Read the Bible in a Year

Each day, we'll post passages so that you can read the Bible in one year. This is part of The Colossians 13:16 Project, sponsored by Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia. You're invited to worship with us Sundays, at 11:00 a.m. or Saturdays, at 6:30 p.m. You may also want to consider joining one our adult Bible Studies: Thursdays at 12:00 noon and Sundays at 9:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. We also have a full range of programs for children. If you want more information about the church, check out the other blogs. And please feel free to leave any comments.

The Bible in a Year is a ministry of Cove Presbyterian Church. We need your support to keep posting. If you find it helpful, you can support this blog by your contributions. They may be sent to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, WV 26062. You can also use the PayPal link below:

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Monday, October 31, 2011

Bible Readings for October 31, 2011

Today our passages are Lamentations 4:1–5:22; Hebrews 2:1-18; Psalm 103:1-22; and Proverbs 26:23. The readings are from the Contemporary English Version.


Lamentations 4-5:22 (Contemporary English Version)

Lamentations 4

The Punishment of Jerusalem

The Prophet Speaks:
1The purest gold is ruined
and has lost its shine;
jewels from the temple
lie scattered in the streets.
2These are Zion's people,
worth more than purest gold;
yet they are counted worthless
like dishes of clay.
3Even jackals [a]
nurse their young,
but my people are like ostriches
that abandon their own.
4Babies are so thirsty
that their tongues
are stuck
to the roof of the mouth.
Children go begging for food,
but no one gives them any.
5All who ate expensive foods
lie starving in the streets;
those who grew up in luxury
now sit on trash heaps.
6My nation was punished worse
than the people of Sodom,
whose city was destroyed
in a flash
without the help
of human hands. [b]
7The leaders of Jerusalem
were purer than snow
and whiter than milk;
their bodies were healthy
and glowed like jewels. [c]
8Now they are blacker than tar,
and no one recognizes them;
their skin clings to their bones
and is drier than firewood.
9Being killed with a sword
is better
than slowly
starving to death.
10Life in the city is so bad
that loving mothers
have boiled
and eaten their own children.
11The LORD was so fiercely angry
that he burned the city of Zion
to the ground.
12Not a king on this earth
or the people of any nation
believed enemies could break
through her gates.
13Jerusalem was punished because
her prophets and her priests
had sinned and caused the death
of innocent victims.
14Yes, her prophets and priests
were covered with blood;
no one would come near them,
as they wandered
from street to street.
15Instead, everyone shouted,
"Go away! Don't touch us!
You're filthy and unfit
to belong to God's people!"
So they had to leave
and become refugees.
But foreign nations told them,
"You can't stay here!" [d]
16The LORD is the one
who sent them scattering,
and he has forgotten them.
No respect or kindness
will be shown
to the priests or leaders.
17Our eyes became weary,
hopelessly looking
for help
from a nation [e] that could not save us.
18Enemies hunted us down
on every public street.
Our time was up;
our doom was near.
19They swooped down faster
than eagles from the sky.
They hunted for us in the hills
and set traps to catch us
out in the desert.
20The LORD's chosen leader [f]
was our hope for survival!
We thought he would keep us safe
somewhere among the nations,
but even he was caught
in one of their traps.
21You people of Edom
can celebrate now!
But your time will come
to suffer
and stagger
around naked.
22The people of Zion
have paid for their sins,
and the Lord will soon
let them return home.
But, people of Edom,
you will be punished,
and your sins exposed.

Lamentations 5

A Prayer for Mercy

The People of Jerusalem Pray: [g]
1Our LORD, don't forget
how we have suffered
and been disgraced.
2Foreigners and strangers
have taken our land
and our homes.
3We are like children
whose mothers are widows.
4The water we drink
and the wood we burn
cost far too much.
5We are terribly mistreated; [h]
we are worn out
and can find no rest.
6We had to surrender
to [i] Egypt and Assyria because we were hungry.
7Our ancestors sinned,
but they are dead,
and we are left to pay
for their sins.
8Slaves are now our rulers,
and there is no one
to set us free.
9We are in danger
from brutal desert tribes;
we must risk our lives
just to bring in our crops. [j]
10Our skin is scorched
from fever and hunger.
11On Zion and everywhere in Judah
our wives and daughters
are being raped.
12Our rulers are strung up
by their arms,
and our nation's advisors
are treated shamefully.
13Young men are forced
to do the work of slaves;
boys must carry
heavy loads of wood.
14Our leaders are not allowed
to decide cases in court,
and young people
no longer play music.
15Our hearts are sad;
instead of dancing,
we mourn.
16Zion's glory has disappeared!
And we are doomed
because of our sins.
17We feel sick all over
and can't even see straight;
18our city is in ruins,
overrun by wild dogs.
19You will rule forever, LORD!
You are King for all time.
20Why have you forgotten us
for so long?
21Bring us back to you!
Give us a fresh start.
22Or do you despise us so much
that you don't want us?

Lamentations 4:3 jackals: Desert animals related to wolves, but smaller.
Lamentations 4:6 hands: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 6.
Lamentations 4:7 jewels: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 7.
Lamentations 4:15 here: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 15.
Lamentations 4:17 nation: Egypt, a former ally of Judah.
Lamentations 4:20 chosen leader: Probably Zedekiah, the last king of Judah, taken away to Babylonia in 586 B.C.
Lamentations 5:1 (5.1 The People of Jerusalem Pray: Or "The Prophet Prays.")
Lamentations 5:5 We. . . mistreated: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
Lamentations 5:6 surrender to: Or "make treaties with."
Lamentations 5:9 crops: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 9.

Hebrews 2:1-18 (Contemporary English Version)

Hebrews 2

This Great Way of Being Saved

1We must give our full attention to what we were told, so that we won't drift away. 2The message spoken by angels proved to be true, and all who disobeyed or rejected it were punished as they deserved. 3So if we refuse this great way of being saved, how can we hope to escape? The Lord himself was the first to tell about it, and people who heard the message proved to us that it was true. 4God himself showed that his message was true by working all kinds of powerful miracles and wonders. He also gave his Holy Spirit to anyone he chose to.

The One Who Leads Us To Be Saved

5We know that God did not put the future world under the power of angels. 6Somewhere in the Scriptures someone says to God,
"What makes you care
about us humans?
Why are you concerned
for weaklings such as we?
7You made us lower
than the angels
for a while.
Yet you have crowned us
with glory and honor. [a]

8And you have put everything under our power!"

God has put everything under our power and has not left anything out of our power. But we still don't see it all under our power. 9What we do see is Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels. Because of God's wonderful kindness, Jesus died for everyone. And now that Jesus has suffered and died, he is crowned with glory and honor!

10Everything belongs to God, and all things were created by his power. So God did the right thing when he made Jesus perfect by suffering, as Jesus led many of God's children to be saved and to share in his glory. 11Jesus and the people he makes holy all belong to the same family. That is why he isn't ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters. 12He even said to God,
"I will tell them your name
and sing your praises
when they come together
to worship."
13He also said,
"I will trust God."
Then he said,
"Here I am with the children
God has given me."

14We are people of flesh and blood. That is why Jesus became one of us. He died to destroy the devil, who had power over death. 15But he also died to rescue all of us who live each day in fear of dying. 16Jesus clearly did not come to help angels, but he did come to help Abraham's descendants. 17He had to be one of us, so that he could serve God as our merciful and faithful high priest and sacrifice himself for the forgiveness of our sins. 18And now that Jesus has suffered and was tempted, he can help anyone else who is tempted.

Hebrews 2:7 and honor: Some manuscripts add "and you have placed us in charge of all you created."

Psalm 103:1-22 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 103
(By David.)

The LORD's Wonderful Love

1With all my heart
I praise the LORD,
and with all that I am
I praise his holy name!
2With all my heart
I praise the LORD!
I will never forget
how kind he has been.
3The LORD forgives our sins,
heals us when we are sick,
4and protects us from death.
His kindness and love
are a crown on our heads.
5Each day that we live, [a]
he provides for our needs
and gives us the strength
of a young eagle.
6For all who are mistreated,
the LORD brings justice.
7He taught his Law to Moses
and showed all Israel
what he could do.
8The LORD is merciful!
He is kind and patient,
and his love never fails.
9The LORD won't always be angry
and point out our sins;
10he doesn't punish us
as our sins deserve.
11How great is God's love for all
who worship him?
Greater than the distance
between heaven and earth!
12How far has the LORD taken
our sins from us?
Farther than the distance
from east to west!
13Just as parents are kind
to their children,
the LORD is kind
to all who worship him,
14because he knows
we are made of dust.
15We humans are like grass
or wild flowers
that quickly bloom.
16But a scorching wind blows,
and they quickly wither
to be forever forgotten.
17The LORD is always kind
to those who worship him,
and he keeps his promises
to their descendants
18who faithfully obey him.
19God has set up his kingdom
in heaven,
and he rules
the whole creation.
20All of you mighty angels,
who obey God's commands,
come and praise your LORD!
21All of you thousands
who serve and obey God,
come and praise your LORD!
22All of God's creation
and all that he rules,
come and praise your LORD!
With all my heart
I praise the LORD!

Psalm 103:5 Each. . . live: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Proverbs 26:23 (Contemporary English Version)

23Hiding hateful thoughts
behind smooth [a] talk is like coating a clay pot
with a cheap glaze.

Proverbs 26:23 smooth: One ancient translation; Hebrew " hateful."

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bible Readings for October 30, 2011

Today our passages are Lamentations. 2:20–3:66; Hebrews 1:1-14; Psalm 102:1-28; and Proverbs 26:21-22. The readings are from the Contemporary English Version.


Lamentations 2:20-3:66 (Contemporary English Version)

Jerusalem Speaks:
20Think about it, LORD!
Have you ever been this cruel
to anyone before?
Is it right for mothers
to eat their children,
or for priests and prophets
to be killed in your temple?
21My people, both young and old,
lie dead in the streets.
Because you were angry,
my young men and women
were brutally slaughtered.
22When you were angry, LORD,
you invited my enemies
like guests for a party.
No one survived that day;
enemies killed my children,
my own little ones.

