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ESV: Read through the Bible
<h2>Just Read</h2> <p>In this online version of the <a href="https://www.crossway.org/tracts/through-the-bible-in-a-year-2656/">popular tract</a>, each day includes a reading from the Old Testament and New Testament. Starting in Genesis and Matthew, the readings continue sequentially. Over the course of a year, you will never read the same passage twice.</p> <p>© 2005 Crossway. All Rights Reserved.</p>

  • October 15: Isaiah 56–58; 1 Thessalonians 3

    Morning: Isaiah 56–58

    Isaiah 56–58 (Listen)

    Salvation for Foreigners

    56   Thus says the LORD:
      “Keep justice, and do righteousness,
      for soon my salvation will come,
        and my righteousness be revealed.
      Blessed is the man who does this,
        and the son of man who holds it fast,
      who keeps the Sabbath, not profaning it,
        and keeps his hand from doing any evil.”
      Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the LORD say,
        “The LORD will surely separate me from his people”;
      and let not the eunuch say,
        “Behold, I am a dry tree.”
      For thus says the LORD:
      “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths,
        who choose the things that please me
        and hold fast my covenant,
      I will give in my house and within my walls
        a monument and a name
        better than sons and daughters;
      I will give them an everlasting name
        that shall not be cut off.
      “And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD,
        to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD,
        and to be his servants,
      everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it,
        and holds fast my covenant—
      these I will bring to my holy mountain,
        and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
      their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
        will be accepted on my altar;
      for my house shall be called a house of prayer
        for all peoples.”
      The Lord GOD,
        who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares,
      “I will gather yet others to him
        besides those already gathered.”

    Israel's Irresponsible Leaders

      All you beasts of the field, come to devour—
        all you beasts in the forest.
    10   His watchmen are blind;
        they are all without knowledge;
      they are all silent dogs;
        they cannot bark,
      dreaming, lying down,
        loving to slumber.
    11   The dogs have a mighty appetite;
        they never have enough.
      But they are shepherds who have no understanding;
        they have all turned to their own way,
        each to his own gain, one and all.
    12   “Come,” they say, “let me get wine;
        let us fill ourselves with strong drink;
      and tomorrow will be like this day,
        great beyond measure.”

    Israel's Futile Idolatry

    57   The righteous man perishes,
        and no one lays it to heart;
      devout men are taken away,
        while no one understands.
      For the righteous man is taken away from calamity;
        he enters into peace;
      they rest in their beds
        who walk in their uprightness.
      But you, draw near,
        sons of the sorceress,
        offspring of the adulterer and the loose woman.
      Whom are you mocking?
        Against whom do you open your mouth wide
        and stick out your tongue?
      Are you not children of transgression,
        the offspring of deceit,
      you who burn with lust among the oaks,1
        under every green tree,
      who slaughter your children in the valleys,
        under the clefts of the rocks?
      Among the smooth stones of the valley is your portion;
        they, they, are your lot;
      to them you have poured out a drink offering,
        you have brought a grain offering.
        Shall I relent for these things?
      On a high and lofty mountain
        you have set your bed,
        and there you went up to offer sacrifice.
      Behind the door and the doorpost
        you have set up your memorial;
      for, deserting me, you have uncovered your bed,
        you have gone up to it,
        you have made it wide;
      and you have made a covenant for yourself with them,
        you have loved their bed,
        you have looked on nakedness.2
      You journeyed to the king with oil
        and multiplied your perfumes;
      you sent your envoys far off,
        and sent down even to Sheol.
    10   You were wearied with the length of your way,
        but you did not say, “It is hopeless”;
      you found new life for your strength,
        and so you were not faint.3
    11   Whom did you dread and fear,
        so that you lied,
      and did not remember me,
        did not lay it to heart?
      Have I not held my peace, even for a long time,
        and you do not fear me?
    12   I will declare your righteousness and your deeds,
        but they will not profit you.
    13   When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you!
        The wind will carry them all off,
        a breath will take them away.
      But he who takes refuge in me shall possess the land
        and shall inherit my holy mountain.

    Comfort for the Contrite

    14   And it shall be said,
      “Build up, build up, prepare the way,
        remove every obstruction from my people's way.”
    15   For thus says the One who is high and lifted up,
        who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
      “I dwell in the high and holy place,
        and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit,
      to revive the spirit of the lowly,
        and to revive the heart of the contrite.
    16   For I will not contend forever,
        nor will I always be angry;
      for the spirit would grow faint before me,
        and the breath of life that I made.
    17   Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry,
        I struck him; I hid my face and was angry,
        but he went on backsliding in the way of his own heart.
    18   I have seen his ways, but I will heal him;
        I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners,
    19     creating the fruit of the lips.
      Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,” says the LORD,
        “and I will heal him.
    20   But the wicked are like the tossing sea;
        for it cannot be quiet,
        and its waters toss up mire and dirt.
    21   There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”

