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These considerations eliminate all doubt as to the extraction of the Roman Christians.
The address and application in xi, 13 sqq., likewise presuppose a great majority of Gentile Christians, while vi, 1 sqq., shows an effort to familiarize the Gentile Christians with the dealings of God towards the Jews.
The Epistle is intended to serve as an introduction to a community with which the author, though he has not founded it, desires to form connexions (i, 10- 15; xv, 22-24, 28-29).
Among the Epistles of the New Testament which bear the name of the Apostle Paul, that written to the Roman Church occupies the first place in the manuscripts which have come down to us, although in very early times the order was probably otherwise.
Paul probably supposes that during the months between the composition and the arrival of the Epistle, the community would be more or less thrown on its own resources.
Complete unanimity concerning the elements forming the community has not yet been attained.
Baur and others (especially, at the present day, Theodore Zahn) regard the Roman community as chiefly Jewish Christian, pointing to vi, 15-17; vii, 1-6; viii, 15.
Assuredly, i, 5, cannot be applied to all mankind, for Paul certainly wished to express something more than that the Romans belonged to the human race ; in corroboration of this view we may point to i, 13, where the writer declares that he had long meditated coming to Rome that he might have some fruit there as among the other "Gentiles".
He then continues: "To the Greeks and to the barbarians, to the wise and to the unwise, I am a debtor; so (as much as is in me) I am ready to preach the gospel to you also that are at Rome " (I, 14 sq.); he names himself the Apostle of the Gentiles (xi, 13), and cites his call to the apostolate of the Gentiles as the justification for his Epistle and his language (xv, 16-18).