the former prophets.

Therefore great wrath came from the Lord. Just as, when I called, they would not hear, so, when they called, I would not hear, says the Lord, and I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations that they had not known. Thus the land they left was desolate, so that no one went to and fro, and a pleasant land was made desolate.

The word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying: I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I am jealous for her with great wrath. I will return to Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem; Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts shall be called the holy mountain.

Thus says the Lord of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of their great age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets. Thus says the Lord of hosts: Even though it seems impossible to the remnant of this people in these days, should it also seem impossible to me, says the Lord of hosts? Thus says the Lord of hosts: I will save my people from the east country and from the west country.

But now, the Lord will strip it of its possessions  and hurl its wealth into the sea, and it shall be devoured by fire. The king shall perish from Gaza.

Ask rain from the Lord in the season of the spring rain, from the Lord who makes the storm-clouds, who gives showers of rain to you, the vegetation in the field to everyone. For the teraphim utter nonsense, and the diviners see lies; the dreamers tell false dreams, and give empty consolation.

Therefore the people wander like sheep; they suffer for lack of a shepherd. My anger is hot against the shepherds, and I will punish the leaders; for the Lord of hosts cares for his flock, and will make them like his proud warhorse.

Out of them shall come the cornerstone, out of them the tent-peg, out of them the battle-bow, out of them every commander. Together they shall be like warriors in battle, trampling the foe in the mud of the streets; they shall fight, for the Lord is with them, and they shall put to shame the riders on horses.

I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph. I will bring them back because I have compassion on them, and they shall be as though I had not rejected them; for I am the Lord their God and I will answer them.

Then the people of Ephraim shall become like warriors, and their hearts shall be glad as with wine. Their children shall see it and rejoice, their hearts shall exult in the Lord. I will signal for them and gather them in, for I have redeemed them, and they shall be as numerous as they were before.

Though I scattered them among the nations, yet in far countries they shall remember me, and they shall rear their children and return. I will bring them home from the land of Egypt, until there is no room for them.

They shall pass through the sea of distress, and the waves of the sea shall be struck down, and all the depths of the Nile dried up. I will make them strong in the Lord, and they shall walk in his name, says the Lord.

Open your doors, O Lebanon, so that fire may devour your cedars!

Thus said the Lord my God: Be a shepherd of the flock doomed to slaughter. Those who buy them kill them and go unpunished; and those who sell them say, ‘Blessed be the Lord, for I have become rich’; and their own shepherds have no pity on them. For I will no longer have pity on the inhabitants of the earth, says the Lord. I will cause them, every one, to fall each into the hand of a neighbour, and each into the hand of the king; and they shall devastate the earth, and I will deliver no one from their hand.

So, on behalf of the sheep dealers, I became the shepherd of the flock doomed to slaughter. I took two staffs; one I named Favor, the other I named Unity, and I tended the sheep. In one month I disposed of the three shepherds, for I had become impatient with them, and they also detested me. So I said, ‘I will not be your shepherd. What is to die, let it die; what is to be destroyed, let it be destroyed; and let those that are left devour the flesh of one another!’ [sounds gruesome to me]. I took my staff Favor and broke it, annulling the covenant that I had made with all the peoples. So it was annulled on that day, and the sheep dealers, who were watching me, knew that it was the word of the Lord. I then said to them, ‘If it seems right to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.’ So they weighed out as my wages thirty shekels of silver. Then the Lord said to me, ‘Throw it into the treasury’ this lordly price at which I was valued by them. So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them into the treasury in the house of the Lord. Then I broke my second staff Unity, annulling the family ties between Judah and Israel.

Then the Lord said to me: Take once more the implements of a worthless shepherd. For I am now raising up in the land a shepherd who does not care for the perishing, or seek the wandering, or heal the maimed, or nourish the healthy, but devours the flesh of the fat ones, tearing off even their hoofs.

Oh, my worthless shepherd, who deserts the flock! May the sword strike his arm and his right eye! Let his arm be completely withered, his right eye utterly blinded!

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

MALACHI

The word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi.

I have loved you, says the Lord. But you say, ‘How have you loved us? I have loved and hated; I have made countries a desolation and heritage a desert for jackals. They will rebuild the ruins’. They rebuild, but I will tear down, until they are called the wicked country, the people with whom the Lord is angry for ever. [That is a long time even for God].

God: A son honors his father, and servants their master. If then I am a father, where is the honor due to me? And if I am a master, where is the respect due to me? O priests, who despise my name. You say, ‘How have we despised your name?’ By offering polluted food on my altar. And you say, ‘How have we polluted it?’ By thinking that the Lord’s table may be despised. When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not wrong? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not wrong? Try presenting that to your governor; will he be pleased with you or show you favor?

And now implore the favor of God, that he may be gracious to us. The fault is yours. Will he show favour to any of you?

God: O that someone among you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you and I will not accept an offering from your hands. For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations. But you profane it when you say that the Lord’s table is polluted, and the food for it may be despised. What a weariness this is’, you say, and you sniff at me. You bring what has been taken by violence or is lame or sick, and this you bring as your offering! Shall I accept that from your hand? Cursed be the cheat who has a male in the flock and vows to give it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished; for I am a great King, Lord of hosts, and my name is reverenced among the nations.

God: And now, O priests, this command is for you. If you will not listen, if you will not lay it to heart to give glory to my name, then I will send the curse on you and I will curse your blessings; indeed I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart. I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung on your faces, the dung of your offerings [I have never even thought of that], and I will put you out of my presence.

Know, then, that I have sent this command to you, so that my covenant may hold, says the Lord. My covenant of life and well-being; this called for reverence, and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. True instruction was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in integrity and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity. For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord. But you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by your instruction; you have corrupted the covenant, says the Lord, and so I make you despised before all the people, inasmuch as you have not kept my ways but have shown partiality in your instruction.

Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our ancestors? Some have  has been faithless, and abomination has been committed, some have profaned the sanctuary of the Lord, which he loves. And this you do as well: You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor at your hand. See, the day is coming when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up, says the Lord, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.

But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the Lord.

Remember the teaching of my servant Moses, the statutes and ordinances that I commanded. Lo, I will send you the prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of parents to their children and the hearts of children to their parents, so that I will not come and strike the land with a curse.

[Leaves you wondering].

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

 

THE NEW TESTAMENT

~ The Bahr Bible as arranged by The Wise Prophet and edited by Gary Bahr

MATTHEW

[Matthew, Mark and Luke are very similar in style and content. In The Think Bible most content will be preserved in Matthew and shortened in Mark and Luke.]

JUSTIFYING JESUS AS THE CHRIST

It is said that the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit [Man loves to blame God, but I say we all are of the Holy Spirit ~ The Wise Prophet]. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.

An angel in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel” which means, God with us. [Jesus is Emmanuel].

Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Wise men came to visit him following a great star in the east. They offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

When Herod the king heard that a Prophet had said a ruler who would govern Israel would be born in Bethlehem, he was troubled and inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him. Then Herod killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under. [Thank the angel and Joseph who believed in angels for sparing Jesus].

Joseph remained in Egypt until the death of Herod fulfilling the prophet, “Out of Egypt have I called my son.” An angel appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” And he went and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” fulfilling the word of a prophet to “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”

John said, “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.“ [Real fire?].

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him.  And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him;  and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry. [I would be too].

And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But Jesus answered, “It is written, `Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'” The Devil again tested Jesus who said “Again it is written, `You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Begone, Satan! for it is written, `You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'”

Then the devil left him.

Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Capernaum by the sea Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” James and John his brother were in the boat mending their nets, and he called them to follow him.

And he went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people.

So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. And great crowds followed him.

THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT

He went up on the mountain, and he taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.

“You are the salt of the earth;

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid.

Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

“Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them.

Whoever relaxes one these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

“You have heard that it was said to the men of old, `You shall not kill; but I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment. First be reconciled to your brother.

Make friends quickly with your accuser.

“You have heard that it was said, `You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

“It was also said, `Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that every one who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

“Again you have heard that it was said `You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God. Let what you say be simply `Yes’ or `No’

“You have heard that it was said, `An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

Give to him who begs from you, and do not refuse him who would borrow from you.

“You have heard that it was said, `You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?

“Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors; And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.

For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you;  but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

“And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

“Do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? Therefore do not be anxious, but seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?

First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

“Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If you know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

THE GOLDEN RULE

So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.

“Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Thus you will know them by their fruits.

“Not every one who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

“Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it.”

And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.

THE HEALINGS

When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him; and behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And he stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to any one; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to the people.”

As he entered Caper’na-um, a centurion came forward to him, beseeching him and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, in terrible distress.”

And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion answered him, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. When Jesus heard him, he marveled, and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.

And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; be it done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.

And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever; he touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and served him.

That evening they brought to him many who were possessed with demons; and he cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick.

This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, “He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.”

Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”

But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.”

CALMING THE WINDS AND SEA

And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

CASTING OUT THE DEMONS

Two demoniacs met him, a cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?”  Now a herd of many swine was feeding at some distance from them. And the demons begged him, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of swine.” And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the swine; and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and perished in the waters. The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, and what had happened to the demoniacs.

FORGIVING SINS

And behold, they brought to him a paralytic, lying on his bed; and when Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?

For which is easier, to say, `Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, `Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins” — he then said to the paralytic — “Rise, take up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. And as he sat at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”  But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, `I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

And behold, a woman who had suffered from a hemorrhage for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment; for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I shall be made well.” Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well.

While he was thus speaking to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died; but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” And Jesus rose and followed him, with his disciples. And when Jesus came to the ruler’s house, and saw the flute players, and the crowd making a tumult, he said, “Depart; for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose.

And the report of this went through all that district.

And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” When he entered the house, the blind men came to him; and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly charged them, “See that no one knows it.” But they went away and spread his fame through all that district.

As they were going away, behold, a dumb demoniac was brought to him. And when the demon had been cast out, the dumb man spoke; and the crowds marveled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.”

But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons (Devil).”

And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity.

THE DECIPLES

And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity. The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zeb’edee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;

Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

INSTRUCTION AND WARNING THE DECIPLES

These twelve Jesus sent out to preach `The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and cast out demons. You received without paying, give without pay. I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel, before the Son of man comes.

“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master; it is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s foes will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.

“He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives him who sent me.

He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward, and he who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.

And whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”

And when Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

And his Deciples were hungry and picked grain on the Sabbath and the Pharisees questioned such on the Sabbath.

And Jesus went and entered their synagogue.

And behold, there was a man with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath?” so that the Pharisees might accuse him. He said to them, “What man of you, if he has one sheep and it falls into a pit on the sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, whole like the other.

But the Pharisees went out and took counsel against him, how to destroy him. Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all,

A blind and dumb demoniac was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the dumb man spoke and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?”

But when the Pharisees heard it they said, “It is only by the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.” Jesus taught if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

The good man out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign; but no sign shall be given.

While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat there; and the whole crowd stood on the beach.

TEACHING IN PARABLES

And he told them many things in parables, saying:

“A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they had not much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched; and since they had no root they withered away. Other seeds fell upon thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.  Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. “Hear then the parable of the sower.

When any one hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in his heart; this is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, mmediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the delight in riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is he who hears the word and understands it; he indeed bears fruit, and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

Another parable he put before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the householder came and said to him, `Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then has it weeds?’ He said to them, `An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, `Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, `No; lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.'”

Another parable he put before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”

All this Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed he said nothing to them without a parable. This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world.”

Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “He who sows the good seed is the Son of man;  the field is the world, and the good seed means the sons of the kingdom; the weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. The Son of man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net which was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind; when it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into vessels but threw away the bad.

So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.

And when Jesus had finished these parables, he went away from there, and coming to his own country he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.”

At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the fame of Jesus; and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist, he has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him.” For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison, for the sake of Hero’di-as, his brother Philip’s wife; because John said to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” And though he wanted to put him to death, he feared the people, because they held him to be a prophet. But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Hero’di-as danced before the company, and pleased Herod, so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” And the king was sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given; he sent and had John beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother.

And his disciples came and took the body and buried it; and they went and told Jesus.

Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a lonely place apart. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns.

As he went ashore he saw a great throng; and he had compassion on them, and healed their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a lonely place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.”

And he said, “Bring them here to me.”

Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass; and taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over.

