Letters of Peter, & Paul’s Letter to Titus -
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Letters of Peter & Paul’s Letter to Titus.
1st Peter Chapter 1
Peter, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, to the saints who are living in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
Who, through the purpose of God, have been made holy by the Spirit, disciples of Jesus, made clean by his blood: May you have grace and peace in full measure.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who through his great mercy has given us a new birth and a living hope by the coming again of Jesus Christ from the dead,
And a heritage fair, holy and for ever new, waiting in heaven for you,
Who, by the power of God are kept, through faith, for that salvation, which will be seen at the last day.
You have cause for great joy in this, though it may have been necessary for you to be troubled for a little time, being tested in all sorts of ways,
So that the true metal of your faith, being of much greater value than gold (which, though it comes to an end, is tested by fire), may come to light in praise and glory and honour, at the revelation of Jesus Christ:
To whom your love is given, though you have not seen him; and the faith which you have in him, though you do not see him now, gives you joy greater than words and full of glory:
For so you have the true end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
For the prophets who gave the news of the grace which would come to you, made search with all care for knowledge of this salvation;
Attempting to see what sort of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them was pointing to, when it gave witness to the pains which Christ would undergo and the glories which would come after them.
And it was made clear to those prophets that they were God’s servants not for themselves but for you, to give you word of the things which have now come to your ears from the preachers of the good news through the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven; things which even angels have a desire to see.
So make your minds ready, and keep on the watch, hoping with all your power for the grace which is to come to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
Like children ruled by God, do not go back to the old desires of the time when you were without knowledge:
But be holy in every detail of your lives, as he, whose servants you are, is holy;
Because it has been said in the Writings, You are to be holy, for I am holy.
And if you give the name of Father to him who, judging every man by his acts, has no respect for a man’s position, then go in fear while you are on this earth:
Being conscious that you have been made free from that foolish way of life which was your heritage from your fathers, not through a payment of things like silver or gold which come to destruction,
But through holy blood, like that of a clean and unmarked lamb, even the blood of Christ:
Who was marked out by God before the making of the world, but was caused to be seen in these last times for you,
Who through him have faith in God who took him up again from the dead into glory; so that your faith and hope might be in God.
And as you have made your souls clean, being ruled by what is true, and loving one another without deceit, see that your love is warm and from the heart:
Because you have had a new birth, not from the seed of man, but from eternal seed, through the word of a living and unchanging God.
For it is said, All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of the grass. The grass becomes dry and the flower dead:
But the word of the Lord is eternal. And this is the word of the good news which was given to you.
So putting away all wrongdoing, and all tricks and deceits and envies and evil talk,
Be full of desire for the true milk of the word, as babies at their mothers’ breasts, so that you may go on to salvation;
If you have had a taste of the grace of the Lord:
To whom you come, as to a living stone, not honoured by men, but of great and special value to God;
You, as living stones, are being made into a house of the spirit, a holy order of priests, making those offerings of the spirit which are pleasing to God through Jesus Christ.
Because it is said in the Writings, See, I am placing a keystone in Zion, of great and special value; and the man who has faith in him will not be put to shame.
And the value is for you who have faith; but it is said for those without faith, The very stone which the builders put on one side, was made the chief stone of the building;
And, A stone of falling, a rock of trouble; the word is the cause of their fall, because they go against it, and this was the purpose of God.
But you are a special people, a holy nation, priests and kings, a people given up completely to God, so that you may make clear the virtues of him who took you out of the dark into the light of heaven.
In the past you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; then there was no mercy for you, but now mercy has been given to you.
My loved ones, I make this request with all my heart, that, as those for whom this world is a strange country, you will keep yourselves from the desires of the flesh which make war against the soul;
Being of good behaviour among the Gentiles; so that though they say now that you are evil-doers, they may see your good works and give glory to God when he comes to be their judge.
Keep all the laws of men because of the Lord; those of the king, who is over all,
And those of the rulers who are sent by him for the punishment of evil-doers and for the praise of those who do well.
Because it is God’s pleasure that foolish and narrow-minded men may be put to shame by your good behaviour:
As those who are free, not using your free position as a cover for wrongdoing, but living as the servants of God;
Have respect for all, loving the brothers, fearing God, honouring the king.
Servants, take orders from your masters with all respect; not only if they are good and gentle, but even if they are bad-humoured.
