1:1 Paul. Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, uses his Gentile name, Paul (from a Latin word meaning “little”) instead of his Hebrew name, Saul, as the very first word in every one of his epistles with the possible exception of Hebrews, the authorship of which is in question. This epistle to the Romans was not the first one written (that was probably either Galatians or I Thessalonians), but it is the longest and has always been placed first in the canon of Paul’s inspired writings. Romans embodies the most complete exposition of Christian doctrine in the Bible. Most of Paul’s other epistles were written either to churches in which Paul had a direct interest as founder or to individuals whom he knew personally. His church epistles were usually written to deal with specific needs in the particular churches, but this was not true of Romans. Furthermore, Rome was the greatest city in the world, so the Roman Gentile Christians had unique opportunities of witness and ministry. Accordingly, Paul used his letter to Rome, probably written while in Corinth on his third missionary journey (Acts 20:3; Romans 16:23), to compose a logical and extensive exposition and defense of Christianity.
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