    True and False Fasting

    58   “Cry aloud; do not hold back;
        lift up your voice like a trumpet;
      declare to my people their transgression,
        to the house of Jacob their sins.
      Yet they seek me daily
        and delight to know my ways,
      as if they were a nation that did righteousness
        and did not forsake the judgment of their God;
      they ask of me righteous judgments;
        they delight to draw near to God.
      ‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not?
        Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’
      Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,4
        and oppress all your workers.
      Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
        and to hit with a wicked fist.
      Fasting like yours this day
        will not make your voice to be heard on high.
      Is such the fast that I choose,
        a day for a person to humble himself?
      Is it to bow down his head like a reed,
        and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?
      Will you call this a fast,
        and a day acceptable to the LORD?
      “Is not this the fast that I choose:
        to loose the bonds of wickedness,
        to undo the straps of the yoke,
      to let the oppressed5 go free,
        and to break every yoke?
      Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
        and bring the homeless poor into your house;
      when you see the naked, to cover him,
        and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
      Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
        and your healing shall spring up speedily;
      your righteousness shall go before you;
        the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
      Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer;
        you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
      If you take away the yoke from your midst,
        the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
    10   if you pour yourself out for the hungry
        and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
      then shall your light rise in the darkness
        and your gloom be as the noonday.
    11   And the LORD will guide you continually
        and satisfy your desire in scorched places
        and make your bones strong;
      and you shall be like a watered garden,
        like a spring of water,
        whose waters do not fail.
    12   And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
        you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
      you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
        the restorer of streets to dwell in.
    13   “If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath,
        from doing your pleasure6 on my holy day,
      and call the Sabbath a delight
        and the holy day of the LORD honorable;
      if you honor it, not going your own ways,
        or seeking your own pleasure,7 or talking idly;8
    14   then you shall take delight in the LORD,
        and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;9
      I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
        for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”


    [1] 57:5 Or among the terebinths
    [2] 57:8 Or on a monument (see 56:5); Hebrew on a hand
    [3] 57:10 Hebrew and so you were not sick
    [4] 58:3 Or pursue your own business
    [5] 58:6 Or bruised
    [6] 58:13 Or business
    [7] 58:13 Or pursuing your own business
    [8] 58:13 Hebrew or speaking a word
    [9] 58:14 Or of the land


    Evening: 1 Thessalonians 3

    1 Thessalonians 3 (Listen)

    Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone, and we sent Timothy, our brother and God's coworker1 in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know. For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain.

    Timothy's Encouraging Report

    But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you—for this reason, brothers,2 in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, 10 as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?

    11 Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, 12 and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, 13 so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.


    [1] 3:2 Some manuscripts servant
    [2] 3:7 Or brothers and sisters


  • October 14: Isaiah 53–55; 1 Thessalonians 2

    Morning: Isaiah 53–55

    Isaiah 53–55 (Listen)

    53   Who has believed what he has heard from us?1
        And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
      For he grew up before him like a young plant,
        and like a root out of dry ground;
      he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
        and no beauty that we should desire him.
      He was despised and rejected2 by men,
        a man of sorrows3 and acquainted with4 grief;5
      and as one from whom men hide their faces6
        he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
      Surely he has borne our griefs
        and carried our sorrows;
      yet we esteemed him stricken,
        smitten by God, and afflicted.
      But he was pierced for our transgressions;
        he was crushed for our iniquities;
      upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
        and with his wounds we are healed.
      All we like sheep have gone astray;
        we have turned—every one—to his own way;
      and the LORD has laid on him
        the iniquity of us all.
      He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
        yet he opened not his mouth;
      like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
        and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
        so he opened not his mouth.
      By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
        and as for his generation, who considered
      that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
        stricken for the transgression of my people?
      And they made his grave with the wicked
        and with a rich man in his death,
      although he had done no violence,
        and there was no deceit in his mouth.
    10   Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him;
        he has put him to grief;7
      when his soul makes8 an offering for guilt,
        he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
      the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
    11   Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see9 and be satisfied;
      by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
        make many to be accounted righteous,
        and he shall bear their iniquities.
    12   Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,10
        and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,11
      because he poured out his soul to death
        and was numbered with the transgressors;
      yet he bore the sin of many,
        and makes intercession for the transgressors.