Lamentations 3

There Is Still Hope

The Prophet Speaks:
1I have suffered much
because God was angry.
2He chased me into a dark place,
where no light could enter.
3I am the only one he punishes
over and over again,
without ever stopping.
4God caused my skin and flesh
to waste away,
and he crushed my bones.
5He attacked and surrounded me
with hardships and trouble;
6he forced me to sit in the dark
like someone long dead.
7God built a fence around me
that I cannot climb over,
and he chained me down.
8Even when I shouted
and prayed for help,
he refused to listen.
9God put big rocks in my way
and made me follow
a crooked path.
10God was like a bear or a lion
waiting in ambush for me;
11he dragged me from the road,
then tore me to shreds. [a]
12God took careful aim
and shot his arrows
13straight through my heart.
14I am a joke to everyone--
no one ever stops
making fun of me.
15God has turned my life sour.
16He made me eat gravel
and rubbed me in the dirt.
17I cannot find peace
or remember happiness.
18I tell myself, "I am finished!
I can't count on the LORD
to do anything for me."
19Just thinking of my troubles
and my lonely wandering
makes me miserable.
20That's all I ever think about,
and I am depressed. [b]
21Then I remember something
that fills me with hope.
22The LORD's kindness never fails!
If he had not been merciful,
we would have been destroyed. [c]
23The LORD can always be trusted
to show mercy each morning.
24Deep in my heart I say,
"The LORD is all I need;
I can depend on him!"
25The LORD is kind to everyone
who trusts and obeys him.
26It is good to wait patiently
for the LORD to save us.
27When we are young,
it is good to struggle hard
28and to sit silently alone,
if this is what
the LORD intends.
29Being rubbed in the dirt
can teach us a lesson; [d]
30we can also learn from insults
and hard knocks.
31The Lord won't always reject us!
32He causes a lot of suffering,
but he also has pity
because of his great love.
33The Lord doesn't enjoy
sending grief or pain.
34Don't trample prisoners
under your feet
35or cheat anyone out of
what is rightfully theirs.
God Most High sees everything,
36and he knows
when you refuse
to give someone a fair trial.
37No one can do anything
without the Lord's approval.
38Good and bad each happen
at the command
of God Most High.
39We're still alive!
We shouldn't complain
when we are being punished
for our sins.
40Instead, we should think
about the way we are living,
and turn back to the LORD.
41When we lift our hands
in prayer to God in heaven,
we should offer him our hearts
and say, 42"We've sinned!
We've rebelled against you,
and you haven't forgiven us!
43Anger is written all over you,
as you pursue and slaughter us
without showing pity.
44You are behind a wall of clouds
that blocks out our prayers.
45You allowed nations
to treat us like garbage;
46our enemies curse us.
47We are terrified and trapped,
caught and crushed."
48My people are destroyed!
Tears flood my eyes,
49and they won't stop
50until the LORD looks down
from heaven and helps.
51I am horrified when I see
what enemies have done
to the young women of our city.
52No one had reason to hate me,
but I was hunted down
like a bird.
53Then they tried to kill me
by tossing me into a pit
and throwing stones at me.
54Water covered my head--
I thought I was gone.
55From the bottom of the pit,
I prayed to you, LORD.
56I begged you to listen.
"Help!" I shouted. "Save me!"
You answered my prayer
57and came when I was in need.
You told me, "Don't worry!"
58You rescued me
and saved my life.
59You saw them abuse me, LORD,
so make things right.
60You know every plot
they have made against me.
61Yes, you know their insults
and their evil plans.
62All day long they attack
with words and whispers.
63No matter what they are doing,
they keep on mocking me.
64Pay them back for everything
they have done, LORD!
65Put your curse on them
and make them suffer. [e] 66Get angry and go after them
until not a trace is left
under the heavens.

Lamentations 3:11 shreds: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 11.
Lamentations 3:20 I am depressed: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
Lamentations 3:22 destroyed: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 22.
Lamentations 3:29 lesson: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 29.
Lamentations 3:65 make them suffer: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Hebrews 1:1-14 (Contemporary English Version)

Hebrews 1

1Long ago in many ways and at many times God's prophets spoke his message to our ancestors. 2But now at last, God sent his Son to bring his message to us. God created the universe by his Son, and everything will someday belong to the Son. 3God's Son has all the brightness of God's own glory and is like him in every way. By his own mighty word, he holds the universe together.

After the Son had washed away our sins, he sat down at the right side [a] of the glorious God in heaven. 4He had become much greater than the angels, and the name he was given is far greater than any of theirs.

God's Son Is Greater than Angels

5God has never said
to any of the angels,
"You are my Son, because today
I have become your Father!"
Neither has God said
to any of them,
"I will be his Father,
and he will be my Son!"

6When God brings his first-born Son [b] into the world, he commands all of his angels to worship him. 7And when God speaks about the angels, he says,
"I change my angels into wind
and my servants
into flaming fire."
8But God says about his Son,
"You are God,
and you will rule
as King forever!
Your [c] royal power brings about justice.
9You loved justice
and hated evil,
and so I, your God,
have chosen you.
I appointed you
and made you happier
than any of your friends."
10The Scriptures also say,
"In the beginning, Lord,
you were the one
who laid the foundation
of the earth
and created the heavens.
11They will all disappear
and wear out like clothes,
but you will last forever.
12You will roll them up
like a robe
and change them
like a garment.
But you are always the same,
and you will live forever."
13God never said to any
of the angels,
"Sit at my right side
until I make your enemies
into a footstool for you!"

14Angels are merely spirits sent to serve people who are going to be saved.

Hebrews 1:3 right side: The place of honor and power.
Hebrews 1:6 first-born Son: The first son born into a family had certain privileges that the other children did not have. In 12.23 "first-born" refers to God's special people.
Hebrews 1:8 Your: Some manuscripts have "His."

Psalm 102:1-28 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 102
(A prayer for someone who hurts and needs to ask the LORD for help.)

A Prayer in Time of Trouble

1I pray to you, LORD!
Please listen.
2Don't hide from me
in my time of trouble.
Pay attention to my prayer
and quickly give an answer.
3My days disappear like smoke,
and my bones are burning
as though in a furnace.
4I am wasting away like grass,
and my appetite is gone.
5My groaning never stops,
and my bones can be seen
through my skin.
6I am like a lonely owl
in the desert
7or a restless sparrow
alone on a roof.
8My enemies insult me all day,
and they use my name
for a curse word.
9Instead of food,
I have ashes to eat
and tears to drink,
10because you are furious
and have thrown me aside.
11My life fades like a shadow
at the end of day
and withers like grass.
12Our LORD, you are King forever
and will always be famous.
13You will show pity to Zion
because the time has come.
14We, your servants,
love each stone in the city,
and we are sad to see them
lying in the dirt.
15Our LORD, the nations
will honor you,
and all kings on earth
will praise your glory.
16You will rebuild
the city of Zion.
Your glory will be seen,
17and the prayers of the homeless
will be answered.
18Future generations must also
praise the LORD,
so write this for them:
19"From his holy temple,
the LORD looked down
at the earth.
20He listened to the groans
of prisoners,
and he rescued everyone
who was doomed to die."
21All Jerusalem should praise
you, our LORD,
22when people from every nation
meet to worship you.
23I should still be strong,
but you, LORD, have made
an old person of me.
24You will live forever!
Years mean nothing to you.
Don't cut my life in half!
25In the beginning, LORD,
you laid the earth's foundation
and created the heavens.
26They will all disappear
and wear out like clothes.
You change them,
as you would a coat,
but you last forever.
27You are always the same.
Years cannot change you.
28Every generation of those
who serve you
will live in your presence.

Proverbs 26:21-22 (Contemporary English Version)

21Troublemakers start trouble,
just as sparks and fuel
start a fire.
22There is nothing so delicious
as the taste of gossip!
It melts in your mouth.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Bible Readings for October 29, 2011

Today our passages are Lamentations. 1:1–2:19; Philemon 1-25; Psalm 101:1-8; and Proverbs 26:20. The readings are from the Contemporary English Version.


Lamentations 1-2:19 (Contemporary English Version)

Lamentations 1

Lonely Jerusalem

The Prophet Speaks:
1Jerusalem, once so crowded,
lies deserted and lonely.
This city that was known
all over the world
is now like a widow.
This queen of the nations
has been made a slave.
2Each night, bitter tears
flood her cheeks.
None of her former lovers
are there to offer comfort;
her friends a] have betrayed her
and are now her enemies.
3The people of Judah are slaves,
suffering in a foreign land,
with no rest from sorrow.
Their enemies captured them
and were terribly cruel. b]
4The roads to Zion mourn
because no one travels there
to celebrate the festivals.
The city gates are deserted;
priests are weeping.
Young women are raped; c]
Zion is in sorrow!
5Enemies now rule the city
and live as they please.
The LORD has punished Jerusalem
because of her awful sins;
he has let her people
be dragged away.
6Zion's glory has disappeared.
Her leaders are like deer
that cannot find pasture;
they are hunted down
till their strength is gone.
7Her people recall the good life
that once was theirs;
now they suffer
and are scattered.
No one was there to protect them
from their enemies
who sneered
when their city was taken.
8Jerusalem's horrible sins
have made the city a joke.
Those who once admired her
now hate her instead--
she has been disgraced;
she groans and turns away.
9Her sins had made her filthy,
but she wasn't worried
about what could happen.
And when Jerusalem fell,
it was so tragic.
No one gave her comfort
when she cried out,
"Help! I'm in trouble, LORD!
The enemy has won."
10Zion's treasures were stolen.
Jerusalem saw foreigners
enter her place of worship,
though the LORD
had forbidden them
to belong to his people. d]
11Everyone in the city groans
while searching for food;
they trade their valuables
for barely enough scraps
to stay alive.
Jerusalem shouts to the LORD,
"Please look and see
how miserable I am!"

