Paul seems to mean that people in many different countries were talking about Rome’s Christians and their faith (trust in God).
Paul travelled much. He began the year in Ephesus. Then he travelled through the region then called Asia (now part of Western Turkey), and he sailed to Macedonia. He ended that year in Corinth in Greece, where he wrote the Book of Romans (Acts 20:1-3). So, he had visited many churches across three different countries; and everywhere people were speaking about Rome’s Christians.
It probably excited the Christians in those regions to know that some Christians were serving God loyally in Rome. Rome was an extremely powerful capital city, and its armies ruled over many countries. It was also a city where many very wicked things happened. It would encourage Christians everywhere to know that some Christians were managing to trust God in such difficult circumstances.
That is especially so when we read about the early history of Rome’s church. Acts 18:2 records how Claudius, Rome’s ruler, ordered all the Jews (people who belonged to Israel) to leave Rome. That would have included most or all of the leaders of Rome’s Christian church. (All the first Christians were Jews). At that time, those Christians who were not Jews would have nobody to teach them about Jesus or about the Bible. It would be hard for them still to trust God. However, they did continue to trust God, and they served God well.
It was not just Christians who were talking about these things. Three years after Paul wrote his book, he himself entered Rome. There, some leaders who were not Christians spoke to him. They told him that people everywhere were speaking against the Christians (Acts 28:22). Clearly Rome’s Christians had been talking about their beliefs. They wanted everyone, everywhere, to have faith (trust) in Christ.
Next part: Paul’s private prayers (Romans 1:9)
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© 2017, Keith Simons.