And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Then he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was many furlongs distant from the land, beaten by the waves; for the wind was against them.

And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately he spoke to them, saying, “Take heart, it is I; have no fear.” And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus; but when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.”  Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “O man of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” He answered them, “Hear and understand: not what goes into the mouth defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and so passes on? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”

And behold, a Canaanite woman cried, “Have mercy on me, my daughter is severely possessed by a demon.” But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

And Jesus went on from there and passed along the Sea of Galilee. And he went up on the mountain, and sat down there. And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the maimed, the blind, the dumb, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, so that the throng wondered, when they saw the dumb speaking, the maimed whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.

He said to them, “Who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?

For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done.

THE SIGN

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain apart. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Eli’jah, talking with him. He was still speaking, when lo, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces, and were filled with awe. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Tell no one the vision, until the Son of man is raised from the dead.”

And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and kneeling before him said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly; for often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” And Jesus answered, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly.

Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”

He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, `Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.”

As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were greatly distressed.

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me;

but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

“Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the man by whom the temptation comes! And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.

“Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. One owed him ten thousand talents; and as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, `Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat he said, `Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and besought him, `Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison till he should pay the debt. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, `You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?”  He answered, “Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, `For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”

They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” He said to them, “For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery.”  The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry.”  But he said to them, “Not all men can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it.”

Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people; but Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And He blessed them.

And behold, one came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?”  And He said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions. And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

When the disciples heard this they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Then Peter said in reply, “Lo, we have left everything and followed you. What then shall we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of man shall sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. But many that are first will be last, and the last first.

And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and deliver him to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.”

“Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

And as they went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed him. And behold, two blind men sitting by the roadside, when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, “Have mercy on us!” The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent; but they cried out the more, “Lord, have mercy on us!” And Jesus stopped and called them, saying, “What do you want me to do for you?” They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they received their sight and followed him.

And when they drew near to Jesus sent two disciples to find an ass tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. This took place to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet, saying, “Tell the daughter of Zion, Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of an ass.”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the ass and the colt, and put their garments on them, and he sat thereon. Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.

And the crowds shouted, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” And when he entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee.”

DRIVING OUT THE MONEY CHANGERS

And Jesus entered the temple of God and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, `My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you make it a den of robbers.”

And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them.

But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, they were indignant; and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, `Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast brought perfect praise’?”

And leaving them, he went out of the city to Bethany and lodged there.

In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the wayside he went to it, and found nothing on it but leaves only. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once. When the disciples saw it they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?”

And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and never doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, `Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will be done.

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?”

Jesus answered them, “I also will ask you a question; and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, whence was it? From heaven or from men?” And they argued with one another, “If we say, `From heaven,’ he will say to us, `Why then did you not believe him?’

But if we say, `From men,’ we are afraid of the multitude; for all hold that John was a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.

“What do you think? A man had two sons; and he went to the first and said, `Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ And he answered, `I will not’; but afterward he repented and went. And he went to the second and said the same; and he answered, `I go, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the harlots believed him; and even when you saw it, you did not afterward repent and believe him.

“Hear another parable. There was a householder who planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country.  When the season of fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants, to get his fruit; and the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first; and they did the same to them. Afterward he sent his son to them, saying, `They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, `This is the heir; come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ And they took him and cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.”

Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it.”

When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them. But when they tried to arrest him, they feared the ultitudes, because they held him to be a prophet.

The same day Sad’ducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection; and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses said, `If a man dies, having no children, his brother must marry the widow, and raise up children for his brother.’

Now there were seven brothers among us; the first married, and died, and having no children left his wife to his brother. So too the second and third, down to the seventh. After them all, the woman died. In the resurrection, therefore, to which of the seven will she be wife? For they all had her.”  But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.

And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God, `I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.”

And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching.

But when the Pharisees had heard that he silenced the Sadducees, they came together.

And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”

Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, “What do you think of the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.”

He said to them, “How is it then that David, inspired by the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying,

`The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I put thy enemies under thy feet’? If David thus calls him Lord, how is he his son?” And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did any one dare to ask him any more questions.

Then said Jesus to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice. They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues, and salutations in the market places, and being called rabbi by men. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren.

And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ.

He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You cleanse the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of extortion and rapacity. First cleanse the inside of the cup and of the plate, that the outside also may be clean. You are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. You build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, saying, `If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you witness against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.

Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another, that will not be thrown down.”

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?”

And Jesus answered them, “Take heed that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, `I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet.

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: all this is but the beginning of the birth-pangs. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation, and put you to death; and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.

And then many will fall away, and betray one another, and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because wickedness is multiplied, most men’s love will grow cold. But he who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come.

“So when you see the desolating sacrilege spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),

For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.

“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near.

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of man. Then two men will be in the field; one is taken and one is left. The Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples,

“You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of man will be delivered up to be crucified.” Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, and took counsel together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be a tumult among the people.”

Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray Jesus.

Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain one, and say to him, `The Teacher says, My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.'” And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover.

When it was evening, he sat at table with the twelve disciples; and as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And they were very sorrowful, and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me, will betray me. The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”

Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Is it I, Master?” He said to him, “You have said so.”

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

Peter declared to him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, “Truly, I say to you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And so said all the disciples. Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsem’ane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go yonder and pray.”

And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zeb’edee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.”

And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, thy will be done.”

And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words.

Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand. While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people.

Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I shall kiss is the man; seize him.” And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Hail, Master!” And he kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, why are you here?” Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him.

And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest, and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.

Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?”

At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me.

But all this has taken place, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples forsook him and fled.

Then those who had seized Jesus led him to Ca’iaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders had gathered. But Peter followed him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and going inside he sat with the guards to see the end. Now the chief priests and the whole council sought false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death, but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward and said, “This fellow said, `I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.'”

And the high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” But Jesus was silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Then the high priest tore his robes, and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. Why do we still need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.”

Then they spat in his face, and struck him; and some slapped him, saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?”

Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a maid came up to him, and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.”  And when he went out to the porch, another maid saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” And again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man.” After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays you.” Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the cock crowed. And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death; and they bound him and led him away and delivered him to Pilate the governor.

When Judas, his betrayer, saw that he was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, “I have sinned in betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” And throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself.

But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since they are blood money.”

So they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.”

Now Jesus stood before the governor; and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You have said so.”

But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he made no answer.

Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?”

But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge; so that the governor wondered greatly.

Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted.

And they had then a notorious prisoner, called Barab’bas. So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you, Barab’bas or Jesus who is called Christ?”  For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up. Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much over him today in a dream.”

Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the people to ask for Barab’bas and destroy Jesus. The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barab’bas.”

Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified.” And he said, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified.”

So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.”

And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” Then he released for them Barab’bas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the praetorium, and they gathered the whole battalion before him.

And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe upon him, and plaiting a crown of thorns they put it on his head, and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they spat upon him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe, and put his own clothes on him, and led him away to crucify him.

As they went out, they came upon a man of Cyre’ne, Simon by name; this man they compelled to carry his cross. And when they came to a place called Gol’gotha (which means the place of a skull), they offered him wine to drink, mingled with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it.

And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots; then they sat down and kept watch over him there. And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus the King of the Jews.”

Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.

He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him; for he said, `I am the Son of God.'” And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way. Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour.

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, la’ma sabach-tha’ni?” that is, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “This man is calling Eli’jah.”

And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Eli’jah will come to save him.”

And Jesus cried again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks were split; the tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised,  and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe, and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

There were also many women there, looking on from afar, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him; among whom were Mary Mag’dalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zeb’edee.

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathe’a, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus.

He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body, and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock; and he rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb, and departed.

Mary Mag’dalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the sepulchre. Next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, `After three days I will rise again.’ Therefore order the sepulchre to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away, and tell the people, `He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.”

Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.” So they went and made the sepulchre secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.

Now after the sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Mag’dalene and the other Mary went to see the sepulchre. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.

He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. Lo, I have told you.”

So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Hail!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.

Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place.

And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sum of money to the soldiers and said, “Tell people, `His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.”

So they took the money and did as they were directed; and this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted.

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

MARK

[Much of Matthew is repeated in Mark and the repetition is thus minimized by me. ~ God through the Wise Prophet.]

And Jesus went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons, healing the sick and rising the dead.

He went away from there and came to his own country; and his disciples followed him.

And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.” And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands upon a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief.

And he went about among the villages teaching in parables…

And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had an mpediment in his speech; and they besought him to lay his hand upon him. And taking him aside from the multitude privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, “Be opened.” And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. And he charged them to tell no one; but the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well; he even makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.”

The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven, to test him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against any one; so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

And he sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the multitude putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came, and put in two copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him, and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For they all contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, her whole living.”

When Jesus was betrayed by Judas and crucifies and placed in a tomb carved into rock, a large stone was rolled into place to close the tomb.

And when the sabbath was past, Mary Mag’dalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salo’me, bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back; — it was very large.

And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.”

And they went out and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid.
Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.
After this he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.

Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they sat at table; and he upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.

And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it.

Amen.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

LUKE

(Luke repeats stories of Matthew and Mark and are thus minimized here).

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us, just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word,

it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, that you may know the truth concerning the things of which you have been informed.

An angel said to Zechariah, “Do not be afraid, for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John who will be great

before the Lord. And he will turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived.

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High.

And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.

And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.

For with God nothing will be impossible.”

In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechari’ah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

And Mary said, “For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation.”

Now the time came for Elizabeth to be delivered, and she gave birth to a son.

And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they would have named him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said, “Not so; he shall be called John.”

And they said to her, “None of your kindred is called by this name.” And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he would have him called. And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all marveled.

And his father Zechari’ah was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying, “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins.

And the child grew and became strong in spirit.

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.

And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”

And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child; and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.

But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord

As it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”.

And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth.

And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover.

And when Jesus was twelve years old, they went up according to custom; and when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the company they went a day’s journey, and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances; and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions;

And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.

And when they saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.”

And he said to them, “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” And they did not understand the saying which he spoke to them.

And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.

And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man.

And the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness; and he went into all the region about the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

And it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness:

Prepare the way of the Lord. And John preached, “He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.”

Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Collect no more than is appointed you.”

“Rob no one by violence or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”

As the people were in expectation, and all men questioned in their hearts concerning John, whether perhaps he were the Christ, John answered them all, “I baptize you with water; but he who is mightier than I is coming, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

So, with many other exhortations, he preached good news to the people.

But Herod, who had been reproved by him for Hero’di-as, his brother’s wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done, added this to them all, that he shut up John in prison.

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as a dove, and a voice came from heaven, “Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased.”

Jesus was tempted by Satan as written in Matthew.

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the Sabbath day. And he stood up to read; and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.

And he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

And all spoke well of him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth; and they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, `Physician, heal yourself; what we have heard you did at Caper’na-um, do here also in your own country.'”

And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his own country.

And he went down to Caper’na-um, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the sabbath; and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word was with authority.

Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to him; and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them.

And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them, and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.

And when it was day he departed and went into a lonely place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them; but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.”

And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

While the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennes’aret.

And he saw two boats by the lake; but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

And when he had ceased speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking, they beckoned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.

But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”

For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zeb’edee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men.”

And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.

After this he went out, and saw a tax collector, named Levi, sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, “Follow me.”

And he left everything, and rose and followed him.

A great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came forth from him and healed them all.

Jesus taught that to him who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from him who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt.

Give to every one who begs from you; and of him who takes away your goods do not ask them again. And as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.

Love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish.

Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”

He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?

Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, preaching and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Mag’dalene, from whom seven demons had gone out.

Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him.

And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal.

And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.” And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.

Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done, and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead, by some that Eli’jah had appeared, and by others that one of the old prophets had risen. Herod said, “John I beheaded; but who is this about whom I hear such things?” And he sought to see him.

On their return the apostles told him what they had done. And he took them and withdrew apart to a city called Beth-sa’ida.

When the crowds learned it, they followed him; and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God, and cured those who had need of healing.

And an argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest.

But when Jesus perceived the thought of their hearts, he took a child and put him by his side, and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me; for he who is least among you all is the one who is great.”

Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath.

And there was a woman who had had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years; she was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your infirmity.” And he laid his hands upon her, and immediately she was made straight, and she praised God.

But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.”

Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger, and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?”

As he said this, all his adversaries were put to shame; and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.