Jerusalem Speaks:

12No passerby even cares. e]
Why doesn't someone notice
my terrible sufferings?
You were fiercely angry, LORD,
and you punished me
worst of all.
13From heaven you sent a fire
that burned in my bones;
you set a trap for my feet
and made me turn back.
All day long you leave me
in shock from constant pain.
14You have tied my sins
around my neck, f]
and they weigh so heavily
that my strength is gone.
You have put me in the power
of enemies
too strong for me.
15You, LORD, have turned back
my warriors
and crushed
my young heroes.
Judah was a woman untouched,
but you let her be trampled
like grapes in a wine pit.
16Because of this, I mourn,
and tears flood my eyes.
No one is here to comfort
or to encourage me;
we have lost the war--
my people are suffering.

The Prophet Speaks:

17Zion reaches out her hands,
but no one offers comfort.
The LORD has turned
the neighboring nations
against Jacob's descendants.
Jerusalem is merely a filthy rag
to her neighbors.

Jerusalem Speaks:

18The LORD was right,
but I refused to obey him.
Now I ask all of you to look
at my sufferings--
even my young people
have been dragged away.
19I called out to my lovers,
but they betrayed me.
My priests and my leaders died
while searching the city
for scraps of food.
20Won't you look and see
how upset I am, our LORD?
My stomach is in knots,
and my heart is broken
because I betrayed you.
In the streets and at home,
my people are slaughtered.
21Everyone heard my groaning,
but no one offered comfort.
My enemies know of the trouble
that you have brought on me,
and it makes them glad.
Hurry and punish them,
as you have promised.
22Don't let their evil deeds
escape your sight.
Punish them as much
as you have punished me
because of my sins.
I never stop groaning--
I've lost all hope!

Lamentations 2

The LORD Was Like an Enemy

The Prophet Speaks:

1The Lord was angry!
So he disgraced g] Zion though it was Israel's pride
and his own place of rest.
In his anger he threw Zion down
from heaven to earth.
2The LORD had no mercy!
He destroyed the homes
of Jacob's descendants.
In his anger he tore down
every walled city in Judah;
he toppled the nation
together with its leaders,
leaving them in shame.
3The Lord was so furiously angry
that he wiped out
the whole army h]
of Israel by not supporting them
when the enemy attacked.
He was like a raging fire
that swallowed up
the descendants of Jacob.
4He attacked like an enemy
with a bow and arrows,
killing our loved ones.
He has burned to the ground
the homes on Mount Zion. i]
5The Lord was like an enemy!
He left Israel in ruins
with its palaces
and fortresses destroyed,
and with everyone in Judah
moaning and weeping.
6He shattered his temple
like a hut in a garden; j]
he completely wiped out
his meeting place,
and did away with festivals
and Sabbaths
in the city of Zion.
In his fierce anger he rejected
our king and priests.
7The Lord abandoned his altar
and his temple;
he let Zion's enemies
capture her fortresses.
Noisy shouts were heard
from the temple,
as if it were a time
of celebration.
8The LORD had decided
to tear down the walls of Zion
stone by stone.
So he started destroying
and did not stop
until walls and fortresses
mourned and trembled.
9Zion's gates have fallen
facedown on the ground;
the bars that locked the gates
are smashed to pieces.
Her king and royal family
are prisoners
in foreign lands.
Her priests don't teach,
and her prophets don't have
a message from the LORD.
10Zion's leaders are silent.
They just sit on the ground,
tossing dirt on their heads
and wearing sackcloth.
Her young women can do nothing
but stare at the ground.
11My eyes are red from crying,
my stomach is in knots,
and I feel sick all over.
My people are being wiped out,
and children lie helpless
in the streets of the city.
12A child begs its mother
for food and drink,
then blacks out
like a wounded soldier
lying in the street.
The child slowly dies
in its mother's arms.
13Zion, how can I comfort you?
How great is your pain? k] Lovely city of Jerusalem,
how can I heal your wounds,
gaping as wide as the sea?
14Your prophets deceived you
with false visions
and lying messages--
they should have warned you
to leave your sins
and be saved from disaster.
15Those who pass by
shake their heads and sneer
as they make fun and shout,
"What a lovely city you were,
the happiest on earth,
but look at you now!"
16Zion, your enemies curse you
and snarl like wild animals,
while shouting,
"This is the day
we've waited for!
At last, we've got you!"
17The LORD has done everything
that he had planned
and threatened long ago.
He destroyed you without mercy
and let your enemies boast
their powerful forces. l]
18Zion, deep in your heart
you cried out to the Lord.
Now let your tears overflow
your walls day and night.
Don't ever lose hope
or let your tears stop.
19Get up and pray for help
all through the night.
Pour out your feelings
to the Lord,
as you would pour water
out of a jug.
Beg him to save your people,
who are starving to death
at every street crossing.

Lamentations 1:2 lovers. . . friends: Israel's former allies.
Lamentations 1:3 Their. . . cruel: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
Lamentations 1:4 raped: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
Lamentations 1:10 to. . . people: Or "to enter his temple."
Lamentations 1:12 No. . . cares: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
Lamentations 1:14 You. . . neck: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
Lamentations 2:1 disgraced: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
Lamentations 2:3 army: The Hebrew text has "horn," which refers to the horn of a bull, one of the most powerful animals in ancient Palestine.
Lamentations 2:4 the homes on Mount Zion: Or "the temple on Mount Zion."
Lamentations 2:6 He. . . garden: Or "He shattered the temple walls, as if they were the walls of a garden."
Lamentations 2:13 How great. . . pain: Or "What are you really like?" or "What can I say about you?"
Lamentations 2:17 powerful forces: The Hebrew text has "horn," which refers to the horn of a bull, one of the most powerful animals in ancient Palestine.

Philemon 1-25 (Contemporary English Version)

1From Paul, who is in jail for serving Christ Jesus, and from Timothy, who is like a brother because of our faith.

Philemon, you work with us and are very dear to us. This letter is to you

2and to the church that meets in your home. It is also to our dear friend Apphia and to Archippus, who serves the Lord as we do.

3I pray that God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace!

Philemon's Love and Faith

4Philemon, each time I mention you in my prayers, I thank God.

5I hear about your faith in our Lord Jesus and about your love for all of God's people.

6As you share your faith with others, I pray that they may come to know all the blessings Christ has given us.
7My friend, your love has made me happy and has greatly encouraged me. It has also cheered the hearts of God's people.

Paul Speaks to Philemon about Onesimus

8Christ gives me the courage to tell you what to do.

9But I would rather ask you to do it simply because of love. Yes, as someone a] in jail for Christ,
10I beg you to help Onesimus! b] He is like a son to me because I led him to Christ here in jail.
11Before this, he was useless to you, but now he is useful both to you and to me.
12Sending Onesimus back to you makes me very sad.
13I would like to keep him here with me, where he could take your place in helping me while I am here in prison for preaching the good news.
14But I won't do anything unless you agree to it first. I want your act of kindness to come from your heart, and not be something you feel forced to do.
15Perhaps Onesimus was taken from you for a little while so that you could have him back for good,
16but not as a slave. Onesimus is much more than a slave. To me he is a dear friend, but to you he is even more, both as a person and as a follower of the Lord.
17If you consider me a friend because of Christ, then welcome Onesimus as you would welcome me.
18If he has cheated you or owes you anything, charge it to my account.
19With my own hand I write: I, PAUL, WILL PAY YOU BACK. But don't forget that you owe me your life.
20My dear friend and follower of Christ our Lord, please cheer me up by doing this for me.
21I am sure you will do all I have asked, and even more.
22Please get a room ready for me. I hope your prayers will be answered, and I can visit you.
23Epaphras is also here in jail for being a follower of Christ Jesus. He sends his greetings,
24and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, who work together with me.
25I pray that the Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you!

Philemon 1:9 someone: Greek "a messenger" or "an old man."
Philemon 1:10 Onesimus: In Greek this name means "useful."

Psalm 101:1-8 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 101
(A psalm by David.)

A King and His Promises

1I will sing to you, LORD!
I will celebrate your kindness
and your justice.
2Please help me learn
to do the right thing,
and I will be honest and fair
in my own kingdom.
3I refuse to be corrupt
or to take part
in anything crooked,
4and I won't be dishonest
or deceitful.
5Anyone who spreads gossip
will be silenced,
and no one who is conceited
will be my friend.
6I will find trustworthy people
to serve as my advisors,
and only an honest person
will serve as an official.
7No one who cheats or lies
will have a position
in my royal court.
8Each morning I will silence
any lawbreakers I find
in the countryside
or in the city of the LORD.

Proverbs 26:20 (Contemporary English Version)

20Where there is no fuel
a fire goes out;
where there is no gossip
arguments come to an end.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Bible Readings for October 28, 2011

Today our passages are Jeremiah 51:54–52:34; Titus 3:1-15; Psalm 100:1-5; and Proverbs 26:18-19. The readings are from the Contemporary English Version.


Jeremiah 51:54-52:34 (Contemporary English Version)

Babylon Will Be Destroyed

The LORD said:
54Listen to the cries for help
coming from Babylon.
Everywhere in the country
the sounds of destruction
can be heard.
55The shouts of the enemy,
like crashing ocean waves,
will drown out Babylon's cries
as I level the city.
56An enemy will attack
and destroy Babylon.
Its soldiers will be captured
and their weapons broken,
because I am a God
who takes revenge against nations
for what they do.
57I, the LORD All-Powerful,
the true King, promise
that the officials and advisors,
the governors and leaders
and the soldiers of Babylon
will get drunk, fall asleep,
and never wake up.
58The thick walls of that city
will be torn down,
and its huge gates burned.
Everything that nation
worked so hard to gain
will go up in smoke.

Jeremiah Gives Seraiah a Scroll

59During Zedekiah's [a] fourth year as king of Judah, he went to Babylon. And Baruch's brother Seraiah [b] went along as the officer in charge of arranging for places to stay overnight. [c] 60Before they left, I wrote on a scroll [d] all the terrible things that would happen to Babylon. 61I gave the scroll to Seraiah and said: When you get to Babylon, read this scroll aloud, 62then pray, "Our LORD, you promised to destroy this place and make it into a desert where no people or animals will ever live."