For it is a sign of grace if a man, desiring to do right in the eyes of God, undergoes pain as punishment for something which he has not done.
What credit is it if, when you have done evil, you take your punishment quietly? but if you are given punishment for doing right, and take it quietly, this is pleasing to God.
This is God’s purpose for you: because Jesus himself underwent punishment for you, giving you an example, so that you might go in his footsteps:
Who did no evil, and there was no deceit in his mouth:
To sharp words he gave no sharp answer; when he was undergoing pain, no angry word came from his lips; but he put himself into the hands of the judge of righteousness:
He took our sins on himself, giving his body to be nailed on the tree, so that we, being dead to sin, might have a new life in righteousness, and by his wounds we have been made well.
Because, like sheep, you had gone out of the way; but now you have come back to him who keeps watch over your souls.
Wives, be ruled by your husbands; so that even if some of them give no attention to the word, their hearts may be changed by the behaviour of their wives,
When they see your holy behaviour in the fear of God.
Do not let your ornaments be those of the body such as dressing of the hair, or putting on of jewels of gold or fair clothing;
But let them be those of the unseen man of the heart, the ever-shining ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great price in the eyes of God.
And these were the ornaments of the holy women of the past, whose hope was in God, being ruled by their husbands:
As Sarah was ruled by Abraham, naming him lord; whose children you are if you do well, and are not put in fear by any danger.
And you husbands, give thought to your way of life with your wives, giving honour to the woman who is the feebler vessel, but who has an equal part in the heritage of the grace of life; so that you may not be kept from prayer.
Last of all, see that you are all in agreement; feeling for one another, loving one another like brothers, full of pity, without pride:
Not giving back evil for evil, or curse for curse, but in place of cursing, blessing; because this is the purpose of God for you that you may have a heritage of blessing.
For it is said, Let the man who has a love of life, desiring to see good days, keep his tongue from evil and his lips from words of deceit:
And let him be turned from evil and do good; searching for peace and going after it with all his heart.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the upright, and his ears are open to their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.
Who will do you any damage if you keep your minds fixed on what is good?
But you are happy if you undergo pain because of righteousness; have no part in their fear and do not be troubled;
But give honour to Christ in your hearts as your Lord; and be ready at any time when you are questioned about the hope which is in you, to give an answer in the fear of the Lord and without pride;
Being conscious that you have done no wrong; so that those who say evil things about your good way of life as Christians may be put to shame.
Because if it is God’s purpose for you to undergo pain, it is better to do so for well-doing than for evil-doing.
Because Christ once went through pain for sins, the upright one taking the place of sinners, so that through him we might come back to God; being put to death in the flesh, but given life in the Spirit;
By whom he went to the spirits in prison, preaching to those
Who, in the days of Noah, went against God’s orders; but God in his mercy kept back the punishment, while Noah got ready the ark, in which a small number, that is to say eight persons, got salvation through water:
And baptism, of which this is an image, now gives you salvation, not by washing clean the flesh, but by making you free from the sense of sin before God, through the coming again of Jesus Christ from the dead;
Who has gone into heaven, and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been put under his rule.
So that as Jesus was put to death in the flesh, do you yourselves be of the same mind; for the death of the flesh puts an end to sin;
So that you may give the rest of your lives in the flesh, not to the desires of men, but to the purpose of God.
Because for long enough, in times past, we have been living after the way of the Gentiles, given up to the desires of the flesh, to drinking and feasting and loose behaviour and unclean worship of images;
And they are wondering that you no longer go with them in this violent wasting of life, and are saying evil things of you:
But they will have to give an account of themselves to him who is ready to be the judge of the living and the dead.
For this was the reason why the good news of Jesus was given even to the dead, so that they might be judged as men in the flesh, but might be living before God in the spirit.
But the end of all things is near: so be serious in your behaviour and keep on the watch with prayer;
And most of all be warm in your love for one another; because in love there is forgiveness for sins without number:
Keep open house for all with a glad heart;
Making distribution among one another of whatever has been given to you, like true servants of the unmeasured grace of God;
If anyone has anything to say, let it be as the words of God; if anyone has the desire to be the servant of others, let him do it in the strength which is given by God; so that in all things God may have the glory through Jesus Christ, whose are the glory and the power for ever.
Dear brothers, do not be surprised, as if it was something strange, if your faith is tested as by fire:
But be glad that you are given a part in the pains of Christ; so that at the revelation of his glory you may have great joy.