One sabbath when he went to dine at the house of a ruler who belonged to the Pharisees, they were watching him.

Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he marked how they chose the places of honor, saying to them,

“When you are invited by any one to a marriage feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest a more eminent man than you be invited by him; and he who invited you both will come and say to you, `Give place to this man,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place.

But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, `Friend, go up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you.

For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your kinsmen or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return, and you be repaid.

But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

When one of those who sat at table with him heard this, he said to him, “Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!”

But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet, and invited many; and at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, `Come; for all is now ready.’

But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, `I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it; I pray you, have me excused.’

And another said, `I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them; I pray you, have me excused.’

And another said, `I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’

So the servant came and reported this to his master. Then the householder in anger said to his servant, `Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and maimed and blind and lame.’

And the servant said, `Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the servant, `Go out to the highways and hedges, and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.

For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.'”

Now great multitudes accompanied him; and he turned and said to them, “If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, `This man began to build, and was not able to finish.’

Or what king, going to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?

And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends an embassy and asks terms of peace. So therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

“Salt is good; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored?

It is fit neither for the land nor for the dunghill; men throw it away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him.

And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

So he told them this parable:

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, `Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, `Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost.’

Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who reepnts.”

And he said, “There was a man who had two sons; and the younger of them said to his father, `Father, give me the share of property that falls to me.’ And he divided his living between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took his journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in loose living.

And when he had spent everything, a great famine arose in that country, and he began to be in want. So he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have fed on the pods that the swine ate; and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself he said, `How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants.”‘

And he arose and came to his father. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, `Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, `Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to make merry.

“Now his elder son was in the field; and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what this meant.

And he said to him, `Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him safe and sound.’ But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, `Lo, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command; yet you never gave me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your living with harlots, you killed for him the fatted calf!’ And he said to him, Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to make merry and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.'”

He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a steward, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. And he called him and said to him, `What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’ And the steward said to himself, `What shall I do, since my master is taking the stewardship away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do, so that people may receive me into their houses when I am put out of the stewardship.’ So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, `How much do you owe my master?’ He said, `A hundred measures of oil.’ And he said to him, `Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, `And how much do you owe?’ He said, `A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, `Take your bill, and write eighty.’ The master commended the dishonest steward for his shrewdness; for the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.

And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations.

“He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.

If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will entrust to you the true riches?

And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?

No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all this, and they scoffed at him.

But he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts; for what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

“The law and the prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and every one enters it violently.

But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than for one dot of the law to become void.

“There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Laz’arus, full of sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried; and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Laz’arus in his bosom. And he called out, `Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Laz’arus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, `Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Laz’arus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’

And he said, `Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, `They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, `No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’

He said to him, `If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.'”

And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come!

It would be better for him if a millstone were hung round his neck and he were cast into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.

Take heed to yourselves; if your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him; and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, and says, `I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”

And the Lord said, “If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this sycamine tree, `Be rooted up, and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

“Will any one of you, who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep, say to him when he has come in from the field, `Come at once and sit down at table’? Will he not rather say to him, `Prepare supper for me, and gird yourself and serve me, till I eat and drink; and afterward you shall eat and drink’?

Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded?

So you also, when you have done all that is commanded you, say, `We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'”

On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Sama’ria and Galilee.

And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan.

Then said Jesus, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”

And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, `Lo, here it is!’ or `There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”

And he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and you will not see it.

And they will say to you, `Lo, there!’ or `Lo, here!’ Do not go, do not follow them. For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of man be in his day.

But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of man. They ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.

Likewise as it was in the days of Lot — they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom fire and sulphur rained from heaven and destroyed them all — so will it be on the day when the Son of man is revealed.

On that day, let him who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away; and likewise let him who is in the field not turn back.

Remember Lot’s wife.

Whoever seeks to gain his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it.

I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other left.

There will be two women grinding together; one will be taken and the other left.”

And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.”

And he told them a parable, to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.

He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor regarded man; and there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, `Vindicate me against my adversary.’ For a while he refused; but afterward he said to himself, `Though I neither fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will vindicate her, or she will wear me out by her continual coming.'” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says.

And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will vindicate them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others:

“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, `God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, `God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

And taking the twelve, he said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written of the Son of man by the prophets will be accomplished.

For he will be delivered to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon; they will scourge him and kill him, and on the third day he will rise.”

But they understood none of these things; this saying was hid from them, and they did not grasp what was said.

He entered Jericho and was passing through.

And there was a man named Zacchae’us; he was a chief tax collector, and rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not, on account of the crowd, because he was small of stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchae’us, make haste and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” So he made haste and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it they all murmured, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchae’us stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded any one of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.

For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost.”

As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately.

As he was now drawing near, at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees in the multitude said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” And when he drew near and saw the city he wept over it, saying, “Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes. For the days shall come upon you, when your enemies will cast up a bank about you and surround you, and hem you in on every side, and dash you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another in you; because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, saying to them, “It is written, `My house shall be a house of prayer’; but you have made it a den of robbers.”

And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people sought to destroy him; but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people hung upon his words.

The scribes and the chief priests tried to lay hands on him at that very hour, but they feared the people; for they perceived that he had told a parable against them.

So they watched him, and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might take hold of what he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor.

There came to him some Sadducees, those who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the wife and raise up children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and died without children; and the second and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died. fterward the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife.”

And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are accounted worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die any more, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.

But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to him.”

And some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” For they no longer dared to ask him any question.

“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

Now when these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

And he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees; as soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near.

So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.

Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away till all has taken place.

“But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a snare; for it will come upon all who dwell upon the face of the whole earth.

But watch at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of man.”

And every day he was teaching in the temple, but at night he went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet. And early in the morning all the people came to him in the temple to hear him.

So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the passover for us, that we may eat it.” They said to him, “Where will you have us prepare it?” He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him into the house which he enters, and tell the householder, `The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I am to eat the passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished; there make ready.” And they went, and found it as he had told them; and they prepared the passover. And when the hour came, he sat at the table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you I shall not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”

“You are those who have continued with me in my trials;

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat,

And when they came to the place which is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on the right and one on the left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.

And the people stood by, watching; but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!”

It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two.

Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.

Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, and said, “Certainly this man was innocent!”

And all the multitudes who assembled to see the sight, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

JOHN

(John does not copy many of Matthew, Mark OR Luke stories, but explains more the signs and truth of Jesus as the Son of God. This account in John is by man, but I like it for its adds light to Jesus and myself ~ God).

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

JOHN THE BAPTIST

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light.

The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not.

He came to his own home, and his own people received him not. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.

John bore witness to him, and cried, “This was he of whom I said, `He who comes after me ranks before me, for he was before me.'”

And from his fullness have we all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.

And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, he did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” And he answered, “No.” They said to him then, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, `Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water; but among you stands one whom you do not know, even he who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” This took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, `After me comes a man who ranks before me, for he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but for this I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.”

And John bore witness, “I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him; but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, `He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

THE DISCIPLES

The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples; and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said to them, “What do you seek?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying; and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.

One of the two who heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. And he found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.”

Now Philip was from Beth-sa’ida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathan’a-el, and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathan’a-el said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathan’a-el coming to him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” Nathan’a-el said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathan’a-el answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.”

TURNING WATER INTO WIME FOR MARRIAGE

On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples. When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now six stone jars were standing there, for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.

He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the steward of the feast.” So they took it. When the steward of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.” This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

After this he went down to Caper’na-um, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples; and there they stayed for a few days.

THE TEMPLE CLEANSING

The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers at their business. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all, with the sheep and oxen, out of the temple; and he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; you shall not make my Father’s house a house of trade.”

His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for thy house will consume me.” The Jews then said to him, “What sign have you to show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he spoke of the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.

Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs which he did; but Jesus did not trust himself to them, because he knew all men and needed no one to bear witness of man; for he himself knew what was in man.

BE BORN AGAIN TO ENTER HEAVEN 

Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicode’mus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicode’mus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, `You must be born anew.’ The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit.” Nicode’mus said to him, “How can this be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand this? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen; but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?

No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God.

After this Jesus and his disciples went into the land of Judea; there he remained with them and baptized.

John also was baptizing at Ae’non near Salim, because there was much water there; and people came and were baptized. For John had not yet been put in prison.

Now a discussion arose between John’s disciples and a Jew over purifying. And they came to John, and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you bore witness, here he is, baptizing, and all are going to him.” John answered, “No one can receive anything except what is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.

He who has the bride is the bridegroom; the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice; therefore this joy of mine is now full. He must increase, but I must decrease.”

He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth belongs to the earth, and of the earth he speaks; he who comes from heaven is above all.

He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony; he who receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for it is not by measure that he gives the Spirit; the Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand.

He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him.

Now when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John

(although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), he left Judea and departed again to Galilee. He had to pass through Samar’ia.

THE LIVING WATER

So he came to a city of Samar’ia, called Sy’char, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and so Jesus, wearied as he was with his journey, sat down beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. There came a woman of Samar’ia to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samar’ia?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, `Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”

The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep; where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, and his sons, and his cattle?” Jesus said to her, “Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, `I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and he whom you now have is not your husband; this you said truly.” The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.

Our fathers worshiped on this mountain; and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.”

Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming – he who is called Christ; when he comes, he will show us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.” Just then his disciples came. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but none said, “What do you wish?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” So the woman left her water jar, and went away into the city, and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?”

They went out of the city and were coming to him. Meanwhile the disciples besought him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” So the disciples said to one another, “Has any one brought him food?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, `There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see how the fields are already white for harvest.

He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, `One sows and another reaps.’

I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor; others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days.

And many more believed because of his word.

They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of your words that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”

After the two days he departed to Galilee.

For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country.

So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast, for they too had gone to the feast.

So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Caper’na-um there was an official whose son was ill.

When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death.

Jesus therefore said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”

Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went his way. As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was living. So he asked them the hour when he began to mend, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live”; and he himself believed, and all his household. This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.

After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Hebrew called Beth-za’tha, which has five porticoes. In these lay a multitude of invalids, blind, lame, paralyzed. One man was there, who had been ill for thirty-eight years.

When Jesus saw him and knew that he had been lying there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is troubled, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your pallet, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his pallet and walked.

Now that day was the Sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who was cured, “It is the Sabbath, it is not lawful for you to carry your pallet.” But he answered them, “The man who healed me said to me, `Take up your pallet, and walk.'” They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, `Take up your pallet, and walk’?” Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place.

Afterward, Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. And this was why the Jews persecuted Jesus, because he did this on the Sabbath.

But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working still, and I am working.”

This was why the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath but also called God his Father, making himself equal with God.

Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the Son does likewise.

For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all that he himself is doing; and greater works than these will he show him, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.

The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.

For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself, and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.

“I can do nothing on my own authority; as I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. If I bear witness to myself, my testimony is not true; there is another who bears witness to me, and I know that the testimony which he bears to me is true.

You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. Not that the testimony which I receive is from man; but I say this that you may be saved.

He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But the testimony which I have is greater than that of John; for the works which the Father has granted me to accomplish, these very works which I am doing, bear me witness that the Father has sent me.

And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness to me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen; and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe him whom he has sent.

You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me; yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.

I do not receive glory from men. But I know that you have not the love of God within you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; it is Moses who accuses you, on whom you set your hope. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiber’i-as.

And a multitude followed him, because they saw the signs that he did on those who were diseased.

FEEDING THE MULTITUDES

Jesus went up on the mountain, and there sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a multitude was coming to him, Jesus said to Philip, “How are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?”

This he said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are they among so many?” Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place; so the men sat down, in number about five thousand.

Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted.

And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten. When the people saw the sign which he had done, they said, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world!”

Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Caper’na-um. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea rose because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat. They were frightened, but he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going. On the next day the people who remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone.

However, boats from Tiber’i-as came near the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks. So when the people saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Caper’na-um, seeking Jesus.

When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?”

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal.”

Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see, and believe you? What work do you perform?

Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, `He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world.”

They said to him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.

But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me; and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day.

For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, `I have come down from heaven’?”

Jesus answered them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.

It is written in the prophets, `And they shall all be taught by God.’ Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that any one has seen the Father except him who is from God; he has seen the Father.

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.

I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die.

I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.” (Jesus talks in parables and does not mean you must literally eat his flesh and blood, or even take part in modern day communion. You must believe in Jesus teachings to have life. ~ God).