63When you finish praying, tie the scroll to a rock and throw it in the Euphrates River. Then say, 64"This is how Babylon will sink when the LORD destroys it. Everyone in the city will die, and it won't have the strength to rise again."

Jeremiah's writing ends here.

Jeremiah 52

The End of Jeremiah's Writing

Jerusalem Is Captured
(2 Kings 24.18--25.30; 2 Chronicles 36.11-21)

1Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he was appointed king of Judah, [e] and he ruled from Jerusalem for eleven years. [f] His mother Hamutal was the daughter of Jeremiah from the town of Libnah. [g] 2Zedekiah disobeyed the LORD, just as Jehoiakim had done, 3and it was Zedekiah who finally rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar. [h] The people of Judah and Jerusalem had made the LORD so angry that he finally turned his back on them. That's why horrible things were happening.

4In Zedekiah's ninth year as king, on the tenth day of the tenth month, [i] King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia led his entire army to attack Jerusalem. The troops set up camp outside the city and built ramps up to the city walls. 5-6After a year and a half, [j] all the food in Jerusalem was gone. Then on the ninth day of the fourth month, [k] 7the Babylonian troops broke through the city wall. That same night, Zedekiah and his soldiers tried to escape through the gate near the royal garden, even though they knew the enemy had the city surrounded. They headed toward the Jordan River valley, 8but the Babylonian troops caught up with them near Jericho. The Babylonians arrested Zedekiah, but his soldiers scattered in every direction. 9Zedekiah was taken to Riblah in the land of Hamath, where Nebuchadnezzar put him on trial and found him guilty. 10Zedekiah's sons and the officials of Judah were killed while he watched, 11then his eyes were poked out. He was put in chains, then dragged off to Babylon and kept in prison until he died. 12Jerusalem was captured during Nebuchadnezzar's nineteenth year as king of Babylonia.

About a month later, [l] Nebuchadnezzar's officer in charge of the guards arrived in Jerusalem. His name was Nebuzaradan, 13and he burned down the LORD's temple, the king's palace, and every important building in the city, as well as all the houses. 14Then he ordered the Babylonian soldiers to break down the walls around Jerusalem. 15He led away the people left in the city, including everyone who had become loyal to Nebuchadnezzar, the rest of the skilled workers, [m] and even some of the poor people of Judah. 16Only the very poorest were left behind to work the vineyards and the fields. 17-20Nebuzaradan ordered his soldiers to go to the temple and take everything made of gold or silver, including bowls, fire pans, sprinkling bowls, pans, lampstands, dishes for incense, and the cups for wine offerings. The Babylonian soldiers took all the bronze things used for worship at the temple, including the pans for hot ashes, and the shovels, lamp snuffers, sprinkling bowls, and dishes for incense. The soldiers also took everything else made of bronze, including the two columns that stood in front of the temple, the large bowl called the Sea, the twelve bulls that held it up, and the movable stands. [n] The soldiers broke these things into pieces so they could take them to Babylonia. There was so much bronze that it could not be weighed. 21For example, the columns were about twenty-seven feet high and eighteen feet around. They were hollow, but the bronze was about three inches thick. 22Each column had a bronze cap over seven feet high that was decorated with bronze designs. Some of these designs were like chains and others were like pomegranates. [o] 23There were ninety-six pomegranates evenly spaced [p] around each column, and a total of one hundred pomegranates were located above the chains. 24Next, Nebuzaradan arrested Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah his assistant, and three temple officials. 25Then he arrested one of the army commanders, seven of King Zedekiah's personal advisors, and the officer in charge of gathering the troops for battle. He also found sixty more soldiers who were still in Jerusalem. 26-27Nebuzaradan led them to Riblah in the land of Hamath, where Nebuchadnezzar had them killed.

The people of Judah no longer lived in their own country.

People of Judah Taken Prisoner

28-30Here is a list of the number of the people of Judah that Nebuchadnezzar [q] took to Babylonia as prisoners: In his seventh year as king, he took 3,023 people.

In his eighteenth year as king, he took 832 from Jerusalem.

In his twenty-third year as king, his officer Nebuzaradan took 745 people.

So, Nebuchadnezzar took a total of 4,600 people from Judah to Babylonia.

Jehoiachin Is Set Free
(2 Kings 25.27-30)

31Jehoiachin was a prisoner in Babylon for thirty-seven years. Then Evil Merodach [r] became king of Babylonia, and in the first year of his rule, on the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month, [s] he let Jehoiachin out of prison. 32Evil Merodach was kind to Jehoiachin and honored him more than any of the other kings held prisoner there. 33Jehoiachin was allowed to wear regular clothes instead of a prison uniform, and he even ate at the king's table every day. 34As long as Jehoiachin lived, he was paid a daily allowance to buy whatever he needed.

Jeremiah 51:59 Zedekiah's: See the note at 1.3.
Jeremiah 51:59 Baruch's brother Seraiah: Hebrew "Seraiah son of Neriah and grandson of Mahseiah"; Baruch helped Jeremiah write down his messages (see 32.12; 36.4-10).
Jeremiah 51:59 arranging for places to stay overnight: Hebrew and one ancient translation; two ancient translations, "the tax money."
Jeremiah 51:60 scroll: See the note at 30.1,2.
Jeremiah 52:1 appointed king of Judah: By Nebuchadnezzar (see 37.1).
Jeremiah 52:1 he ruled. . . years: Ruled 598-586 B.C.
Jeremiah 52:1 Jeremiah from the town of Libnah: Not the same Jeremiah as the author of this book (see 1.1).
Jeremiah 52:3 Nebuchadnezzar: See the note at 21.2.
Jeremiah 52:4 tenth month: See the note at 39.1-3.
Jeremiah 52:5 After a year and a half: Jerusalem was captured in 586 B.C.
Jeremiah 52:5 fourth month: See the note at 39.1-3.
Jeremiah 52:12 About a month later: Hebrew "On the seventh day of the fifth month."
Jeremiah 52:15 the rest of the skilled workers: Nebuchadnezzar had taken away some of the skilled workers eleven years before (see 2 Kings 24.14-16).
Jeremiah 52:17 the large bowl called the Sea, the twelve bulls that held it up, and the movable stands: One ancient translation; Hebrew "the large bowl called the Sea, and the twelve bulls under the movable stands."
Jeremiah 52:22 pomegranates: A small red fruit that looks like an apple.
Jeremiah 52:23 evenly spaced: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
Jeremiah 52:28 Nebuchadnezzar: See the note at 21.2.
Jeremiah 52:31 Evil Merodach: The son of Nebuchadnezzar who ruled Babylonia from 562-560 B.C.
Jeremiah 52:31 twelfth month: Adar, the twelfth month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-February to mid-March.

Titus 3:1-15 (Contemporary English Version)

Titus 3

Doing Helpful Things

1Remind your people to obey the rulers and authorities and not to be rebellious. They must always be ready to do something helpful 2and not say cruel things or argue. They should be gentle and kind to everyone. 3We used to be stupid, disobedient, and foolish, as well as slaves of all sorts of desires and pleasures. We were evil and jealous. Everyone hated us, and we hated everyone.

4God our Savior showed us
how good and kind he is.
5He saved us because
of his mercy,
and not because
of any good things
that we have done.
God washed us by the power
of the Holy Spirit.
He gave us new birth
and a fresh beginning.
6God sent Jesus Christ
our Savior
to give us his Spirit.
7Jesus treated us much better
than we deserve.
He made us acceptable to God
and gave us the hope
of eternal life.

8This message is certainly true.

These teachings are useful and helpful for everyone. I want you to insist that the people follow them, so that all who have faith in God will be sure to do good deeds. 9But don't have anything to do with stupid arguments about ancestors. And stay away from disagreements and quarrels about the Law of Moses. Such arguments are useless and senseless.

10Warn troublemakers once or twice. Then don't have anything else to do with them. 11You know that their minds are twisted, and their own sins show how guilty they are.

Personal Instructions and Greetings

12I plan to send Artemas or Tychicus to you. After he arrives, please try your best to meet me at Nicopolis. I have decided to spend the winter there.

13When Zenas the lawyer and Apollos get ready to leave, help them as much as you can, so they won't have need of anything.

14Our people should learn to spend their time doing something useful and worthwhile.
15Greetings to you from everyone here. Greet all of our friends who share in our faith.
I pray that the Lord will be kind to all of you!

Psalm 100:1-5 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 100
(A psalm of praise.)

The LORD Is God

1Shout praises to the LORD,
everyone on this earth.
2Be joyful and sing
as you come in
to worship the LORD!
3You know the LORD is God!
He created us,
and we belong to him;
we are his people,
the sheep in his pasture.
4Be thankful and praise the LORD
as you enter his temple.
5The LORD is good!
His love and faithfulness
will last forever.

Proverbs 26:18-19 (Contemporary English Version)

18It's no crazier to shoot
sharp and flaming arrows
19than to cheat someone and say,
"I was only fooling!"

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bible Readings for October 27, 2011

Today our passages are Jeremiah 51:1-53; Titus 2:1-15; Psalm 99:1-9; and Proverbs 26:17. The readings are from the Contemporary English Version.


Jeremiah 51:1-53 (Contemporary English Version)

Jeremiah 51

Babylon Will Be Destroyed

1I, the LORD, am sending
a wind [a] to destroy the people of Babylonia [b]
and Babylon, its capital.
2Foreign soldiers will come
from every direction,
and when the disaster is over,
Babylonia will be empty
and worthless.
3I will tell these soldiers,
"Attack quickly,
before the Babylonians
can string their bows
or put on their armor. [c]
Kill their best soldiers
and destroy their army!"
4Their troops will fall wounded
in the streets of Babylon.
5Everyone in Israel and Judah
is guilty.
But I, the LORD All-Powerful,
their holy God,
have not abandoned them.
6Get out of Babylon!
Run for your lives!
If you stay, you will be killed
when I take revenge on the city
and punish it for its sins.
7Babylon was my golden cup,
filled with the wine
of my anger.
The nations of the world
got drunk on this wine
and went insane.
8But suddenly, Babylon will fall
and be destroyed.
I, the LORD, told the foreigners [d]
who lived there,
"Weep for the city!
Get medicine for its wounds;
maybe they will heal."
9The foreigners answered,
"We have already tried
to treat Babylon's wounds,
but they would not heal.
Come on, let's all go home
to our own countries.
Nothing is left in Babylonia;
everything is destroyed."
10The people of Israel said,
"Tell everyone in Zion!
The LORD has taken revenge
for what Babylon did to us."

