Writing songs from scripture
Ross Hutto has written a really helpful post on worship song writing which is worth checking out.
Most, if not all of my worship songs come directly from scripture. There’s a plethora of ideas and in my opinion the best source for writing songs for worship. So, I try and read scripture. A lot of it. I don’t mean legalistically, but it’s a great idea to soak in it, to meditate on it. You want to write from a place of experience and familiarity with Scripture. Don’t just throw a dart at a random Psalm and make a song out of it.
He looks in particular at approaching a scripture passage for lyrics, and gives the advice to boil the passage down to one theme.
It might take a while to actually boil it down because sometimes you’ll see more than one theme jump out at you. Which is actually a good thing. Use a songwriting notebook and catalog those ideas for later use. You can actually write multiple songs from even the shortest passages.
A further point to remember is to try rewriting and paraphrasing things; this is the art of finding fresh ways to express ageless truths.
The point is that you can say basically the same thing many different ways. I believe, that depending on the translation you start from, it might actually benefit you and those that hear your songs to actually hear different versions of the same concept. Why? Well, for one thing if you’re writing for an environment that hopes to include those who are far from God, you don’t want to be “churchy” sounding with all of your songs.
Do check out the rest of the post.