The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.

This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.”

This he said in the synagogue, as he taught at Caper’na-um.

Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you that do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him. Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?”

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was to betray him.

After this Jesus went about in Galilee; he would not go about in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill him.

Now the Jews’ feast of Tabernacles was at hand. So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples may see the works you are doing. For no man works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.”

For even his brothers did not believe in him.

Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here.

The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify of it that its works are evil.

Go to the feast yourselves; I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.”

So saying, he remained in Galilee.

But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private.

The Jews were looking for him at the feast, and saying, “Where is he?”

And there was much muttering about him among the people. While some said, “He is a good man,” others said, “No, he is leading the people astray.”

Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him.

About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught. The Jews marveled at it, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?”

So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me; if any man’s will is to do his will, he shall know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.

He who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but he who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.

Did not Moses give you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?”

The people answered, “You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?”

Jesus answered them, “I did one deed, and you all marvel at it. Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man upon the Sabbath. If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man’s whole body well?

Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, “Is not this the man whom they seek to kill? And here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ?

Yet we know where this man comes from; and when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from.” So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I come from? But I have not come of my own accord; he who sent me is true, and him you do not know. I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me.”

So they sought to arrest him; but no one laid hands on him, because his hour had not yet come. Yet many of the people believed in him; they said, “When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?”

The Pharisees heard the crowd thus muttering about him, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent officers to arrest him. Jesus then said, “I shall be with you a little longer, and then I go to him who sent me; you will seek me and you will not find me; where I am you cannot come.”

The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we shall not find him?

Jesus said, “If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, `Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.'” Now this he said about the Spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive; for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This is really the prophet.”

Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? Has not the scripture said that the Christ is descended from David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” So there was a division among the people over him. Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.

The officers then went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this man!” The Pharisees answered them, “Are you led astray, you also? Have any of the authorities or of the Pharisees believed in him?

But this crowd, who do not know the law, are accursed.”

Nicodemus said to them, “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” They replied, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and you will see that no prophet is to rise from Galilee.”

And, but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple; all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them.

WHAT DID JESUS SAY ABOUT AN ADULTERTRESS?

The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?” This they said to test him, so they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus looked up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.”

JESUS IS THE LIGHT

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” The Pharisees then said to him, “You are bearing witness to yourself; your testimony is not true.” Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness to myself, my testimony is true, for I know whence I have come and whither I am going, but you do not know whence I come or whither I am going. You judge according to the flesh, I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone that judge, but I and he who sent me.

In your law it is written that the testimony of two men is true; I bear witness to myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness to me.” They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father; if you knew me, you would know my Father also.” These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.

Again he said to them, “I go away, and you will seek me and die in your sin; where I am going, you cannot come.” Then said the Jews, “Will he kill himself, since he says, `Where I am going, you cannot come’?” He said to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he.” They said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Even what I have told you from the beginning. I have much to say about you and much to judge; but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” They did not understand that he spoke to them of the Father.

So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority but speak thus as the Father taught me. And he who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him.” As he spoke thus, many believed in him.

THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE

Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham, and have never been in bondage to any one. How is it that you say, `You will be made free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not continue in the house for ever; the son continues for ever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me, because my word finds no place in you. I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.” They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do what Abraham did, but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God; this is not what Abraham did. You do what your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.”

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded and came forth from God; I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But, because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? He who is of God hears the words of God; the reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

OBEY THE WORD

The Jews answered him, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?” Jesus answered, “I have not a demon; but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it and he will be the judge. Truly, truly, I say to you, if any one keeps my word, he will never see death.”

The Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, as did the prophets; and you say, `If any one keeps my word, he will never taste death.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you claim to be?” Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing; it is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say that he is your God. But you have not known him; I know him. If I said, I do not know him, I should be a liar like you; but I do know him and I keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see my day; he saw it and was glad.” The Jews then said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” So they took up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.

BLIND MAN’S CURE PROVES GOD’S WORKS

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him. We must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day; night comes, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” As he said this, he spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle and anointed the man’s eyes with the clay, saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Silo’am” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar, said, “Is not this the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is he”; others said, “No, but he is like him.” He said, “I am the man.” They said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, `Go to Silo’am and wash’; so I went and washed and received my sight.” They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”

They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. The Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” There was a division among them. So they again said to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.” The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight, and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” His parents answered, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age, he will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if any one should confess him to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents said, “He is of age, ask him.” So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and said to him, “Give God the praise; we know that this man is a sinner.” He answered, “Whether he is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I know, that though I was blind, now I see.” They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you too want to become his disciples?” And they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” The man answered, “Why, this is a marvel! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if any one is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.

Never since the world began has it been heard that any one opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out.

Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who speaks to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe”; and he worshiped him.

Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard this, and they said to him, “Are we also blind?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, `We see,’ your guilt remains.

THOSE WHO ENTER BY THE GOOD SHEPARD ARE SAVED

He who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not heed them. I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father.”

There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. Many of them said, “He has a demon, and he is mad; why listen to him?” Others said, “These are not the sayings of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

It was the feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered round him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

The Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of these do you stone me?” The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we stone you but for blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself God.”

Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, `I said, you are gods’?

If he called them gods to whom the word of God came (and scripture cannot be broken), do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, `You are blaspheming,’ because I said, `I am the Son of God’? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”

Again they tried to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands. He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John at first baptized, and there he remained.

And many came to him; and they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” And many believed in him there.

RISING LAZARUS FROM THE DEAD

Now a certain man was ill, Laz’arus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Laz’arus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness is not unto death; it is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by means of it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Laz’arus. So when he heard that he was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go into Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were but now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any one walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if any one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” Thus he spoke, and then he said to them, “Our friend Laz’arus has fallen asleep, but I go to awake him out of sleep.” The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, “Laz’arus is dead; and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” Now when Jesus came, he found that Laz’arus had already been in the tomb four days. Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary sat in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. And even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world.” When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying quietly, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. Then Mary, when she came where Jesus was and saw him, fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled; and he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb; it was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. I knew that thou hearest me always, but I have said this on account of the people standing by, that they may believe that thou didst send me.” When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Laz’arus, come out.” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with bandages, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him; but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.

KILL JESUS OR FACE ROMAN DESTRUCTION

So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council, and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on thus, every one will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation.” But one of them, Ca’iaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all; you do not understand that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish.”

He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.

So from that day on they took counsel how to put him to death. Jesus therefore no longer went about openly among the Jews, but went from there to the country near the wilderness, to a town called E’phraim; and there he stayed with the disciples.

Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover, to purify themselves.

They were looking for Jesus and saying to one another as they stood in the temple, “What do you think? That he will not come to the feast?” Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if any one knew where he was, he should let them know, so that they might arrest him.

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Laz’arus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; Martha served, and Laz’arus was one of those at table with him. Mary took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment.

JUDAS THE THEIF

But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was to betray him), said,

“Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” This he said, not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box he used to take what was put into it. Jesus said, “Let her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial. The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”

JESUS AND LAARUS TO DIE BY JEWS

When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came, not only on account of Jesus but also to see Laz’arus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Laz’arus also to death, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.

JESUE COMES TO JERUSALEM

The next day a great crowd who had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem.

So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” And Jesus found a young ass and sat upon it; as it is written, “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on an ass’s colt!”

His disciples did not understand this at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that this had been written of him and had been done to him.

The crowd that had been with him when he called Laz’arus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead bore witness. The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. The Pharisees then said to one another, “You see that you can do nothing; look, the world has gone after him.”

Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks.

So these came to Philip, who was from Beth-sa’ida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew went with Philip and they told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If any one serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also; if any one serves me, the Father will honor him.

“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? `Father, save me from this hour’? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify thy name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing by heard it and said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out; and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”

He said this to show by what death he was to die. The crowd answered him, “We have heard from the law that the Christ remains for ever. How can you say that the Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man?” Jesus said to them, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, lest the darkness overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” When Jesus had said this, he departed and hid himself from them.

MANY BELIEVE JESUS IS CHRIST, BUT MANY ARE BLIND

Though he had done so many signs before them, yet they did not believe in him; it was that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “Lord, who has believed our report, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” Therefore they could not believe. For Isaiah again said,

“He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they should see with their eyes and perceive with their heart, and turn for me to heal them.” Isaiah said this because he saw his glory and spoke of him. Nevertheless many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

And Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And he who sees me sees him who sent me. I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.

If any one hears my sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects me and does not receive my sayings has a judge; the word that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority; the Father who sent me has himself given me commandment what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has bidden me.”

THE HOUR OF JESUS DEATH NEARS

Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. And during supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper, laid aside his garments, and girded himself with a towel.

JESUS WASHES DECIPLES FEET

Then he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded. He came to Simon Peter; and Peter said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not know now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus Answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part in me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but he is clean all over; and you are clean, but not every one of you.”

For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “You are not all clean.” When he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. I am not speaking of you all; I know whom I have chosen; it is that the scripture may be fulfilled, `He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ I tell you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives any one whom I send receives me; and he who receives me receives him who sent me.”

JESES KNOWS HIS BETRAYER

When Jesus had thus spoken, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was lying close to the breast of Jesus; so Simon Peter beckoned to him and said, “Tell us who it is of whom he speaks.” So lying thus, close to the breast of Jesus, he said to him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I shall give this morsel when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. Then after the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him.

Some thought that, because Judas had the money box, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast”; or, that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the morsel, he immediately went out; and it was night.

When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of man glorified, and in him God is glorified; if God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once.

THE NEW COMMANDMENT: “LOVE ONE ANOTHER”

Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, `Where I am going you cannot come.’

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

JESUS PREDICTS PETER’S 3 DENIALS

Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now; but you shall follow afterward.” Peter said to him, “Lord, why cannot I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the cock will not crow, till you have denied me three times.

BELIEVE IN ME, SEE YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN

“Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, `Show us the Father’?

Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father.

ASK AND YOU RECEIVE

Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you. “I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you.

JESUS IN HIS FATHER

Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. “These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you.

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, `I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I.

And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place, you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me; but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go hence.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. This I command you, to love one another.

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

Remember the word that I said to you, `A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But all this they will do to you on my account, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin.

He who hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. It is to fulfil the word that is written in their law, `They hated me without a cause.’ But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me; and you also are witnesses, because you have been with me from the beginning.

“I have said all this to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues; indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do this because they have not known the Father, nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you of them. “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, `Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

And when he comes, he will convince the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

“I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.

JESUS SAYS “IN A LITTLE WHILE”

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. “A little while, and you will see me no more; again a little while, and you will see me.”

Some of his disciples said to one another, “What is this that he says to us, `A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and, `because I go to the Father’?” They said, “What does he mean by `a little while’? We do not know what he means.” Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him; so he said to them, “Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, `A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’? Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. When a woman is in travail she has sorrow, because her hour has come; but when she is delivered of the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a child is born into the world.

So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father, he will give it to you in my name. Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

“I have said this to you in figures; the hour is coming when I shall no longer speak to you in figures but tell you plainly of the Father. In that day you will ask in my name; and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from the Father. His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly, not in any figure! Now we know that you know all things, and need none to question you; by this we believe that you came from God.”

Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, every man to his home, and will leave me alone; yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

JESUS READYS HIMSELF FOR ANOTHER WORLD

When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son that the Son may glorify thee, since thou hast given him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom thou hast given him. And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.

I glorified thee on earth, having accomplished the work which thou gavest me to do; and now, Father, glorify thou me in thy own presence with the glory which I had with thee before the world was made. “I have manifested thy name to the men whom thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them to me, and they have kept thy word.

Now they know that everything that thou hast given me is from thee;

for I have given them the words which thou gavest me, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from thee; and they have believed that thou didst send me. I am praying for them; I am not praying for the world but for those whom thou hast given me, for they are thine; all mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them.

And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in thy name, which thou hast given me; I have guarded them, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled.

But now I am coming to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not pray that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil one.

They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth. As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth. “I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me.

Father, I desire that they also, whom thou hast given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which thou hast given me in thy love for me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world has not known thee, but I have known thee; and these know that thou hast sent me.

I made known to them thy name, and I will make it known, that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples across the Kidron valley, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered.

JUDAS BETRAYS JESUS

Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas, procuring a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that was to befall him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When he said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. Again he asked them, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he; so, if you seek me, let these men go.”