The LORD Wants Babylon Destroyed

11I, the LORD,
want Babylon destroyed,
because its army
destroyed my temple.
So, you kings of Media, [e]
sharpen your arrows
and pick up your shields.
12Raise the signal flag
and attack the city walls.
Post more guards.
Have soldiers watch the city
and set up ambushes.
I have made plans
to destroy Babylon,
and nothing will stop me.
13People of Babylon, you live
along the Euphrates River
and are surrounded by canals.
You are rich,
but now the time has come
for you to die. [f]
14I, the LORD All-Powerful,
swear by my own life
that enemy soldiers
will fill your streets
like a swarm of locusts. [g]
They will shout
and celebrate their victory.

A Hymn of Praise
(Jeremiah 10.12-16)

15God used his wisdom and power
to create the earth
and spread out the heavens.
16The waters in the heavens roar
at his command.
He makes clouds appear;
he sends the wind
from his storehouse
and makes lightning flash
in the rain.
17People who make idols
are stupid!
They will be disappointed,
because their false gods
cannot breathe.
18Idols are merely a joke,
and when the time is right,
they will be destroyed.
19But the LORD, Israel's God,
is all-powerful.
He created everything,
and he chose Israel
to be his very own.

God's Hammer

The LORD said:
20Babylonia, you were my hammer;
I used you to pound nations
and break kingdoms,
21to shatter cavalry and chariots,
22as well as men and women,
young and old,
23shepherds and their flocks,
farmers and their oxen,
and governors and leaders.
24But now, my people will watch,
while I repay you
for what you did to Zion.
25You destroyed the nations
and seem strong as a mountain,
but I am your enemy.
I might even grab you
and roll you off a cliff.
When I am finished,
you'll only be a pile
of scorched bricks.
26Your stone blocks won't be reused
for cornerstones
or foundations,
and I promise that forever
you will be a desert.
I, the LORD, have spoken.

The Nations Will Attack Babylon

The LORD said:
27Signal the nations
to get ready to attack.
Raise a flag and blow a trumpet.
Send for the armies of Ararat,
Minni, and Ashkenaz. [h]
Choose a commander;
let the cavalry attack
like a swarm of locusts.
28Tell the kings and governors,
the leaders and the people
of the kingdoms of the Medes
to prepare for war!
29The earth twists and turns
in torment,
because I have decided
to make Babylonia a desert
where no one can live,
and I won't change my mind.
30The Babylonian soldiers
have lost their strength
and courage. [i]
They stay in their fortresses,
unable to fight,
while the enemy breaks through
the city gates,
then sets their homes on fire.
31One messenger after another
announces to the king,
"Babylon has been captured!
32The enemy now controls
the river crossings!
The marshes [j] are on fire!
Your army has panicked!"
33I am the LORD All-Powerful,
the God of Israel,
and I make this promise--
"Soon Babylon will be leveled
and packed down
like a threshing place
at harvest time." [k]
Babylonia Will Pay!
34The people of Jerusalem say,
"King Nebuchadnezzar [l]
made us panic.
That monster stuffed himself
with us and our treasures,
leaving us empty--
he gobbled down
what he wanted
and spit out the rest.
35The people of Babylonia
harmed some of us [m] and killed others.
Now, LORD, make them pay!"

The LORD Will Take Revenge on Babylon

36My people, I am on your side,
and I will take revenge
on Babylon.
I will cut off its water supply,
and its stream [n] will dry up.
37Babylon will be a pile of rubble
where only jackals [o] live.
People will laugh,
but they will be afraid
to walk among the ruins.
38The Babylonians roar and growl
like young lions.
39And since they are hungry,
I will give them a banquet.
They will celebrate, get drunk,
then fall asleep,
never to wake up!
40I will lead them away to die,
like sheep, lambs, and goats
being led to the butcher.
41All nations now praise Babylon, [p]
but when it is captured,
those same nations
will be horrified.
42Babylon's enemies will rise
like ocean waves
and flood the city.
43Horrible destruction will strike
the nearby towns.
The land will become
a barren desert,
where no one can live
or even travel.
44I will punish Marduk, [q]
the god of Babylon,
and make him vomit up
everything he gobbled down.
Then nations will no longer
bring him gifts,
and Babylon's walls will crumble.

The LORD Offers Hope to His People

45Get out of Babylon, my people,
and run for your lives,
before I strike the city
in my anger!
46Don't be afraid or lose hope,
though year after year
there are rumors
of leaders fighting for control
in the city of Babylon.
47The time will come
when I will punish
Babylon's false gods.
Everyone there will die,
and the whole nation
will be disgraced,
48when an army attacks
from the north
and brings destruction.
Then the earth and the heavens
and everything in them
will celebrate.
49Babylon must be overthrown,
because it slaughtered
the people of Israel
and of many other nations.
50My people, you escaped death
when Jerusalem fell.
Now you live far from home,
but you should trust me
and think about Jerusalem.
Leave Babylon! Don't stay!
51You feel ashamed and disgraced,
because foreigners have entered
my sacred temple.
52Soon I will send a war
to punish Babylon's idols
and leave its wounded people
moaning everywhere.
53Although Babylon's walls
reach to the sky,
the army I send
will destroy that city.
I, the LORD, have spoken.

Jeremiah 51:1 wind: Or "spirit."
Jeremiah 51:1 Babylonia: The Hebrew text has "Leb-Qamai," a secret way of writing "Babylonia."
Jeremiah 51:3 I will tell. . . armor: Or "Attack quickly! String your bows and put on your armor."
Jeremiah 51:8 the foreigners: Or "my people."
Jeremiah 51:11 kings of Media: Probably kings of smaller kingdoms that were part of the Median Empire (see also verse 27 and the note there).
Jeremiah 51:13 for you to die: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
Jeremiah 51:14 locusts: See the note at 46.22,23.
Jeremiah 51:27 Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz: Kingdoms to the north of Babylonia that were part of the Median Empire (see also verse 28).
Jeremiah 51:30 have lost their strength and courage: Hebrew "have lost their strength and have become like women."
Jeremiah 51:32 marshes: The tall grass in the marshes could have provided hiding places for people trying to escape from Babylon.
Jeremiah 51:33 leveled. . . harvest time: A threshing place with a dirt surface had to be leveled and packed down before it could be used.
Jeremiah 51:34 Nebuchadnezzar: See the note at 21.2.
Jeremiah 51:35 harmed some of us: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
Jeremiah 51:36 stream: Probably the Euphrates River.
Jeremiah 51:37 jackals: See the note at 9.11.
Jeremiah 51:41 Babylon: The Hebrew text has "Sheshach," a secret way of writing the name "Babylon."
Jeremiah 51:44 Marduk: Hebrew "Bel" (see the note at 50.2).

Titus 2:1-15 (Contemporary English Version)

Titus 2

Instructions for Different Groups of People

1Titus, you must teach only what is correct. 2Tell the older men to have self-control and to be serious and sensible. Their faith, love, and patience must never fail.

3Tell the older women to behave as those who love the Lord should. They must not gossip about others or be slaves of wine. They must teach what is proper, 4so the younger women will be loving wives and mothers. 5Each of the younger women must be sensible and kind, as well as a good homemaker, who puts her own husband first. Then no one can say insulting things about God's message.

6Tell the young men to have self-control in everything.

7Always set a good example for others. Be sincere and serious when you teach. 8Use clean language that no one can criticize. Do this, and your enemies will be too ashamed to say anything against you.
9Tell slaves always to please their owners by obeying them in everything. Slaves must not talk back to their owners 10or steal from them. They must be completely honest and trustworthy. Then everyone will show great respect for what is taught about God our Savior.

God's Kindness and the New Life

11God has shown us how kind he is by coming to save all people. 12He taught us to give up our wicked ways and our worldly desires and to live decent and honest lives in this world. 13We are filled with hope, as we wait for the glorious return of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. [a] 14He gave himself to rescue us from everything that is evil and to make our hearts pure. He wanted us to be his own people and to be eager to do right. 15Teach these things, as you use your full authority to encourage and correct people. Make sure you earn everyone's respect.

Titus 2:13 the glorious return of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ: Or "the glorious return of our great God and our Savior Jesus Christ" or "the return of Jesus Christ, who is the glory of our great God and Savior."

Psalm 99:1-9 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 99

Our LORD Is King

1Our LORD, you are King!
You rule from your throne
above the winged creatures, [a]
as people tremble
and the earth shakes.
2You are praised in Zion,
and you control all nations.
3Only you are God!
And your power alone,
so great and fearsome,
is worthy of praise.
4You are our mighty King, [b] a lover of fairness,
who sees that justice is done
everywhere in Israel.
5Our LORD and our God,
we praise you
and kneel down to worship you,
the God of holiness!
6Moses and Aaron were two
of your priests.
Samuel was also one of those
who prayed in your name,
and you, our LORD,
answered their prayers.
7You spoke to them
from a thick cloud,
and they obeyed your laws.
8Our LORD and our God,
you answered their prayers
and forgave their sins,
but when they did wrong,
you punished them.
9We praise you, LORD God,
and we worship you
at your sacred mountain.
Only you are God!

Psalm 99:1 winged creatures: See the note at 80.1.
Psalm 99:4 You. . . King: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Proverbs 26:17 (Contemporary English Version)

17It's better to take hold
of a mad dog by the ears
than to take part
in someone else's argument.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bible Readings for October 26, 2011

Today our passages are Jeremiah 49:23–50:46; Titus 1:1-16; Psalm 97:1–98:9; and Proverbs 26:13-16. The readings are from the Contemporary English Version.


