The Old Testament Roots of Mission
The missionary meaning of the New Testament grows out of the Old as a tree is rooted in the ground, as a rose expresses the sweet heart of the rosebud. One who reads the New Testament with no background of knowledge of the Old would punctuate many pages with interrogation points, and much of the finer symbolism of the book would be blank to him. Jesus based his gospel squarely on the foundation laid in the Old Testament. It was in the ‘fullness of time that God sent forth his Son, made of woman, made under the Law to redeem them that were under the Law.’ It was in the consummation of an age-long purpose of mercy to all mankind that the Good News was published abroad.
From The Bible and Missions by Helen Barrett Montgomery (p. 54,55).
This quote illustrates two things:
- The importance of an understanding of the Old Testament in the development of our theology and practice of mission.
- The need to transmit the message of the Old Testament in mission work. It is not enough simply to make the New Testament available.