This book bears the title "Romans" because it is addressed "to all that are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints" (Romans 1:7).
This book was written by Paul (Romans 1:1). Tertius was his stenographer (Romans 16:22). Little is known of Paul's family. His father was of the tribe of Benjamin (Philippians 3:5), and a Pharisee (Acts 23:6). In Acts 23:16 reference is made to Paul's sister and her son in Jerusalem. The New Testament nowhere mentions Paul's mother. He was a native of Tarsus in Cilicia, but was educated in Jerusalem under the great teacher Gamaliel (Acts23:3). The date of Paul's birth is unknown, but it is thought that he was a little younger than the Lord. Our first introduction to him in the New Testament is in Acts 7:58, where he was encouraging the stoning of Stephen. In Acts 9 (also 22 and 26) we read of his conversion. From this point on the book of Acts is filled with his activities. He probably died a martyr at Rome (II Timothy 4:7,8).
Scholars generally agree that the book was written from Corinth about A.D. 58 during Paul's second visit in Greece (Acts 20:1-3; Romans 1:11,13,15: 15:23-33; 16:1,2,21,23; Acts 19:21,22; 24:17). It is thought that I and II Thessalonians, Galatians, I and II Corinthians preceded Romans in time. Romans probably comes first in order among the letters in the New Testament because of its theological importance. As with all New Testament scriptures, the contents are of far greater importance than time and place of writing.
The book was written to the saints at Rome (Romans 1:7) where there were several congregations (Romans 16:5,15). Their origin is obscure. Some of those present on Pentecost could have carried the gospel back to Rome (Acts 2:10). When the Jerusalem church was scattered following the death of Stephen, some disciples could have gone to Rome (Acts 8:4; 11:19). The membership in Rome included both Jews and Gentiles (Romans 1:6-15; 7:1).
Paul had long cherished a desire to go to Rome (Acts 19:21). According to Romans 15:24-33, he soon hoped to go. Perhaps he wanted them to know of his teaching before his arrival. With a burning thirst for souls, he probably felt that the great city of Rome would be a fruitful field of labor. Furthermore, he had just written Galatians, stressing the human side of redemption. Romans stresses the divine side. The purpose of the letter was to present a systematic exposition of the gospel, and to justify Paul's mission to the Gentiles. Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, probably carried the letter to Rome (Romans 16:1,2).
The gospel "is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek" (Romans 1:16,17).