What Does the Old Testament Say About Missions?

What Does the Old Testament Say About Missions?

You’ve probably heard people talk about one or two verses in the Bible about why you should go overseas. But seriously...one tiny verse? Who wants to hang their entire future on one verse?

Did you know there is actually a lot more the Bible has to say about why God cares that people go to share His love with other parts of the world?

From the first book of the Bible to the last, God is telling one story. A story of His Glory that is shown in His creation, His desire to reconcile all people of the earth, and culminating in His ultimate plan of redemption.

It starts as early as Genesis. In Genesis 12:2-3, God tells Abraham, “...I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

God is telling Abraham that through his offspring (spoiler alert: He’s talking about Jesus!) all the families, or all the peoples, of the earth shall be blessed. What is that blessing? Salvation in Jesus.

Like Isaiah 49:6 says:

“It is too small a thing for you (Jesus) to be my servant
    to restore the tribes of Jacob
    and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
    that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

We also see this idea of God’s salvation reaching the ends of the earth in many of the Psalms. Psalm 46:10 is one of the most well known Psalms. Or at least the first half is. “Be still, and know that I am God.”

You’ve heard that part right? But what about the next?

“I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” He wants the whole earth to know His saving power!

“Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!” - Psalm 46:10

Psalm 67 continues this theme. The writer asks God to bless their nation so that all the people on earth will praise God. “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!

So far I've only highlighted verses from the Old Testament! Can you begin to see it? This thread - God’s desire to see everyone in the world come to know Him - is woven throughout the entire Bible.  God desires people from every tribe, tongue, and nation to know Him and He's tasked His people, His Church with the task privilege of spreading that great news.  

If you'd like to learn more about what God's word has to say about His heart for the nations you can subscribe to our weekly devotion emails called Global Verse of the Week.  Or you can download a list of 1,600 verses that talk about this and take the Highlighter Challenge at: gocorps.org/highlighterchallenge 


From a young age, Luke has had a desire to serve the Lord through missions. After graduating from the University of Alabama in 2012, Luke joined the staff of a small start-up mission organization in Alabama to help with operations. While on staff there, Luke attended a Perspectives class where his understanding of unreached people groups and a passion for getting the Gospel to them deepened. In 2017, Luke moved to Scotland where he served as a mobilizer for just over two years. Now back in Alabama, Luke has joined GoCorps staff to serve in both operations and mobilization. He and his wife, Helen, have a daughter and a son. Luke enjoys traveling, board games, and running.