The Mission of God
Most Christians would agree that the Bible provides a basis for mission. But Christopher Wright boldly maintains that mission is bigger than that--there is in fact a missional basis for the Bible! The entire Bible is generated by and is all about God's mission.
In order to understand the Bible, we need a missional hermeneutic of the Bible, an interpretive perspective that is in tune with this great missional theme. We need to see the "big picture" of God's mission and how the familiar bits and pieces fit into the grand narrative of Scripture.
Beginning with the Old Testament and the groundwork it lays for understanding who God is, what he has called his people to be and do, and how the nations fit into God's mission, Wright gives us a new hermeneutical perspective on Scripture. This new perspective provides a solid and expansive basis for holistic mission. Wright emphasizes throughout a holistic mission as the proper shape of Christian mission. God's mission is to reclaim the world--and that includes the created order--and God's people have a designated role to play in that mission.
"A rich and most impressive work. It is a splendid exposition of a comprehensive biblical theology of mission, and will have to be taken seriously by every student of the subject."
"This excellent book encourages Bible scholars, pastors, missionaries and informed Christians to read the Bible with new eyes, the eyes of God's missional intention for the world that God loves. The author joins others like Walter Kaiser, Johannes Nissen, Arthur Glasser and James Chukwuma Okoye in demonstrating that only a missionary reading of the Bible does full justice to God's self-revelation described therein. I will be using this book as a primary textbook in several courses."
"To an already impressive list of publications dealing with the Bible and mission, Chris Wright now adds what must surely be his magnum opus. This remarkably comprehensive work does nothing less than point the way ahead for the global Christian movement in the twenty-first century, and in the process it challenges a host of received assumptions in biblical scholarship, Christian theology and missionary practice. I believe Wright's book will be seen as the most important work of its kind since David Bosch's contribution in the 1990s, and, like that work, it is likely to be read, discussed and hopefully applied to practice for years to come."
"Wright blends Old Testament scholarship, missionary experience and missiological heart in this extraordinary book. He does a marvelous job of framing the questions and detailing the answers in accessible prose. Missiology has long been in need of someone who can offer an appropriate map not just for walking us through mission in the Bible but for leading us more deeply into the Bible through a missiological lens. Chris Wright offers us this bidirectional map in masterful fashion that will become standard reading in the field for years to come."
"Christopher Wright has made two important contributions. First, he demonstrates that the Bible, from beginning to end, is about God's mission to the world. Second, Wright grounds the meaning and significance of this mission substantially in the Old Testament. Often relegated in textbooks to short introductory chapters that cite a handful of passages about God's concern for the nations, the Old Testament at last receives its full due. This comprehensive study by a seasoned missiologist and Old Testament ethicist demonstrates that the entire Scripture is consistent in its message and thrust. I have waited years for a book like this!"
"Beautifully written, Wright's work sees God's mission as a framework for understanding the whole Bible; a key that unlocks the 'grand narrative' of Holy Scripture. It clarifies many difficult issues and is a major contribution to a biblical theology of mission."
"This marvelous book is all I hoped and expected, and more. Chris Wright has spent thirty years combining an academic involvement with the Old Testament and a commitment to God's mission in the world. We are so fortunate to have the mature fruit of a lifetime's reflection on the missional nature of the Bible by this outstanding teacher, scholar and missionary theologian. It threatens to revolutionize what people usually mean by the missional aspect of the Scriptures. And it also threatens to revolutionize understandings of the Scriptures by its demonstration that they are, through and through, a missional document."
"Chris Wright, known for many important studies in Old Testament ethics and theology, has again written a book that deserves wide circulation. At a time when many biblical scholars continue to emphasize the minutiae of diverse traditions, and at a time when the missionary task of the church is either questioned by postmodern critics or diminished by pragmatic pundits, Wright's new book is a reminder of the unity of Scripture, the importance of sound hermeneutics and exegesis, and the fundamental significance of the missionary calling of the church. Wright demonstrates with consistent and passionate argumentation that the missionary mandate of the church does not simply rest on the great commission in Matthew 28, but that the whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is the result of the very nature of God and of God's people. This book should be a required text for theologians and exegetes, pastors and students, missionaries and Christians in general."