    The Eternal Covenant of Peace

    54   “Sing, O barren one, who did not bear;
        break forth into singing and cry aloud,
        you who have not been in labor!
      For the children of the desolate one will be more
        than the children of her who is married,” says the LORD.
      “Enlarge the place of your tent,
        and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;
      do not hold back; lengthen your cords
        and strengthen your stakes.
      For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left,
        and your offspring will possess the nations
        and will people the desolate cities.
      “Fear not, for you will not be ashamed;
        be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced;
      for you will forget the shame of your youth,
        and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
      For your Maker is your husband,
        the LORD of hosts is his name;
      and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
        the God of the whole earth he is called.
      For the LORD has called you
        like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit,
      like a wife of youth when she is cast off,
        says your God.
      For a brief moment I deserted you,
        but with great compassion I will gather you.
      In overflowing anger for a moment
        I hid my face from you,
      but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,”
        says the LORD, your Redeemer.
      “This is like the days of Noah12 to me:
        as I swore that the waters of Noah
        should no more go over the earth,
      so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you,
        and will not rebuke you.
    10   For the mountains may depart
        and the hills be removed,
      but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
        and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,”
        says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
    11   “O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted,
        behold, I will set your stones in antimony,
        and lay your foundations with sapphires.13
    12   I will make your pinnacles of agate,14
        your gates of carbuncles,15
        and all your wall of precious stones.
    13   All your children shall be taught by the LORD,
        and great shall be the peace of your children.
    14   In righteousness you shall be established;
        you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear;
        and from terror, for it shall not come near you.
    15   If anyone stirs up strife,
        it is not from me;
      whoever stirs up strife with you
        shall fall because of you.
    16   Behold, I have created the smith
        who blows the fire of coals
        and produces a weapon for its purpose.
      I have also created the ravager to destroy;
    17     no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed,
        and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment.
      This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD
        and their vindication16 from me, declares the LORD.”

    The Compassion of the Lord

    55   “Come, everyone who thirsts,
        come to the waters;
      and he who has no money,
        come, buy and eat!
      Come, buy wine and milk
        without money and without price.
      Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
        and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
      Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
        and delight yourselves in rich food.
      Incline your ear, and come to me;
        hear, that your soul may live;
      and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
        my steadfast, sure love for David.
      Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples,
        a leader and commander for the peoples.
      Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know,
        and a nation that did not know you shall run to you,
      because of the LORD your God, and of the Holy One of Israel,
        for he has glorified you.
      “Seek the LORD while he may be found;
        call upon him while he is near;
      let the wicked forsake his way,
        and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
      let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him,
        and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
      For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
        neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
      For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
        so are my ways higher than your ways
        and my thoughts than your thoughts.
    10   “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
        and do not return there but water the earth,
      making it bring forth and sprout,
        giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
    11   so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
        it shall not return to me empty,
      but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
        and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
    12   “For you shall go out in joy
        and be led forth in peace;
      the mountains and the hills before you
        shall break forth into singing,
        and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
    13   Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
        instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
      and it shall make a name for the LORD,
        an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”


    [1] 53:1 Or Who has believed what we have heard?
    [2] 53:3 Or forsaken
    [3] 53:3 Or pains; also verse 4
    [4] 53:3 Or and knowing
    [5] 53:3 Or sickness; also verse 4
    [6] 53:3 Or as one who hides his face from us
    [7] 53:10 Or he has made him sick
    [8] 53:10 Or when you make his soul
    [9] 53:11 Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scroll he shall see light
    [10] 53:12 Or with the great
    [11] 53:12 Or with the numerous
    [12] 54:9 Some manuscripts For this is as the waters of Noah
    [13] 54:11 Or lapis lazuli
    [14] 54:12 Or jasper, or ruby
    [15] 54:12 Or crystal
    [16] 54:17 Or righteousness


    Evening: 1 Thessalonians 2

    1 Thessalonians 2 (Listen)

    Paul's Ministry to the Thessalonians

    For you yourselves know, brothers,1 that our coming to you was not in vain. But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery,2 as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle3 among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

    For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. 11 For you know how, like a father with his children, 12 we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

    13 And we also thank God constantly4 for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men5 but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. 14 For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews,6 15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind 16 by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them at last!7

    Paul's Longing to See Them Again

    17 But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, 18 because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us. 19 For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? 20 For you are our glory and joy.


    [1] 2:1 Or brothers and sisters; also verses 9, 14, 17
    [2] 2:5 Or with a flattering speech
    [3] 2:7 Some manuscripts infants
    [4] 2:13 Or without ceasing
    [5] 2:13 The Greek word anthropoi can refer to both men and women
    [6] 2:14 The Greek word Ioudaioi can refer to Jewish religious leaders, and others under their influence, who opposed the Christian faith in that time
    [7] 2:16 Or completely, or forever


  • October 13: Isaiah 50–52; 1 Thessalonians 1

    Morning: Isaiah 50–52

    Isaiah 50–52 (Listen)

