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"It's a total audience assault. You certainly wouldn't want to be doing the wrong drugs out there." — Adam, on Zoo TV

U2 Bible References: All That You Can't Leave Behind

As the band entered a new millennium, its tenth album once again helped redefine U2’s image, this time focusing on familiar sounds and themes. The record produced award-winning tunes, including “Beautiful Day,” Elevation” and “Walk On.”

Each song may show up in one, two or three of the following categories:

Direct Quotes: lyrics that are clearly taken from specific verses in the Bible

Indirect References: lyrics that are likely referencing the Bible but without quoting specific verses

Possible Influences: lyrics that hint at biblical themes and influences, but have no overt connection

 


 

"Beautiful Day"

 

U2 lyric

Shoots up through the stony ground

 

Possible influence 

Isaiah 53:2 For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground. (NASB)

 

 

U2 lyric

See the bird with a leaf in her mouth

 

Indirect reference 

Genesis 8:10-11 He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. (NIV)

 

 

U2 lyric

After the flood all the colors came out

 

Indirect reference 

Genesis 9:12-13 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. (NIV)

 

 


 

"Elevation"

 

U2 lyric

I and I in the sky

 

Possible influence 

While not technically a scripture reference, “I and I” is a common phrase in Rastafarian for “we,” especially in referencing a oneness with God (“in the sky”). If that’s the case, “Elevation” becomes a praise song.

 

 


 

"Walk On"

 

U2 lyric

A place that has to be believed to be seen

 

Possible influences 

John 11:40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (NIV)

John 20:29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (NIV)

 

 

U2 lyric

Home, I can't say where it is but I know I'm going home

 

Possible influence 

John 14:1-4 Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” (NIV)

 

 


 

"Kite"

 

U2 lyric

I'm a man, I'm not a child / A man who sees the shadow behind your 

 

Possible influence 

1 Corinthians 13:11-12 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (NIV)

 

 


 

"In A Little While"

 

U2 lyric

In a little while I won't be blown by every breeze

 

Possible influence 

Ephesians 4:14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. (NIV)

 

 


 

"Wild Honey"

 

U2 lyric

You were my shelter and my shade

 

Possible influence 

Ephesians 4:14

You have been a refuge for the poor,

    a refuge for the needy in their distress,

a shelter from the storm

    and a shade from the heat. (NIV)

 

 


 

"Peace On Earth"

 

U2 lyric

Heaven on Earth, we need it now

 

Possible influence 

Matthew 6:9-10 This, then, is how you should pray:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come, your will be done,

    on earth as it is in heaven.” (NIV)

 

 

U2 lyric

Peace on Earth

 

Possible influence 

Luke 2:14 Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased. (NLT) In this sense, Bono is using the phrase cynically, as a lament.

 

 


 

"Grace"

 

U2 lyric

She carries a pearl in perfect condition

 

Possible influence 

Matthew 13:45-46 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. (NIV)

 

 

U2 lyric

What left a mark no longer stains

 

Possible influence 

Isaiah 1:18

Though your sins are like scarlet,

    they shall be as white as snow;

though they are red as crimson,

    they shall be like wool. (NIV)