The capital and largest city of the Roman empire.

A Christian community existed in Rome before Paul came to the city. Paul wrote his letter to the Roman Christians in the hope of gaining a favorable reception for a future visit. He planned to stop in Rome on his way to do mission work in Spain (Rom 15:22-29). There were apparently a number of house churches in Rome in the 50s A.D., including one hosted by Aquila and Priscilla (Rom 16:3-5). Paul was arrested in Jerusalem and imprisoned in Caesarea for two years.  After he appealed his case to the emperor Paul was taken to Rome.  During the voyage he suffered shipwreck but landed in Malta.  Later he was taken to Rome where he met with both Christians and Jews.  In Rome, Paul was kept under house arrest, but continued to teach and preach. According to tradition, Paul was beheaded in Rome in the persecution under Nero in the mid-60s A.D.

The Colosseum at Rome
late 1st cent. A.D.

The Romans destroyed the Jerusalem Temple in A.D. 70, and Rome was sometimes called "Babylon," since the Babylonians destroyed the first Jewish Temple. 1 Peter was probably written from Rome (1 Pet 5:13) and Hebrews may have been sent to Rome (Heb 13:24). Revelation warns about the evil of the Roman Babylon (Rev 17).


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