    Israel's Sin and the Servant's Obedience

    50   Thus says the LORD:
      “Where is your mother's certificate of divorce,
        with which I sent her away?
      Or which of my creditors is it
        to whom I have sold you?
      Behold, for your iniquities you were sold,
        and for your transgressions your mother was sent away.
      Why, when I came, was there no man;
        why, when I called, was there no one to answer?
      Is my hand shortened, that it cannot redeem?
        Or have I no power to deliver?
      Behold, by my rebuke I dry up the sea,
        I make the rivers a desert;
      their fish stink for lack of water
        and die of thirst.
      I clothe the heavens with blackness
        and make sackcloth their covering.”
      The Lord GOD has given me
        the tongue of those who are taught,
      that I may know how to sustain with a word
        him who is weary.
      Morning by morning he awakens;
        he awakens my ear
        to hear as those who are taught.
      The Lord GOD has opened my ear,
        and I was not rebellious;
        I turned not backward.
      I gave my back to those who strike,
        and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard;
      I hid not my face
        from disgrace and spitting.
      But the Lord GOD helps me;
        therefore I have not been disgraced;
      therefore I have set my face like a flint,
        and I know that I shall not be put to shame.
        He who vindicates me is near.
      Who will contend with me?
        Let us stand up together.
      Who is my adversary?
        Let him come near to me.
      Behold, the Lord GOD helps me;
        who will declare me guilty?
      Behold, all of them will wear out like a garment;
        the moth will eat them up.
    10   Who among you fears the LORD
        and obeys the voice of his servant?
      Let him who walks in darkness
        and has no light
      trust in the name of the LORD
        and rely on his God.
    11   Behold, all you who kindle a fire,
        who equip yourselves with burning torches!
      Walk by the light of your fire,
        and by the torches that you have kindled!
      This you have from my hand:
        you shall lie down in torment.

    The Lord's Comfort for Zion

    51   “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness,
        you who seek the LORD:
      look to the rock from which you were hewn,
        and to the quarry from which you were dug.
      Look to Abraham your father
        and to Sarah who bore you;
      for he was but one when I called him,
        that I might bless him and multiply him.
      For the LORD comforts Zion;
        he comforts all her waste places
      and makes her wilderness like Eden,
        her desert like the garden of the LORD;
      joy and gladness will be found in her,
        thanksgiving and the voice of song.
      “Give attention to me, my people,
        and give ear to me, my nation;
      for a law1 will go out from me,
        and I will set my justice for a light to the peoples.
      My righteousness draws near,
        my salvation has gone out,
        and my arms will judge the peoples;
      the coastlands hope for me,
        and for my arm they wait.
      Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
        and look at the earth beneath;
      for the heavens vanish like smoke,
        the earth will wear out like a garment,
        and they who dwell in it will die in like manner;2
      but my salvation will be forever,
        and my righteousness will never be dismayed.
      “Listen to me, you who know righteousness,
        the people in whose heart is my law;
      fear not the reproach of man,
        nor be dismayed at their revilings.
      For the moth will eat them up like a garment,
        and the worm will eat them like wool,
      but my righteousness will be forever,
        and my salvation to all generations.”
      Awake, awake, put on strength,
        O arm of the LORD;
      awake, as in days of old,
        the generations of long ago.
      Was it not you who cut Rahab in pieces,
        who pierced the dragon?
    10   Was it not you who dried up the sea,
        the waters of the great deep,
      who made the depths of the sea a way
        for the redeemed to pass over?
    11   And the ransomed of the LORD shall return
        and come to Zion with singing;
      everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
        they shall obtain gladness and joy,
        and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
    12   “I, I am he who comforts you;
        who are you that you are afraid of man who dies,
        of the son of man who is made like grass,
    13   and have forgotten the LORD, your Maker,
        who stretched out the heavens
        and laid the foundations of the earth,
      and you fear continually all the day
        because of the wrath of the oppressor,
      when he sets himself to destroy?
        And where is the wrath of the oppressor?
    14   He who is bowed down shall speedily be released;
        he shall not die and go down to the pit,
        neither shall his bread be lacking.
    15   I am the LORD your God,
        who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
        the LORD of hosts is his name.
    16   And I have put my words in your mouth
        and covered you in the shadow of my hand,
      establishing3 the heavens
        and laying the foundations of the earth,
        and saying to Zion, ‘You are my people.’”
    17   Wake yourself, wake yourself,
        stand up, O Jerusalem,
      you who have drunk from the hand of the LORD
        the cup of his wrath,
      who have drunk to the dregs
        the bowl, the cup of staggering.
    18   There is none to guide her
        among all the sons she has borne;
      there is none to take her by the hand
        among all the sons she has brought up.
    19   These two things have happened to you—
        who will console you?—
      devastation and destruction, famine and sword;
        who will comfort you?4
    20   Your sons have fainted;
        they lie at the head of every street
        like an antelope in a net;
      they are full of the wrath of the LORD,
        the rebuke of your God.
    21   Therefore hear this, you who are afflicted,
        who are drunk, but not with wine:
    22   Thus says your Lord, the LORD,
        your God who pleads the cause of his people:
      “Behold, I have taken from your hand the cup of staggering;
      the bowl of my wrath you shall drink no more;
    23   and I will put it into the hand of your tormentors,
        who have said to you,
        ‘Bow down, that we may pass over’;
      and you have made your back like the ground
        and like the street for them to pass over.”

