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U2 Bible References: Songs Of Innocence

Songs Of Innocence (2014)

Suffering from a bit of an identity crisis, U2 took longer than it ever had—five years—to complete a new project. The result was its thirteenth record, a retrospective that reflected back on the band’s earliest days. Partnering again with Apple, the album was released digitally as a gift to all iTunes subscribers.

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



"Song For Someone"


U2 lyric

If there is a light… If there is a dark


Possible influence 

John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (NIV)

John 1:4-5 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (NIV)


The Gospel of John often uses the themes of light versus dark. See John 1:1-15, and John 9, especially 9:5 and 9:35-41.



U2 lyric

And I’m a long way / From your hill of Calvary


Possible influence 

Luke 23:33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. (KJV)

Calvary is the traditional name given to the hill on which Jesus was crucified.



U2 lyric

If there is a kiss / I stole from your mouth


Possible influence 

Matthew 26:47-49 While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. (NIV)

John 18:3 So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. (NIV)


This idea of stolen kiss is also used in “Until The End Of The World.”




"Iris (Hold Me Close)"


U2 lyric

She said free yourself to be yourself


Possible influences

John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (NIV)

Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (NIV)




"Raised By Wolves"


U2 lyric

I don’t believe anymore


Possible influence 

John 20:25 (This is the story of Thomas, who had trouble believing in Jesus’ resurrection)So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he [Thomas] said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (NIV)




"Cedarwood Road"


U2 lyric

And a heart that is broken / Is a heart that is open


Possible influence 

Psalm 51:17

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;

    a broken and contrite heart

    you, God, will not despise. (NIV)




"Sleep Like A Baby Tonight"


Though the song has no direct scriptural references, its theme is clearly about sexual abuse in the church. References to “colours of forgiveness,” “purple robes,” “church is where the war is,” and “St. Francis,” are highly ecclesial language.




"The Troubles"


U2 lyric

Somebody stepped inside your soul / Little by little they robbed and stole / Till someone else was in control


Possible influence 

Matthew 16:26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? (NIV)



U2 lyric

God now you can see me / I’m naked and I’m not afraid / My body’s sacred and I’m not ashamed


Indirect reference 

Genesis 2:25 (A reference to the Garden of Eden)And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. (NIV)




"Lucifer's Hands"


U2 lyric

The spirit’s moving


Possible influence 

John 3:8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. (NIV)



U2 lyric

I’m born again


Possible influence 

John 3:3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. (NIV)



U2 lyric

Prayers of fire on a raindog night / Young men see visions beyond sound or sight


Possible influence 

Acts 2:1-4 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (NIV)



U2 lyric

You no longer got a hold on me / I’m out of Lucifer’s hands…


Possible influence 

John 14:39 I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me (NIV)

Acts 2:24 But God raised him [Jesus] from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. (NIV)