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"But the real reason why it's unlikely that I will take to the front for any length of time, is that Bono can't drum." — Larry

U2 Bible References: Zooropa


Zooropa (1993)

The group’s eighth album picked up where the previous one left off with wild sonic experiments, and earned U2 a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album, demonstrating the band’s ability to create relevant, up-to-date music.

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

"Zooropa"

 

U2 lyric

What do you want?

 

Possible influence 

The opening line of the album Zooropa parallels nicely the first line of Jesus in John’s Gospel.

John 1:38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” (NIV)

 

 

U2 lyric

She's gonna dream up the world she wants to live in / She's gonna dream out loud?

 

Possible influence 

Acts 2:17 In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. (NIV)

 

 


 

"Lemon"

 

U2 lyric

When you're dry she draws her water from the stone

 

Possible influence 

Numbers 20:7-8 The Lord said to Moses, “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.” (NIV)

 

 


 

"Stay (Faraway, So Close!)"

 

U2 lyric

Stay with the demons you drowned

 

Possible influence 

Luke 8:32-33 A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and he gave them permission. 33 When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. (NIV)

 

 


 

"The First Time"

The entire song is a reflection on the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32. “It's the story of the prodigal son but in it the prodigal son decides he doesn't want to return. It is about losing your faith.” (Bono, U2 By U2, 2006)

 

U2 lyric

I have a lover… I have a brother… My father…

 

Possible influence 

This is a very creative way to embed the theological concept of the Trinity in a song, with Spirit as lover, Christ as brother, and God as father. While the Trinity itself is never overtly mentioned in scripture, the concept has been a part of orthodox Christianity since its beginning.

See Matthew 28:19 as an example: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (NIV)

 

 

U2 lyric

Gave me the keys to his kingdom coming

 

Indirect reference 

Matthew 16:19 (Jesus to Peter) I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (NIV

 

Direct quote

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

He said “I have many mansions / And there are many rooms to see”

 

Indirect reference 

John 14:2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (KJV)

 

 


 

"The Wanderer"

 

U2 lyric

Through streets paved with gold

 

Indirect reference 

Revelation 21:21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass. (NIV)

 

 

U2 lyric

Who would sit at his Father's right hand

 

Indirect reference 

Matthew 26:64 “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (NIV)

 

Another possible title for this song, according to an interview with Bono in the book Race of Angels, was "The Preacher." Though no lines correspond exactly, the spirit of the song echoes the entire book of Ecclesiastes (also sometimes called "The Preacher" or “The Teacher”). For instance: "I went out there in search of experience/to taste and to touch and to feel as much as a man can before he repents" and Ecclesiastes 11:9: "Rejoice, O young man, while you are young, and let your heart be glad in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart, the vision of your eyes; yet understand as regards all this God will bring you to judgment."