    The Lord's Coming Salvation

    52   Awake, awake,
        put on your strength, O Zion;
      put on your beautiful garments,
        O Jerusalem, the holy city;
      for there shall no more come into you
        the uncircumcised and the unclean.
      Shake yourself from the dust and arise;
        be seated, O Jerusalem;
      loose the bonds from your neck,
        O captive daughter of Zion.

    For thus says the LORD: “You were sold for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money.” For thus says the Lord GOD: “My people went down at the first into Egypt to sojourn there, and the Assyrian oppressed them for nothing.5 Now therefore what have I here,” declares the LORD, “seeing that my people are taken away for nothing? Their rulers wail,” declares the LORD, “and continually all the day my name is despised. Therefore my people shall know my name. Therefore in that day they shall know that it is I who speak; here I am.”

      How beautiful upon the mountains
        are the feet of him who brings good news,
      who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
        who publishes salvation,
        who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
      The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice;
        together they sing for joy;
      for eye to eye they see
        the return of the LORD to Zion.
      Break forth together into singing,
        you waste places of Jerusalem,
      for the LORD has comforted his people;
        he has redeemed Jerusalem.
    10   The LORD has bared his holy arm
        before the eyes of all the nations,
      and all the ends of the earth shall see
        the salvation of our God.
    11   Depart, depart, go out from there;
        touch no unclean thing;
      go out from the midst of her; purify yourselves,
        you who bear the vessels of the LORD.
    12   For you shall not go out in haste,
        and you shall not go in flight,
      for the LORD will go before you,
        and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.

    He Was Pierced for Our Transgressions

    13   Behold, my servant shall act wisely;6
        he shall be high and lifted up,
        and shall be exalted.
    14   As many were astonished at you—
        his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
        and his form beyond that of the children of mankind—
    15   so shall he sprinkle7 many nations.
        Kings shall shut their mouths because of him,
      for that which has not been told them they see,
        and that which they have not heard they understand.


    [1] 51:4 Or for teaching; also verse 7
    [2] 51:6 Or will die like gnats
    [3] 51:16 Or planting
    [4] 51:19 Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate; Masoretic Text how shall I comfort you
    [5] 52:4 Or the Assyrian has oppressed them of late
    [6] 52:13 Or shall prosper
    [7] 52:15 Or startle


    Evening: 1 Thessalonians 1

    1 Thessalonians 1 (Listen)


    Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,

    To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

    Grace to you and peace.

    The Thessalonians' Faith and Example

    We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly1 mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers2 loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.


    [1] 1:2 Or without ceasing
    [2] 1:4 Or brothers and sisters. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, the plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) may refer either to brothers or to brothers and sisters


  • October 12: Isaiah 48–49; Colossians 4

    Morning: Isaiah 48–49

    Isaiah 48–49 (Listen)

    Israel Refined for God's Glory

    48   Hear this, O house of Jacob,
        who are called by the name of Israel,
        and who came from the waters of Judah,
      who swear by the name of the LORD
        and confess the God of Israel,
        but not in truth or right.
      For they call themselves after the holy city,
        and stay themselves on the God of Israel;
        the LORD of hosts is his name.
      “The former things I declared of old;
        they went out from my mouth, and I announced them;
        then suddenly I did them, and they came to pass.
      Because I know that you are obstinate,
        and your neck is an iron sinew
        and your forehead brass,
      I declared them to you from of old,
        before they came to pass I announced them to you,
      lest you should say, ‘My idol did them,
        my carved image and my metal image commanded them.’
      “You have heard; now see all this;
        and will you not declare it?
      From this time forth I announce to you new things,
        hidden things that you have not known.
      They are created now, not long ago;
        before today you have never heard of them,
        lest you should say, ‘Behold, I knew them.’
      You have never heard, you have never known,
        from of old your ear has not been opened.
      For I knew that you would surely deal treacherously,
        and that from before birth you were called a rebel.
      “For my name's sake I defer my anger;
        for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,
        that I may not cut you off.
    10   Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
        I have tried1 you in the furnace of affliction.
    11   For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,
        for how should my name2 be profaned?
        My glory I will not give to another.

