Author: Paul wrote the Letter to the Romans, most probably from Corinth.
Date: About 57 A.D. Christians in Rome were predominately Gentile, with a Judaeo-Christian minority, which is reflected in this letter.
Theme: The relationship between Judaism and Christianity.
According to Luke, the Christian communities spread due to the Holy Spirit, especially because of Peter and Paul.
- Peter was the leader of the Twelve Disciples and the head of the Judaeo-Christian communities.
- Paul joined the church at Antioch. Luke shows Paul as a true authority of the gospel, even though Paul was not one of the Twelve Disciples.
The Gentiles, more so than the Jews, were typically more open to Peter and Paul’s mission. The Jews were apprehensive, due to fear of Paul’s gospel threatening their own cultural heritage. As a result, Paul’s gospel was preached more to the Gentiles than the Jews.
Although Paul expressed his grief over Israel’s failure to accept Christian messianism, he remained unsympathetic toward both Jewish and Gentile unbelievers.
This letter depicts justification by faith rather than by the law. It contains a powerful explanation of the doctrine of the supremacy of Christ and of faith in him as the source of salvation. It is an implicit plea to the Christians of Rome to hold fast to the faith. They are to resist any pressure put on them to accept a doctrine of salvation through works of the law. At the same time they are not to exaggerate Christian freedom through repudiation of law itself.
Paul pushed the Jews and Gentiles to accept each other as equals. In this letter, Paul writes that all people are one in Jesus Christ. This is important at the time the letter was written, because the Jews were prideful that they were blessed by the Old Covenant, which was not so for the Gentiles. The Gentiles, however, considered themselves as the replacement of Israel as God’s beloved people. Today, Paul’s point is still very much relevant, since ALL people are Children of God, not just one religious sect or ethnicity.