Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 165

Job 18–21, Romans 14–16

Bible text(s)


1-2Job, can't people like you ever be quiet?

If you stopped to listen, we could talk to you.

3What makes you think we are as stupid as cattle?

4You are only hurting yourself with your anger.

Will the earth be deserted because you are angry?

Will God move mountains to satisfy you?

5The light of the wicked will still be put out;

its flame will never burn again.

6The lamp in their tents will be darkened.

7Their steps were firm, but now they stumble;

they fall — victims of their own advice.

8They walk into a net, and their feet are caught;

9a trap catches their heels and holds them.

10On the ground a snare is hidden;

a trap has been set in their path.

11All round them terror is waiting;

it follows them at every step.

12They used to be rich, but now they go hungry;

disaster stands and waits at their side.

13A deadly disease spreads over their bodies

and causes their arms and legs to rot.

14They are torn from the tents where they lived secure,

and are dragged off to face King Death.

15Now anyone may live in their tents —

after sulphur is sprinkled to disinfect them!

16Their roots and branches are withered and dry.

17Their fame is ended at home and abroad;

no one remembers them any more.

18They will be driven out of the land of the living,

driven from light into darkness.

19They have no descendants, no survivors.

20From east to west, all who hear of their fate

shudder and tremble with fear.

21That is the fate of wicked people,

the fate of those who care nothing for God.


1-2Why do you keep tormenting me with words?

3Time after time you insult me

and show no shame for the way you abuse me.

4Even if I have done wrong,

how does that hurt you?

5You think you are better than I am,

and regard my troubles as proof of my guilt.

6Can't you see it is God who has done this?

He has set a trap to catch me.

7I protest against his violence,

but no one is listening;

no one hears my cry for justice.

8God has blocked the way, and I can't get through;

he has hidden my path in darkness.

9He has taken away all my wealth

and destroyed my reputation.

10He batters me from every side.

He uproots my hope

and leaves me to wither and die.

11God is angry and rages against me;

he treats me like his worst enemy.

12He sends his army to attack me;

they dig trenches and lay siege to my tent.

13God has made my own family forsake me;

I am a stranger to those who knew me;

14my relatives and friends are gone.

15Those who were guests in my house have forgotten me;

my servant women treat me like a stranger and a foreigner.

16When I call a servant, he doesn't answer —

even when I beg him to help me.

17My wife can't stand the smell of my breath,

and my own brothers won't come near me.

18Children despise me and laugh when they see me.

19My closest friends look at me with disgust;

those I loved most have turned against me.

20My skin hangs loose on my bones;

I have barely escaped with my life.

21You are my friends! Take pity on me!

The hand of God has struck me down.

22Why must you persecute me as God does?

Haven't you tormented me enough?

23How I wish that someone would remember my words

and record them in a book!

24Or with a chisel carve my words in stone

and write them so that they would last for ever.

25But I know there is someone in heaven

who will come at last to my defence.

26Even after my skin is eaten by disease,

while still in this body I will see God.

27I will see him with my own eyes,

and he will not be a stranger.

My courage failed because you said,

28“How can we torment him?”

You looked for some excuse to attack me.

29But now, be afraid of the sword —

the sword that brings God's wrath on sin,

so that you will know there is one who judges.


1-2Job, you upset me. Now I'm impatient to answer.

3What you have said is an insult,

but I know how to reply to you.

4Surely you know that from ancient times,

when human beings were first placed on earth,

5no wicked people have been happy for long.

6They may grow great, towering to the sky,

so great that their heads reach the clouds,

7but they will be blown away like dust.

Those who used to know them

will wonder where they have gone.

8They will vanish like a dream, like a vision at night,

and never be seen again.

9The wicked will disappear from the place where they used to live;

10and their children will make good what they stole from the poor.

11Their bodies used to be young and vigorous,

but soon they will turn to dust.

12-13Evil tastes so good to them

that they keep some in their mouths to enjoy its flavour.

