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The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible's Grand Narrative Hardcover – November 23, 2006

4.9 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"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." (Calvin L. Smith, Mission Studies, 2009)

"Wright's study, coinciding with . . . a nascent missional hermeneutic of the Bible, amounts to a landmark contribution to that hermeneutic's development." (Greg McKinzie, Restoration Quarterly, Vol. 52, No. 2 (2010))

"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." (Mark Liederbach, Faith & Mission)

"Wright has truly laid a cornerstone in the edifice of mission, one on which a biblical theology of mission would be wise to build." (Michael J. Glodo, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, June 2009)

"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." (Daniel J. Doleys, Text, Community & Mission blog, July 8, 2009)

"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." (Jo Ann Davidson, Andrews University Seminary Studies, Autumn 2008)

"The book refocuses the lens with which we have been reading the Bible and understanding our ecclesial responsibilities. It is well worth reading." (Dianne Bergant, C.S.A., The Bible Today, September/October 2008)

"This is a book that needed to be written." (M. Daniel Carroll, Bulletin for Biblical Research, 18.1)

"The volume provides much to admire and to learn from. . . . He has produced one of the best examples of this genre currently available." (Stephen Fowl for Theological Studies, March 2008)

"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." (EMQ, July 2007)

"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." (International Bulletin of Missionary Research, July 2007)

"This book is a fascinating combination of introduction on biblical hermeneutics, biblical theology, and, at the same time, it is a missiology textbook." (The Presbyterian Outlook, August 20, 2007)

"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." (Criswell Theological Review, Fall 2007)

"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." (Jim Reapsome, Christianity Today, June 2007)

"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." (Andrew F. Walls, University of Edinburgh)

"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." (Dr. Charles Van Engen, Arthur F. Glasser Professor of Biblical Theology of Mission, School of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary)

"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." (David W. Smith, International Christian College, Glasgow)

"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." (Scott Moreau, Professor of Intercultural Studies, Wheaton College)

"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!" (M. Daniel Carroll R., Earl S. Kalland Chair of Old Testament, Denver Seminary, and adjunct professor, El Seminario Teológico Centroamericano, Guatemala City, Guatemala)

"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." (Gerald H. Anderson, director emeritus, Overseas Ministries Study Center, New Haven, Connecticut)

"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." (John Goldingay, author of Old Testament Theology and professor of Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary)

"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." (Eckhard J. Schnabel, author of Early Christian Mission and professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School)

"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." (Nick Smith, Christian Renewal, July 29, 2015)

About the Author

Christopher J. H. Wright (PhD, Cambridge) is international ministries director of the Langham Partnership, providing literature, scholarships and preaching training for pastors in Majority World churches and seminaries. He has written several books including commentaries on Deuteronomy, Jeremiah, Lamentations, and Ezekiel, The Mission of God, Old Testament Ethics for the People of God and Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament. An ordained pastor in the Church of England, Chris spent five years teaching the Old Testament at Union Biblical Seminary in India, and thirteen years as academic dean and then principal of All Nations Christian College, an international training center for cross-cultural mission in England. He was chair of the Lausanne Theology Working Group from 2005-2011, and the chief architect of The Cape Town Commitment, from the Third Lausanne Congress, 2010.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 582 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic; 52641st edition (November 23, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830825711
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830825714
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By James Korsmo VINE VOICE on December 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
What is the Bible all about? Is it a random collection of writings about people who have experienced God? Is it one story about Israel and another somehow connected story about Jesus? In this masterful work, Christopher Wright sets out to demonstrate that the Bible, from start to finish, can be read as focusing on God's mission: in both the Old and New Testaments, God is on the move.

The depth of Wright's book is too much to summarize here, beyond surveying the ground he covers and discussing a few of the high points along the way. He begins by discussing hermeneutics, that is, how we read the Bible and what we see when we do, and the argument he makes there is that instead of mining the Bible for insights about "missions," we should instead look for God's mission that permeates the pages of the Bible. It's not about searching for texts that tell us to go to the nations, but instead about being attuned to what God is doing and finding our part in it.

To flesh out this them, and to demonstrate how it is one way of showing the unity of the Bible, Wright begins with God, looking at who God revels himself to be and what God reveals himself to be doing in the world. This involves especially the fundamental notion of God's uniqueness, the foundation of biblical monotheism. The second foundational idea about God is that God wants to be known by that which he has created. God has revealed himself in many and various ways. The final investigation Wright undertakes with regard to God's identity is an extended investigation into the theme of idolatry, a major theme especially of the Old Testament, where he demonstrates that the constant prohibitions of idolatry over and over show God's desire to be known and Israel's conviction (though often forgotten) that God is the only true God.
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I wish that I had had this book in hand many years ago. I've been on a journey of learning and discovery regarding the "metanarrative" of the Scriptures, and having reached a tentative understanding, I buy Christopher Wright's The Mission of God, and find that he has it all laid out for me. One of those books that makes you wonder why no one wrote it before and then makes you wish you had written it yourself. I have translated the New Testament into two indigenous languages of Mexico and have been forced to ask the big questions about what on earth God is doing anyway. It's been a great experience, and I think I'm finally coming to an adequate understanding of the good news of the Bible. I have read a lot of books related to the topic of The Mission of God, but none as exciting and stimulating as this one. And I don't consider Wright to be a great writer. What's great is the maturity and comprehensiveness of his thinking. A new perspective on almost every page. Wright has put it together for me. I'm reading it through the second time and have bought two copies to give to friends. All right, you may not be as excited as I am about the Bible's message about the coming of the kingdom of God, but if you are half as interested as I am, read this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Excellent, although not for the casual reader. It is the best theology of holisitc mission I've read since the early 1990s when Bosch's "Transforming Mission" came out. Bosch, you will recall, worked almost exclusively from the New Testament. Wright rectifies this imbalance and puts the Great Commission in its place. This book is a valuable corrective also to contemporary presentations such as David Hesselgrave's "Paradigms in Conflict" which understand the Great Commission in the narrowist of terms.
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Christopher Wright is an Old Testament scholar who has written this book to show that the Bible as a whole can be read with a missional hermeneutic. Wright clearly has a great Biblical mind and shows this by using at least one (usually several) passage to back all of his points. Wright prefaces the work by telling of a class he taught at Cambridge University saying: "the more I taught that course, the more I used to introduce it by telling my students that I would like to rename it from `The Biblical Basis of Mission' to `The Missional Basis of the Bible.' I wanted them to see not just that the Bible contains a number of texts, which happen to provide a rationale for missionary endeavor but that the whole Bible is itself a missional phenomenon (p.22). This statement sets the tone for the book and Wright takes off from there.
Throughout the book Wright discusses several topics that are crucial to understanding the Bible as having a missional mandate. Wright discusses how God sought to make him known to the people of Israel in the Old Testament and to the world through Jesus in the New Testament. God seeks to make himself known to all the nations of the world, as well as be worshiped by these nations. Wright goes on to discuss who the people of mission are and that all Christians are called to play a part in redeeming and restoring God's kingdom. The last part of the book is dedicated to what Wright entitles "The Arena of Mission" and deals with how God's image and missional mandate include taking care of the earth that God has given us.
Wright's abundant use of scripture gives his arguments and points of view very strong support and it is easy to see where his ideas are coming from.
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