The First Letter of Paul to the Americans
1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
2 To the church of God that is in America, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4 I write to you from my prison cell in Rome where I am well-treated, but I am not free to come visit you as I am guarded day and night. Although my body is imprisoned, my spirit is free, bathed in the grace and love of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
5 Timothy, my friend and co-worker has brought me news from your land and he finds that although you are free to walk your streets between the skyscrapers, roam in your mountains, and travel in your fields of wheat, your hearts have been imprisoned.
6 He tells me that your hearts have become hardened and you live as though perishing.
7 In earlier days, the Jews demanded signs and the Greeks desired wisdom. However, when we proclaim Christ crucified, He fulfills both the knowledge and mystery that you seek.
8 With your advanced technology, you have done great things in serving our Lord. In healing the sick you have brought comfort to many with your pain-numbing drugs. Your invention of the internet has brought information to lift the hands of the poor out of poverty.
9 But when I came to you, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. Today, you allow yourselves to boast through your scientists, journalists and politicians of the great “things that you have done”. Let me be clear that your nation is not a nation above all nations and that you have done no great things except through God. You have forgotten all ancient and modern teachings that all wisdom and knowledge comes from our Lord.
1 When I came to you, I fed you as infants in Christ, feeding you with milk and not solid food. But you wanted more before you were ready to receive it. Rather than healing in Christ’s name, you boast of your discoveries and claim them for your own. You claim to have acquired your mansions and your possessions through your own cunning and skillful deceits bragging that you are so much smarter than the poor who have little.
2 Your internet has allowed a more “connected” society, but the Evil One has used it for his own purposes, introducing you to the lure of internet pornography and a “false self” so you don’t need to admit to being the sinner that you are. You impulsively buy things you don’t need with free two-day delivery and you “disengage” a “friend” with a single keystroke.
3 Remember when I spoke of you of the time when Jesus was on earth among us? Jesus taught us in parables and actions that we are to love our neighbor and to always keep God the Father as our utmost love.
4 These relationships extend to everyone including your women. Jesus honored women ensuring that his mother was taken care of by his friend John when he died on the cross. But you Americans have returned to treating women like chattle, as property to be bought and bartered. You put them to work, yet refuse to pay them equally to the men who do the same jobs.
5 When Jesus was asked “Who is my neighbor?” he answered with the parable of the Good Samaritan. Did you not perceive that your neighbor is everyone including those who come from a foreign land?
6 As servants of Christ, we are stewards of God’s mysteries and we must be found trustworthy. Your elected officials and media authorities have proven that they have forgotten the lessons I brought to you from the Holy Spirit. They cannot be trusted in even the little things, and our Father will not give them bigger things for their care.
7 Timothy brings news that a small number of you already have all that you want! Already you have become rich! Why do you desire earthly riches so much when you have the love of Christ already? It is more riches than you could possibly want.
8 Timothy has also brought me news that just like our sister church in Corinth, there is sexual immorality among you Americans. You are arrogant thinking that you know better than Christ’s teachings on marriage and oneness of spirit.
9 You have created more rules in your courts than those of the earliest Jewish synagogues! These now bind you in captivity so that rather than reconciling with your neighbor with the help of the elders, you resort to taking issues to non-believers to resolve in courts that are ruled by the wealthy and imprison the poor. In fact, to have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves deceive and defraud—and believers at that.
10 So my brothers and sisters in America, do you consider that you are slaves?
1 Timothy tells me that these are terrible times in America.
2 People are lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power.
3 I warn you again: Have nothing to do with such people.
1 I am encouraged to hear Timothy say that there are still a few among you who follow Jesus so closely that His dust continues to cover your feet. A small number of you are still bold and gather weekly to celebrate Christ’s resurrection. Your gathering is important for your sense of community, but that is not where I want you to proclaim the news of Jesus Christ.
2 You must go into the streets and rooftops to proclaim His name so that all will be freed from your modern-day slavery. It is only through you that America will be saved.
3 I have asked Timothy on his next journey to you to bring my greetings and to remind you that whatever gifts and riches you have, if you do not use them in love, you have failed. You must always act in love to bring comfort to the sorrowful, healing to the sick, wisdom to the fallen and peace to the anxious.
4 Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong and let all that you do be done in love.
1 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand from my prison cell in Rome. I hope to travel to America once again when I am released to remind you in person that anyone who has no love for the Lord will be accursed.
2 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love be with all of you in Christ Jesus.