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"The others don't count me as a musician. In fact the only way to get Edge to play the guitar is when I start playing it." — Bono

U2 Bible References: October


October (1981)

With a heavy religious subtext, this second album reflects Bono, Edge and Larry’s involvement in a Christian commune. Though not as acclaimed by critics as the earlier record, its opening track, “Gloria,” was a huge hit and received lots of airplay on the new cable channel MTV.

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).

 


 

"Gloria"

 

U2 lyric

“Gloria” (glory), “in te domine,” (in you, Lord), “exultate” (exalt, rejoice).

Roughly translated this means, “Glory in you, Lord. Glory, exalt (him)”

 

Direct quotes

Psalm 31:1 In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust (KJV)

Psalm 33:1 Rejoice in the Lord (KJV)

 

 

U2 lyric

Oh Lord, loosen my lips

 

Direct quote

Psalm 51:15 O Lord, open my lips, That my mouth may declare Your praise. (NASB)

 

 

U2 lyric

Only in you I’m complete

 

Direct quote

Colossians 2:10 …in Him you have been made complete (NASB)

 

 

U2 lyric

The door is open / You're standing there / You let me in

 

Inderict references

Luke 11:9-10 So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (NIV)

Luke 13:22 Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. (NIV)

 

 


 

"I Threw A Brick Through A Window"

 

U2 lyric

No one is blinder / Than he who will not see

 

Indirect references

John 9:39-41 And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains. (NIV)

Luke 6:39-40 He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit?” (NIV)

 

 


 

"Fire"

 

U2 lyric

The sun is burning black… the moon is running red… the stars are falling down

 

Direct quote

Revelation 6: 12-13 I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth…. (NASB)

 

 


 

"Tomorrow"

 

U2 lyric

Who tore the curtain / Who was it for

 

Direct quote

Matthew 27:51 At that moment [the Crucifixion] the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. (NIV)

 

 

U2 lyric

Open up, open up to the love of God

 

Indirect reference

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. (NASB)

 

 

U2 lyric

To the love of He who made the blind to see

 

Indirect references

John 9. especially 9:39 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” (NIV)

Mark 8:22-25, especially 8:25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. (NIV)

Luke 4:18-19 The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

 

 

U2 lyric

Won't you come back tomorrow… He's coming back

 

Indirect references

Revelation 22:12-21, especially 22:12, Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me…. (NIV)

John 14:3 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.

 

 


 

"October"

 

U2 lyric

And kingdoms rise and kingdoms fall

 

Possible influences

Psalm 46:6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. (NIV)

Daniel 2:39-40 [Daniel interpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s dream] After you, another kingdom will arise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron—for iron breaks and smashes everything—and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others.

 

 

U2 lyric

But you go on / And on

 

Possible influence

Daniel 2:44 In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. (NIV)

 

 


 

"With A Shout"

 

U2 lyric

Shout, shout / With a Shout

 

Direct quote

Psalm 47:1&5 O clap your hands, all peoples; Shout to God with the voice of joy…. God has ascended with a shout, The Lord, with the sound of a trumpet. (NASB)

This and other Psalms of Ascent seem to be clear influences on the song.

 

 

U2 lyric

I want to go to the foot of Mount Zion… Jerusalem

 

Indirect references

Psalm 122:1 I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Our feet are standing Within your gates, O Jerusalem…. (NASB)

Psalm 48:1-3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, In the city of our God, His holy mountain. Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, Is Mount Zion in the far north, The city of the great King. (NASB)

 

 

U2 lyric

To the side of a hill, blood was spilled

 

Indirect reference

John 19:34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. (NASB)

 

 


 

"Stranger In A Strange Land"

 

U2 lyric

I watched as he watched us… The way it was when he was with us

 

Possible influence

Luke 24:32 They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?" (NIV).

 

 

U2 lyric

But I couldn't sleep after what I saw / I wrote this letter to tell you the way I feel / I wish you were here to see what I could see

 

Possible influence

Luke 24:33-35 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.