Proposed Purposes *

First Admin's View ...

Also see the BibleReexamined Romans topics
Paul wrote to a church locality that had developed an animosity toward Jews and toward each other. The church group essentially consisted of Gentile believers who were boastful and judgmental. The letter had been composed in manner to lead the readers who were potentially a non-sympathetic audience into being a benevolent people.

The main purposes seem to include: preparations toward Spain, problems of anti-Jewish sentiments, issues of pride, and foundations of doctrine.

Note 5 of Article on Romans:
Introduction, Argument, and Outline at by Daniel B. Wallace mentions Paul B. Fowler's paper speaking of the effort to dispel anti-semitism. Hopefully the paper will be available since this is an early paper to mention the idea.

Here's a more detailed breakdown on the purpose of Romans showing the different types of purposes:

1. Occasion or event driven — anti-Jewish attitude of the Roman Gentile believers.

2. General goal — fix problems local to Roman believers

3. Incidental purpose (to cover points that would not compel him to write but are now covered cause he is writing):
a) Instruction on theological framework
b) Give general instruction to live properly in love and service to one another

4. Objectives, specific goals upon Roman believers--
a) Move the Roman believers from pride into benevolent attitude toward Jews
b) Move the Roman believers from pride to good behavior toward each other
c) Give Roman believers instruction needed to endure Roman government persecution (Rom 8 with some ideas from ch13)
d) Convince Romans to stop following the flesh (Rom 6). The flesh problem was shown also in their pride.
e) Solidify the trust in God by showing that God was faithful to Israel (Ch 9 to 11).

5. God's purpose, as extrapolated and interpreted:
a) Theological framework — developed by Paul's expertise in Old Testament studies, as seen through Judaism, as interpreted in light of Christ Jesus
b) Foundational teaching for the unity of the faith — Eph 4:11-13
c) Instruct believers today on serving one another's needs
d) Show God's faithfulness to His promise to Israel --and hence God is faithful to what He gives in Christ Jesus

6. Argumentative purpose (as a distraction):
Goal to reach Spain --the Romans were too disarrayed to be a foundation to reach Spain.

7. Additional purpose (or possibly viewed as the personal motive of Paul):
Paul sought to see more Hebrews come to Christ by promoting jealousy through the Roman Gentile believers in accord with the prophecies (Rom 10:19;11:14).

Daniel B. Wallace's View

Wallace wrote:
"... Paul’s occasion-purpose for writing Romans is threefold: (1) he was going west and needed to have a base of operations in a church that shared both his vision and his theology; (2) he knew that his life was in danger and wanted to give something of a more balanced, systematic presentation of his gospel, to leave as a memorial; and (3) he detected anti-Semitism arising in the Roman church through the influence of Claudius’ edict and wanted to give a theologically-based correction to this attitude."
Article on Romans

F.C. Baur's View

F. C. Baur held that there was a Jewish-Gentile conflict reflected in the letter to the Romans. But such conflict was his expectation and model for investigating the development of Christianity
See the Wikipedia intro to Baur. article

Addressing divisions among the church factions. It is interesting also that this article points out that there truly were problems in Rome that Paul was addressing.

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