    The Lord's Call to Israel

    12   “Listen to me, O Jacob,
        and Israel, whom I called!
      I am he; I am the first,
        and I am the last.
    13   My hand laid the foundation of the earth,
        and my right hand spread out the heavens;
      when I call to them,
        they stand forth together.
    14   “Assemble, all of you, and listen!
        Who among them has declared these things?
      The LORD loves him;
        he shall perform his purpose on Babylon,
        and his arm shall be against the Chaldeans.
    15   I, even I, have spoken and called him;
        I have brought him, and he will prosper in his way.
    16   Draw near to me, hear this:
        from the beginning I have not spoken in secret,
        from the time it came to be I have been there.”
      And now the Lord GOD has sent me, and his Spirit.
    17   Thus says the LORD,
        your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
      “I am the LORD your God,
        who teaches you to profit,
        who leads you in the way you should go.
    18   Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments!
        Then your peace would have been like a river,
        and your righteousness like the waves of the sea;
    19   your offspring would have been like the sand,
        and your descendants like its grains;
      their name would never be cut off
        or destroyed from before me.”
    20   Go out from Babylon, flee from Chaldea,
        declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it,
      send it out to the end of the earth;
        say, “The LORD has redeemed his servant Jacob!”
    21   They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts;
        he made water flow for them from the rock;
        he split the rock and the water gushed out.
    22   “There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked.”

    The Servant of the Lord

    49   Listen to me, O coastlands,
        and give attention, you peoples from afar.
      The LORD called me from the womb,
        from the body of my mother he named my name.
      He made my mouth like a sharp sword;
        in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
      he made me a polished arrow;
        in his quiver he hid me away.
      And he said to me, “You are my servant,
        Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”3
      But I said, “I have labored in vain;
        I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity;
      yet surely my right is with the LORD,
        and my recompense with my God.”
      And now the LORD says,
        he who formed me from the womb to be his servant,
      to bring Jacob back to him;
        and that Israel might be gathered to him—
      for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD,
        and my God has become my strength—
      he says:
      “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant
        to raise up the tribes of Jacob
        and to bring back the preserved of Israel;
      I will make you as a light for the nations,
        that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”
      Thus says the LORD,
        the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One,
      to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nation,
        the servant of rulers:
      “Kings shall see and arise;
        princes, and they shall prostrate themselves;
      because of the LORD, who is faithful,
        the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”

    The Restoration of Israel

      Thus says the LORD:
      “In a time of favor I have answered you;
        in a day of salvation I have helped you;
      I will keep you and give you
        as a covenant to the people,
      to establish the land,
        to apportion the desolate heritages,
      saying to the prisoners, ‘Come out,’
        to those who are in darkness, ‘Appear.’
      They shall feed along the ways;
        on all bare heights shall be their pasture;
    10   they shall not hunger or thirst,
        neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them,
      for he who has pity on them will lead them,
        and by springs of water will guide them.
    11   And I will make all my mountains a road,
        and my highways shall be raised up.
    12   Behold, these shall come from afar,
        and behold, these from the north and from the west,4
        and these from the land of Syene.”5
    13   Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth;
        break forth, O mountains, into singing!
      For the LORD has comforted his people
        and will have compassion on his afflicted.
    14   But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me;
        my Lord has forgotten me.”
    15   “Can a woman forget her nursing child,
        that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?
      Even these may forget,
        yet I will not forget you.
    16   Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
        your walls are continually before me.
    17   Your builders make haste;6
        your destroyers and those who laid you waste go out from you.
    18   Lift up your eyes around and see;
        they all gather, they come to you.
      As I live, declares the LORD,
        you shall put them all on as an ornament;
        you shall bind them on as a bride does.
    19   “Surely your waste and your desolate places
        and your devastated land—
      surely now you will be too narrow for your inhabitants,
        and those who swallowed you up will be far away.
    20   The children of your bereavement
        will yet say in your ears:
      ‘The place is too narrow for me;
        make room for me to dwell in.’
    21   Then you will say in your heart:
        ‘Who has borne me these?
      I was bereaved and barren,
        exiled and put away,
        but who has brought up these?
      Behold, I was left alone;
        from where have these come?’”
    22   Thus says the Lord GOD:
      “Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations,
        and raise my signal to the peoples;
      and they shall bring your sons in their arms,7
        and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.
    23   Kings shall be your foster fathers,
        and their queens your nursing mothers.
      With their faces to the ground they shall bow down to you,
        and lick the dust of your feet.
      Then you will know that I am the LORD;
        those who wait for me shall not be put to shame.”
    24   Can the prey be taken from the mighty,
        or the captives of a tyrant8 be rescued?
    25   For thus says the LORD:
      “Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken,
        and the prey of the tyrant be rescued,
      for I will contend with those who contend with you,
        and I will save your children.
    26   I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh,
        and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with wine.
      Then all flesh shall know
        that I am the LORD your Savior,
        and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”


    [1] 48:10 Or I have chosen
    [2] 48:11 Hebrew lacks my name
    [3] 49:3 Or I will display my beauty
    [4] 49:12 Hebrew from the sea
    [5] 49:12 Dead Sea Scroll; Masoretic Text Sinim
    [6] 49:17 Dead Sea Scroll; Masoretic Text Your children make haste
    [7] 49:22 Hebrew in their bosom
    [8] 49:24 Dead Sea Scroll, Syriac, Vulgate (see also verse 25); Masoretic Text of a righteous man


    Evening: Colossians 4

    Colossians 4 (Listen)

    Masters, treat your bondservants1 justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.

