In Romans 1:8-12 Paul wrote, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.” These words indicate that Paul had not yet been to Rome when he wrote this epistle. It is estimated that Paul wrote the epistle to the Romans around 57-58 A.D. Historians say it was around 60 A.D. when Paul first arrived in Rome.

Paul’s journey to Rome actually began in Jerusalem. Paul and his companions journeyed to Jerusalem and were greeted warmly by the believers there. However the Jews in that city were not glad that Paul was there. Paul took four men into the temple for purification. We read in Acts 21:27-29, “And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him, Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place. (For they had seen before with him in the city Trophimus an Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.)” Two charges were aimed at Paul. They accused him of teaching ‘against the people’ and that he had ‘polluted this holy place’. Both charges were false.

In verses 31-40, we read that the Jews began beating Paul with the intent to kill him. The chief captain stopped the beating and questioned Paul concerning who he was. Paul asked to be able to address the crown and permission was granted. In chapter 22:1-21, Paul gave his defense, including an account of his salvation experience. However, the Jews rejected his defense and said in verse 22, “And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live.” The chief captain determined to examine Paul by beating him. Paul told the captain that he was a Roman citizen. Upon hearing that, the captain did not beat him, but allowed him to address the chief priests and the council the next day.

After defending himself in chapter 23, we read in verse 12, “And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.” Learning of this, Paul spoke with the chief captain, informing him of the plot. We then read in verses 23-24, “And he called unto him two centurions, saying, Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea, and horsemen threescore and ten, and spearmen two hundred, at the third hour of the night; And provide them beasts, that they may set Paul on, and bring him safe unto Felix the governor.”

I urge you to read these chapters. The briefness of which I am going over this history of Paul, does not begin to do it justice. Needless to say, Paul appeared before Felix, who left Paul in prison for two years, waiting for Festus, his successor to listen to Paul. Festus finally decided to hear from Paul. We read in Acts 25:7-11, “And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove. While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all. But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul, and said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me? Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest. For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I APPEAL UNTO CAESAR.” Thus began Paul’s journey to Rome, to appeal his case before Caesar. The remainder of the book of Acts is full of historic and spiritual information and lessons. Again, I urge you to read this to learn of Paul’s appearance before Agrippa and his journey by ship to Rome. Paul spent almost the rest of his life in prison. I don’t recall that Paul ever referenced himself as a prisoner of Rome. Rather, he called himself a “prisoner of Jesus Christ” in Ephesians 3:1, and Philemon 1:1 and 1:9. He was in prison because of his testimony of Christ, and he served the Lord well while in prison. (302.7)