14But in their stomachs the food turns bitter,

as bitter as any poison could be.

15The wicked vomit up the wealth they stole;

God takes it back, even out of their stomachs.

16What evil people swallow is like poison;

it kills them like the bite of a deadly snake.

17They will not live to see rivers of olive oil

or streams that flow with milk and honey.

18They will have to give up all they have worked for;

they will have no chance to enjoy their wealth,

19because they oppressed and neglected the poor

and seized houses someone else had built.

20Their greed is never satisfied.

21When they eat, there is nothing left over,

but now their prosperity comes to an end.

22At the height of their success

all the weight of misery will crush them.

23Let them eat all they want!

God will punish them in fury and anger.

24When they try to escape from an iron sword,

a bronze bow will shoot them down.

25Arrows stick through their bodies;

the shiny points drip with their blood,

and terror grips their hearts.

26Everything they have saved is destroyed;

a fire not lit by human hands

burns them and all their families.

27Heaven reveals their sin,

and the earth gives testimony against them.

28All their wealth will be destroyed

in the flood of God's anger.

29This is the fate of the wicked,

the fate that God assigns to them.


1-2Listen to what I am saying;

that is all the comfort I ask from you.

3Give me a chance to speak and then,

when I am through, sneer if you like.

4My quarrel is not with mortals;

I have good reason to be impatient.

5Look at me. Isn't that enough

to make you stare in shocked silence?

6When I think of what has happened to me,

I am stunned, and I tremble and shake.

7Why does God let evil people live,

let them grow old and prosper?

8They have children and grandchildren,

and live to watch them all grow up.

9God does not bring disaster on their homes;

they never have to live in terror.

10Yes, all their cattle breed

and give birth without trouble.

11Their children run and play like lambs

12and dance to the music of harps and flutes.

13They live out their lives in peace

and quietly die without suffering.

14The wicked tell God to leave them alone;

they don't want to know his will for their lives.

15They think there is no need to serve God

nor any advantage in praying to him.

16They claim they succeed by their own strength,

but their way of thinking I can't accept.

17Was a wicked person's light ever put out?

Did one of them ever meet with disaster?

Did God ever punish the wicked in anger

18and blow them away like straw in the wind,

or like dust carried away in a storm?

19You claim God punishes a child for the sins of his father.

No! Let God punish the sinners themselves;

let him show that he does it because of their sins.

20Let sinners bear their own punishment;

let them feel the wrath of Almighty God.

21When our lives are over,

do we really care whether our children are happy?

22Can anyone teach God,

who judges even those in high places?

23-24Some people stay healthy till the day they die;

they die happy and at ease,

their bodies well nourished.

25Others have no happiness at all;

they live and die with bitter hearts.

26But all alike die and are buried;

they all are covered with worms.

27I know what spiteful thoughts you have.

28You ask, “Where are the houses of great people now,

those who practised evil?”

29Haven't you talked with people who travel?

Don't you know the reports they bring back?

30On the day God is angry and punishes,

it is the wicked who are always spared.

31There is no one to accuse the wicked

or pay them back for all they have done.

32When they are carried to the graveyard,

to their well-guarded tombs,

33thousands join the funeral procession,

and even the earth lies gently on their bodies.

34And you! You try to comfort me with nonsense!

Every answer you give is a lie!

Do not Judge One Another

1Welcome those who are weak in faith, but do not argue with them about their personal opinions. 2Some people's faith allows them to eat anything, but the person who is weak in the faith eats only vegetables. 3Those who will eat anything are not to despise those who don't; while those who eat only vegetables are not to pass judgement on those who will eat anything; for God has accepted them. 4Who are you to judge someone else's servants? It is their own Master who will decide whether they succeed or fail. And they will succeed, because the Lord is able to make them succeed.