If men say evil things of you because of the name of Christ, happy are you; for the Spirit of glory and of God is resting on you.
Let no one among you undergo punishment as a taker of life, or as a thief, or as an evil-doer, or as one who is over-interested in other men’s business;
But if he undergoes punishment as a Christian, that is no shame to him; let him give glory to God in this name.
For the time has come for the judging, starting with the church of God; but if it makes a start with us, what will be the end of those who are not under the rule of God?
And if it is hard for even the good man to get salvation, what chance has the man without religion or the sinner?
For this reason let those who by the purpose of God undergo punishment, keep on in well-doing and put their souls into the safe hands of their Maker.
I who am myself one of the rulers of the church, and a witness of the death of Christ, having my part in the coming glory, send this serious request to the chief men among you:
Keep watch over the flock of God which is in your care, using your authority, not as forced to do so, but gladly; and not for unclean profit but with a ready mind;
Not as lords over God’s heritage, but making yourselves examples to the flock.
And at the coming of the chief Keeper of the sheep, you will be given the eternal crown of glory.
And in the same way, let the younger men be ruled by the older ones. Let all of you put away pride and make yourselves ready to be servants: for God is a hater of pride, but he gives grace to those who make themselves low.
For this cause make yourselves low under the strong hand of God, so that when the time comes you may be lifted up;
Putting all your troubles on him, for he takes care of you.
Be serious and keep watch; the Evil One, who is against you, goes about like a lion with open mouth in search of food;
Do not give way to him but be strong in your faith, in the knowledge that your brothers who are in the world undergo the same troubles.
And after you have undergone pain for a little time, the God of all grace who has given you a part in his eternal glory through Christ Jesus, will himself give you strength and support, and make you complete in every good thing;
His is the power for ever. So be it.
I have sent you this short letter by Silvanus, a true brother, in my opinion; comforting you and witnessing that this is the true grace of God; keep to it.
She who is in Babylon, who has a part with you in the purpose of God, sends you her love; and so does my son Mark.
Give one another the kiss of love. Peace be to you all in Christ.
Simon Peter, a servant and Apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who with us have a part in the same holy faith in the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ:
May grace and peace ever be increasing in you, in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;
Because by his power he has given us everything necessary for life and righteousness, through the knowledge of him who has been our guide by his glory and virtue;
And through this he has given us the hope of great rewards highly to be valued; so that by them we might have our part in God’s being, and be made free from the destruction which is in the world through the desires of the flesh.
So, for this very cause, take every care; joining virtue to faith, and knowledge to virtue,
And self-control to knowledge, and a quiet mind to self-control, and fear of God to a quiet mind,
And love of the brothers to fear of God, and to love of the brothers, love itself.
For if you have these things in good measure, they will make you fertile and full of fruit in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
For the man who has not these things is blind, seeing only what is near, having no memory of how he was made clean from his old sins.
For this reason, my brothers, take all the more care to make your selection and approval certain; for if you do these things you will never have a fall:
For so the way will be open to you into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
For this reason I will be ready at all times to keep your memory of these things awake, though you have the knowledge of them now and are well based in your present faith.
And it seems right to me, as long as I am in this tent of flesh, to keep your minds awake by working on your memory;
For I am conscious that in a short time I will have to put off this tent of flesh, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me.
And I will take every care so that you may have a clear memory of these things after my death.
For when we gave you news of the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, our teaching was not based on stories put together by art, but we were eye-witnesses of his glory.
For God the Father gave him honour and glory, when such a voice came to him out of the great glory, saying, This is my dearly loved Son, with whom I am well pleased.
And this voice came from heaven even to our ears, when we were with him on the holy mountain.
And so the words of the prophets are made more certain; and it is well for you to give attention to them as to a light shining in a dark place, till the dawn comes and the morning star is seen in your hearts;
Being conscious in the first place that no man by himself may give a special sense to the words of the prophets.
For these words did not ever come through the impulse of men: but the prophets had them from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit.
But there were false prophets among the people, as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly put forward wrong teachings for your destruction, even turning away from the Lord who gave himself for them; whose destruction will come quickly, and they themselves will be the cause of it.
And a great number will go with them in their evil ways, through whom the true way will have a bad name.
And in their desire for profit they will come to you with words of deceit, like traders doing business in souls: whose punishment has been ready for a long time and their destruction is watching for them.
