Introduction: The epistle of Romans is Paul’s greatest work. It is the complete revelation of Christian doctrines. The fact of Christianity is centered in Jesus Christ and the four gospels present the historical account of His life. The force of the gospel is recorded in the book of Acts. It is followed by Epistles and Revelation. The fact of Christian faith without inspired interpretation can be misunderstood. The book of Romans is the inspired interpretation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So Romans is known as the “Constitution of Christianity and the Christian Manifesto”. Romans records the doctrines of the revelation of God in nature, the fall of man, the total depravity of sinners, the doctrine of justification, the doctrine of sanctification, the preservation of the saints, the divine election and many more. It explains the Gospel as the most powerful transforming force in the human history and differentiates Christianity from all other world views because it reveals the Savior of the world. The importance of the epistle of Romans cannot be overstated. It is the gateway to the New Testament theology like the brazen alter in the Tabernacle of the Old Testament. The study of the book of Romans was instrumental in the conversion of Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin and John Wesley. All great spiritual revival started as the result of the study of this book. The book of Romans is the basic training manual for Christians.
Authorship and the Church at Rome: The epistle of Romans was written by Apostle Paul at the end of his third missionary journey from Corinth. Paul claims to be the author of Romans (Rom 1:1). He wrote seven epistles to New Testament Churches and this is his sixth epistle. Most likely Paul wrote Romans between A.D 57-58. It is impossible to determine with certainty who founded the Church at Rome. It is evident that Paul did not establish this Church (1:10, 11, and 13). Peter must be ruled out as well because he was a pillar or leader in the Church at Jerusalem (Gal 2:9). Paul did not want to preach the gospel where a church has already been started by someone else (Rom 15:20). Then how the Church at Rome was founded? There are two possibilities exist. It is possible that believers at Pentecost carried their new faith in Christ to Rome and founded the Church there (Act 2:9-11). Another possibility is that migrated believers from the Churches established by Paul were instrumental in founding the Church at Rome. This Church was made up of both Jews and Gentiles (Rom 1:5, 6).
Purpose of Writing: Paul already spent twenty years in evangelizing and establishing churches in Asia Minor. Now he is looking forward to visit Jerusalem to hand over the gift received from the Gentile Churches (Rom 15:25-28). Once that mission was completed he wanted to go to new places where no one labored (Rom 15:20). His choice was to visit Spain. On his way Paul wanted to visit Rome and spend some time with the believers there which was his lifelong desire. The purpose of visiting Rome was to enlist the support of the Church at Rome for the missionary campaign in Spain. Since Paul was the Apostle to Gentiles, he wanted to add validity to the church at Rome by his visit. Also Paul wanted to deposit the written text of Christian faith to this Church at the capital city of Roman empire to safeguard believers from doctrinal errors. Romans reveals that God is graciously spreading the gospel throughout the world, offering remedy for sin and death. Pray that God would help us to understand the truth given in this letter to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.