    Further Instructions

    Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.

    Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

    Final Greetings

    Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant2 in the Lord. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts, and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here.

    10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him), 11 and Jesus who is called Justus. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. 14 Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers3 at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. 16 And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. 17 And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.”

    18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.


    [1] 4:1 For the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see Preface; likewise for servant in verse 12
    [2] 4:7 For the contextual rendering of the Greek word sundoulos, see Preface
    [3] 4:15 Or brothers and sisters


  • October 11: Isaiah 45–47; Colossians 3

    Morning: Isaiah 45–47

    Isaiah 45–47 (Listen)

    Cyrus, God's Instrument

    45   Thus says the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus,
        whose right hand I have grasped,
      to subdue nations before him
        and to loose the belts of kings,
      to open doors before him
        that gates may not be closed:
      “I will go before you
        and level the exalted places,1
      I will break in pieces the doors of bronze
        and cut through the bars of iron,
      I will give you the treasures of darkness
        and the hoards in secret places,
      that you may know that it is I, the LORD,
        the God of Israel, who call you by your name.
      For the sake of my servant Jacob,
        and Israel my chosen,
      I call you by your name,
        I name you, though you do not know me.
      I am the LORD, and there is no other,
        besides me there is no God;
        I equip you, though you do not know me,
      that people may know, from the rising of the sun
        and from the west, that there is none besides me;
        I am the LORD, and there is no other.
      I form light and create darkness;
        I make well-being and create calamity;
        I am the LORD, who does all these things.
      “Shower, O heavens, from above,
        and let the clouds rain down righteousness;
      let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit;
        let the earth cause them both to sprout;
        I the LORD have created it.
      “Woe to him who strives with him who formed him,
        a pot among earthen pots!
      Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’
        or ‘Your work has no handles’?
    10   Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’
        or to a woman, ‘With what are you in labor?’”
    11   Thus says the LORD,
        the Holy One of Israel, and the one who formed him:
      “Ask me of things to come;
        will you command me concerning my children and the work of my hands?2
    12   I made the earth
        and created man on it;
      it was my hands that stretched out the heavens,
        and I commanded all their host.
    13   I have stirred him up in righteousness,
        and I will make all his ways level;
      he shall build my city
        and set my exiles free,
      not for price or reward,”
        says the LORD of hosts.

    The Lord, the Only Savior

    14   Thus says the LORD:
      “The wealth of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush,
        and the Sabeans, men of stature,
      shall come over to you and be yours;
        they shall follow you;
        they shall come over in chains and bow down to you.
      They will plead with you, saying:
        ‘Surely God is in you, and there is no other,
        no god besides him.’”
    15   Truly, you are a God who hides himself,
        O God of Israel, the Savior.
    16   All of them are put to shame and confounded;
        the makers of idols go in confusion together.
    17   But Israel is saved by the LORD
        with everlasting salvation;
      you shall not be put to shame or confounded
        to all eternity.
    18   For thus says the LORD,
      who created the heavens
        (he is God!),
      who formed the earth and made it
        (he established it;
      he did not create it empty,
        he formed it to be inhabited!):
      “I am the LORD, and there is no other.
    19   I did not speak in secret,
        in a land of darkness;
      I did not say to the offspring of Jacob,
        ‘Seek me in vain.’3
      I the LORD speak the truth;
        I declare what is right.
    20   “Assemble yourselves and come;
        draw near together,
        you survivors of the nations!
      They have no knowledge
        who carry about their wooden idols,
      and keep on praying to a god
        that cannot save.
    21   Declare and present your case;
        let them take counsel together!
      Who told this long ago?
        Who declared it of old?
      Was it not I, the LORD?
        And there is no other god besides me,
      a righteous God and a Savior;
        there is none besides me.
    22   “Turn to me and be saved,
        all the ends of the earth!
        For I am God, and there is no other.
    23   By myself I have sworn;
        from my mouth has gone out in righteousness
        a word that shall not return:
      ‘To me every knee shall bow,
        every tongue shall swear allegiance.’4
    24   “Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me,
        are righteousness and strength;
      to him shall come and be ashamed
        all who were incensed against him.
    25   In the LORD all the offspring of Israel
        shall be justified and shall glory.”

