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Bible Commentaries

Parker's The People's Bible


- Romans

by Joseph Parker


"At what time or by whom the Gospel was first preached in the Imperial City is unknown. That it was at an early period may be inferred from the circumstance that, when Paul wrote this Epistle, the faith of the Roman Christians 'was spoken of throughout the whole world' (chap. Rom 1:8 ). It is probable that some of those 'strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,' who were present at Jerusalem on the great day of Pentecost, Acts 2:10 , carried back to that city the knowledge of the Gospel. And it is not improbable, also, considering the constant intercourse between Rome and the provinces, that some of the numerous converts to Christianity in Judæa, Asia Minor, and Greece, might soon have found their way to the capital. That some of the persons concerned in the establishment of the Church of Rome (two of whom Paul mentions as having been converted earlier than himself) were Paul's particular friends, with whom he had met while preaching in Asia and in Greece, is evident from the form of the salutations in chap. Romans 16:3-16 .

"The date of this Epistle is very precisely fixed by the following facts. Paul had not yet been to Rome (Romans 1:11 , Romans 1:13 , Rom 1:15 ). He was intending to visit it, after first visiting Jerusalem ( Rom 15:23-28 ), and this was his purpose during his three months' residence at Corinth, Acts 19:21 . He was about to carry a collection from Macedonia and Achaia to Jerusalem (Romans 15:26 , Rom 15:31 ): and this he did carry from Corinth to Jerusalem at the close of his visit, Acts 24:17 . When he wrote the Epistle, Timothy, Sosipater, Gaius, and Erastus were with him (Romans 16:21 , Rom 16:23 ). Gaius was his host, and resided at Corinth, 1 Corinthians 1:14 . Erastus was himself a Corinthian, and had been sent shortly before from Ephesus with Timothy on their way through Corinth to Macedonia, Acts 19:22 ; 1 Corinthians 16:10-11 ; and the first three are expressly mentioned in Act 20:4 as being with Paul at Corinth. Phoebe, moreover, the bearer of the Epistle, was a member of the Church at the Corinthian port of Cenchrea ( Rom 16:1 ). As Paul, therefore, was preparing to visit Jerusalem, one of his converts was also departing from Corinth, in an opposite direction, for Rome, and by her this Epistle was taken to that city. Its date is thus fixed, a.d. 58." Angus's Bible Handbook.]