New study of the Book of Romans
The writer of this letter was the apostle Paul (see 1:1 and note). No voice from the early church was ever raised against his authorship. The letter contains a number of historical references that agree with known facts of Paul’s life. The doctrinal content of the book is typical of Paul, which is evident from a comparison with other letters he wrote.
Date and Place of Writing
The book was probably written in the early spring of a.d. 57. Very likely Paul was on his third missionary journey, ready to return to Jerusalem with the offering from the mission churches for poverty-stricken believers in Jerusalem (see 15:25-27 and notes). In 15:26 it is suggested that Paul had already received contributions from the churches of Macedonia and Achaia, so he either was at Corinth or had already been there. Since he had not yet been at Corinth (on his third missionary journey) when he wrote 1 Corinthians (cf. 1Co 16:1-4) and the collection issue had still not been resolved when he wrote 2 Corinthians (2Co 8-9), the writing of Romans must follow that of 1,2 Corinthians (dated c. 55).
The most likely place of writing is either Corinth or Cenchrea (about six miles away) because of references to Phoebe of Cenchrea (see 16:1 and note) and to Gaius, Paul’s host (see 16:23 and note), who was probably a Corinthian (see 1Co 1:14). Erastus (see 16:23 and note) may also have been a Corinthian (see 2Ti 4:20).
Paul’s primary theme in Romans is the basic gospel, God’s plan of salvation and righteousness for all humankind, Jew and Gentile alike (see 1:16-17 and notes). Although justification by faith has been suggested by some as the theme, it would seem that a broader theme states the message of the book more adequately. “Righteousness from God” (1:17) includes justification by faith, but it also embraces such related ideas as guilt, sanctification and security.
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