Yesterday I reviewed Paul Baloche’s new album, Glorious. I emailed Paul a few questions which he was kind enough to answer. As long as I’ve known Paul he has always been gracious and humble. His songs are sung across the world, yet he consistently encourages those around him, laughs at himself, and directs people’s hearts to the glory of Jesus Christ. He’s also been serving in his local church for the past 20 years. So grateful for his example of humility. Here’s the interview:
1. How do you hope people who listen to this album will be affected?
I hope that they will be inspired to wonder- to inquire- to lean in to the glory and mystery of The Savior. Discover and realize His love for them and ponder the great truths of God found in His Word. Believing and experiencing the promise in James…”draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”
2. You’re co-writing a lot now. What’s the process like?
The process is essentially saving up as many “inspired bits” that come from personal and corporate worship times, prayers, or scripture. I’ll try “playing with” or “worshiping with” those ideas until they start to take shape and resonate an authentic feeling or concept worthy of singing about.
Then I’ll bring those inspired bits to a friend in the hopes that as we share ideas back and forth, we’ll finish or at least progress, on a song that will help others worship. Sometimes we’ll get a strong start and follow up with innumerable emails back and forth until we agree on the form, lyrics, arrangement, and so on. Sometimes nothing happens. Either way, it’s always time well spent because we get to hang out and pray, sing, worship, drink coffee, laugh, and try our best to create something that will bless The Lord and edify His church.
3. Is there any song on the album with a unique story behind it?
Not so much unique but significant to me. The song Glorious started as an idea from 1 Corinthians 2:7-8, where Paul says “we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery…which none of the princes of this world had known…or they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory.”
I was struck by the fact that the Apostle Paul never met the earthly Jesus. He prided himself in being a zealous Hebrew Pharisee, on his way to persecute more Christians, when confronted and radically transformed by a revelation of Jesus Christ. He only knew the Risen Savior, the Resurrected Christ. Paul’s primary ministry was to “make all men SEE” what he saw. In Ephesians 3:9 he defines his mission, “… to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ”. In Ephesians 1:18 Paul pleads “I pray that the eyes of your heart would be enlightened…”
The song Glorious is an invitation to look and “see the Risen Savior, victorious and strong” and respond with awe, “Lord you are glorious”.
4. You included a song by your wife, Rita, from Heb. 12 about the Lord’s discipline. Why do you think it’s important for Christians to sing about that topic?
Because we rarely sing about it and because it is so close to home. We have seen so many people in our fellowship go through extremely difficult things this past year. We all look for meaning and hope in our sufferings. Hebrews 12 talks a great deal about the chastening of The Lord and how His purposes are accomplished often through the trials we walk through. The chapter on chastening leads to the act of worship by concluding “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.” Both Rita and I wrote a song from these passages and when we played each other our “versions” it was pretty obvious that her approach was stronger in every way.
5. How does this album reflect how you’ve tried to grow as a songwriter?
Hmmm, good question. Most of the songs are intentionally derived from the New Testament. I have been trying to work in more scripture and ideas from the letters of Paul especially. Romans, Corinthians, Ephesians, Hebrews, and Revelation were the primary sources of content for lyrics. The challenge is taking important ideas and scripture found in these books and try singing them in a vertical, prayerful way that will help others worship while forming a biblical view of who God is.
6. It may be my imagination, but you seem to refer to Jesus as the “Savior” quite a bit on this album. Is that my imagination, or is that intentional?
I appreciate that Paul is seeking to shape our view of God by mining Scripture for truths that point us to the Savior, encouraging us to respond in joy, gratefulness, and awe. Sounds like Colossians 3:16 to me: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”