Question: "What does the Bible say about world missions?"
Answer: The Bible does not use the phrase “world missions,” but God is certainly missions-minded (Luke 19:10), and His love extends to all the world (John 3:16). The salvation of all nations is a concern for every Christian, based on at least three factors presented in Scripture:
First, world missions is important because God is the Creator of all people; second, God cares about all people equally; and, third, God desires all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth about Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:4). Because of God’s attitude toward the people of the whole world, we know that world missions—the evangelization of all the people of the world—is a worthy goal. God sent His Son into the world to fulfill this prophecy: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned” (Isaiah 9:2).
World missions has its foundation in Jesus’ command to His disciples to go into all the world and “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). This is exactly what the disciples endeavored to do. In Syrian Antioch, Paul and Barnabas were “set apart” by the Holy Spirit and called for a special work (Acts 13:2). That work was to evangelize Cyprus and Asia Minor.
Eventually, Paul’s missionary work took him to Europe. Always, Paul strived to be a pioneer in world missions: “It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation” (Romans 15:20). Paul preached the gospel “from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum” (verse 19); he had plans to go to Spain (verse 24), and he eventually made it to Rome. The book of Acts showcases the missionary fervor of the early church and emphasizes the necessity of world missions.
God does not show partiality to one race or nation above another (Acts 10:34–35). The Bible says that, without Christ, we are all in the same spiritual condition: all have fallen short of God’s glory and are under Adam’s curse. Everyone—every race, every person, every nationality—needs to hear the gospel. Everyone needs the righteousness of God that comes through faith in Jesus Christ. “How . . . can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:14–15). The offer of grace is extended to all; God cares about all people equally.
We should pursue world missions because God desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). The offer of salvation is made to “whosoever will” (Revelation 22:17, KJV). “Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too” (Romans 3:29). Revelation describes the new, heavenly city of Jerusalem as a place where all nations will walk in the light of the Lamb and where the glory of all nations will dwell (Revelation 21:22–27). God cares about all nations, and representatives of all nations will be present in heaven.
The angel gave the Bethlehem shepherds “good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10). When we support world missions, when we share the good news of the redemption that is in Jesus Christ, we glorify God, who says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation” (Isaiah 52:7).