This was to fulfil the word which he had spoken, “Of those whom thou gavest me I lost not one.” Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given me?”

JESUS SEIZED AND TAKEN TO ANNAS

So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews seized Jesus and bound him.

First they led him to Annas; for he was the father-in-law of Ca’iaphas, who was high priest that year. It was Ca’iaphas who had given counsel to the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.

PETER DENIES JESUS THREE TIMES

Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. As this disciple was known to the high priest, he entered the court of the high priest along with Jesus, while Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the maid who kept the door, and brought Peter in. The maid who kept the door said to Peter, “Are not you also one of this man’s disciples?” He said, “I am not.” Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves; Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.

Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said to him, “Are not you also one of his disciples?” He denied it and said, “I am not.”

One of the servants of the high priest, a kinsman of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” Peter again denied it; and at once the cock crowed.

JESUS BEFORE THE HIGH PRIEST

The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together; I have said nothing secretly. Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me, what I said to them; they know what I said.”

When he had said this, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, bear witness to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?”

Then they led Jesus from the house of Ca’iaphas to the praetorium. It was early. They themselves did not enter the praetorium, so that they might not be defiled, but might eat the passover.

JESUS BEFORE PILOT

So Pilate went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” They answered him, “If this man were not an evildoer, we would not have handed him over.” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put any man to death.” This was to fulfil the word which Jesus had spoken to show by what death he was to die. Pilate entered the praetorium again and called Jesus, and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me; what have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world.” Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again, and told them, “I find no crime in him.

But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover; will you have me release for you the King of the Jews?” They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barab’bas!” Now Barab’bas was a robber.

Then Pilate took Jesus and scourged him. And the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and arrayed him in a purple robe; they came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands.

Pilate went out again, and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you, that you may know that I find no crime in him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no crime in him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he has made himself the Son of God.” When Pilate heard these words, he was the more afraid; he entered the praetorium again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave no answer. Pilate therefore said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?”

Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore he who delivered me to you has the greater sin.”

Upon this Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend; every one who makes himself a king sets himself against Caesar.” When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, and in Hebrew, Gab’batha. Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”

They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

JESUS IS CRUCIFIED

So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew Gol’gotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.

Pilate also wrote a title and put it on the cross; it read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. The chief priests of the Jews then said to Pilate, “Do not write, `The King of the Jews,’ but, `This man said, I am King of the Jews.'” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus they took his garments and made four parts, one for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was without seam, woven from top to bottom; so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the scripture, “They parted my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.”

So the soldiers did this.

But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Mag’dalene. When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the scripture), “I thirst.”

A bowl full of vinegar stood there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished”; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Since it was the day of Preparation, in order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the cross on the sabbath (for that sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him; but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness — his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth — that you also may believe. For these things took place that the scripture might be fulfilled, “Not a bone of him shall be broken.” And again another scripture says, “They shall look on him whom they have pierced.”

After this Joseph of Arimathe’a, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him leave. So he came and took away his body.

Nicode’mus also, who had at first come to him by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds’ weight. They took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.

JESUS PLACED IN TOMB

Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb where no one had ever been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, as the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.

TOMB IS EMPTY

Now on the first day of the week Mary Mag’dalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Peter then came out with the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first; and stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not know the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.

JESUS COMFORTS MARY

Then the disciples went back to their homes. But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rab-bo’ni!” Jesus said to her, “Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” Mary Mag’dalene went and said to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

JESUS APPEARS TO DISCIPLES

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.”

And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

DOUBTING THOMAS

Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.” Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.

After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tibe’ri-as; and he revealed himself in this way.

Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathan’a-el of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zeb’edee, and two others of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat; but that night they caught nothing.

Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any fish?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, for the quantity of fish.

That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his clothes, for he was stripped for work, and sprang into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off. When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish lying on it, and bread.

FEED MY LAMBS

Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.

Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish.

This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead. When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”

TEND MY SHEEP

A second time he said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”

FEED BY SHEEP

He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.

Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go.” (This he said to show by what death he was to glorify God.) And after this he said to him, “Follow me.” Peter turned and saw following them the disciple whom Jesus loved, who had lain close to his breast at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?”

When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!”

The saying spread abroad among the brethren that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”

This is the disciple who is bearing witness to these things, and who has written these things; and we know that his testimony is true.

But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

ACTS

And Jesus said to his Desciples, John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

They asked. “Will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority.

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses to the end of the earth.”

Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as went.

Peter said, “Brethren, the scripture had to be fulfilled.

Judas was replaced as a Desciple by Matthi’as.

And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. We hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God. What does this mean?” But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”

Peter said, “Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs which God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know — this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. But God raised him up, having loosed the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this which you see and hear.

And Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” And they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need.

Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour a And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at that gate of the temple which is called Beautiful to ask alms of those who entered the temple. But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but I give you what I have; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and walked and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.

And all the people were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. Peter said, “The faith which is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.”

Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out.

The priests and the captain of the temple and the Sad’ducees were annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they arrested them and put them in custody until the morrow, for it was already evening.

But many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to about five thousand. On the morrow their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem, and they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?”

Then Peter said to them, “by the name of Jesus – by him this man is standing before you well. And there is salvation in no one else.”

So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.

But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people; for all men praised God for what had happened.

When they were released they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them.

“And now, Lord, look upon their threats, and grant to thy servants to speak thy word with all boldness, while thou stretchest out thy hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of thy holy servant Jesus.”

There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet; and distribution was made to each as any had need.

Anani’as and his wife, kept back part of the proceeds of the land? Peter said to him, “You have not lied to men but to God.” When Anani’as heard these words, he fell down and died. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. After an interval of about three hours his wife came in and she fell down at his feet and died. And great fear came upon the whole church, and upon all who heard of these things.

(I do not kill church members who do not give all ~ God)

And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women, and they were all healed.

But the high priest rose up and all who were with him, that is, the party of the Sad’ducees, and filled with jealousy they arrested the apostles and put them in the common prison. But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out and said, “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.” And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and taught.

Now the high priest came and those who were with him and called together the council and all the senate of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. But when the officers came, they did not find them in the prison, and they returned and reported, “We found the prison securely locked and the sentries standing at the doors, but when we opened it we found no one inside.” Now when the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these words, they were much perplexed about them, wondering what this would come to. And some one came and told them, “The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people.”

Then the captain with the officers went and brought them, but without violence, for they were afraid of being stoned by the people. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name”. But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” When they heard this they were enraged and wanted to kill them.

But a Pharisee,a teacher of the law, held in honor by all the people, stood up and ordered the men to be put outside for a while. And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you do with these men for other have died opposing them. Let them alone; for if this undertaking is of men, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!”

So they took his advice, and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day in the temple and at home they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized Stephen and brought him before the council, and set up false witnesses who said, “This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law; for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place, and will change the customs which Moses delivered to us.”

And on that day a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the region of Judea and Sama’ria, except the apostles. But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.

Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.

Philip went down to a city of Sama’ria, and proclaimed to them the Christ. And the multitudes with one accord gave heed to what was said by Philip, when they heard him and saw the signs that he did. For unclean spirits came out of many who were possessed and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed.

But there was a man named Simon who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the nation of Sama’ria, saying that he himself was somebody great.

They all gave heed to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is that power of God which is called Great.”

But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed.

Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Sama’ria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit; for it had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.

Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given he offered them money to receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “Your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! Repent therefore of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you.

SAUL’S CONVERSION

But Saul was still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, and went to the high priest. As he journeyed suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him.

And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting; but rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one.

Saul arose from the ground; and when his eyes were opened, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Anani’as. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Anani’as.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for a man of Tarsus named Saul; for behold, he is praying, and he has seen a man named Anani’as come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.”

But Anani’as answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to thy saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call upon thy name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel;

for I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” So Anani’as departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came, has sent me that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized, and took food and was strengthened. For several days he was with the disciples at Damascus.

And in the synagogues immediately he proclaimed Jesus, saying, “He is the Son of God.” And all who heard him were amazed, and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called on this name? And he has come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests.”

But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.

When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night, to kill him; but his disciples took him by night and let him down over the wall, lowering him in a basket.

And when he had come to Jerusalem he attempted to join the disciples; and they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple.

But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus.

So the church had peace and was built up; and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit it was multiplied.

PETER

Now as Peter went here and there among them all and found a man named, who had been bedridden for eight years and was paralyzed. And Peter said to him,” Jesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed.” And immediately he rose.

And all the residents saw him, and they turned to the Lord.

Now there was a disciple named Tabitha, who was full of good works and acts of charity. She fell sick and died; and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room.

Peter went to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping, Peter knelt down and prayed; then turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, rise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. And he gave her his hand and lifted her up. Then calling the saints and widows he presented her alive and many believed in the Lord.

“Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality, but in every nation any one who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. Jesus commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that he is the one ordained by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that every one who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” And, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word- even on the Gentiles. And Peter commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

Now the apostles and the brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him, saying, “Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?”

But Peter began and explained to them in order: “I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision, something descending, like a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came down to me. I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air.

And I heard a voice saying to me, `Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’

But I said “No”. At that very moment three men arrived at the house in which we were, sent to me from Caesare’a.

And the Spirit told me to go with them, making no distinction. As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, `John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?” When they heard this they were silenced. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance unto life.”

In Antioch the disciples were for the first time called Christians.

A prophet named Ag’abus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world; and this took place in the days of Claudius. And the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brethren and they did so.

About that time Herod the king laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword; and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also

seized him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. So Peter was kept in prison; but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church. and behold, an angel of the Lord appeared, and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands.

He went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell this to James and to the brethren.” Then he departed and went to another place.

Now when day came, there was no small stir among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. And when Herod had sought for him and could not find him, he examined the sentries and ordered that they should be put to death.

On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and made an oration to them. And the people shouted, “The voice of a god, and not of man!” Immediately an angel of the Lord smote him, because he did not give God the glory; and he was eaten by worms and died.

But the word of God grew and multiplied.

Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their mission, bringing with them John whose other name was Mark.

Barnabas, Saul and John came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet, named Bar-Jesus who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But El’ymas the magician withstood them, seeking to turn away the proconsul from the faith. But Saul, who is also called Paul said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately darkness fell upon him and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.

And on the sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said:

“Men of Israel, and you that fear God, listen.

Let it be known to you therefore, brethren, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him every one that believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.

And when the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them and urged them to continue in the grace of God.

The next sabbath almost the whole city gathered together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with jealousy, and contradicted what was spoken by Paul, and reviled him.

Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles.

For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, `I have set you to be a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the uttermost parts of the earth.'” And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of God; and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

And the word of the Lord spread throughout all the region.

But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, and stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district.

They entered together into the Jewish synagogue, and so spoke that a great company believed, both of Jews and of Greeks.

But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren. When an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to molest them and to stone them, they learned of it and fled to the surrounding country; and there they preached the gospel.

At Lystra there was a man sitting, who could not use his feet; he was a cripple from birth, who had never walked.

He listened to Paul speaking; and Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and walked. And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!”

And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the people. But when Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out to restrainthe people from offering sacrifice to them.

But Jews persuaded the people to stone Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.

But some men from Judea were teaching the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”

Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question.

The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. Peter rose and said to them, “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.

As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by soothsaying. But Paul was annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, “I charge you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.

But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market place before the rulers; and when they had brought them to the magistrates they said, “These men are Jews and they are disturbing our city. They advocate customs which it is not lawful for us Romans to accept or practice.” The crowd joined in attacking them; and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods.

And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

But they were let go as they were Roman citizens.

Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols.

So Paul, standing in the middle of the Are-op’agus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, `To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all men life and breath and everything.

And he made from one every nation of men to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after him and find him. Yet he is not far from each one of us, for `In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your poets have said, `For we are indeed his offspring.’

Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the Deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, a representation by the art and imagination of man.

The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all men by raising him from the dead.”

Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked; but others said, “We will hear you again about this.”

So Paul went out from among them. And he argued in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded Jews and Greeks and testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be upon your heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”

His teaching continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks. And God did extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul,

Many also of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. So the word of the Lord grew and prevailed mightily.

For a man named Deme’trius, a silversmith gathered together, with the workmen of like occupation, and said, “Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. And you hear that throughout all Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable company of people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods.

And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute.

So the city was filled with the confusion

On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the morrow; and he prolonged his speech until midnight.

