Though this epistle is in order placed the first of the epistles,
yet it was not first written: there were several epistles written
before it, as the two epistles to the Thessalonians, the two to the
Corinthians, the first epistle to Timothy, and that to Titus: the
reason why this epistle stands first, is either the excellency of it,
of which Chrysostom had so great an esteem that he caused it to be read
over to him twice a week; or else the dignity of the place, where the
persons lived to whom it is written, being Rome, the imperial city: so
the books of the prophets are not placed in the same order in which
they were written: Hosea prophesied as early as Isaiah, if not earlier;
and before Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and yet stands after them. This
epistle was written from Corinth, as the subscription of it testifies;
and which may be confirmed from the apostle's commendation of Phoebe,
by whom he sent it, who was of Cenchrea, a place near Corinth; by his
calling Erastus, the chamberlain of the city, who abode at Corinth,
\\#2Ti 4:20\\, and Gaius his host, who was a Corinthian, \\#Ro 16:23\\
\\#1Co 1:14\\, though at what time it was written from hence, is not so
evident: some think it was written in the time of his three months'
travel through Greece, \\#Ac 20:2,3\\, a little before the death of
the Emperor Claudius, in the year of Christ 55; others, that it was
written by him in the short stay he made at Corinth, when he came
thither, as is supposed, from Philippi, in his way to Troas, where some
of his company went before, and had been there five days before him:
and this is placed in the second year of Nero, and in the year of
Christ 56; however, it was not written by him during his long stay at
Corinth, when he was first there, but afterwards, even after he had
preached from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum: and when he
was about to go to Jerusalem, with the contributions of the churches of
Macedonia and Achaia, to the poor saints there, \\#Ro 15:19,25,26\\.
The persons to whom this epistle was sent were Roman saints, both Jews
and Gentiles, inhabiting the city of Rome; of which city and church;
\\see Gill on "Ac 28:14"\\;
\\see Gill on "Ac 28:15"\\; by whom the Gospel was first preached
at Rome, and who were the means of forming the church there, is not
very evident Irenaeus, an ancient writer, says {a}, that Peter and Paul
preached the Gospel at Rome, and founded the church; and Gaius, an
ecclesiastical man, who lived in the time of Zephyrinus, bishop of
Rome, asserts the same; and Dionysius; bishop of the Corinthians, calls
the Romans the plantation of Peter and Paul {b}: whether Peter was ever
at Rome is not a clear point with many; and certain it is, that the
Apostle Paul had not been at Rome when he wrote this epistle, at least
it seems very probable he had not, by several expressions in
\\#Ro 1:10-15\\; and yet here was a church to which he writes, and had
been a considerable time; for their faith was spoken of throughout the
world, \\#Ro 1:8\\; and when the apostle was on the road to this city,
the brethren in it met him, \\#Ac 28:15\\. The chief design of this
epistle is to set in a clear light the doctrine of justification:
showing against the Gentiles, that it is not by the light of nature,
and works done in obedience to that, and against the Jews, that it was
not by the law of Moses, and the deeds of that; which he clearly
evinces, by observing the sinful and wretched estate both of Jews and
Gentiles: but that it is by the righteousness of Christ imputed through
the grace of God, and received by faith; the effects of which are peace
and joy in the soul, and holiness in the life and conversation: he
gives an account of the justified ones, as that they are not without
sin, which he illustrates by his own experience and case; and yet are
possessed of various privileges, as freedom from condemnation, the
blessing of adoption, and a right to the heavenly inheritance; he
treats in it concerning predestination, the calling of the Gentiles,
and the rejection of the Jews; and exhorts to the various duties
incumbent on the saints, with respect to one another, and to the world,
to duties of a moral and civil nature, and the use of things
indifferent; and closes it with the salutations of divers persons.

{a} Adv. Haeres. l. 3. c. 1. Vid. Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 5. c. 8.
{b} Apud Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 2. c. 25.


