For some time during his missionary journeys, Paul spoke or wrote of his desire to go to Rome, capital of the empire.
In Paul's Life and Letters, Sidney B. Sperry noted that Paul and his fellow missionaries owed much to the empire for the protection they received and for its relatively good communication facilities, ease of travel by land and sea, an many other benefits of lesser importance."It is possible that Paul felt it wise to make the members of the Roman branch of the Church better acquainted with himself and the Spirit that actuated him in his preaching," Dr. Sperry wrote.
"That the branch of the Church in Rome to which Paul wrote had been long established and well organized would seem quite certain from the tone of his letter and from his long-standing desire to visit the saints there. (Rom. 1:8; 10-15; 15:22-24, 28, 29.)
"Unfortunately, we know very little concerning the early history of the branch, and Paul tells us nothing about its origin and about the men who were first responsible for setting it up. There is good reason for believing that the first Church members in Rome were Jews who had been converted in Palestine.
"In 63 B.C., after Pompey had taken Jerusalem, many Jews flocked to Rome to take advantage of the kindness and protection of Caesar, but they kept in close touch with their brethren in Jerusalem, especially in religious matters."