For centuries, classical music lovers
have been delighting in the great works of Johannes Sebastian Bach. Few, if
any, have known that Bach’s greatest motivation in composing his music was
his deep awe and love for God.
Bach, according to his biographers, was a profoundly religious man.
Bitter, a nineteenth century biographer, wrote that Bach was a, "Sincere
Christian" and that "His deep religious feeling is shown throughout his life" (Leaver, 1985, 13). It is also a well established fact that Bach was a zealous
Lutheran who made evangelical Christianity a central part of his life. Because of his zeal
for Christianity he has been referred to as "The fifth evangelist"
Being an Orthodox Lutheran, Bach had a profound
love for the Bible. By the extensive notes that he wrote beside many scriptural passages
in his Bible, we can deduce that he was a serious and reflective student of the
Unknown to most is Bachs view of music. His
belief was that music was to be composed to give glory to God, as well as for pleasant
recreation. In fact, it was his custom to write, "Soli Deo Gloria,"(Only to God
be the glory) at the end of many of his works.
Bach was without doubt one of the greatest composers of all time. Yet, in
spite of his greatness, he humbled his great genius before the Creator to
whom he dedicated most of his masterpieces. As a result, for the past three
centuries, much glory has gone to the great God, through the delight and
inspiration that millions have experienced by listening to his music.
R. J. S. Bach and Scripture. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1985.