Slow Train Coming

What Bob Dylan Got Right: Gotta Serve Somebody (Remix)

by John Piper

In 1979 Bob Dylan recorded the song "Gotta Serve Somebody." For those who listen with biblically informed ears the refrain echoes Paul and Jesus:

Paul: "You are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness" (Romans 6:16).

Jesus: "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other" (Matthew 6:24).

Dylan’s refrain:

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed,
You’re gonna have to serve somebody.
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord,
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

This is one of the truest songs Dylan has written. John Lennon was so angry with it that he wrote an obscene counter-song, "Serve Yourself," which was so bad, Yoko Ono published an apologetic explanation of it in 1998.

To celebrate Dylan’s getting this truth so right, I have written new lyrics, not because they are better, but because they are updated for my religious world.

If you’d like to read it, and you don’t know the song, it might help to have the tune in your head as you read the new lyrics. You can listen to it here:


What Bob Dylan Got Right – Desiring God


The Poached Egg