5Some people think that a certain day is more important than other days, while others think that all days are the same. We should each firmly make up our own minds. 6Those who think highly of a certain day do so in honour of the Lord; those who will eat anything do so in honour of the Lord, because they give thanks to God for the food. Those who refuse to eat certain things do so in honour of the Lord, and they give thanks to God. 7None of us lives for himself only, none of us dies for himself only. 8If we live, it is for the Lord that we live, and if we die, it is for the Lord that we die. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9For Christ died and rose to life in order to be the Lord of the living and of the dead. 10You then, who eat only vegetables — why do you pass judgement on others? And you who eat anything — why do you despise other believers? All of us will stand before God to be judged by him. 11For the scripture says:

“As surely as I am the living God, says the Lord,

everyone will kneel before me,

and everyone will confess that I am God.”

12Every one of us, then, will have to give an account of ourselves to God.

Do not Make One Another Fall

13So then, let us stop judging one another. Instead, you should decide never to do anything that would make another stumble or fall into sin. 14My union with the Lord Jesus makes me certain that no food is of itself ritually unclean; but if a person believes that some food is unclean, then it becomes unclean for that person. 15If you hurt your brother or sister because of something you eat, then you are no longer acting from love. Do not let the food that you eat ruin the person for whom Christ died! 16Do not let what you regard as good get a bad name. 17For God's Kingdom is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of the righteousness, peace, and joy which the Holy Spirit gives. 18And when people serve Christ in this way, they please God and are approved by others.

19So then, we must always aim at those things that bring peace and that help to strengthen one another. 20Do not, because of food, destroy what God has done. All foods may be eaten, but it is wrong to eat anything that will cause someone else to fall into sin. 21The right thing to do is to keep from eating meat, drinking wine, or doing anything else that will make your brother or sister fall. 22Keep what you believe about this matter, then, between yourself and God. Happy are those who do not feel guilty when they do something they judge is right! 23But if they have doubts about what they eat, God condemns them when they eat it, because their action is not based on faith. And anything that is not based on faith is sin.

Please Others, not Yourselves

1We who are strong in the faith ought to help the weak to carry their burdens. We should not please ourselves. 2Instead, we should all please our brothers and sisters for their own good, in order to build them up in the faith. 3For Christ did not please himself. Instead, as the scripture says, “The insults which are hurled at you have fallen on me.” 4Everything written in the Scriptures was written to teach us, in order that we might have hope through the patience and encouragement which the Scriptures give us. 5And may God, the source of patience and encouragement, enable you to have the same point of view among yourselves by following the example of Christ Jesus, 6so that all of you together may praise with one voice the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Good News for the Gentiles

7Accept one another, then, for the glory of God, as Christ has accepted you. 8For I tell you that Christ's life of service was on behalf of the Jews, to show that God is faithful, to make his promises to their ancestors come true, 9and to enable even the Gentiles to praise God for his mercy. As the scripture says:

“And so I will praise you among the Gentiles;

I will sing praises to you.”

10Again it says,

“Rejoice, Gentiles, with God's people!”

11And again,

“Praise the Lord, all Gentiles;

praise him, all peoples!”

12And again, Isaiah says,

“A descendant of Jesse will appear;

he will come to rule the Gentiles,

and they will put their hope in him.”

13May God, the source of hope, fill you with all joy and peace by means of your faith in him, so that your hope will continue to grow by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Paul's Reason for Writing so Boldly

14My brothers and sisters, I myself feel sure that you are full of goodness, that you have all knowledge, and that you are able to teach one another. 15But in this letter I have been quite bold about certain subjects of which I have reminded you. I have been bold because of the privilege God has given me 16of being a servant of Christ Jesus to work for the Gentiles. I serve like a priest in preaching the Good News from God, in order that the Gentiles may be an offering acceptable to God, dedicated to him by the Holy Spirit. 17In union with Christ Jesus, then, I can be proud of my service for God. 18I will be bold and speak only about what Christ has done through me to lead the Gentiles to obey God. He has done this by means of words and deeds, 19by the power of miracles and wonders, and by the power of the Spirit of God. And so, in travelling all the way from Jerusalem to Illyricum, I have proclaimed fully the Good News about Christ. 20My ambition has always been to proclaim the Good News in places where Christ has not been heard of, so as not to build on a foundation laid by someone else. 21As the scripture says:

“Those who were not told about him will see,

and those who have not heard will understand.”

