This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Prince, who died a year ago this week, was a lifelong Christian, raised as a Seventh-day Adventist and later converting to Jehovah's Witnesses. Throughout his almost 40 years of music, he frequently philosophized, theologized and just plain preached in his songs. Here is a sample of Prince's more religious lyrics.

'I Would Die 4 U'

(From the album "Purple Rain," 1984)

This song was a hit as a love song between a man and a woman, but at points, Prince seems to be playing the role of Jesus:

I'm not a woman

I'm not a man

I am something that you'll never understand …

No need to worry

No need to cry

I'm your messiah and you're the reason why …

I'm not a human

I am a dove

I'm your conscience

I am love

All I really need is to know that

You believe

Yeah, I would die for you, yeah

'My Name Is Prince'

(from the album "The Love Symbol," 1992)

Prince spells out his relationship to God by placing himself directly in the creation story from Genesis:

In the beginning God made the sea

But on the seventh day he made me

He was tryin' to rest y'all when he heard the sound

Sound like a guitar cold gettin' down

I tried to bust a high note, but I bust a string

My God was worried 'til he heard me sing

My name is Prince and I am funky

My name is Prince, the one and only

'7'

(from the album "The Love Symbol," 1992)

This song has plenty of Book of Revelation references, and Prince fans have had lots of fun parsing what the 7 are. Seven Trumpets of the Apocalypse? The seven deadly sins?

And we will see a plague and a river of blood

And every evil soul will surely die in spite of

Their 7 tears, but do not fear

4 in the distance, 12 souls from now

U and me will still be here — we will still be here

There will be a new city with streets of gold

The young so educated they never grow old

And a, there will be no death 4 with every breath

The voice of many colors sings a song

That's so bold

Sing it while we watch them fall

'The Rainbow Children'

(from the album of the same name, 2001)

The entire album was an exploration of Jehovah's Witness theology:

Who is ur real father?

The everlasting one

The one who came from nothing

And yet from this one, everything comes

The one who commands ur momma

With the simple phrase "I am"

And every time that she obeys

She gives birth 2 the Son of Man

Who is this?

'Lion of Judah'

(from the album "Planet Earth," 2007)

Some of his later songs, like this one, had imagery drawn directly from Witness theology. Here, it is the trumpet, which Witnesses believe will herald the end times:

Like the Lion of Judah (Judah)

I strike my enemies down

As my God is living

Surely the trumpet will sound

There was one who would stand by my side

Through the good and the bad

Let that one stand with pride

The best that I ever had

Like the lion of Judah

comments powered by Disqus