Old Testament and New Testament Missions


Our church is planning our annual mission trip to South America. My first time in Bible College, I studied missions with the purpose of becoming a missionary. God had different plans for me than I first though way back in the late 1980’s. I still see myself as a missionary to this world with more of a focus here in the United States of America. My passion is to see people grow in their walk with Christ and I encourage them to be His feet and His hands in this world. We are all missionaries and all have a mandate to share Christ.

The missionary activity of the church and the purpose God revealed in the Old Testament are the same. God’s purpose is clear in both the Old Testament (with the nation of Israel) and the New Testament (the church). God is the God of global purpose so we as Christians and His children are made to live with purpose.[1] The ultimate purpose for God’s people is to bring God the Father glory (1 Corinthians 10:31) in all we do. The call for missions to the church is no different than the role of the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. Moses in Exodus 19 told Israel that they were God’s special possession, they were kingly priests, and were to be a holy nation all with the purpose to bless the nations of the world.[2] In 1 Peter 2, the Apostle Peter points back to Exodus 19 when he states that both the nation of Israel and the church are “one people of God with one purpose.[3]” 1 Peter 1:9 says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession. . .” In Walter C. Kaier’s article “Israel’s Missionary Call,” he states, “The reason Israel and now the Gentile believers have been named a royal priesthood, a holy nation, the people of God, His chosen race, His special, movable possession, is that we might declare Him [God] and be His witnesses and missionaries.[4]

The God who in the Old Testament identifies himself as the God of the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), and who reveals his name to Moses (Yahweh) is the God of the whole world.[5] The call for the church to engage in world missions can be traced back to the motifs found in the Old Testament; the Universal Motif; the Motif of Rescue and Liberation; the Missionary Motif; and the Motif of Antagonism.[6] The book of Jonah is the perfect example of God’s mission mandate in the Old Testament. The idea in the Old Testament has the appeal for the nations to come to Zion to worship, but Jonah is told to “Go” to Nineveh.[7] In the Septuagint, the word poreuomai is used which is the same word Jesus uses in the Great Commission in Matthew 28.[8]


[1] Steven C. Hawthorne, Perspectives On The World Christian Movement. (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2009),1.

[2] Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne, Perspectives On The World Christian Movement: Reader. (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2009),13.

[3] Ibid, 14.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid, 42.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid, 46.

[8] Ibid.

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