Paul's Plan to Visit Rome

22And so I have been prevented many times from coming to you. 23But now that I have finished my work in these regions and since I have been wanting for so many years to come to see you, 24I hope to do so now. I would like to see you on my way to Spain, and be helped by you to go there, after I have enjoyed visiting you for a while. 25Just now, however, I am going to Jerusalem in the service of God's people there. 26For the churches in Macedonia and Achaia have freely decided to give an offering to help the poor among God's people in Jerusalem. 27That decision was their own; but, as a matter of fact, they have an obligation to help them. Since the Jews shared their spiritual blessings with the Gentiles, the Gentiles ought to use their material blessings to help the Jews. 28When I have finished this task and have handed over to them all the money that has been raised for them, I shall leave for Spain and visit you on my way there. 29When I come to you, I know that I shall come with a full measure of the blessing of Christ.

30I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love that the Spirit gives: join me in praying fervently to God for me. 31Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to God's people there. 32And so I will come to you full of joy, if it is God's will, and enjoy a refreshing visit to you. 33May God, our source of peace, be with all of you. Amen.

Personal Greetings

1I recommend to you our sister Phoebe, who serves the church at Cenchreae. 2Receive her in the Lord's name, as God's people should, and give her any help she may need from you; for she herself has been a good friend to many people and also to me.

3I send greetings to Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow-workers in the service of Christ Jesus; 4they risked their lives for me. I am grateful to them — not only I, but all the Gentile churches as well. 5Greetings also to the church that meets in their house.

Greetings to my dear friend Epaenetus, who was the first in the province of Asia to believe in Christ. 6Greetings to Mary, who has worked so hard for you. 7Greetings also to Andronicus and Junia, fellow-Jews who were in prison with me; they are well known among the apostles, and they became Christians before I did.

8My greetings to Ampliatus, my dear friend in the fellowship of the Lord. 9Greetings also to Urbanus, our fellow-worker in Christ's service, and to Stachys, my dear friend. 10Greetings to Apelles, whose loyalty to Christ has been proved. Greetings to those who belong to the family of Aristobulus. 11Greetings to Herodion, a fellow-Jew, and to the Christians in the family of Narcissus.

12My greetings to Tryphaena and Tryphosa, who work in the Lord's service, and to my dear friend Persis, who has done so much work for the Lord. 13I send greetings to Rufus, that outstanding worker in the Lord's service, and to his mother, who has always treated me like a son. 14My greetings to Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and all the other Christian brothers and sisters with them. 15Greetings to Philologus and Julia, to Nereus and his sister, to Olympas and to all of God's people who are with them.

16Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send you their greetings.

Final Instructions

17I urge you, my brothers and sisters: watch out for those who cause divisions and upset people's faith and go against the teaching which you have received. Keep away from them! 18For those who do such things are not serving Christ our Lord, but their own appetites. By their fine words and flattering speech they deceive innocent people. 19Everyone has heard of your loyalty to the gospel, and for this reason I am happy about you. I want you to be wise about what is good, but innocent in what is evil. 20And God, our source of peace, will soon crush Satan under your feet.

The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

21Timothy, my fellow-worker, sends you his greetings; and so do Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, fellow-Jews.

22I, Tertius, the writer of this letter, send you Christian greetings.

23My host Gaius, in whose house the church meets, sends you his greetings; Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus send you their greetings.

Concluding Prayer of Praise

25Let us give glory to God! He is able to make you stand firm in your faith, according to the Good News I preach about Jesus Christ and according to the revelation of the secret truth which was hidden for long ages in the past. 26Now, however, that truth has been brought out into the open through the writings of the prophets; and by the command of the eternal God it is made known to all nations, so that all may believe and obey.

27To the only God, who alone is all-wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever! Amen.

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