The entire Bible is about mission—God’s and ours.
There are countless encouraging verses in the Bible that speak to the missionary experience. Although these are bible verses for missionaries, they can and should be used by all who support their work.
There are many reasons you may be searching for a collection of passages on missions. Perhaps you are a supporting church looking for biblical prompts to pray for your missionaries. Perhaps you are a parent or friend of a struggling missionary, searching for biblical encouragement to send them. Perhaps you’re a missionary yourself, and you simply need to hear from the Lord through his word.
Thankfully, whatever God calls us to do, he supplies the means for it. Just as God calls missionaries, he speaks to them all throughout Scripture.
- In both good times and bad, remember that missions is about serving God and following your purpose. Missions is an act of love.
- When you feel discouraged, turn to the lord and remember these encouraging Bible verses.
- Pray that God would show you how to participate in the great work he is doing through the gospel around the globe as you consider the rich theme of missionary work in Scripture.
In this post, it is our aim to unpack collections of Bible verses relevant for missionaries to encourage, clarify, fortify, and inspire gospel workers across cultures sent from the church in every age.
Serving the Lord in Missions
The Bible speaks of missions as a service to God. Declaring the gospel to the nations is always the natural fruit of Christian worship. Creation itself yearns to hear the gospel spoken. The nations, so lost that they cannot even see their lostness, deeply need God’s mercy in the form of missionaries to bring them the gospel, to bring them hope, and to bring them the message of Christ so that God can work in the hearts of their people.
Missions isn’t a vanity project, and it isn’t the janitorial work of ministry. It is the crown jewel of Christian worship—the kind of service in which David exults, which Christ commands, and for which the Apostle Paul ceaselessly labors: “For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:9).
Missionaries can always turn to the Scriptures for encouragement. These are just some of the uplifting Bible verses that highlight the deeply meaningful work that missionaries commit to every day.
1. Psalm 96:1-3:
“Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth! Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!” (ESV)
2. 1 Samuel 12:24:
“Only fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.”
3. Jeremiah 20:9:
“If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.”
4. Mark 10:45:
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
5. Acts 4:19-20:
“But Peter and John answered them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.’”
6. Galatians 6:9:
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
7. 1 Peter 4:10:
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”
God’s Special Purpose for Missionaries
Encouragement may come from remembering our purpose. Advancing his kingdom was always the goal of creation: “And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it’” (Genesis 1:28). Adam and Eve were meant to expand the kingdom of God. After their fall into sin, even though the world changed, God’s vision didn’t change.
That’s why he renews his vision through Abraham: “Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And 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’” (Genesis 12:1-3). What is the final purpose of God’s plan through Abram? “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Missions work has always been special to God and is an outflow of God’s desire to fill the whole earth with his glory. Therefore, when he calls missionaries to do his work, he is calling people to participate in the work that has driven the history of God’s work in the world from Eden to today.
These uplifting Bible verses help us to better understand God’s own missionary heart, and the reason missionary work is precious to him.
8. Proverbs 19:21:
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.”
9. Jeremiah 1:5:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
10. Matthew 24:14:
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
11. Matthew 25:40:
“And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”
12. Matthew 28:19-20:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
13. Mark 6:7:
“And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.”
14. Luke 10:1-2:
“After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
15. Acts 1:8:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
16. Acts 13:47:
“For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.”
17. Romans 10:13-15:
“For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’”
18. Revelation 14:6:
“Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people.”
Missions as an Act of Love
Missions work is an extension of God’s love for the world through the church to particular people, following the example of Christ: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16)
Whether we are supporting missionaries, considering missionary work, or actively working on the mission field, missions isn’t just about conversion, expansion of the kingdom, or growing the church. All of these are more basicallyformal expressions of God’s love to his people, and we should never lose sight of that, no matter what role we play in realizing God’s desire to bring the nations to Christ.
19. Mark 5:19-20:
“And he did not permit him but said to him, ‘Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.’ And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled. And he did not permit him but said to him, ‘Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.’ And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.”
20. Mark 16:15:
“And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.’”
21. John 13:34:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
22. Romans 12:9-13:
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.”
23. 1 Corinthians 9:16:
“For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!”
God’s Protection of Missionaries
24. Deuteronomy 31:6:
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
25. 2 Samuel 22:3-7:
“My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. ‘For the waves of death encompassed me, the torrents of destruction assailed me; the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I called. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry came to his ears.’”
26. Psalm 34:19:
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.”
27. Psalm 121:8:
“The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.
28. 1 Corinthians 9:14:
“In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.”
Calling and Vocation
Becoming a missionary isn’t like becoming an accountant. God sets apart missionaries in a unique, providential way—a “calling,” if you prefer. If the gospel is the heart of the church that keeps the lifeblood flowing to its members, then missionaries are the vascular system, running that lifeblood to every organ, every appendage, every inch of skin in the world. A beating heart means nothing without the rest of the vascular system: “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” (Romans 10:14)
Missionaries can reflect on the nature of God’s call on their lives through reading these encouraging Bible verses. Ask God to fill up your heart with a clear and confident sense of direction, geography, and a heart for doing a particular work in a particular people group.
29. Jeremiah 1:4-8:
“The word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.’ ‘Alas, Sovereign Lord,’ I said, ‘I do not know how to speak; I am too young.’ But the Lord said to me, ‘Do not say, “I am too young.” You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,’ declares the Lord.”
30. 1 Corinthians 1:28-29:
“God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.”
Sometimes, ministry is overwhelmingly discouraging. And this is where Scripture can offer some comfort for missionaries. Over time, the mundane ebb and flow of ministry can erode the shoreline of one’s internal sense of calling and conviction to do the work. During such seasons, it’s important for missionaries to nourish their souls with the Word of God. The Lord knows that we get discouraged, which is why he directly speaks to this so often. The great heroes of Scripture often God discouraged. Elijah almost gave up on ministry entirely (1 Kings 18-19).
The apostle Paul described the hardships of ministry this way: “[W]e felt that we had received the sentence of death.” But he knows the purpose—“But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians. 1:9). Like Paul, and like Elijah, these uplifting Bible verses are meant to be a respite for missionaries in the midst of ministry discouragement.
31. Joshua 1:9:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
32. Proverbs 3:5-6:
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
33. Proverbs 4:25:
“Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.”
34. John 14:1:
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.”
35. Romans 8:5:
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.”
36. Romans 8:31-35:
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?”
37. 2 Corinthians 5:7:
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
38. Ephesians 4:25-28:
“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.”
39. Colossians 3:2:
“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
40. 1 Peter 5:7-8:
“Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
Prayerfully consider three ways that you can harness these Scriptural promises, commands, and exhortations as you participate in God’s heart for the nations:
First, send these passages to missionaries. Use these verses as prompts in your prayer for the missionaries you support. Pray through these biblical texts as you ask God to bless the work of missionaries around the world sharing Christ with the nations, answering David’s command, fulfilling Christ’s commission, and continuing Paul’s work.
Second, use these verses for the multiple ends that God inspired them: “for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). And more than that: “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2).
Finally, reflect on these verses as you consider whether God is calling you to the mission field. Pray that he would open your heart to the global need that exists for faithful workers to preach the gospel and stay long enough to reap a harvest. Pray that God would show you how to participate in the great work he is doing through the gospel around the globe as you consider the rich theme of missionary work in Scripture.
We hope that these Bible verses have offered the encouragement you need.