This chapter contains the inscription of the epistle, and
salutation, the preface to it, and the grand proposition of
justification by faith, so much enlarged on afterwards; and that this
could not be by the law of nature, and the works of it among the
Gentiles, is demonstrated by a detail of their horrible wickedness,
impiety, and unrighteousness. In the inscription an account is given of
the author of the epistle, who is described in \\#Ro 1:1\\ by his name
Paul: by his relation to Christ, a servant of his; and by his office,
an apostle, whose business and concern were with the Gospel; to which
he was separated. This Gospel is commended from the author of it, who
is God himself; and from the antiquity of it, \\#Ro 1:2,3\\, being as
ancient as the writings of the prophets; and from the subject of it,
being the Lord Jesus Christ; who is described by his relation to God,
his Son, by his dominion over the saints, their Lord, by both his
natures, human and divine; his human nature, as being of the seed of
David, his divine nature, being the Son of God, \\#Ro 1:4\\, which is
declared by the power he is possessed of, by the Spirit of holiness
that is in him, by his resurrection from the dead, and by the apostles
receiving from him grace to fit them for their office, and by the
office itself: the end of which was to make some among all nations
obedient to him, \\#Ro 1:5\\, among whom were the saints at Rome, who
were called by him, and after his name, \\#Ro 1:6\\, which introduces
the account of the persons to whom this epistle is written, who are
described, \\#Ro 1:7\\, by the place of their abode, Rome; by their
interest in the love of God; and by the effect, fruit, and evidence of
it, their effectual calling; and then follows the apostle's usual
salutation, as in all his epistles, in which he wishes grace and peace
for them, from God the Father, and from Christ. The preface begins
\\#Ro 1:8\\, in which are a thanksgiving to God, through Christ, for
all the saints at Rome, particularly on account of their faith, for
which they were everywhere so famous; an appeal to God, \\#Ro 1:9\\,
for the truth of his incessant prayers for them, and particularly,
\\#Ro 1:10\\, that this was a request he made, that if it was the will
of God, he might have a speedy and prosperous journey to, them; an
expression of strong affection to them, and of his great desire to see
them, \\#Ro 1:11\\, his end in which was partly for their sakes, to
communicate spiritual things to them for their establishment, and
partly for his own comfort, and the increase of the mutual faith of
both, \\#Ro 1:12\\, also a vindication of himself, \\#Ro 1:13\\,
showing, that it was not any fault of his, or any neglect of them by
him, that he had not been with them as yet, but some things hindered
him, in the execution of his purpose to come to them; to which he was
moved, partly by the hope of having fruit among them, as among others,
and partly through the obligation that lay upon him by virtue of his
office, to preach the Gospel to all sorts of men, \\#Ro 1:14\\, he
expresses his willingness and readiness to preach the Gospel to them at
Rome, as soon as an opportunity would offer, \\#Ro 1:15\\, which was
his work and office, what he delighted in, was closely attached to, and
by no means ashamed of, \\#Ro 1:16\\, partly because of the nature of
it, it was the Gospel, good news and true: and partly because of the
author and subject of it, Christ; as also because of the efficacy of it
in the salvation of Jews and Gentiles; and likewise because of a
principal doctrine revealed in it, \\#Ro 1:17\\, the doctrine of
justification by faith, in the righteousness of Christ, confirmed and
illustrated by a passage out of \\#Hab 2:4\\, and which he particularly
mentions, because he intended to dwell upon it in this epistle: and in
order to show that the Gentiles could not be justified in the sight of
God by their obedience to the law, and the light of nature, he
observes, that they were the objects of the wrath of God, \\#Ro 1:18\\,
and that very justly, because they sinned knowingly; they had some
knowledge of the truth, but they would not profess it: and that they
had such knowledge of it, he proves from the author of it, God, who
showed it to them, \\#Ro 1:19\\, and from the means of it, by which
they must, and did arrive to some degree of it, namely, the works of
creation, \\#Ro 1:20\\. The apostle goes on to expose the ingratitude
of them, the vanity of their minds, the pride and folly of their
hearts, \\#Ro 1:21,22\\, the gross idolatry they were guilty of,
\\#Ro 1:23\\, for which idolatry they were given up to their own
hearts' lusts, to commit the foulest and most scandalous iniquities,
even to commit sodomitical practices, and unnatural lusts, both men and
women, \\#Ro 1:24-28\\. And so far were they from having a
righteousness to justify them before God, that they were titled with
all unrighteousness; and a large list of the vilest sins, being
committed by them, is given; and a catalogue of the worst of sinners,
as among them, \\#Ro 1:29-32\\. All which are aggravated by their
knowledge of the will of God, through the light of nature, that these
things were contrary to it, and were deserving of death; and yet they
both did them, and were delighted with those that committed them also:
the inference which he leaves to be deduced from hence, and which may
easily be deduced, is, that therefore there can be no justification of
such persons in the sight of God by their own works.