This letter was written from Corinth in the early spring of 57AD, towards the end of Paul’s third missionary journey (see Map 27). There had been Christians in Rome as early as 49AD when Emperor Claudius expelled all Jews and Jewish Christians (including Aquila and Priscilla) for fighting about ‘Christus’ – the Christ or ‘Messiah’ (see Acts 18:2). The Gentile Christians were not expelled, however, and by the time Paul arrived in Rome in the spring of 60AD to await his trial by the Emperor Nero, Aquila and his wife had returned to Rome (where the Christians were meeting in their home). Paul was greeted on the road to Rome by fellow-believers (see Acts 28:15) and there were already Gentile Christians in Nero’s household (see Philippians 4:22) (see Map 26).
The Roman Forum in Rome
Meanwhile, in 57AD, Paul was in Corinth – the closest he’d ever been to Rome (see Acts 20:2-3 and 4 on Map 25). He intended to visit the believers in Rome after travelling through Macedonia and Achaia (northern and southern Greece) but he’d changed his plans and was about to return directly to Jerusalem with the gifts for the Judaean Christians from the believers in Philippi and Corinth (see Acts 19:21).
The letter was dictated by Paul to Tertius, a Christian colleague (see Romans 16:22). Phoebe – a believer from Cenchrea (the eastern port of Corinth) – probably took the letter by hand from Corinth to Rome (see Romans 16:1-2).
In his letter, Paul explains how God puts people right with himself – through faith in the Lord Jesus.