Jeremiah 49:23-50:46 (Contemporary English Version)

What the LORD Says about Damascus

23The LORD says about Damascus:
The towns of Hamath and Arpad [a]
have heard your bad news.
They have lost hope,
and worries roll over them
like ocean waves. [b]
24You people of Damascus
have lost your courage,
and in panic you turn to run,
gripped by fear and pain. [c]
25I once was pleased
with your famous city.
But now I warn you, "Escape
while you still can!" [d]
26Soon, even your best soldiers
will lie dead in your streets.
I, the LORD All-Powerful,
have spoken.
27I will set fire to your city walls
and burn down the fortresses
King Benhadad built.

Nebuchadnezzar and the People of the Desert

28Here is what the LORD says about the Kedar tribe and the desert villages [e] that were conquered by King Nebuchadnezzar [f] of Babylonia:
Listen, you people of Kedar
and the other tribes
of the eastern desert.
I have told Nebuchadnezzar
to attack and destroy you.
29His fearsome army
will surround you,
taking your tents and possessions,
your sheep and camels.
30Run and hide,
you people of the desert
who live in villages! [g]
Nebuchadnezzar has big plans
for you.
31You have no city walls
and no neighbors to help,
yet you think you're safe--
so I told him to attack.
32Then your camels
and large herds
will be yours no longer.
People of the Arabian Desert, [h]
disaster will strike you
from every side,
and you will be scattered
everywhere on earth.
33Only jackals [i]
will live where your villages [j]
once stood. I, the LORD, have spoken.

What the LORD Says about Elam

34-35Not long after Zedekiah [k] became king of Judah, the LORD told me to say: People of Elam, [l] I, the LORD All-Powerful,
will kill the archers
who make your army strong.
36Enemies will attack
from all directions,
and you will be led captive
to every nation on earth.
37Their armies will crush
and kill you,
and you will face the disaster
that my anger brings.
38Your king and his officials
will die,
and I will rule
in their place.
I, the LORD, have spoken.
39But I promise that someday
I will bring your people
back to their land.

Jeremiah 50

Babylon Will Be Captured

1The LORD told me to say:
Announce what will happen
and don't leave anything out.
2Raise the signal flags;
shout so all nations can hear--
Babylon will be captured!
Marduk, [m] Babylon's god,
will be ashamed and terrified,
and his idols broken.
3The attack on the Babylonians
will come from the north;
they and their animals will run,
leaving the land empty.

Israel and Judah Will Return to Their Land

4The LORD said:
People of Israel and Judah,
when these things happen
you will weep, and together
you will return to your land
and worship me,
the LORD your God.
5You will ask the way to Zion
and then come and join with me
in making an agreement
you won't break or forget.
6My people, you are lost sheep
abandoned by their shepherds
in the mountains.
You don't even remember
your resting place.
7I am your true pastureland,
the one who gave hope
to your ancestors.
But you abandoned me,
so when your enemies found you,
they felt no guilt
as they gobbled you down.
8Escape from Babylonia,
my people.
Get out of that country!
Don't wait for anyone else.
9In the north I am bringing
great nations together.
They will attack Babylon
and capture it.
The arrows they shoot
are like the best soldiers, [n]
always finding their target.
10Babylonia will be conquered,
and its enemies will carry off
everything they want.

Babylon Will Be Disgraced

The LORD said:
11People of Babylonia,
you were glad
to rob my people.
You had a good time,
making more noise
than horses
and jumping around
like calves threshing grain. [o]
12The city of Babylon
was like a mother to you.
But it will be disgraced
and become nothing
but a barren desert.
13My anger will destroy Babylon,
and no one will live there.
Everyone who passes by
will be shocked to see
what has happened.
14Babylon has rebelled against me.
Archers, take your places.
Shoot all your arrows at Babylon.
15Attack from every side!
Babylon surrenders!
The enemy tears down
its walls and towers.
I am taking my revenge
by doing to Babylon
what it did
to other cities.
16There is no one in Babylonia
to plant or harvest crops.
Even foreigners who lived there
have left for their homelands,
afraid of the enemy armies.
17Israel is a flock of sheep
scattered by hungry lions.
The king of Assyria [p]
first gobbled Israel down.
Then Nebuchadnezzar, [q] king of Babylonia,
crunched on Israel's bones.
18I, the LORD All-Powerful,
the God of Israel,
punished the king of Assyria,
and I will also punish
the king of Babylonia.
19But I will bring Israel
back to its own land.
The people will be like sheep
eating their fill
on Mount Carmel
and in Bashan,
in the hill country of Ephraim
and in Gilead.
20I will rescue a few people
from Israel and Judah.
I will forgive them so completely
that their sin and guilt
will disappear,
never to be found.

The LORD's Commands to the Enemies of Babylonia

21The LORD said:
I have told
the enemies of Babylonia,
"Attack the people of Merathaim
and Pekod. [r] Kill them all!
Destroy their possessions!"
22Sounds of war
and the noise of destruction
can be heard.
23Babylonia was a hammer
pounding every country,
but now it lies broken.
What a shock to the nations
of the world!
24Babylonia challenged me,
the LORD God All-Powerful,
but that nation doesn't know
it is caught in a trap
that I set.
25I've brought out my weapons,
and with them
I will put a curse
on Babylonia.
26Come from far away,
you enemies of Babylon!
Pile up the grain
from its storehouses,
and destroy it completely,
along with everything else.
27Kill the soldiers of Babylonia,
because the time has come
for them to be punished.
28The Babylonian army
destroyed my temple,
but soon I will take revenge.
Then refugees from Babylon
will tell about it in Zion.
29Attack Babylon, enemy archers;
set up camp around the city,
and don't let anyone escape.
It challenged me, the holy God,
so do to it
what it did to other cities.

Proud Babylon Will Fall

30People of Babylon,
I, the LORD, promise
that even your best soldiers
will lie dead in the streets.
31Babylon, you should be named,
"The Proud One."
But the time has come when I,
the LORD All-Powerful,
will punish you.
32You are proud,
but you will stumble and fall,
and no one will help you up.
I will set your villages on fire,
and everything around you
will go up in flames.
33You Babylonians were cruel
to Israel and Judah.
You took them captive, and now
you refuse to let them go.
34But I, the LORD All-Powerful,
will rescue and protect them.
I will bring peace to their land
and trouble to yours.
35I have declared war on you,
your officials, and advisors.
36This war will prove
that your prophets
are liars and fools.
And it will frighten
your warriors.
37Then your chariot horses
and the foreigners in your army
will refuse to go into battle,
and the enemy will carry away
everything you treasure.
38Your rivers and canals
will dry up.
All of this will happen,
because your land
is full of idols,
and they have made fools
of you.
39Never again will people live
in your land--
only desert animals, jackals, [s]
and unclean birds.
40I destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah
and the nearby towns,
and I will destroy Babylon
just as completely.
No one will live there again.

Babylonia Is Invaded

The LORD said:
41Far to the north,
a nation and its allies
have been awakened.
They are powerful
and ready for war.
42Bows and arrows and swords
are in their hands.
The soldiers are cruel
and show no pity.
The hoofbeats of their horses
like ocean waves
crashing against the shore.
The army has lined up for battle
and is coming to attack you,
people of Babylonia!
43Ever since your king heard
about this army,
he has been weak with fear;
he twists and turns in pain
like a woman giving birth.
44Babylonia, I will attack you
like a lion from the forest,
attacking sheep in a meadow
along the Jordan.
In a moment the flock runs,
and the land is empty.
Who will I choose to attack you?
I will do it myself!
No one can force me to fight
or chase me away.
45Listen to my plans for you,
people of Babylonia.
Your children will be dragged off,
and your country destroyed.
46The sounds of your destruction
will be heard among the nations,
and the earth will shake.

Jeremiah 49:23 Hamath and Arpad: Two towns in Syria that had been the capitals of small kingdoms allied with the more powerful kingdom whose capital was Damascus.
Jeremiah 49:23 worries. . . waves: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
Jeremiah 49:24 gripped by fear and pain: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
Jeremiah 49:25 can: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 25.
Jeremiah 49:28 desert villages: The Hebrew text has "kingdoms of Hazor," which probably refers to several kingdoms of desert peoples who were not nomads, but who lived in small villages.
Jeremiah 49:28 Nebuchadnezzar: See the note at 21.2.
Jeremiah 49:30 villages: See the note at 49.28.
Jeremiah 49:32 People of the Arabian Desert: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
Jeremiah 49:33 jackals: See the note at 9.11.
Jeremiah 49:33 villages: See the note at 49.28.
Jeremiah 49:34 Zedekiah: See the note at 1.3.
Jeremiah 49:34 Elam: A nation east of Babylonia, attacked by Nebuchadnezzar about 596 B.C.
Jeremiah 50:2 Marduk: The Hebrew text has "Bel" and "Marduk," two names for the same god.
Jeremiah 50:9 the best soldiers: Some Hebrew manuscripts and two ancient translations; most Hebrew manuscripts "soldiers that kill children."
Jeremiah 50:11 threshing grain: Hebrew; two ancient translations "in a pasture."
Jeremiah 50:17 king of Assyria: Either Shalmaneser V, who ruled 726-722 B.C., conquered most of the northern kingdom, and surrounded its capital city Samaria; or Sargon II, who ruled 721-705 B.C. and took thousands of prisoners back to Assyria.
Jeremiah 50:17 Nebuchadnezzar: See the note at 21.2.
Jeremiah 50:21 Merathaim. . . Pekod: Hebrew forms of two Babylonian names that refer to the land of Babylonia. Merathaim probably referred to lagoons near the mouth of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers or to the Persian Gulf, but in Hebrew it means "Twice as Rebellious." Pekod referred to a tribe of southeastern Babylonia, but in Hebrew it means "Punishment."
Jeremiah 50:39 jackals: See the note at 9.11.

