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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

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The Letter of Paul to the Romans - Introduction

The longest of Paul's letters (and first in the New Testament sequence) contains the fullest and most balanced statement of his theology. For a year or two Paul had been collecting relief money for the Christian poor in Jerusalem ( 15.16; 1 Cor. 16.1; 2 Cor. 8.4; 9.1 ). Now, perhaps because of Judaizers (see Introduction to Galatians ), he has decided that he can no longer work in his old territory (from Syria to Illyricum; 15.19, 23 ). He proposes to visit Rome, after he has delivered this collection ( 15.25 ), in order to open a new mission farther west (“Spain”; 15.24, 28 ). To introduce himself to the Romans, a church he has never visited, he fills this impressive letter with insights derived from past crises in his eventful ministry. Perhaps he also intends to scotch any rumors that labeled him as antinomian ( 3.8, 31; 7.12; chs. 13–14 ) or anti-Jewish ( 3.1–3; chs. 9–11 ).

As to the date: the collection project implies the chronological sequence—1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, chs. 1–9 , Romans—over a period of perhaps two years. The Judaizing crisis suggests that Galatians immediately preceded Romans. Opinions about the year vary from 48 C.E. to 58 C.E.

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