Scripture and Its Interpretation

A Global, Ecumenical Introduction to the Bible


24. The Bible and Christian Mission

Reviewing the Chapter

  1. Describe the approach to Scripture articulated in this chapter.
  2. According to this chapter, how does Jesus’ message of the kingdom of God relate to the Scriptures of Israel, the mission of God, and the early Christian sense of mission?
  3. How does the death of Jesus relate to the mission of God first attested in Israel’s Scriptures and embodied in the early church’s missional perspective?
  4. In what ways did the resurrection and ascension of Jesus shape the early Christians’ reading of Scripture and their understanding of both God’s mission and theirs?
  5. How did the gift of the Spirit shape the early church’s reading of Scripture and its understanding of mission?
  6. According to this chapter, how should each of the dimensions of Jesus’ ministry (from his proclamation of the kingdom to his death, resurrection, ascension, gift of the Spirit, and parousia) contribute to contemporary understanding of Christian mission?
  7. How does the scriptural theme of new temple/new creation provide a framework for Christian mission?

Engaging a Central Issue

Respond to the following claim N. T. Wright makes in this chapter (p. 397): “Mission is not something added on to ‘biblical theology,’ as though one first had to discover the content of Scripture and then, by ‘mission,’ had to teach or preach that content. The story of Scripture, focused in the Gospel events concerning Jesus, is about mission from start to finish.”

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. In what ways does the Christian Bible hinge on Jesus, and what is the significance of this for Christian mission? Why is it important to plot Christian mission in accord with the scriptural story, specifically the story of Jesus?
  2. What is the relationship among the mission of Israel, the mission of Jesus, the mission of his disciples and the early church, and the mission of the church today?
  3. In what ways, according to this chapter (either explicitly or implicitly), has the church made—and might the church still make—mistakes in its missional practices?
  4. This chapter depicts Christians as kingdom people and Servant people. Some of the terms used here to describe Christian mission are “Scripture-based,” “Jesus-focused and Jesus-shaped,” “Spirit-driven,” and “new-creational.” How does this presentation, expressed in these terms and in other ways, challenge and/or illumine your understanding of Christians and Christian mission?