"Wright has produced a compelling book of paramount importance for mission studies and practice, and contributed greatly to the fields of hermeneutics and biblical theology."
"Wright's study, coinciding with . . . a nascent missional hermeneutic of the Bible, amounts to a landmark contribution to that hermeneutic's development."
"This is a text that every serious believer ought to reckon with regardless of academic specialty or ministerial preference. Wright's book forces the reader to consider the very worldview paradigm by which he or she reads and understands his or her Bible, Christian life, experiences, and purpose. Written beautifully in winsome prose the book is both accessible as well as profound. The Mission of God is a book that rightly deserves a place near the top of anyone's must-read list."
"Wright has truly laid a cornerstone in the edifice of mission, one on which a biblical theology of mission would be wise to build."
"Words like 'missional' and 'missiological' have become commonplace in churches looking to make an impact on their communities and the world. While this renaissance of mission orientation has spawned welcome enthusiasm, . . . confusion has also followed. What does it mean to be missional? Christopher Wright's The Mission of God provides the answers to these questions and many more. The purpose of [this book] is not simply to show why mission is important or how mission is a vital part of the identity of the Church, but to show that mission, in many ways, is the purpose for the Church and the priority in its identity. Therefore [this book] seeks to read the Bible as a story of God's mission to restore creation and his people's role and mission in that restoration."
"Wright systematically allows God to be portrayed through his own canonical self-revelation. The resultant portrait is glorious and persuasive. The Christian church is indebted to Wright for tackling this major project."
"The book refocuses the lens with which we have been reading the Bible and understanding our ecclesial responsibilities. It is well worth reading."
"This is a book that needed to be written."
"The volume provides much to admire and to learn from. . . . He has produced one of the best examples of this genre currently available."
"Blending cutting edge biblical scholarship with a sensitive missiological awareness and passion, Wright demonstrates that the Bible—from beginning to end—is a missionary book."
"A short review can only acknowledge the brilliant, balanced scholarship that Wright evidences throughout. . . . [T]his is a must-read. . . . [T]his book is one to be meditated on and prayed through."
"This book is a fascinating combination of introduction on biblical hermeneutics, biblical theology, and, at the same time, it is a missiology textbook."
"One is hard pressed to find much fault with either the conception or the execution of this nicely published and helpfully organized treatment of what is arguably the most important idea in the world. Seldom do works on mission view these themes so globally and comprehensively."
"In this book, church and mission leaders will find a wealth of fresh scholarship exalting God's initiative—and, indeed, more than a bit of subversion."
"The Mission of God is valuable, not only for its exposition of God's mission, but also for its defense of the unity of Scripture and its development of the themes of the covenant of grace and the kingdom of God."
"Due to a variety of cultural and educational trends, we've seen a sharp drop in the ability of students to read deeply and synthetically. Biblical literacy is no different. Working knowledge of biblical personalities and chronologies is often shallow, which is the tip of an even larger iceberg: ignorance of the Bible's overarching story of salvation. Wright draws from his biblical and theological expertise, inviting us into a deeper understanding of the biblical arc of God's saving mission."
Part I: The Bible and Mission
1. Searching for a Missional Hermeneutic
2. Shaping a Missional Hermeneutic
Part II: The God of Mission
3. The Living God Makes Himself Known in Israel
4. The Living God Makes Himself Known in Jesus Christ
5. The Living God Confronts Idolatry
Part III: The People of Mission
6. God's Elect People: Chosen for Blessing
7. God's Particular People: Chosen for All
8. God's Model of Redemption: The Exodus
9. God's Model of Restoration: The Jubilee
10. The Span of God's Missional Covenant
11. The Life of God's Missional People
Part IV: The Arena of Mission
12. Mission and God's Earth
13. Mission and God's Image
14. God and the Nations in Old Testament Vision
15. God and the Nations in New Testament Mission