There are many theological works that have, due to the nature of theology, difficult to determine subjects, dates, themes, and origins that raise questions in the mind of the reader. Paul's letter to the Romans is exactly one of these difficult to understand works. Written around 56 C.E., the letter reveals much that was on the mind of Paul and the people of Rome at the time, and manages to raise a particular question, "Does Paul know what's happening in Rome or not?".
To begin answering this question, it is definitely important to place the letter in its historical context. Three years before Paul writes Romans, Nero has the Edict of Claudius lifted, which had expelled Jews from Rome due to what were probably heated or perhaps violent arguments in the Jewish community over Christ. While the Jews were exiled, the Gentile Christians remained in Rome, and things began to change. When Claudius dies and the ban is lifted in 54 C.E., the Jews return to Rome and join the faith which was not Jewish Christianity anymore, but rather Gentile.
As we can see throughout the letter, Paul's situation is a delicate one indeed. Having never visited the Church of Rome or Rome itself, it makes the letter more complicated. The Gentile Christians might resent his intrusion in their affairs, for it may seem like he's forcing them in a certain direction, and the Jewish Christians may resent it as well due to what they may have heard of him. Paul obviously needs to treat the situation carefully, and obviously knows he has to try to mend the situation at hand, so that Rome will not break into factions like the Corinthians did. In 3:23, Paul tries to reach both groups within Rome by explaining how both groups are equal. "All have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God," he says, uniting them both under sin.
The letter itself is thought to contain two parts by many scholars, the first part being an explanation of Paul's personal theology in chapters 1 to 4, and the second part being later in the letter where he attempts to apply his beliefs to Rome (chapters 9-14).