Titus 1:1-16 (Contemporary English Version)

Titus 1

1From Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ.
I encourage God's own people to have more faith and to understand the truth about religion. 2Then they will have the hope of eternal life that God promised long ago. And God never tells a lie! 3So, at the proper time, God our Savior gave this message and told me to announce what he had said.
4Titus, because of our faith, you are like a son to me. I pray that God our Father and Christ Jesus our Savior will be kind to you and will bless you with peace!

What Titus Was To Do in Crete

5I left you in Crete to do what had been left undone and to appoint leaders [a] for the churches in each town. As I told you, 6they must have a good reputation and be faithful in marriage. [b] Their children must be followers of the Lord and not have a reputation for being wild and disobedient. 7Church officials [c] are in charge of God's work, and so they must also have a good reputation. They must not be bossy, quick-tempered, heavy drinkers, bullies, or dishonest in business. 8Instead, they must be friendly to strangers and enjoy doing good things. They must also be sensible, fair, pure, and self-controlled. 9They must stick to the true message they were taught, so that their good teaching can help others and correct everyone who opposes it. 10There are many who don't respect authority, and they fool others by talking nonsense. This is especially true of some Jewish followers. 11But you must make them be quiet. They are after money, and they upset whole families by teaching what they should not. 12It is like one of their own prophets once said,
"The people of Crete
always tell lies.
They are greedy and lazy
like wild animals."

13That surely is a true saying. And you should be hard on such people, so you can help them grow stronger in their faith. 14Don't pay any attention to any of those senseless Jewish stories and human commands. These are made up by people who won't obey the truth.

15Everything is pure for someone whose heart is pure. But nothing is pure for an unbeliever with a dirty mind. That person's mind and conscience are destroyed. 16Such people claim to know God, but their actions prove that they really don't. They are disgusting. They won't obey God, and they are too worthless to do anything good.

Titus 1:5 leaders: Or "elders" or "presbyters" or "priests."
Titus 1:6 be faithful in marriage: Or "be the husband of only one wife" or "have never been divorced."
Titus 1:7 Church officials: Or "Bishops."

Psalm 97-98:9 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 97

The LORD Brings Justice

1The LORD is King!
Tell the earth to celebrate
and all islands to shout.
2Dark clouds surround him,
and his throne is supported
by justice and fairness.
3Fire leaps from his throne,
destroying his enemies,
4and his lightning is so bright
that the earth sees it
and trembles.
5Mountains melt away like wax
in the presence of the LORD
of all the earth.
6The heavens announce,
"The LORD brings justice!"
Everyone sees God's glory.
7Those who brag about
the useless idols they worship
are terribly ashamed,
and all the false gods
bow down to the LORD.
8When the people of Zion
and of the towns of Judah
hear that God brings justice,
they will celebrate.
9The LORD rules the whole earth,
and he is more glorious
than all the false gods.
10Love the LORD
and hate evil!
God protects his loyal people
and rescues them
from violence.
11If you obey and do right,
a light will show you the way
and fill you with happiness.
12You are the LORD's people!
So celebrate and praise
the only God.

Psalm 98

The LORD Works Miracles

1Sing a new song to the LORD!
He has worked miracles,
and with his own powerful arm,
he has won the victory.
2The LORD has shown the nations
that he has the power to save
and to bring justice.
3God has been faithful
in his love for Israel,
and his saving power is seen
everywhere on earth.
4Tell everyone on this earth
to sing happy songs
in praise of the LORD.
5Make music for him on harps.
Play beautiful melodies!
6Sound the trumpets and horns
and celebrate with joyful songs
for our LORD and King!
7Command the ocean to roar
with all of its creatures,
and the earth to shout
with all of its people.
8Order the rivers
to clap their hands,
and all of the hills
to sing together.
9Let them worship the LORD!
He is coming to judge
everyone on the earth,
and he will be honest
and fair.

Proverbs 26:13-16 (Contemporary English Version)

13Don't be lazy and keep saying,
"There's a lion outside!"
14A door turns on its hinges,
but a lazy person
just turns over in bed.
15Some of us are so lazy
that we won't lift a hand
to feed ourselves.
16A lazy person says,
"I am smarter
than everyone else."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bible Readings for October 25, 2011

Today our passages are Jeremiah 48:1–49:22; 2 Timothy 4:1-22; Psalm 95:1–96:13; and Proverbs 26:9-12. The readings are from the Contemporary English Version.


Jeremiah 48-49:22 (Contemporary English Version)

Jeremiah 48

What the LORD Says about Moab

1The LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, told me to say to the nation of Moab:

The town of Nebo is doomed;
Kiriathaim will be captured
and disgraced,
and even its fortress
will be left in ruins.
2No one honors you, Moab.
In Heshbon, enemies make plans
to end your life.
My sword will leave only silence
in your town named "Quiet." [a]
3The people of Horonaim
will cry for help,
as their town is attacked
and destroyed.
4Moab will be shattered!
Your children will sob
5and cry on their way up
to the town of Luhith;
on the road to Horonaim
they will tell of disasters.
6Run for your lives!
Head into the desert
like a wild donkey. [b]
7You thought you could be saved
by your power and wealth,
but you will be captured
along with your god Chemosh,
his priests, and officials.
8Not one of your towns
will escape destruction.
I have told your enemies,
"Wipe out the valley
and the flatlands of Moab.
9Spread salt on the ground
to kill the crops. [c]
Leave its towns in ruins,
with no one living there.
10I want you to kill the Moabites,
and if you let them escape,
I will put a curse on you."
11Moab, you are like wine
left to settle undisturbed,
never poured from jar to jar.
And so, your nation continues
to prosper and improve. [d]
12But now, I will send enemies
to pour out the wine
and smash the jars!
13Then you will be ashamed,
because your god Chemosh
cannot save you,
just as Bethel [e]
could not help the Israelites.
14You claim that your soldiers
are strong and brave.
15But I am the LORD,
the all-powerful King,
and I promise that enemies
will overpower your towns.
Even your best warriors
will die in the battle.
16It won't be long now--
disaster will hit Moab!
17I will order the nearby nations
to mourn for you and say,
"Isn't it sad? Moab ruled others,
but now its glorious power
has been shattered."
18People in the town of Dibon, [f]
you will be honored no more,
so have a seat in the dust.
Your walls will be torn down
when the enemies attack.
19You people of Aroer, [g]
go wait beside the road,
and when refugees run by,
ask them, "What happened?"
20They will answer,
"Moab has been defeated!
Weep with us in shame.
Tell everyone at the Arnon River
that Moab is destroyed."
21I will punish every town
that belongs to Moab,
but especially Holon,
Jahzah, Mephaath,
22Dibon, Nebo,
Beth-Diblathaim, 23Kiriathaim,
Beth-Gamul, Beth-Meon,
24Kerioth, and Bozrah. [h]
25My decision is final--
your army will be crushed,
and your power broken.
26People of Moab, you claim
to be stronger than I am.
Now I will tell other nations
to make you drunk
and to laugh while you collapse
in your own vomit.
27You made fun of my people
and treated them like criminals
caught in the act.
28Now you must leave your towns
and live like doves
in the shelter of cliffs
and canyons.
29I know about your pride,
and how you strut and boast.
30But I also know bragging
will never save you.
31So I will cry and mourn
for Moab
and its town of Kir-Heres.
32People of Sibmah,
you were like a vineyard
heavy with grapes,
and with branches reaching
north to the town of Jazer
and west to the Dead Sea. [i]
But you have been destroyed,
and so I will weep for you,
as the people of Jazer weep
for the vineyards.
33Harvest celebrations are gone
from the orchards and farms
of Moab.
There are no happy shouts
from people making wine.
34Weeping from Heshbon
can be heard as far
as Elealeh and Jahaz;
cries from Zoar are heard
in Horonaim
and Eglath-Shelishiyah.
And Nimrim Creek has run dry.
35I will get rid of anyone
who burns incense
to the gods of Moab
or offers sacrifices
at their shrines.
I, the LORD, have spoken.
36In my heart I moan for Moab,
like a funeral song
played on a flute.
I mourn for the people
of the town of Kir-Heres,
because their wealth is gone.
37The people of Moab
mourn on the rooftops
and in the streets.
Men cut off their beards,
people shave their heads;
they make cuts on their hands
and wear sackcloth. [j]
38And it's all because I, the LORD,
have shattered Moab
like a jar
that no one wants.
39Moab lies broken!
Listen to its people cry
as they turn away in shame.
Other nations are horrified
at what happened,
but still they laugh.
40Moab, an enemy swoops down
like an eagle spreading its wings
over your land.
41Your cities [k]
and fortresses will be captured,
and your warriors
gripped by fear. [l]
42You are finished as a nation,
because you dared oppose me,
the LORD.
43Terror, pits, and traps
are waiting for you.
44If you are terrified and run,
you will fall into a pit;
and if you crawl out of the pit,
you'll get caught in a trap.
The time has come
for you to be punished.
45Near the city of Heshbon,
where Sihon once ruled,
tired refugees stand in shadows
cast by the flames
of their burning city.
Soon, the towns on other hilltops,
where those warlike people live,
will also go up in smoke.
46People of Moab, you worshiped
Chemosh, your god,
but now you are done for,
and your children are prisoners
in a foreign country.
47Yet someday, I will bring
your people back home.
I, the LORD, have spoken.

Jeremiah 49

What the LORD Says about Ammon

1The LORD has this to say about the nation of Ammon:
The people of Israel
have plenty of children
to inherit their lands.
So why have you worshipers
of the god Milcom [m]
taken over towns and land
belonging to the Gad tribe?
2Someday I will send an army
to attack you in Rabbah,
your capital city.
It will be left in ruins,
and the surrounding villages
will lie in ashes.
You took some of Israel's land,
but on that day
Israel will take yours!
3Cry, people of Heshbon; [n]
your town will become
a pile of rubble. [o]
You will turn here and there,
but your path will be blocked. [p]
Put on sackcloth [q]
and mourn, you citizens of Rabbah,
because the idol you worship [r]
will be taken
to a foreign country,
along with its priests
and temple officials.
4You rebellious Ammonites
trust your wealth
and ask,
"Who could attack us?"
But I warn you not to boast
when your strength is fading. [s]
5I, the LORD All-Powerful,
will send neighboring nations
to strike you with terror.
You will be scattered,
with no one to care
for your refugees.
6Yet someday, I will bring
your people back home.
I, the LORD, have spoken.