    The Idols of Babylon and the One True God

    46   Bel bows down; Nebo stoops;
        their idols are on beasts and livestock;
      these things you carry are borne
        as burdens on weary beasts.
      They stoop; they bow down together;
        they cannot save the burden,
        but themselves go into captivity.
      “Listen to me, O house of Jacob,
        all the remnant of the house of Israel,
      who have been borne by me from before your birth,
        carried from the womb;
      even to your old age I am he,
        and to gray hairs I will carry you.
      I have made, and I will bear;
        I will carry and will save.
      “To whom will you liken me and make me equal,
        and compare me, that we may be alike?
      Those who lavish gold from the purse,
        and weigh out silver in the scales,
      hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god;
        then they fall down and worship!
      They lift it to their shoulders, they carry it,
        they set it in its place, and it stands there;
        it cannot move from its place.
      If one cries to it, it does not answer
        or save him from his trouble.
      “Remember this and stand firm,
        recall it to mind, you transgressors,
        remember the former things of old;
      for I am God, and there is no other;
        I am God, and there is none like me,
    10   declaring the end from the beginning
        and from ancient times things not yet done,
      saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
        and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
    11   calling a bird of prey from the east,
        the man of my counsel from a far country.
      I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
        I have purposed, and I will do it.
    12   “Listen to me, you stubborn of heart,
        you who are far from righteousness:
    13   I bring near my righteousness; it is not far off,
        and my salvation will not delay;
      I will put salvation in Zion,
        for Israel my glory.”

    The Humiliation of Babylon

    47   Come down and sit in the dust,
        O virgin daughter of Babylon;
      sit on the ground without a throne,
        O daughter of the Chaldeans!
      For you shall no more be called
        tender and delicate.
      Take the millstones and grind flour,
        put off your veil,
      strip off your robe, uncover your legs,
        pass through the rivers.
      Your nakedness shall be uncovered,
        and your disgrace shall be seen.
      I will take vengeance,
        and I will spare no one.
      Our Redeemer—the LORD of hosts is his name—
        is the Holy One of Israel.
      Sit in silence, and go into darkness,
        O daughter of the Chaldeans;
      for you shall no more be called
        the mistress of kingdoms.
      I was angry with my people;
        I profaned my heritage;
      I gave them into your hand;
        you showed them no mercy;
      on the aged you made your yoke exceedingly heavy.
      You said, “I shall be mistress forever,”
        so that you did not lay these things to heart
        or remember their end.
      Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures,
        who sit securely,
      who say in your heart,
        “I am, and there is no one besides me;
      I shall not sit as a widow
        or know the loss of children”:
      These two things shall come to you
        in a moment, in one day;
      the loss of children and widowhood
        shall come upon you in full measure,
      in spite of your many sorceries
        and the great power of your enchantments.
    10   You felt secure in your wickedness;
        you said, “No one sees me”;
      your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray,
      and you said in your heart,
        “I am, and there is no one besides me.”
    11   But evil shall come upon you,
        which you will not know how to charm away;
      disaster shall fall upon you,
        for which you will not be able to atone;
      and ruin shall come upon you suddenly,
        of which you know nothing.
    12   Stand fast in your enchantments
        and your many sorceries,
        with which you have labored from your youth;
      perhaps you may be able to succeed;
        perhaps you may inspire terror.
    13   You are wearied with your many counsels;
        let them stand forth and save you,
      those who divide the heavens,
        who gaze at the stars,
      who at the new moons make known
        what shall come upon you.
    14   Behold, they are like stubble;
        the fire consumes them;
      they cannot deliver themselves
        from the power of the flame.
      No coal for warming oneself is this,
        no fire to sit before!
    15   Such to you are those with whom you have labored,
        who have done business with you from your youth;
      they wander about, each in his own direction;
        there is no one to save you.


    [1] 45:2 Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint level the mountains
    [2] 45:11 A slight emendation yields will you question me about my children, or command me concerning the work of my hands?
    [3] 45:19 Hebrew in emptiness
    [4] 45:23 Septuagint every tongue shall confess to God


    Evening: Colossians 3

    Colossians 3 (Listen)

    Put On the New Self

    If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your1 life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

    Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:2 sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming.3 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self4 with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave,5 free; but Christ is all, and in all.

    12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

    Rules for Christian Households

    18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 22 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters,6 not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.


    [1] 3:4 Some manuscripts our
    [2] 3:5 Greek therefore your members that are on the earth
    [3] 3:6 Some manuscripts add upon the sons of disobedience
    [4] 3:9 Greek man; also as supplied in verse 10
    [5] 3:11 For the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see Preface; likewise for Bondservants in verse 22
    [6] 3:22 Or your masters according to the flesh



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