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Tasmanians get musical with the Bible


Friday 31 July 2015

Our Bible Society team in Tasmania is getting musical. Bible Society will be hosting Word in Song in Hobart this September, showcasing God’s Word expressed in songs written by Tasmanian Christians.

“Putting truth to music is a way of winning not just people’s minds but their hearts as well,” says Mark Barry, Bible Society’s Tasmania coordinator. He’s been blown away by the 29 original song submissions received by Tassie songwriters.

Submissions were from many denominations including Pentecostals, Anglicans and Seventh Day Adventists. Volunteers of the Southern Bible Society Action Group will whittle down those songs to a dozen or so to showcase in the event in September.

Sarah Gracie, who attends Hillsong Connect in Hobart, has been a member of the Southern Bible Society Action Group for three years. It’s small group of volunteers in Hobart who helps our Bible Society Tasmania team organise events to engage people with the Bible.

Sarah loves music and has written many Christian songs. She believes songwriting can be a method of communicating biblical truths in an easy and accessible way. “It’s a powerful medium for communicating the word of God.”

“Being memorable is really important for song writing,” she says. “The more thought and care in how you craft a song, in terms of lyrics, the more real it seems. It can be easy for a song to feel a little trite. But the more thought that goes into it, I think you can come up within something that presents an old message in fresh ways.”

Criteria for the Tasmanian song writing competition were that the lyrics had to be “inspired by the word of God”. They didn’t have to directly quote from scripture – though Mark says there were plenty of great submissions that did – but they had to communicate a particular biblical truth in a different way.

“If people hear a song, they can relate to it and be encouraged by it and go away and sing it themselves, I think that’s one good marker of a good song. But there are good songs for different contexts. Worship songs need to be simpler so people can sing them easily. But there’s space for more complicated songs too in Christian music,” says Sarah.

This is the first time Bible Society has been involved directly with Christian songwriters, though Bible Society has had a strong tradition of encouraging Christian worship through its annual Hymnfests run around the country.

“Songwriting is a really nice fit for Bible Society. Bible Society is about getting God’s word out to people and making it accessible. If we can encourage songwriters to use their art form to communicate God’s word in an effective way, then they’re also making the Word more accessible. It’s a nice partnership.”

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