For if God did not have pity for the angels who did evil, but sent them down into hell, to be kept in chains of eternal night till they were judged;
And did not have mercy on the world which then was, but only kept safe Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when he let loose the waters over the world of the evil-doers;
And sent destruction on Sodom and Gomorrah, burning them up with fire as an example to those whose way of life might in the future be unpleasing to him;
And kept safe Lot, the upright man, who was deeply troubled by the unclean life of the evil-doers
(Because the soul of that upright man living among them was pained from day to day by seeing and hearing their crimes):
The Lord is able to keep the upright safe in the time of testing, and to keep evil-doers under punishment till the day of judging;
But specially those who go after the unclean desires of the flesh, and make sport of authority. Ready to take chances, uncontrolled, they have no fear of saying evil of those in high places:
Though the angels, who are greater in strength and power, do not make use of violent language against them before the Lord.
But these men, like beasts without reason, whose natural use is to be taken and put to death, crying out against things of which they have no knowledge, will undergo that same destruction which they are designing for others;
For the evil which overtakes them is the reward of their evil-doing: such men take their pleasure in the delights of the flesh even in the daytime; they are like the marks of a disease, like poisoned wounds among you, feasting together with you in joy;
Having eyes full of evil desire, never having enough of sin; turning feeble souls out of the true way; they are children of cursing, whose hearts are well used to bitter envy;
Turning out of the true way, they have gone wandering in error, after the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who was pleased to take payment for wrongdoing;
But his wrongdoing was pointed out to him: an ass, talking with a man’s voice, put a stop to the error of the prophet.
These are fountains without water, and mists before a driving storm; for whom the eternal night is kept in store.
For with high-sounding false words, making use of the attraction of unclean desires of the flesh, they get into their power those newly made free from those who are living in error;
Saying that they will be free, while they themselves are the servants of destruction; because whatever gets the better of a man makes a servant of him.
For if, after they have got free from the unclean things of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again taken in the net and overcome, their last condition is worse than their first.
For it would have been better for them to have had no knowledge of the way of righteousness, than to go back again from the holy law which was given to them, after having knowledge of it.
They are an example of that true saying, The dog has gone back to the food it had put out, and the pig which had been washed to its rolling in the dirty earth.
My loved ones, this is now my second letter to you, and in this as in the first, I am attempting to keep your true minds awake;
So that you may keep in mind the words of the holy prophets in the past, and the law of the Lord and Saviour which was given to you by his Apostles.
Having first of all the knowledge that in the last days there will be men who, ruled by their evil desires, will make sport of holy things,
Saying, Where is the hope of his coming? From the death of the fathers till now everything has gone on as it was from the making of the world.
But in taking this view they put out of their minds the memory that in the old days there was a heaven, and an earth lifted out of the water and circled by water, by the word of God;
And that the world which then was came to an end through the overflowing of the waters.
But the present heaven and the present earth have been kept for destruction by fire, which is waiting for them on the day of the judging and destruction of evil men.
But, my loved ones, keep in mind this one thing, that with the Lord one day is the same as a thousand years, and a thousand years are no more than one day.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his word, as he seems to some, but he is waiting in mercy for you, not desiring the destruction of any, but that all may be turned from their evil ways.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief; and in that day the heavens will be rolled up with a great noise, and the substance of the earth will be changed by violent heat, and the world and everything in it will be burned up.
Seeing then that all these things are coming to such an end, what sort of persons is it right for you to be, in all holy behaviour and righteousness,
Looking for and truly desiring the coming of the day of God, when the heavens will come to an end through fire, and the substance of the earth will be changed by the great heat?
But having faith in his word, we are looking for a new heaven and a new earth, which will be the resting-place of righteousness.
For this reason, my loved ones, as you are looking for these things, take great care that when he comes you may be in peace before him, free from sin and every evil thing.
And be certain that the long waiting of the Lord is for salvation; even as our brother Paul has said in his letters to you, from the wisdom which was given to him;
And as he said in all his letters, which had to do with these things; in which are some hard sayings, so that, like the rest of the holy Writings, they are twisted by those who are uncertain and without knowledge, to the destruction of their souls.
For this reason, my loved ones, having knowledge of these things before they take place, take care that you are not turned away by the error of the uncontrolled, so falling from your true faith.
