For years, scholars have taught that Paul wrote Romans as his last and greatest theological exposition. In other words, the purpose was theological.
“Wait a minute” asks David A. DeSilva in An Introduction to the New Testament. Maybe Paul wrote Romans for the same kind of reasons he wrote his others letters: to respond to problems within churches and to strengthen his relationship with churches.
DeSilva expresses the first goal for Romans this way: “standing in awe of God will allow Jew and Gentile to worship together in one Body” (p. 599). He then suggests that the second goal might be “to overcome doubt about the virtue of the gospel so that the Roman Christians will accept him as a missionary worthy of their support” (p. 602).
Embracing a couple of situational goals doesn’t mean one has to disregard the fine theological argument of Romans. In fact, it shows how a good theological argument can be central to a pastoral appeal.