The Roman audience

For ten years before writing this letter, 47-57 CE, Paul had traveled around the territories bordering the Aegean Sea evangelizing Christian communities.  Paul helped to establish churches or Christian communities in the Roman provinces of Galatia, Macedonia, Achaia and Asia.  Paul, considering his task complete, so that he wanted to preach the gospel in Spain.  This would allow him to visit Rome on the way there, a long-time ambition of his.  The letter to the Romans, in part, prepares them and gives reasons for his visit.  The most probable ancient account of the beginning of Christianity in Rome was the fact that there were some Jewish people living in Rome at the time of the apostles.  Some of those Jews who had believed in Christ passed on to the Romans the tradition that they ought to profess Christ but keep the Jewish Torah law.  One ought not to condemn the Romans, but to praise their faith, because without seeing any signs or miracles and without seeing any of the apostles, they nevertheless accepted faith in Christ.  At this time, there were a substantial number of Jews in Rome, with their synagogues frequented by many, so that non-Jewish gentiles became acquainted with the story of Jesus of Nazareth.  Consequently, churches composed of both Jews and gentiles were formed at Rome.  Little is known of the circumstances of the Christians at Rome, but it was not founded by Paul.  Many of the Christians in Rome went out to meet Paul on his approach to Rome in Acts, chapter 28. There is evidence that there were a considerable number of Christians in Rome, probably with more than one place of meeting before Paul arrived.  The large number of names in Romans 16:3–15, indicates there was more than one church assembly or company of believers in Rome.  Some may have met in the house of Aquila and Priscilla, while there were other groups of Christian believers.  What do you know about the early Roman Christians?

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