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The Great Story and the Great Commission

Participating in the Biblical Drama of Mission

series: Acadia Studies in Bible and Theology

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Christianity Today 2024 Book Award (Missions/Global Church)

Outreach 2024 Resource of the Year (Mission and Cross-Cultural)

In The Great Story and the Great Commission, Christopher Wright explains that how we read the Bible has a profound impact on how we understand what mission is. According to Wright, "People read (and preach) the Bible in tiny bits and pieces, for its promises or rules or doctrines, and fail to take it . . . as the true story of the universe, past, present, and future, within the plan and purposes of God--a story in which we are called to participate as coworkers with God."

Wright encourages us to explore the Bible's grand narrative and to bring the whole counsel of God in Scripture to our understanding of who we are and what we must do as God's people. He helps us understand mission in its broadest sense, including our creational responsibilities, by exploring the question, "How does our purposeful activity as God's people in God's world reflect the breadth of God's own intentions for his whole creation and all nations?" Wright's goal is to get readers excited about the dramatic vista of the whole Bible and to help them understand the breadth and depth of missional engagement that they are called to live as actors in that drama.

This book will appeal to professors and students of the Bible and mission as well as pastors, lay theologians, and other Christian readers.

1. A Missional Hermeneutic of Scripture
2. The Great Story as a Drama in Seven Acts
3. What Does the Great Story Do?
4. The Great Commission and the Five Marks of Mission
5. Building the Church through Evangelism and Teaching
6. Serving Society through Compassion and Justice
7. The Goodness and Glory of Creation
8. The Goal of Creation
9. The Great Story, the Great Commission, and the Church's Mission


"The Great Story and the Great Commission calls us to reimagine the Bible as God's grand narrative expressing God's purpose and our participation in God's mission. From his extensive biblical scholarship and experience with the global church, Wright brings the Bible's story to life. In this beautifully written and accessible book, Wright encourages each believer to embrace the mission of God and so discover God's whole mission for the whole church."

Lynn H. Cohick, provost and dean of academic affairs, Northern Seminary

"Chris Wright continues to produce important books for the church. This is another one. Here Chris brings together, in a succinct, clear, and popular way, a number of important themes that have characterized his writing. This includes a summary of a missional hermeneutic, the importance of narrative to the Christian faith and mission, the Gospels' mission mandate and holistic mission, and more. This book would make a great textbook for a variety of theology classes. I will begin to use it and would highly recommend it to others."

Michael W. Goheen, professor of missional theology, Calvin Theological Seminary; professor and director of theological studies, Missional Training Center

"Wright reframes the concept of mission--as 'a mode of existence for the church'--in a way that works deep changes in our understanding of the whole Christian canon. Through careful argumentation and rereading of Scripture, he exposes the arrogance and moral obliviousness that are all too common among Christians. Written in a clear, conversational style, yet full of memorable phrases and insights, this is a book that should be widely used in the church."

Ellen F. Davis, Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology, Duke Divinity School

"The Lausanne Movement has been calling 'the whole church to bring the whole gospel to the whole world' since its founding in 1974. Chris Wright, in the lineage of his mentor and the Lausanne Covenant's chief architect, John Stott, explains that framework with beautiful biblical breadth and depth in this volume. It helps us understand that God's mission is much greater than we conceive, and it challenges all of us to contribute more personally and holistically to parts of that mission. May we, as God's global people, actively read and respond to this critical teaching."

Michael Oh, global executive director / CEO, Lausanne Movement

"With a lifetime of scholarly study of Scriptures and a concomitant passion for God's mission, Christopher Wright has handed us a creative, accessible, and inviting way to view the Bible. His thesis, which spills out from every page, is that the Bible is the story of God's mission, and it is our story. We find ourselves in the remarkable seven-act drama of Scripture."

Scott W. Sunquist, president and professor of missiology, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

"Chris Wright is one of a handful of authors about whom I tell my students to read everything they have written. Trained as an Old Testament scholar, Chris works across biblical studies and missiology, an exceptionally fertile crossroads and one that few have the skill set to execute as well as he does. Chris has long thought, taught, and written about the issues he deals with in this book, and the reader is gifted with the results of all that hard work in comparatively short compass. I cannot recommend this book highly enough!"

Craig Bartholomew, director, Kirby Laing Centre for Public Theology, Cambridge

"Wright takes us deep into the movement of God in history, the divine drama acted out on behalf of the cosmos, and invites us to breathe it in. Inhabiting God's story does not mean finding our chronological place in it; rather, it means being able to experience any act of this grand plot, from creation to new creation, at any given moment of our lives. What kind of person participates in and is formed by this narrative? is the question that Wright provokes with this foundational book."

Myrto Theocharous, professor of Hebrew and Old Testament, Greek Bible College

The Author

  1. Christopher J. H. Wright

    Christopher J. H. Wright

    Christopher J. H. Wright (PhD, University of Cambridge) is global ambassador and ministry director of the Langham Partnership, a ministry founded by John Stott that is committed to strengthening the majority world church. He taught Old Testament at...

    Continue reading about Christopher J. H. Wright


Christianity Today 2024 Book Award (Missions/Global Church)
Outreach 2024 Resource of the Year (Mission and Cross-Cultural)

"Each chapter presents a careful examination of various facets of mission, prompting healthy engagement with Scripture and leading us to remember that, since Jesus is Lord of all, we must continually cast our own 'alls' at his feet."

David Hosaflook,

Christianity Today

"Wright explains the breadth of God's mission to the world using the whole Bible, and holistically challenges the Lord's global people to make his story our story by our participation in the seven-act drama of Scripture. Wright helps integrate our missional life with the purposes of God in the narrative biblical drama by centering our witness around the kingdom of God and the lordship of Christ through the Great Commission and the five marks of mission: evangelism, teaching, compassion, justice and responsible use and care of creation."

Robert Gallagher,


"Accessible for pastoral and congregational leaders as well as laypersons. . . . [Wright] thoughtfully and helpfully illuminates the character of the Christian gospel and provides a robust biblical rationale for environmental justice, correcting popular misconceptions of biblical teaching. . . . Ultimately, Wright's analysis of the missional nature and calling of the Christian community and its place in the biblical story will be generative for local church studies and discussions."

Michael Barram,


"Wright's new book gives a deep theologically founded overview of God's plans by using a language that is understandable for non-theologians as well."

Wolfgang Häde,

Mission Studies