What the LORD Says about Edom

7-8The LORD All-Powerful says about Edom:
Wisdom and common sense
have vanished from Teman. [t]
I will send disaster to punish
you descendants of Esau, [u]
so anyone from Dedan [v]
had better turn around
and run back home. [w]
9People who harvest grapes
leave some for the poor.
Thieves who break in at night
take only what they want.
10But I will take everything
that belongs to you,
people of Edom,
and I will uncover every place
where you try to hide.
Then you will die,
and so will your children,
relatives, and neighbors.
11But I can be trusted
to care for your orphans
and widows.

12Even those nations that don't deserve to be punished will have to drink from the cup of my anger. So how can you possibly hope to escape? 13I, the LORD, swear in my own name that your city of Bozrah [x] and all your towns will suffer a horrible fate. They will lie in ruins forever, and people will use the name "Bozrah" as a curse word. 14I have sent a messenger
to command the nations
to prepare for war
against you people of Edom.
15Your nation will be small,
yet hated by other nations.
16Pride tricks you into thinking
that other nations
look at you with fear. [y]
You live along the cliffs
and high in the mountains
like the eagles,
but I am the LORD,
and I will bring you down.
17People passing by your country
will be shocked and horrified
to see a disaster
18as bad as the destruction
of Sodom and Gomorrah
and towns nearby.
The towns of Edom will be empty.
19I will attack you
like a lion from the forest,
attacking sheep in a meadow
along the Jordan.
In a moment the flock runs,
and the land is empty.
Who will I choose to attack you?
I will do it myself!
No one can force me to fight
or chase me away.
20Listen to my plans for you,
people of Edom. [z]
Your children will be dragged off
and your country destroyed.
21The sounds of your destruction
will reach the Red Sea [aa]
and cause the earth to shake.
22An enemy will swoop down
to attack you,
like an eagle spreading its wings
and circling over Bozrah.
Your warriors will be gripped
by fear. [ab]

Jeremiah 48:2 silence. . . Quiet: In Hebrew the name of the town was "Madmen," which sounds like the word for "silence."
Jeremiah 48:6 like a wild donkey: One ancient translation; Hebrew "like (the town of) Aroer" (see verse 19).
Jeremiah 48:9 Spread salt. . . crops: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
Jeremiah 48:11 continues. . . improve: Or "remains as evil as ever."
Jeremiah 48:13 Bethel: It may refer to the Phoenician or Canaanite god of that name; or it may refer to the town where people of the northern kingdom worshiped at a local shrine (see 1 Kings 12.26-30).
Jeremiah 48:18 Dibon: The capital city of Moab.
Jeremiah 48:19 Aroer: A Moabite town located just north of the Arnon River.
Jeremiah 48:24 Bozrah: Not the same Bozrah as in 49.13.
Jeremiah 48:32 reaching north. . . Dead Sea: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
Jeremiah 48:37 sackcloth: See the note at 4.8.
Jeremiah 48:41 Your cities: Or "Kerioth."
Jeremiah 48:41 gripped by fear: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
Jeremiah 49:1 Milcom: The national god of Ammon, probably the same as the god Molech in 32.35.
Jeremiah 49:3 Heshbon: See also 48.45; since Heshbon was near the border of Moab and Ammon, it was probably ruled by the country that was stronger at the time.
Jeremiah 49:3 your town will become a pile of rubble: Or "because the town of Ai has been destroyed"; referring to an Ammonite town named Ai, not the town of that name near Bethel in the land of Israel.
Jeremiah 49:3 You will turn. . . blocked: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
Jeremiah 49:3 sackcloth: See the note at 4.8.
Jeremiah 49:3 the idol you worship: Hebrew "Milcom" (see verse 1 and the note there).
Jeremiah 49:4 when. . . fading: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
Jeremiah 49:7 Teman: The name of a town in Edom, sometimes used as the name of the northern half of the nation of Edom; here it probably stands for the whole nation.
Jeremiah 49:7 Esau: The ancestor of the nation of Edom.
Jeremiah 49:7 Dedan: The name of a town in northwest Arabia, also used of the northwest region of Arabia along the Red Sea.
Jeremiah 49:7 anyone. . . home: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
Jeremiah 49:13 Bozrah: The main city and capital of Edom.
Jeremiah 49:16 Pride. . . fear: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
Jeremiah 49:20 Edom: The Hebrew text also uses the name "Teman" (see the note at verses 7-8).
Jeremiah 49:21 Red Sea: Hebrew yam suph, here referring to the Gulf of Aqaba, since the term is extended to include the northeastern arm of the Red Sea (see also the note at Exodus 13.18).
Jeremiah 49:22 will be gripped by fear: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

2 Timothy 4:1-22 (Contemporary English Version)

2 Timothy 4

1When Christ Jesus comes as king, he will be the judge of everyone, whether they are living or dead. So with God and Christ as witnesses, I command you 2to preach God's message. Do it willingly, even if it isn't the popular thing to do. You must correct people and point out their sins. But also cheer them up, and when you instruct them, always be patient. 3The time is coming when people won't listen to good teaching. Instead, they will look for teachers who will please them by telling them only what they are itching to hear. 4They will turn from the truth and eagerly listen to senseless stories. 5But you must stay calm and be willing to suffer. You must work hard to tell the good news and to do your job well.

6Now the time has come for me to die. My life is like a drink offering [a] being poured out on the altar. 7I have fought well. I have finished the race, and I have been faithful. 8So a crown will be given to me for pleasing the Lord. He judges fairly, and on the day of judgment he will give a crown to me and to everyone else who wants him to appear with power.

Personal Instructions

9Come to see me as soon as you can. 10Demas loves the things of this world so much that he left me and went to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus has gone to Dalmatia. 11Only Luke has stayed with me.

Mark can be very helpful to me, so please find him and bring him with you. 12I sent Tychicus to Ephesus.
13When you come, bring the coat I left at Troas with Carpus. Don't forget to bring the scrolls, especially the ones made of leather. [b] 14Alexander, the metalworker, has hurt me in many ways. But the Lord will pay him back for what he has done. 15Alexander opposes what we preach. You had better watch out for him.
16When I was first put on trial, no one helped me. In fact, everyone deserted me. I hope it won't be held against them. 17But the Lord stood beside me. He gave me the strength to tell his full message, so that all Gentiles would hear it. And I was kept safe from hungry lions. 18The Lord will always keep me from being harmed by evil, and he will bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. Praise him forever and ever! Amen.

Final Greetings

19Give my greetings to Priscilla and Aquila and to the family of Onesiphorus.
20Erastus stayed at Corinth.
Trophimus was sick when I left him at Miletus.
21Do your best to come before winter.
Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, and Claudia send you their greetings, and so do the rest of the Lord's followers.
22I pray that the Lord will bless your life and will be kind to you.

2 Timothy 4:6 drink offering: Water or wine was sometimes poured out as an offering when an animal sacrifice was made.
2 Timothy 4:13 the ones made of leather: A scroll was a kind of rolled up book, and it could be made out of paper (called "papyrus") or leather (that is, animal skin) or even copper.

Psalm 95-96:13 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 95

Worship and Obey the LORD

1Sing joyful songs to the LORD!
Praise the mighty rock
where we are safe.
2Come to worship him
with thankful hearts
and songs of praise.
3The LORD is the greatest God,
king over all other gods.
4He holds the deepest part
of the earth in his hands,
and the mountain peaks
belong to him.
5The ocean is the Lord's
because he made it,
and with his own hands
he formed the dry land.
6Bow down and worship
the LORD our Creator!
7The LORD is our God,
and we are his people,
the sheep he takes care of
in his own pasture.
Listen to God's voice today!
8Don't be stubborn and rebel
as your ancestors did
at Meribah and Massah [a]
out in the desert.
9For forty years
they tested God
and saw
the things he did.
10Then God got tired of them
and said,
"You never show good sense,
and you don't understand
what I want you to do."
11In his anger, God told them,
"You people will never enter
my place of rest."

Psalm 96

Sing a New Song to the LORD

1Sing a new song to the LORD!
Everyone on this earth,
sing praises to the LORD,
2sing and praise his name.
Day after day announce,
"The LORD has saved us!"
3Tell every nation on earth,
"The LORD is wonderful
and does marvelous things!
4The LORD is great and deserves
our greatest praise!
He is the only God
worthy of our worship.
5Other nations worship idols,
but the LORD created
the heavens.
6Give honor and praise
to the LORD,
whose power and beauty
fill his holy temple."
7Tell everyone of every nation,
"Praise the glorious power
of the LORD.
8He is wonderful! Praise him
and bring an offering
into his temple.
9Everyone on earth, now tremble
and worship the LORD,
majestic and holy."
10Announce to the nations,
"The LORD is King!
The world stands firm,
never to be shaken,
and he will judge its people
with fairness."
11Tell the heavens and the earth
to be glad and celebrate!
Command the ocean to roar
with all of its creatures
12and the fields to rejoice
with all of their crops.
Then every tree in the forest
will sing joyful songs
13to the LORD.
He is coming to judge
all people on earth
with fairness and truth.

Psalm 95:8 Meribah and Massah: See the note at 81.7.

Proverbs 26:9-12 (Contemporary English Version)

9A thornbush waved around
in the hand of a drunkard
is no worse than a proverb
in the mouth of a fool.
10It's no smarter to shoot arrows
at every passerby
than it is to hire a bunch
of worthless nobodies. [a]
11Dogs return to eat their vomit,
just as fools repeat
their foolishness.
12There is more hope for a fool
than for someone who says,
"I'm really smart!"

Proverbs 26:10 nobodies: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 10.