Paul wrote the epistle to the Romans during his three-month stay in Corinth on his Third Missionary Journey (Acts 20:1–3). Many scholars date this visit in the winter of 57–58, while others claim an earlier date. At the time of writing the epistle, Paul was taking a donation to the needy in Jerusalem from the churches in Macedonia and Achaia (Rom. 15:25, 26). His purpose was that after accomplishing his mission, he would visit Rome, and from there travel on to Spain (Acts 19:21; Rom. 15:24, 28).
Seeking cooperation of the Romans
Paul has never been able to visit the believers in Rome, though he wanted to (Rom. 1:13; 15:22). Now he finished his mission in Asia and Greece (Rom. 15:19, 23). And he desired to strengthen the churches in Italy and to introduce Christianity in Spain. In order to achieve this goal, Paul wanted the cooperation of the believers in Rome. Therefore, in hope of his visit, he sent them his letter and preached to them the good news of the gospel (Rom. 1:15; 2:16).
Spiritual edification of the church
In the epistle to the Romans, Paul addressed specific issues that were necessary for the edification of the churches in Rome. He dealt with the sinfulness of man and God’s grace that helps the sinners receive pardon for sin, restoration and holiness. Through faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who died, rose again, people can be reconciled to God. Also, Paul addressed the disagreements with the Judaizers in a broad sense. Paul showed that all men, Jews and Gentiles have sinned and have fallen short of God’s glorious ideal (Rom. 3:23). There is no excuse, for all men have gotten some revelation of God’s will (Rom. 1:20). Therefore, everyone is under condemnation.
And Paul added that sinners are helpless and unable to obey God or save themselves in their depraved condition (Rom. 8:7). Legalistic attempts to obey are not successful without God for He alone can provide a way through the sacrifice of His Son. All what people should do is to accept Christ’s sacrifice by faith. This is Paul’s gospel, as seen in the first part of the epistle. The remaining chapters deal with the practical application of the gospel addressing some problems between God’s chosen people and the new members of the Christian church.
In His service,