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U2 Bible References: How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb

U2’s eleventh album reinforced the direction of the one before it, with driving rock anthems and deep spirituality, resulting in the smash hit, “Vertigo,” which also represented a promotional partnership with Apple.

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

 


 

"Vertigo"

 

U2 lyric

Uno, Dos, Tres, Catorcé

 

Possible influence 

See note on “All Because Of You” for an interesting theory.

 

 

U2 lyric

All of this can be yours / just give me what I want / and no one gets hurt

 

Indirect reference 

Luke 4:1-13, especially 7 (The devil tempts Jesus and says:)If you worship me, it will all be yours. (NIV)

 


 

"City Of Blinding Lights"

 

U2 lyric

Blessings are not just for the ones who kneel

 

Possible influence 

Matthew 5:44-45 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (NIV)

 

 


 

"Miracle Drug"

 

U2 lyric

I was a stranger/you took me in

 

Direct quote

Matthew 25:31-46, especially 35-36 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. (NIV)

(“I was a stranger, and ye took me in” in KJV)

 

 


 

"All Because Of You"

 

U2 lyric

All because of you / I am

 

Possible influence 

Exodus 3:13-14 (13)Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” (14) God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (NIV)

In this passage, the name Yahweh is literally translated to “I AM WHO I AM.” This becomes the holy name of God in the Bible, and the name that Orthodox Jews to this day will not speak outloud. Also interesting is that the last song on the album is titled, “Yahweh.” Still more puzzling is the “Uno, Dos, Tres, Catorcé” (1, 2, 3, 14 in Spanish) line at the beginning of the album, a possible nod to the scripture above: the 1st testament (New Testament), the 2nd book (Exodus), the 3rd chapter and the 14th verse – Exodus 3:14, the first mention of the name of Yahweh in the Bible. If that theory is true, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb has Yahweh at the beginning, middle, and end.

 

 


 

"Love And Peace Or Else"

 

U2 lyric

Lay down your treasure

 

Possible influence 

Matthew 6:19 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. (NIV)

It is also possible that, contrary to the lyric booklet, the line is quite likely "you don't have time / before a jealous lover," in which case any number of variations on the phrase "The Lord your God is a jealous God" could be linked.

 

 


 

"Crumbs From Your Table"

 

U2 lyric

I'm waiting on the crumbs from your table

 

Inderict reference

Matthew 15:21-28, especially 27-28 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment. (NIV)

 

 


 

"Yahweh"

 

The name and theme of the song is taken from Exodus 3:14. See note on “All Because Of You.”

 

U2 lyric

A city should be shining on a hill

 

Inderict reference

Matthew 5:14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. (NASB)