First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you—that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. I want you to know, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.
Paul’s Desire to Come to Rome
Paul gives thanks to God through Christ for the faith of the believers at Rome because it is “proclaimed in all the world.” The testimony of the church at Rome was renowned. Surely the fledgling church that was spreading into every corner of the world beginning at Jerusalem must have felt gratified that they had now reached as far as Rome itself. This was quite an accomplishment for a church somewhere around twenty-five years old. There is no sure evidence concerning who founded the church at Rome, but by now they had grown enough to establish a good reputation in the world.
Though Paul had never visited Rome, he prayed for them daily “asking that somehow by God’s will” he might “at last succeed in coming” there. Apparently, Paul had tried before without success to visit Rome. However, Paul trusted all things to the will of God knowing that God directs our steps according to His will. Paul’s desire is that he “may impart” to them a strengthening spiritual gift and find mutual encouragement in their faith. There is no doubt that the incredible spiritual insight that follows in the epistle to Rome demonstrates that Paul had plenty to impart.