Author:The Apostle Paul introduces himself as the writer in the first line of the Epistle to the Romans.
Audience:This letter was written to the gentile and Jewish Saints in Rome.
Historical Background:Paul wrote this letter about A.D. 57 while he was in Corinth, just before his last journey to Jerusalem. He sent it to prepare the Saints for his upcoming visit to Rome. (For more background information, see the commentaries for Romans in The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, pp. 315–16.)
Unique Features:Romans is the most systematically written of Paul’s Epistles and perhaps the most doctrinal book in the New Testament. It points to Jesus Christ as the source of salvation by teaching how we can put off sins and replace them with a newness of life. Romans also emphasizes the importance of walking after the Spirit over legal formalism. (See the commentaries for Romans in The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, p. 316.)
Theme:Paul wrote to the Saints in Rome to prepare them for his visit, but more importantly to present his apostolic explanation of God’s universal plan of salvation. We all sin, Paul taught. But through faith in and obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ, we can all be saved through His power and grace. In developing this theme Paul addressed doctrines such as sin and righteousness, faith in Christ and works of righteousness, justification, and election. Paul summarized the theme of this letter when he wrote:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed through faith on his name; as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (JST, Romans 1:16–17).