But be increased in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. May he have glory now and for ever. So be it.
Paul’s Letter to Titus
Paul, a servant of God, and an Apostle of Jesus Christ, in agreement with the faith of the saints of God and the full knowledge of what is true in harmony with religion,
In the hope of eternal life, which was made certain before eternal time, by the word of God who is ever true;
Who, in his time, made clear his word in the good news, of which, by the order of God our Saviour, I became a preacher;
To Titus, my true child in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Saviour.
I did not take you with me when I went away from Crete, so that you might do what was necessary to put things in order there, placing men in authority over the churches in every town, as I said to you;
Men having a good record, husbands of one wife, whose children are of the faith, children of whom it may not be said that they are given to loose living or are uncontrolled.
For it is necessary for a Bishop to be a man of virtue, as God’s servant; not pushing himself forward, not quickly moved to wrath or blows, not desiring profit for himself;
But opening his house freely to guests; a lover of what is good, serious-minded, upright, holy, self-controlled;
Keeping to the true word of the teaching, so that he may be able to give comfort by right teaching and overcome the arguments of the doubters.
For there are men who are not ruled by law; foolish talkers, false teachers, specially those of the circumcision,
By whom some families have been completely overturned; who take money for teaching things which are not right; these will have to be stopped.
One of their prophets has said, The men of Crete are ever false, evil beasts, lovers of food, hating work.
This witness is true. So say sharp words to them so that they may come to the right faith,
Giving no attention to the fictions of the Jews and the rules of men who have no true knowledge.
To the clean in heart all things are clean: but to those who are unclean and without faith nothing is clean; they become unclean in mind and in thought.
They say that they have knowledge of God, while by their acts they are turning their backs on him; they are hated by all, hard-hearted, and judged to be without value for any good work.
But let your words be in agreement with true and right teaching:
That old men are to be simple in their tastes, serious, wise, true in faith, in love, and of a quiet mind.
That old women are to be self-respecting in behaviour, not saying evil of others, not given to taking much wine, teachers of that which is good,
Training the younger women to have love for their husbands and children,
To be wise in mind, clean in heart, kind; working in their houses, living under the authority of their husbands; so that no evil may be said of the word of God.
To the young men give orders to be wise and serious-minded:
In all things see that you are an example of good works; holy in your teaching, serious in behaviour,
Saying true and right words, against which no protest may be made, so that he who is not on our side may be put to shame, unable to say any evil of us.
Servants are to be under the authority of their masters, pleasing them in all things, without argument;
Not taking what is not theirs, but giving clear signs of their good faith, in all things doing credit to the teaching of God our Saviour.
For the grace of God has come, giving salvation to all men,
Training us so that, turning away from evil and the desires of this world, we may be living wisely and uprightly in the knowledge of God in this present life;
Looking for the glad hope, the revelation of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ;
Who gave himself for us, so that he might make us free from all wrongdoing, and make for himself a people clean in heart and on fire with good works.
On all these points give teaching and help, and make clear what is right with all authority. Let all men give you honour.
Make clear to them that they are to put themselves under rulers and authorities, to do what they are ordered, to be ready for every good work,
To say no evil of any man, not to be fighters, to give way to others, to be gentle in behaviour to all men.
For in the past we were foolish, hard in heart, turned from the true way, servants of evil desires and pleasures, living in bad feeling and envy, hated and hating one another.
But when the mercy of God our Saviour, and his love to man was seen,
Not by works of righteousness which we did ourselves, but in the measure of his mercy, he gave us salvation, through the washing of the new birth and the giving of new life in the Holy Spirit,
Which he gave us freely through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
So that, having been given righteousness through grace, we might have a part in the heritage, the hope of eternal life.
This is a true saying; and it is my desire that you may give certain witness about these things, so that those who have had faith in God may give attention to good works. These things are good and of profit to men;
But have nothing to do with foolish questionings, and lists of generations, and fights and arguments about the law; for they are of no profit and foolish.
A man whose opinions are not those of the church, after a first and second protest, is to be kept out of your society;
Clearly he is in error and a sinner, being self-judged.
When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis: for it is my purpose to be there for the winter.
Send Zenas, the man of law, and Apollos on their journey with all care, so that they may be in need of nothing.
And let our people go on with good works for necessary purposes, so that they may not be without fruit.
All who are with me send you their love. Give our love to our friends in the faith. Grace be with you all.