The Occasion of the Letter

The internal evidence of this letter reveals that Paul had at least eight reasons for writing it:

1. Present a Theological Exposition of the Gospel (1:1-6)
2. Open the Way for Paul’s Visit (1:10-11)
3. Reveal Paul’s Intended Visit in the Near Future to Rome (1:13; 15:22-29; cf. Acts 19:21)
4. Encourage Righteous Living (13:11-14)
5. Explain God’s Setting Aside of the Nation of Israel and Its Future Hope of Salvation (9-11)
6. Reveal Paul’s Missionary Plans and Seek Assistance (15:24)
7. Enlist Prayer Support for Paul (15:30-33)
8. Establish Believers in the Gospel (16:25)

The fact that Phoebe, a deaconess of the church at Cenchraea, was going to Rome presented an opportunity to send the letter to the Christians in that city (16:1-2). Most likely, Paul was even more compelled to write to this church since it had come into existence apparently without authoritative leadership and needed thorough instruction in the fundamentals of salvation.

Another reason for writing Romans was undoubtedly Paul’s desire to minister to the spiritual needs of the Christians in Rome, even though they were in good spiritual condition (15:14-16). The common problems of all the early churches were dangers to the Roman church as well. These difficulties included internal conflicts, mainly between Jewish and Gentile believers, and external threats from false teachers. Paul gave both of these potential problems attention in this epistle (15:1-8; 16:17-20). He felt that the best protection against the infection of false teaching was the antiseptic of the truth.

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