Romans, Epistle to the

This epistle was probably written at Corinth. Phoebe (Rom. 16:1)
of Cenchrea conveyed it to Rome, and Gaius of Corinth
entertained the apostle at the time of his writing it (16:23; 1
Cor. 1:14), and Erastus was chamberlain of the city, i.e., of
Corinth (2 Tim. 4:20).

The precise time at which it was written is not mentioned in
the epistle, but it was obviously written when the apostle was
about to "go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints", i.e.,
at the close of his second visit to Greece, during the winter
preceding his last visit to that city (Rom. 15:25; compare Acts
19:21; 20:2, 3, 16; 1 Cor. 16:1-4), early in A.D. 58.

It is highly probable that Christianity was planted in Rome by
some of those who had been at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost
(Acts 2:10). At this time the Jews were very numerous in Rome,
and their synagogues were probably resorted to by Romans also,
who in this way became acquainted with the great facts regarding
Jesus as these were reported among the Jews. Thus a church
composed of both Jews and Gentiles was formed at Rome. Many of
the brethren went out to meet Paul on his approach to Rome.
There are evidences that Christians were then in Rome in
considerable numbers, and had probably more than one place of
meeting (Rom. 16:14, 15).

The object of the apostle in writing to this church was to
explain to them the great doctrines of the gospel. His epistle
was a "word in season." Himself deeply impressed with a sense of
the value of the doctrines of salvation, he opens up in a clear
and connected form the whole system of the gospel in its
relation both to Jew and Gentile. This epistle is peculiar in
this, that it is a systematic exposition of the gospel of
universal application. The subject is here treated
argumentatively, and is a plea for Gentiles addressed to Jews.
In the Epistle to the Galatians, the same subject is discussed,
but there the apostle pleads his own authority, because the
church in Galatia had been founded by him.

After the introduction (1:1-15), the apostle presents in it
divers aspects and relations the doctrine of justification by
faith (1:16-11:36) on the ground of the imputed righteousness of
Christ. He shows that salvation is all of grace, and only of
grace. This main section of his letter is followed by various
practical exhortations (12:1-15:13), which are followed by a
conclusion containing personal explanations and salutations,
which contain the names of twenty-four Christians at Rome, a
benediction, and a doxology (Rom. 15:14-ch. 16).