Paul continued with his introduction with verse 8.
Romans 1:8-15 (KJV)
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.
Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.
I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.
So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.
In verse 8 Paul began by commending the Roman believers for their faith that had been spoken of throughout the Roman Empire. He thanked God for them.
Paul also declared that he prayed without ceasing for those same believers (verse 9). He also expressed that part of his prayer included a request that he might at some point successfully travel to Rome to meet the believers there (verse 10).
We often think that Paul was responsible for beginning each of the believing assemblies in those early years of spreading the Gospel, but this was obviously not true, since Paul was likely on his third missionary journey at the time and may have been in Corinth. The time frame may have been about 57 A.D. (The Zondervan's KJV Study Bible, Grand Rapids, MI, 2002, p. 1613).
In Paul's zeal to visit the Roman believers, his goal was to impart to them some spiritual gift that would help to establish them (to make a firm foundation) (verse 11) and to give and receive comfort from the faith of the Roman believers (verse 12).
In verse 13 Paul expressed that he had oftentimes wanted to go to Rome, but had been prevented. It is interesting to note that most of the believers were Gentiles.
Paul then stated that he was a debtor to the Greeks and to the Barbarians, as well as the wise and unwise (verse 14). This may mean that Paul appreciated the knowledge that he had no matter what source it came from, but since this verse is related to verse 15 by "so," it may actually mean that Paul had an obligation to the mentioned groups that was only able to be fulfilled by preaching to all, including to the Romans.
" (14) Greeks and barbarians, the wise and the unwise: for to every man I am required to preach" (Roth, Andrew Gabriel, Aramaic English New Testament, Netzari Press LLC, 2008, p. 460).
This concluded Paul's introduction to the Romans. Stay tuned for Paul's description of the letter's theme next!