Early in the sixth decade of the Common Era, Paul, an itinerant missionary of the Christian movement, was in Corinth, mapping out his own contribution to what he saw as the last stage of God's plan for humanity. He looked simultaneously east and west. He wanted to press on to Spain, to preach the gospel where it had not yet been preached, but first he had a crucial mission to fulfil to the East: he was to take an offering from his Gentile churches, as well as representative Gentile converts, to Jerusalem (Rom. 15: 23–9; for the travelling companions, see 2 Cor. 8: 16–24). While preparing for his journey, and waiting for his ship, he wrote ahead to a way-station en route to Spain: the church at Rome. He intended to prepare them for his arrival by sharing with them his message, and he also asked for their support — both their prayers that his trip to Jerusalem would be successful and aid, probably monetary, for the trip to Spain (Rom. 1: 11–15; 15: 24; 15: 30f.).
His mind, however, was still filled with conflicts that lay behind him, casting their shadow over his trip to Jerusalem — a trip that filled him with apprehension. He asked the Romans to pray that he would be ‘delivered from the unbelievers’ and also that his service for Jerusalem would be ‘acceptable to the saints’. That is, he anticipated danger from non-Christian Jews, and he feared rejection by the Jewish members of the Christian movement. His career up to then had been full of contention, including confrontation with prominent followers of Jesus in