Bible Discussion Thread

  • Wanita Bess
    Who was the founder of the church in Rome?
  • S Spencer - in Reply
    Hi Wanita.

    The epistle was written during Paul's third missionary journey, at Corinth where he spent three months. He had just come from Ephesus where he had spent three strenuous years.

    Dr. Griffith Thomas makes an interesting observation: "Certain names point clearly to Corinth as the place whence this Epistle was written." The picture of the gross immorality of the Gentiles in Rome is a picture drawn from the Corinth of Paul's day.

    OCCASION: This letter was brought forth by natural reason. Paul wished to visit Rome on his way to Spain. The letter was taken by Phoebe, deaconess of Cenchrea ( Romans 16:1).

    FOUNDER OF THE CHURCH AT ROME: Paul had not visited Rome when he wrote this epistle. In this respect it is different from all others, with the possible exception of the Epistle to the Colossians. No apostle had preceded Paul to Rome; obviously, Simon Peter had not. The Roman church was largely a gentile church, and Peter was not the apostle to the Gentiles ( Galatians 2:7). Paul's method was not to follow another apostle, and it is not likely he would have gone to Rome had another apostle preceded him.

    Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation. ( Romans 15:20)

    In a very definite sense, Paul was the founder of the church at Rome. This great metropolis drew men to its streets and marketplaces from all over the empire as if it were a magnet. Many whom Paul had led to Christ in other places made their way to Rome and witnessed there. The church in Rome was the assembly of these folk. This is not mere speculation, as Priscilla and Aquila are examples.

    Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my helpers in Christ Jesus. ( Romans 16:3)

    Paul had first met them in Corinth and led them to Christ ( Acts 18:1-3). Later they returned to Rome.

    Paul mentions 35 individuals by name in chapter 16. Of these, 27 were living in Rome at this time. These he must have met elsewhere in the.

    God bless.
  • Gigi - in Reply
    Hello S. Spencer

    I just finished a well notated biography of Paul by F. F. Bruce

    "Paul, Apostle of the Heart Set Free."

    He said that there churches in Rome were well established in the area of Rome before Pail made contact with them and that they comprised of many Jews as well as Gentiles.

    I Agree that Peter most likely did not go to Rome prior to Paul to plant churches there, but we do not really know, as there were many Jews in Rome at this time.

    It is historically reported that Peter spent time in Rome after Paul was be headed and was martyred in Rome as well.

    So, as far as I know, neither Paul not Peter started the churches in Rome. It is believed that many Christians relocated to Rome before Paul's contact and started various church fellowships that were thriving by the time Paul begins his work to the Romans.

    Prior to Paul's ministry to the Romans, Jews were expelled from Rome for a time on account of problems between Jew against the Jewish Christians. After a time the order was rescinded and Jews came back to Rome. Priscilla and Aquila were from Rome but left during the expulsion whereupon they met Psul in Corinth. They moved back to Rome during Paul's imprisonment and served the fellowships on the area.

    I think it is wise to refrain from drawing a strict and straight line between the ministries of Peter being an apostle only to the Jews and Paul being one only to the Gentiles. Acts has examples of both Peter and Paul witnessing to both Jews and Gentiles.

    There were more Jews residing outside of Israel at this time than within the borders of Israel, having communities all over Asia Minor, Northern Africa, and around the Mediterranean. Also, remember that the Jews were of the tribe of Judah, but members of then other 11 Israelite tribes were also dispersed in these same areas. The Jews were not very brotherly to these Israelites.

    We do not know who originally evangelized the areas around Rome but it seems most likely converts did.
  • Gigi - in Reply
    Hello Wanita

    As every church is, the church in Rome was founded on Jesus.

    At the time of Acts and Paul's house arrest in Rome, Rome did not have one big central church fellowship. Rather there were many small church fellowships scattered throughout the region.

    It is unknown who evangelized thes people, but some source I read say that most likely the churches were established by believers who came there from other regions. Priscilla and Aquila were coming Rome before meeting Paul in Asia Minor. They

    May have led Rome when the Emperor ejected all Jews for a time. This couple returned to Rome during the time Paul was there.

    Paul was beheaded in Rome according to historical accounts. Peter is said to have come to Rome either while Paul was there or shortly after Paul's martyrdom. He remained there until he was martyred by being crucified upside down. At that time, a bishop was appointed in Rome as was the practice throughout the region. For example, Polycarp was bishop of Smyrna, and Ignatious was bishop of Antioch, both appointed by the apostle John. These bishops represented both their appointed church and the surrounding churches in the region.

    So, we do not have an account in Scripture as to how the churches in Rome were founded.

    Historical tradition indicates that the believers in the area of Rome claimed both Peter and Paul establishing the churches in the area of Rome.

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