"Hear my words, you wise men; listen to me, you men of learning.
For the ear tests words as the tongue tastes food.
Let us discern for ourselves what is right; let us learn together what is good.
"Job says, 'I am innocent, but God denies me justice.
Although I am right, I am considered a liar; although I am guiltless, his arrow inflicts an incurable wound.'
What man is like Job, who drinks scorn like water?
He keeps company with evildoers; he associates with wicked men.
For he says, 'It profits a man nothing when he tries to please God.'
"So listen to me, you men of understanding. Far be it from God to do evil, from the Almighty to do wrong.
He repays a man for what he has done; he brings upon him what his conduct deserves.
It is unthinkable that God would do wrong, that the Almighty would pervert justice.
Who appointed him over the earth? Who put him in charge of the whole world?
If it were his intention and he withdrew his spirit and breath,
all mankind would perish together and man would return to the dust.
"If you have understanding, hear this; listen to what I say.
Can he who hates justice govern? Will you condemn the just and mighty One?
Is he not the One who says to kings, 'You are worthless,' and to nobles, 'You are wicked,'
who shows no partiality to princes and does not favor the rich over the poor, for they are all the work of his hands?
They die in an instant, in the middle of the night; the people are shaken and they pass away; the mighty are removed without human hand.
"His eyes are on the ways of men; he sees their every step.
There is no dark place, no deep shadow, where evildoers can hide.
God has no need to examine men further, that they should come before him for judgment.
Without inquiry he shatters the mighty and sets up others in their place.
Because he takes note of their deeds, he overthrows them in the night and they are crushed.
He punishes them for their wickedness where everyone can see them,
because they turned from following him and had no regard for any of his ways.
They caused the cry of the poor to come before him, so that he heard the cry of the needy.
But if he remains silent, who can condemn him? If he hides his face, who can see him? Yet he is over man and nation alike,
to keep a godless man from ruling, from laying snares for the people.
"Suppose a man says to God, 'I am guilty but will offend no more.
Teach me what I cannot see; if I have done wrong, I will not do so again.'
Should God then reward you on your terms, when you refuse to repent? You must decide, not I; so tell me what you know.
"Men of understanding declare, wise men who hear me say to me,
'Job speaks without knowledge; his words lack insight.'
Oh, that Job might be tested to the utmost for answering like a wicked man!
To his sin he adds rebellion; scornfully he claps his hands among us and multiplies his words against God."
So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God.
Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.
I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself.
My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.
Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.
Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, "Do not go beyond what is written." Then you will not take pride in one man over against another.
For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?
Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have become kings-- and that without us! How I wish that you really had become kings so that we might be kings with you!
For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men.
We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored!
To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless.
We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it;
when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.
I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children.
Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.
Therefore I urge you to imitate me.
For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.
Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you.
But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.
What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father's wife.
And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this?
Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present.
When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present,
hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.
Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?
Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast-- as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.
I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people--
not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.
But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.
What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?
God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."
If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints?
Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases?
Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!
Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church!
I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers?
But instead, one brother goes to law against another-- and this in front of unbelievers!
The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?
Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders
nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
"Everything is permissible for me"-- but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"-- but I will not be mastered by anything.
"Food for the stomach and the stomach for food"-- but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.
By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.
Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never!
Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, "The two will become one flesh."
But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;
you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.