And a young man named Eu’tychus was sitting in the window. He sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer; and being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. But Paul went down and bent over him, and embracing him said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” And they took the lad away alive, and were not a little comforted.

Paul heads for Jerusalem, bound in the Spirit, but not knowing what shall befall me there; except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me.

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may accomplish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

And now, behold, I know that all you among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom will see my face no more. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.

I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities, and to those who were with me. In all things I have shown you that by so toiling one must help the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, `It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”

And when he had spoken thus, he knelt down and prayed with them all. And they all wept and embraced Paul and kissed him, sorrowing most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they should see his face no more. And they brought him to the ship.

And having sought out the disciples, we stayed along the way for seven days. Through the Spirit they told Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. We departed and went on our journey; and they all, with wives and children, brought us on our way till we were outside the city; and kneeling down on the beach we prayed and bade one another farewell. Then we went on board the ship, and they returned home.

The people begged him not to go up to Jerusalem – a prophet having predicting Paul would be bound. Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, “The will of the Lord be done.”

When we had come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. On the following day Paul went in with us to James; and all the elders were present. After greeting them, he related one by one the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. And when they heard it, they glorified God.

And they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed; they are all zealous for the law, and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or observe the customs.

Do therefore what we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; take these men and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may shave their heads. Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you but that you yourself live in observance of the law.

Then Paul took the men, and the next day he purified himself with them and went into the temple, to give notice when the days of purification would be fulfilled and the offering presented for every one of them.

When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, who had seen him in the temple, stirred up all the crowd, and laid hands on him, crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who is teaching men everywhere against the people and the law and this place; moreover he also brought Greeks into the temple, and he has defiled this holy place.”

Then all the city was aroused, and the people ran together; they seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and at once the gates were shut. And as they were trying to kill him, word came to the tribune of the cohort that all Jerusalem was in confusion. He at once took soldiers and centurions, and ran down to them; and when they saw the tribune and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul.

Then the tribune came up and arrested him, and ordered him to be bound with two chains. Paul inquired who he was and what he had done. Some in the crowd shouted one thing, some another; and as he could not learn the facts because of the uproar, he ordered him to be brought into the barracks.

And when he came to the steps, he was actually carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the crowd; for the mob of the people followed, crying, “Away with him!

Paul said, “I am a Jew, a citizen of no mean city; I beg you, let me speak to the people.” And when he had given him leave, Paul, standing on the steps, motioned with his hand to the people; and when there was a great hush, he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, saying:

“Brethren and fathers, hear the defense which I now make before you.”

And when they heard that he addressed them in the Hebrew language, they were the more quiet. And he said: “I am a Jew, educated according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as you all are this day.

And he told of his conversion to Christ, his teaching, baptizing and his ministry.

Then they lifted up their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he ought not to live.”

The tribune commanded him to be brought into the arracks, and ordered him to be examined by scourging, to find out why they shouted thus against him. But when they had tied him up with the thongs, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman citizen, and uncondemned?”

When the centurion heard that, he went to the tribune and said to him, “What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman citizen.” So the tribune came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” And he said, “Yes.” The tribune answered, “I bought this citizenship for a large sum.” Paul said, “But I was born a citizen.” So those who were about to examine him withdrew from him instantly; and the tribune also was afraid, for he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen and that he had bound him.

But on the morrow, desiring to know the real reason why the Jews accused him, he unbound him, and commanded the chief priests and all the council to meet, and he brought Paul down and set him before them.

And Paul, looking intently at the council, said, “Brethren, I have lived before God in all good conscience up to this day.” And the high priest Anani’as commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth.

Then Paul said to him, “God shall strike you, you whitewashed wall! Are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet contrary to the law you order me to be struck?”

Those who stood by said, “Would you revile God’s high priest?” And Paul said, “I did not know, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, `You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.'”

But when Paul perceived that one part were Sad’ducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead I am on trial.”

And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sad’ducees; and the assembly was divided. For the Sad’ducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit; but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.

Then a great clamor arose; and some of the scribes of the Pharisees’ party stood up and contended, “We find nothing wrong in this man. What if a spirit or an angel spoke to him?”

And when the dissension became violent, the tribune, afraid that Paul would be torn in pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them and bring him into the barracks.

The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified about me at Jerusalem, so you must bear witness also at Rome.”

When it was day, the Jews made a plot and bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. There were more than forty who made this conspiracy.

And they went to the chief priests and elders, and said, “We have strictly bound ourselves by an oath to taste no food till we have killed Paul. You therefore, along with the council, give notice now to the tribune to bring him down to you, as though you were going to determine his case more exactly. And we are ready to kill him before he comes near.”

Now the son of Paul’s sister heard of their ambush; so he went and entered the barracks and told Paul. And Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the tribune; for he has something to tell him.” So he took him and brought him to the tribune and said, “Paul the prisoner called me and asked me to bring this young man to you, as he has something to say to you.”

The tribune took him by the hand, and going aside asked him privately, “What is it that you have to tell me?”

And he said, “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the council tomorrow, as though they were going to inquire somewhat more closely about him.

But do not yield to them; for more than forty of their men lie in ambush for him, having bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they have killed him; and now they are ready, waiting for the promise from you.”

So the tribune dismissed the young man, charging him, “Tell no one that you have informed me of this.”

Then he called two of the centurions and said, “At the third hour of the night get ready two hundred soldiers with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen. Also provide mounts for Paul to ride, and bring him safely to Felix the governor.” And he wrote a letter to this effect to “Claudius Lys’ias to his Excellency the governor Felix, greeting.

This man was seized by the Jews, and was about to be killed by them, when I came upon them with the soldiers and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman citizen. And desiring to know the charge on which they accused him, I brought him down to their council.

I found that he was accused about questions of their law, but charged with nothing deserving death or imprisonment.

And when it was disclosed to me that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, ordering his accusers also to state before you what they have against him.”

So the soldiers, according to their instructions, took Paul and brought him by night to Antip’atris. And on the morrow they returned to the barracks, leaving the horsemen to go on with him.

When they came to Caesare’a and delivered the letter to the governor, they presented Paul also before him. “I will hear you when your accusers arrive.” And he commanded him to be guarded in Herod’s praetorium.

And after five days the high priest Anani’as came down with some elders and a spokesman, one Tertul’lus. They laid before the governor their case against Paul; and when he was called, Tertul’lus began to accuse him, saying:

“Since through you we enjoy much peace, and since by your provision, most excellent Felix, reforms are introduced on behalf of this nation, in every way and everywhere we accept this with all gratitude.

But, to detain you no further, I beg you in your kindness to hear us briefly. For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, an agitator among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.

He even tried to profane the temple, but we seized him.

By examining him yourself you will be able to learn from him about everything of which we accuse him.” The Jews also joined in the charge, affirming that all this was so.

And when the governor had motioned to him to speak, Paul replied: “Realizing that for many years you have been judge over this nation, I cheerfully make my defense.

As you may ascertain, it is not more than twelve days since I went up to worship at Jerusalem; and they did not find me disputing with any one or stirring up a crowd, either in the temple or in the synagogues, or in the city. Neither can they prove to you what they now bring up against me. But this I admit to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the law or written in the prophets, having a hope in God which these themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust. So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward God and toward men. Now after some years I came to bring to my nation alms and offerings. As I was doing this, they found me purified in the temple, without any crowd or tumult. But some Jews from Asia — they ought to be here before you and to make an accusation, if they have anything against me. Or else let these men themselves say what wrongdoing they found when I stood before the council, except this one thing which I cried out while standing among them, `With respect to the resurrection of the dead I am on trial before you this day.'”

But Felix, having a rather accurate knowledge of the Way, put them off, saying, “When Lys’ias the tribune comes down, I will decide your case.”

Then he gave orders to the centurion that he should be kept in custody but should have some liberty, and that none of his friends should be prevented from attending to his needs.

After some days Felix came with his wife Drusil’la, who was a Jewess; and he sent for Paul and heard him speak upon faith in Christ Jesus.

And as he argued about justice and self-control and future judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, “Go away for the present; when I have an opportunity I will summon you.”

At the same time he hoped that money would be given him by Paul. So he sent for him often and conversed with him.

But when two years had elapsed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus; and desiring to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.

Now when Festus had come into his province, after three days he went up to Jerusalem and the chief priests and the principal men of the Jews informed him against Paul; and they urged him, asking as a favor to have the man sent to Jerusalem, planning an ambush to kill him on the way. Festus replied that Paul was being kept at Caesare’a, and that he himself intended to go there shortly. “So,” said he, “let the men of authority among you go down with me, and if there is anything wrong about the man, let them accuse him.”

He went down to Caesare’a; and the next day he took his seat on the tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought. [7] And when he had come, the Jews who had gone down from Jerusalem stood about him, bringing against him many serious charges which they could not prove.

Paul said in his defense, “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I offended at all.”

But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem, and there be tried on these charges before me?” But Paul said, “I am standing before Caesar’s tribunal, where I ought to be tried; to the Jews I have done no wrong, as you know very well. If then I am a wrongdoer, and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death; but if there is nothing in their charges against me, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar.”

Then Festus, when he had conferred with his council, answered, “You have appealed to Caesar; to Caesar you shall go.”

Now when some days had passed, Agrippa the king and Berni’ce arrived at Caesare’a to welcome Festus. And as they stayed there many days, Festus laid Paul’s case before the king, saying, “There is a man left prisoner by Felix;

and when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews gave information about him, asking for sentence against him.

I answered them that it was not the custom of the Romans to give up any one before the accused met the accusers face to face, and had opportunity to make his defense concerning the charge laid against him.

When therefore they came together here, I made no delay, but on the next day took my seat on the tribunal and ordered the man to be brought in.

When the accusers stood up, they brought no charge in his case of such evils as I supposed; but they had certain points of dispute with him about their own superstition and about one Jesus, who was dead, but whom Paul asserted to be alive. I commanded him to be held until I could send him to Caesar.”

And Agrippa said to Festus, “I should like to hear the man myself.” “Tomorrow,” said he, “you shall hear him.

So on the morrow Agrippa and Berni’ce came with great pomp, and they entered the audience hall with the military tribunes and the prominent men of the city. Then by command of Festus Paul was brought in.

And Festus said, “King Agrippa and all who are present with us, you see this man about whom the whole Jewish people petitioned me, both at Jerusalem and here, shouting that he ought not to live any longer.

But I found that he had done nothing deserving death.

But I have nothing definite to write to my lord about him. Therefore I have brought him before you, King Agrippa, that, after we have examined him, I may have something to write. For it seems to me unreasonable, in sending a prisoner, not to indicate the charges against him.”

Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.” Then Paul stretched out his hand and made his defense:

“I think myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am to make my defense today against all the accusations of the Jews, because you are especially familiar with all customs and controversies of the Jews; therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.

“According to the strictest party of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee. And now I stand here on trial for hope in the promise made by God to our fathers. Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?

He told of how he persecuted Christians and his conversion to serve and bear witness to the things in which you have seen. And declared first to those at Damascus, then at Jerusalem and throughout all the country of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God and perform deeds worthy of their repentance. For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me.

To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: that the Christ must suffer, and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to the people and to the Gentiles.”

And as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are mad; your great learning is turning you mad.”

But Paul said, “I am not mad, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking the sober truth.

King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.” And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time you think to make me a Christian!” And Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am — except for these chains.”

Then the king rose, and the governor and Berni’ce and those who were sitting with them; and when they had withdrawn, they said to one another, “This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment.”

And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”

And when it was decided that we should sail for Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort, named Julius. The centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing for Italy, and put us on board.

As much time had been lost, and the voyage was already dangerous because the fast had already gone by, Paul advised them, saying, “Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.”

But the centurion paid more attention to the captain and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said.

All hope of our being saved was at last abandoned. As they had been long without food, Paul then came forward among them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me, and should not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss.

I now bid you take heart; for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night there stood by me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, `Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and lo, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’

When the fourteenth night had come, as we were drifting across the sea of A’dria, about midnight the sailors suspected that they were nearing land.

And fearing that we might run on the rocks, they let out four anchors from the stern, and prayed for day to come.

And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, and had lowered the boat into the sea, under pretense of laying out anchors from the bow, Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.”

Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the boat, and let it go.

As day was about to dawn, Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have continued in suspense and without food, having taken nothing.

