Writing Worship

Day 4 of 5 • This day’s reading


Songwriting Through the Word

I find it unbelievable how much wisdom about songwriting is hidden in the Word of God. Through the Psalms I’ve studied structures, emotion, repetition, patterns, and so much more. I’ve researched the songs of Deborah, Hannah, Miriam, Elizabeth, Mary, and others. It seems the more I look, the more I find!

One of the basic skills I’ve taught to songwriters for years is song mapping. Song mapping is a way we brainstorm and begin to categorize pieces of a song. We start by putting our big idea, usually our title, in the center of the page. That’s our bull’s-eye. Once the main idea is established, the brainstorming can begin. Gradually we recognize patterns that we then shape into verses, choruses, bridges, and eventually, songs. But I had no idea until recently that there’s a song map in scripture.

So devote yourselves to lavishly supplementing* your faith with goodness,

and to goodness add understanding,

and to understanding add the strength of self-control,

and to self-control add patient endurance,

and to patient endurance add godliness,

and to godliness add mercy toward your brothers and sisters,

and to mercy toward others add unending love. (2 Peter 1:5–7)

*The footnote of the word supplementing says that the Greek means to “fully support the chorus”!

Here’s what I saw in the center of the song map: faith. That’s our life chorus! Then the supporting lyrics come in: goodness, understanding, strength of self-control, patient endurance, godliness, mercy toward your brothers and sisters, and unending love. These would be the words scattered around that bull’s-eye of our chorus, all adding strength.

Many times, when I see lists like that, I identify them as verse content. They give detail and explanation to my chorus. So if I were to write this as a song, maybe it would go something like this.


Let your goodness flow through me

Understanding, wide and deep

All for love, I’ll be your hands and your feet


Let every facet of my faith

Carry the weight of all your grace 

Preparing a way for you

Let every facet of my faith

Reveal your glory, give you praise

Preparing a way for you 

A simple example, but can you see what I mean? That passage, while not marked as a song, has all the components. This type of revelation happens over and over. The Word of God has an endless amount of treasure for us songwriters—not just for finding song ideas but for our hearts and lives! The more I get to know Scripture, the better it gets.

How about you? Are you spending time seeking the Lord’s heart? Are you looking to the Word of God for songwriting instruction and wisdom? I promise you, there is no better place to look!


God, help me to commit time to You daily. Help me to grow in my relationship with You, and tutor me in songwriting through Your Word. I am open to all You have to teach me. Give me patience for the journey and eyes to see the treasure. Amen.