The Changeless Christ
1Let love of your fellow believers continue. 2Do not neglect to extend hospitality to strangers [especially among the family of believers—being friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously], for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. 3Remember those who are in prison, as if you were their fellow prisoner, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body [and subject to physical suffering]. 4Marriage is to be held in honor among all [that is, regarded as something of great value], and the marriage bed undefiled [by immorality or by any sexual sin]; for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. 5Let your character [your moral essence, your inner nature] be free from the love of money [shun greed—be financially ethical], being content with what you have; for He has said, “I will never [under any circumstances] desert you [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you [assuredly not]!” 6So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently say,
“The Lord is my Helper [in time of need], I will not be afraid.
What will man do to me?”
7Remember your leaders [for it was they] who brought you the word of God; and consider the result of their conduct [the outcome of their godly lives], and imitate their faith [their conviction that God exists and is the Creator and Ruler of all things, the Provider of eternal salvation through Christ, and imitate their reliance on God with absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness]. 8Jesus Christ is [eternally changeless, always] the same yesterday and today and forever. 9Do not be carried away by diverse and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be established and strengthened by grace and not by foods [rules of diet and ritualistic meals], which bring no benefit or spiritual growth to those who observe them. 10We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle (sacred tent) have no right to eat. 11For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside the camp. 12Therefore Jesus also suffered and died outside the [city] gate so that He might sanctify and set apart for God as holy the people [who believe] through [the shedding of] His own blood. 13So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His contempt [the disgrace and shame that He had to suffer]. 14For here we have no lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.
15Through Him, therefore, let us at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name. 16Do not neglect to do good, to contribute [to the needy of the church as an expression of fellowship], for such sacrifices are always pleasing to God.
17Obey your [spiritual] leaders and submit to them [recognizing their authority over you], for they are keeping watch over your souls and continually guarding your spiritual welfare as those who will give an account [of their stewardship of you]. Let them do this with joy and not with grief and groans, for this would be of no benefit to you.
18Keep praying for us, for we are convinced that we have a good conscience, seeking to conduct ourselves honorably [that is, with moral courage and personal integrity] in all things. 19And I urge all of you to pray earnestly, so that I may be restored to you soon.
20Now may the God of peace [the source of serenity and spiritual well-being] who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood that sealed and ratified the eternal covenant, 21equip you with every good thing to carry out His will and strengthen you [making you complete and perfect as you ought to be], accomplishing in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
22I call on you, brothers and sisters, listen [patiently] to this message of exhortation and encouragement, for I have written to you briefly. 23Notice that our brother Timothy has been released [from prison]. If he comes soon, I will see you [along with him]. 24Give our greetings to all of your [spiritual] leaders and to all of the saints (God’s people). Those [Christians] from Italy send you their greetings.
25Grace be with you all.