Therefore I urge you to take some food; it will give you strength, since not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you.”

And when he had said this, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat. Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves. (We were in all two hundred and seventy-six persons in the ship.)

And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, throwing out the wheat into the sea.

Now when it was day, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, on which they planned if possible to bring the ship ashore.

[So they cast off the anchors and left them in the sea, at the same time loosening the ropes that tied the rudders; then hoisting the foresail to the wind they made for the beach.

But striking a shoal they ran the vessel aground; the bow stuck and remained immovable, and the stern was broken up by the surf.

The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any should swim away and escape; but the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their purpose. He ordered those who could swim to throw themselves overboard first and make for the land, and the rest on planks or on pieces of the ship. And so it was that all escaped to land.

After we had escaped, we then learned that the island was called Malta.

And the natives showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold.

Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, when a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, justice has not allowed him to live.”

He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.

They waited, expecting him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead; but when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.

Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius, who received us and entertained us hospitably for three days.

It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery; and Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him healed him. And when this had taken place, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured.

They presented many gifts to us; and when we sailed, they put on board whatever we needed. After three months we set sail in a ship which had wintered in the island.

And so we came to Rome. And the brethren there, when they heard of us, came to meet us. On seeing them Paul thanked God and took courage.

PAUL IN ROME

And when we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier that guarded him.

After three days he called together the local leaders of the Jews; and when they had gathered, he said to them, “Brethren, though I had done nothing against the people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.

When they had examined me, they wished to set me at liberty, because there was no reason for the death penalty in my case. But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar — though I had no charge to bring against my nation.

For this reason therefore I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.”

And they said to him, “We have received no letters from Judea about you, and none of the brethren coming here has reported or spoken any evil about you.

But we desire to hear from you what your views are; for with regard to this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against.”

When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in great numbers. And he expounded the matter to them from morning till evening, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the law of Moses and from the prophets.

And some were convinced by what he said, while others disbelieved.

So, as they disagreed among themselves, they departed, after Paul had made one statement: “The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet:

‘Go to this people, and say, You shall indeed hear but never understand, and you shall indeed see but never perceive.

For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears are heavy of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should perceive with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn for me to heal them.’

Let it be known to you then that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.”

And he lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ quite openly and unhindered.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

ROMANS

LET FAITH SAVE YOU

Paul First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you and that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.

I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith – he who through faith is righteous shall live.”

For he will render to every man according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury.

There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, but glory and honor and peace for every one who does good. For God shows no partiality. All who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.

For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.

You then who teach others, will you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? Real circumcision is a matter of the heart, spiritual and not literal.

For there is no distinction since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. He justifies him who has faith in Jesus.

For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law.

Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God.

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.

If we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Thanks to God, you who were once slaves of sin and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The law is binding on a person only during his life?

Thus a married woman is bound by law to her husband as long as he lives; but if her husband dies she is discharged from the law concerning the husband. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.

Likewise, you have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God.

But now we are discharged from the law, dead to that which held us captive, so that we serve not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit.

What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet, if it had not been for the law, I should not have known sin. I should not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”

So then, I of myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.

For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

But if Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness.

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit which dwells in you.

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

It is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.

What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us?

Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies; who is to condemn? Is it Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I am speaking the truth in Christ, I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit,

God’s mercy is on whom he chooses or elects.

This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are reckoned as descendants. For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So it depends not upon man’s will or exertion or works, but upon God’s mercy. So then he has mercy upon whomever he wills, and he hardens the heart of whomever he wills, even us whom he has called from all.

For Christ is the end of the law, that every one who has faith may be justified. The same Lord is Lord of all and bestows his riches upon all who call upon him. For, “every one who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”

And how can men preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news!”

So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ. But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have; for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”

But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

But through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous.

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever.

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; never be conceited.

Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all.

If possible, live peaceably with all.

Never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

HEED THE GOVERNING AUTHORITIES

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of him who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain; he is the servant of God to execute his wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be subject, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.

Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.

The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

As for the man who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not for disputes over opinions.

Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Master is able to make him stand.

None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.

If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.

For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God. So each of us shall give account of himself to God.

Then let us no more pass judgment on one another, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.

So do not let your good be spoken of as evil. He who thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.

Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God; happy is he who has no reason to judge himself for what he approves.

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves; let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to edify him.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

I myself am satisfied about you, my brethren, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct one another.

In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God.

Greet all those workers in the Lord.

I appeal to you, brethren, to take note of those who create dissensions and difficulties, in opposition to the doctrine which you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by fair and flattering words they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

1st CORINTHIANS

Paul writes to the church at Corinth.

I give thanks to God always for you because of the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him with all speech and all knowledge – as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ; who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I appeal to you that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment for it has been reported to me that there is quarreling among you.

I baptized only a few, for Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel. He is the source of your as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord.”

God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.

Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God.

The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand.

The spiritual man judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.

According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it. For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.

It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then every man will receive his commendation from God.

For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to men.

It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans; for a man is living with his father’s wife.

Do not associate with immoral men; “Drive out the wicked person from among you.” When one of you has a grievance against a brother, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints?

To have lawsuits at all with one another is defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud, and that even your own brethren. Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything.

He who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.

ON MARRIAGE

Now concerning the matters about which you wrote. It is well for a man not to touch a woman. But because of the temptation to immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not rule over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not rule over his own body, but the wife does. Do not refuse one another except perhaps by agreement for a season, that you may devote yourselves to prayer. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain single as I do. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion.

To the married I give charge, not I but the Lord, that the wife should not separate from her husband but if she does, let her remain single or else be reconciled to her husband; and that the husband should not divorce his wife.

But if the unbelieving partner desires to separate, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound. For God has called us to peace.

Let every one lead the life which the Lord has assigned to him, and in which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.

Was any one at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was any one at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God.

Every one should remain in the state in which he was called. Were you a slave when called? Never mind. But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity. For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a slave of Christ.

Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek marriage. But if you marry, you do not sin, and if a girl marries she does not sin. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. I mean, brethren, the appointed time has grown very short; from now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none.

I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman or girl is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.

Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” “Knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. If any one imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if one loves God, one is known by him. Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.”

However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through being hitherto accustomed to idols, eat food as really offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.

Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do.

Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord? If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. This is my defense to those who would examine me.

For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward; but if not of my own will, I am entrusted with a commission.

My reward is that in my preaching I may make the gospel free of charge. For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more.

I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

Do not be idolaters as some of them were.

Do not indulge in immorality.

We must not put the Lord to the test, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength.

Shun the worship of idols.

Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.

For “the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a woman is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.

But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse.

But if we judged ourselves truly, we should not be judged.

But when we are judged by the Lord, we are chastened so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be uninformed whether working of miracles, prophecy, the ability to distinguish between spirits, various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — Jews or Greeks, slaves or free — and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many.

On the contrary, the parts of the body which seem to be weaker are indispensable. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.

LOVE

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Make love your aim, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.

For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit.

On the other hand, he who prophesies speaks to men for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.

Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than he who speaks in tongues, unless some one interprets, so that the church may be edified.

Now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how shall I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching?

Therefore, he who speaks in a tongue should pray for the power to interpret.

In church I would rather speak five words with my mind, in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

Thus, tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is not for unbelievers but for believers.

When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.

If any one thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord. If any one does not recognize this, he is not recognized.

Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.

For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”

Come to your right mind, and sin no more. For some have no knowledge of God.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

2 CORINTHIANS

To the church of God which is at Corinth

God comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.

For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing,

to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you?

God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

Since we have such a hope, we are very bold.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the likeness of God.

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.

For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

We walk by faith, not by sight.

We are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

We make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body.

For the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died.

And he died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once regarded Christ from a human point of view, we regard him thus no longer.

Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.

All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;

that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Working together with him, then, we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain.

We put no obstacle in any one’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, tumults, labors, watching, hunger; by purity, knowledge, forbearance, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute.

We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as dying, and behold we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections.

Do not be mismated with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What has a believer in common with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will live in them and move among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Open your hearts to us; we have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one.

Godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death.

Now as you excel in everything — in faith, in utterance, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in your love for us — see that you excel in this gracious work also.

The point is this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work.

As it is written, “He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures for ever.”

He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your resources and increase the harvest of your righteousness.

You will be enriched in every way for great generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.

For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, we destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God being ready to punish every disobedience.

But we will not boast beyond limit, but will keep to the limits God has apportioned us, to reach even to you.

The signs of a true apostle were performed among you in all patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

GALATIANS

There are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

We know that a man is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ.

The law was our custodian until Christ came, that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a custodian; for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another take heed that you are not consumed by one another.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would. But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law.

Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.

Let us have no self-conceit, no provoking of one another, no envy of one another.

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

For if any one thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each man will have to bear his own load.

For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

EPHESIANS

Paul writes:

God destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, which is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

And you he made alive, when you were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.

Among these we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of body and mind, and so we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all.

Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.

And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Let there be no filthiness, nor silly talk, nor levity, which are not fitting; but instead let there be thanksgiving.

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery

Always and for everything giving thanks.

Children, obey your parents, for this is right.

“Honor your father and mother.”

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction.

Grace be with all who love Jesus with love undying.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

PHILIPPIANS

Paul to the Philippians:

My imprisonment is for Christ.

I am put here for the defense of the gospel.

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

It has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict which you saw and now hear to be mine.

Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Do all things without grumbling or questioning,

Have no anxiety about anything.

And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace will be with you.

Not that I seek the gift; but I seek the fruit which increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more.

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

COLOSSIANS

See to it that no one makes a prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you once walked, when you lived in them. But now put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth.

Do not lie to one another.

Put on compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body.

Be thankful.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.

Teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Wives, love your husbands.

Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.

Children, obey your parents in everything.

Do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer every one.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

1 THESSALONIANS

Paul in a letter…

Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love.

For you know what instructions we gave:

Abstain from unchastity.

Take a wife in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust.

That no man transgress, and wrong his brother in this matter.

Live quietly.

Mind your own affairs,.

Work with your hands so that you may command the respect of outsiders, and be dependent on nobody.

Be at peace among yourselves.

Admonish the idlers,

Encourage the fainthearted,

Help the weak,

Be patient with them all.

See that none of you repays evil for evil,

But always seek to do good to one another and to all.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God.

Do not quench the Spirit,

Do not despise prophesying,

Test everything; hold fast what is good,

Abstain from every form of evil.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

2 THESSALONIANS

Paul writes…

The coming of the lawless one by the activity of Satan will be with all power and with pretended signs and wonders,

and with all wicked deception for those who are to perish, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

God chose you from the beginning to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.

To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from evil.

Now we command you, brethren, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.

If any one will not work, let him not eat. Do their work in quietness and to earn their own living. If any one refuses to obey, note that man, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not look on him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

1 TIMOTHY

Paul writes,

You may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to occupy themselves with myths and endless genealogies which promote speculations rather than the divine training that is in faith.

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith.

Now we know that the law is good, if any one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, immoral persons, sodomites, kidnapers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,

The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. And, that Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience for an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.

Our Savior desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

Have nothing to do with godless and silly myths. Train yourself in godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

Command and teach these things.

Do not rebuke an older man but exhort him as you would a father; treat younger men like brothers, older women like mothers, younger women like sisters, in all purity.

Honor widows who are real widows. If a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn their religious duty to their own family and make some return to their parents; for this is acceptable in the sight of God.

If any one does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his own family, he has disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Never admit any charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses.

As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.

Do nothing from partiality.

No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.

The sins of some men are conspicuous, pointing to judgment, but the sins of others appear later.

So also good deeds are conspicuous; and even when they are not, they cannot remain hidden.

Teach and urge these duties.

There is great gain in godliness with contentment.

But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and hurtful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.

For the love of money is the root of all evils.

Aim at righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life.

As for the rich in this world, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on uncertain riches but on God who richly furnishes us with everything to enjoy.

They are to do good, to be rich in good deeds, liberal and generous, thus laying up for themselves a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life which is life indeed.

Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards the faith.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

2 TIMOTHY

Paul writes

Do not be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord.

For this gospel I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, and therefore I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.

Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier on service gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to satisfy the one who enlisted him.

An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.

It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.

Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain salvation in Christ Jesus with its eternal glory.

The saying is sure: If we have died with him, we shall also live with him; if we endure, we shall also reign with him;

if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains.

Avoid disputing about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.

Shun youthful passions and aim at righteousness, faith, love, and peace.

Have nothing to do with stupid, senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.

Be kindly to every one, an apt teacher, forbearing, correcting his opponents with gentleness.

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of stress. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding the form of religion but denying the power of it. Avoid such people.

For among them are those who make their way into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and swayed by various impulses, who will listen to anybody and can never arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

These men also oppose the truth, men of corrupt mind and counterfeit faith; but they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all.

Now you have observed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions, my sufferings, what persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me.

Indeed all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceivers and deceived.

But continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it – for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching.

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.

As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

TITUS

Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth…

A bishop, as God’s steward, must be blameless; he must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of goodness, master of himself, upright, holy, and self-controlled; he must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it.

To the pure all things are pure, but to the corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure; their very minds and consciences are corrupted.

They profess to know God, but they deny him by their deeds; they are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good deed.

But as for you, teach what befits sound doctrine.

Bid the older men be temperate, serious, sensible, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.

Bid the older women likewise to be reverent in behavior, not to be slanderers or slaves to drink; they are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be sensible, chaste, domestic, kind, and love to their husbands, that the word of God may not be discredited.

Likewise urge the younger men to control themselves. Show yourself in all respects a model of good deeds, and in your teaching show integrity, gravity, and sound speech that cannot be censured, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say of us.

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for any honest work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all men.

Avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels over the law, for they are unprofitable and futile.

And let our people learn to apply themselves to good deeds, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not to be unfruitful.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

PHILEMON

I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you. I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own free will.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

At the same time, prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping through your prayers to be granted to you.

Editor: I like this very short message.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

HEBREWS

In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things and reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

But we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for every one.

Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage.

Therefore, holy brethren, who share in a heavenly call, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession.

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, when you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years. Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, `They always go astray in their hearts; they have not known my ways.’ As I swore in my wrath,

`They shall never enter my rest.'” Take care, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.

But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

And to whom did he swear that they should never enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest remains, let us fear lest any of you be judged to have failed to reach it.

Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience.

So then, there remains a sabbath rest for the people of God; for whoever enters God’s rest also ceases from his labors as God did from his.

Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, that no one fall by the same sort of disobedience.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Although he was a Son, Jesus learned obedience through what he suffered; and being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.

God is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love which you showed for his sake in serving the saints.

The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office; but he holds his priesthood permanently, because Jesus continues forever.

He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did this once for all when he offered up himself.

Indeed, the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect for ever.

But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry which is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.

For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion for a second.

For he finds fault with them when he says: “The days will come, says the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand

to lead them out of the land of Egypt; for they did not continue in my covenant, and so I paid no heed to them, says the Lord.

This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”

In speaking of a new covenant he treats the first as obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred which redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant.

Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.

But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices which are continually offered year after year, make perfect those who draw near.

Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,

“Sacrifices and offerings thou hast not desired, Then I said, `Lo, I have come to do thy will, O God. Thou hast neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “Lo, I have come to do thy will.” He abolishes the first in order to establish the second.

And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.

But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, then to wait until his enemies should be made a stool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their misdeeds no more.”

By the new and living way which he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,

not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

For if we sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire which will consume the adversaries.

But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and keep their souls.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets —

Many, though well attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had foreseen something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

See to it that no one fail to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” spring up and cause trouble, and by it the many become defiled; that no one be immoral or irreligious.

See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less shall we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.

Let brotherly love continue.

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them; and those who are ill-treated, since you also are in the body.

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for God will judge the immoral and adulterous.

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, “I will never fail you nor forsake you.”

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God; consider the outcome of their life, and imitate their faith.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever.

Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings; for it is well that the heart be strengthened by grace.

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have.

Obey your leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account. Let them do this joyfully, and not sadly, for that would be of no advantage to you.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

JAMES

Summary: Faith Without Works Is Dead

James writes…

Let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him.

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.

For that person must not suppose that a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways, will receive anything from the Lord.

Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like the flower of the grass he will pass away.

Blessed is the man who endures trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him.

God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one; but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.

Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death.

Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.

Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.

Be doers of the word, and not hearers only.

If any one thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this man’s religion is vain.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

My brethren, show no partiality.

Welcome the man with gold rings and in fine clothing and a poor man in shabby clothing as equals – make no

distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? For has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to those who love him?

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.

He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” said also, “Do not kill.” If you do not commit adultery but do kill, you have become a transgressor of the law.

So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy; yet mercy triumphs over judgment.

What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him?

If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit?

So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

Faith apart from works is barren? You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good life let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.

But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This wisdom is not such as comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity. And the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

What causes wars, and what causes fightings among you? Is it not your passions that are at war in your members?

You desire and do not have; so you kill. And you covet and cannot obtain; so you fight and wage war. You do not have, because you do not ask.

You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. Unfaithful creatures! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.

Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you. (As will your brothers, the church and the people).

Do not speak evil against one another, brethren. He that speaks evil against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.

There is one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you that you judge your neighbor?

Whoever knows what is right to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted, your

gold and silver have rusted, you have laid up treasure for the last days. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.

Do not grumble, brethren, against one another, that you may not be judged.

But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath, but let your yes be yes and your no be no, that you may not fall under condemnation.

Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.

My brethren, if any one among you wanders from the truth and some one brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

1 PETER

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, writes…

May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

Without having seen the Lord, you love him; though you do not now see him you believe in him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy. As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls.

Therefore gird up your minds, be sober, set your hope fully upon the grace that is coming to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

And if you invoke as Father him who judges each one impartially according to his deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile.

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere love of the brethren, love one another earnestly from the heart.

You have been born anew, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.

So put away all malice and all guile and insincerity and envy and all slander.

He “who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution.

Live as free men, yet without using your freedom as a pretext for evil; but live as servants of God.

Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

Likewise you wives, be loving to your husbands, so that some, though they do not obey the word, may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, when they see your reverent and chaste behavior.

Let not yours be the outward adorning with braiding of hair, decoration of gold, and wearing of fine clothing,

but let it be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable jewel of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

Likewise you husbands, live considerately with your wives, bestowing honor on the woman as the weaker sex, since you are joint heirs of the grace of life, in order that your prayers may not be hindered.

Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love of the brethren, a tender heart and a humble mind.

Do not return evil for evil or reviling for reviling; but on the contrary bless, for to this you have been called, that you may obtain a blessing.

But even if you do suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord.

Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; and keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

It is better to suffer for doing right, if that should be God’s will, than for doing wrong.

Baptism now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience.

Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins.

Practice hospitality ungrudgingly to one another. As each has received a gift, employ it for one another.

If one suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but under that name let him glorify God.

“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time he may exalt you.

Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you.

Be sober, be watchful.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

2 PETER

Peter writes

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises.

For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For whoever lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.

Therefore, brethren, be the more zealous to confirm your call and election, for if you do this you will never fall.

First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

Scoffers will come in the last days saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things have continued as they were from the beginning of creation.”

They deliberately ignore this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago, and an earth formed out of water and by means of water, through which the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.

But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist have been stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up.

Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God!

But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO WHILE WAITING?

Therefore, beloved, since you wait for these, be zealous to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.

Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

1 JOHN

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life – the life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it, and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us – that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.

If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

He who says “I know him” but disobeys his Commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps his word, in him truly love for God is perfected. By this we may be sure that we are in him: he who says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

He who says he is in the light and hates his brother is in the darkness still. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and in it there is no cause for stumbling.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides for ever.

No lie is of the truth.

Abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.

If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that every one who does right is born of him.

See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

Every one who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. Every one who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.

You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him.

He who does right is righteous, as he is righteous.

No one born of God commits sin; for God’s nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God.

For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another,

Do not wonder, brethren, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.

Any one who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

But if any one has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?

Let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth.

Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.

And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another.

All who keep his commandments abide in him, and he in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit which he has given us.

By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God.

GOD IS LOVE

We are of God.

Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God.

He who does not love does not know God; for God is love.

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.

In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins.

If God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his own Spirit.

And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world.

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

So we know and believe the love God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

In this is love perfected with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so are we in this world.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love.

We love, because he first loved us.

If any one says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.

And this commandment we have from him, that he who loves God should love his brother also.

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.

And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

He who has the Son has life; he who has not the Son of God has not life.

And this is the confidence which we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.

And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

2 JOHN

Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love.

Love One Another

And now I beg you, lady, not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning, that we love one another.

And this is love, that we follow his commandments.

Any one who does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God; he who abides in the doctrine has both the Father and the Son.

Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink, but I hope to come to see you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

3 JOHN

Beloved, it is a loyal thing you do when you render any service to the brethren, especially to strangers, who have testified to your love before the church.

Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. He who does good is of God; he who does evil has not seen God.

I had much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink; I hope to see you soon, and we will talk together face to face.

(I appreciate brevity in Letters of teachers ~ God)

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

JUDE

May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.

Admission has been secretly gained by some who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly persons who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Now I desire to remind you, though you were once for all fully informed, that he who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.

Yet in like manner these men in their dreamings defile the flesh, reject authority, and revile the glorious ones.

Woe to them!

These are blemishes on your love feasts, as they boldly carouse together, looking after themselves; waterless clouds, carried along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars for whom the nether gloom of darkness has been reserved for ever.

These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own passions, loud-mouthed boasters, flattering people to gain advantage.

But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; they said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.”

It is these who set up divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.

But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

And convince some, who doubt; save some, by snatching them out of the fire; on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

Now to him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you without blemish before the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and for ever.

Amen.

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com

REVELATION

(This book calls for a mind with wisdom. The book is greatly condensed minus the babble, the demons, devil stuff, dreams, fears, hallucinations, nightmares, scary prophecy, visions or visits ~ The Wise Prophet).

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants what must soon take place; and he made it known by sending his angel to his servant John.

Blessed is he who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written therein; for the time is near.

John writes…

Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, every one who pierced him; and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him.

JESUS APPEARS, PREPARE

I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches.

Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden girdle round his breast; his head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; his eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters; in his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth issued a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand upon me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one; I died, and behold I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.

Now write what you see to the churches, what is and what is to take place hereafter. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

To him who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.

‘He who conquers shall not be hurt by the second death.’

“`I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first.

But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jez’ebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and beguiling my servants to practice immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.

And all the churches shall know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve.

But to the rest of you hold fast what you have, until I come.

He who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, I will give him power over the nations.

Awake, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God.

Remember then what you received and heard; keep that, and repent. If you will not awake, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come upon you.

“`I know your works.”

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

“`I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.

For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing; not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.

He who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.

Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night within his temple; and he who sits upon the throne will shelter them with his presence.

They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water; and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

If any one has an ear, let him hear: If any one is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if any one slays with the sword, with the sword must he be slain.

Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.

It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are chaste; it is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes; these have been redeemed from mankind as first fruits for God and the Lamb, and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are spotless.

Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord henceforth.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”

This calls for a mind with wisdom.

And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, by what they had done. And if any one’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”

And he who sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the fountain of the water of life without payment.

He who conquers shall have this heritage, and I will be his God and he shall be my son.

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.”

Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues, and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.”

And in the Spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.

It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed; on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates.

And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

And he who talked to me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls.

The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its breadth; and he measured the city with his rod, twelve thousand stadia; its length and breadth and height are equal. He also measured its wall, a hundred and forty-four cubits by a man’s measure, that is, an angel’s.

The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every jewel; the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass. And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.

And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb.

By its light shall the nations walk; and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it, and its gates shall never be shut by day — and there shall be no night there; they shall bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.

But nothing unclean shall enter it, nor any one who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Then he showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

There shall no more be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall worship him; they shall see his face, and his name shall be on their foreheads.

And night shall be no more; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they shall reign for ever and ever.

And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.

And behold, I am coming soon.” Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.

I John am he who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me; but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brethren the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”

And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.

Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense, to repay every one for what he has done.

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let him who hears say, “Come.” And let him who is thirsty come, let him who desires take the water of life without price.

I warn every one who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if any one adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if any one takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

(This book calls for a mind with wisdom. Amen ~ The Wise Prophet).

See The Bahr Bible et al at GaryBahr.com.

Copyright 2015 * Gary Bahr * All Rights Reserved

Advertisements
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close