"Three Wooden Crosses" as written by Kim Williams and Doug Johnson....
A farmer and a teacher, a hooker and a preacher,
Ridin' on a midnight bus bound for Mexico
One's headed for vacation, one for higher education,
An' two of them were searchin' for lost souls
That driver never ever saw the stop sign
An' eighteen wheelers can't stop on a dime

There are three wooden crosses on the right side of the highway,
Why there's not four of them, Heaven only knows
I guess it's not what you take when you leave this world behind you,
It's what you leave behind you when you go

That farmer left a harvest, a home and eighty acres,
The faith an' love for growin' things in his young son's heart
An' that teacher left her wisdom in the minds of lots of children:
Did her best to give 'em all a better start
An' that preacher whispered, "Can't you see the Promised Land?"
As he laid his blood-stained bible in that hooker's hand

There are three wooden crosses on the right side of the highway,
Why there's not four of them, Heaven only knows
I guess it's not what you take when you leave this world behind you,
It's what you leave behind you when you go

That's the story that our preacher told last Sunday
As he held that blood-stained bible up,
For all of us to see
He said "Bless the farmer, and the teacher, an' the preacher
Who gave this Bible to my mama,
Who read it to me"

There are three wooden crosses on the right side of the highway,
Why there's not four of them, now I guess we know
It's not what you take when you leave this world behind you,
It's what you leave behind you when you go

There are three wooden crosses on the right side of the highway


Lyrics submitted by Stoney

"Three Wooden Crosses" as written by Douglas M. Johnson, Kim E. Williams

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, MIKE CURB MUSIC

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Three Wooden Crosses song meanings
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18 Comments

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  • +2
    Song MeaningEveryone's taking the lyrics to seriously.

    Three of four people on a bus that crashed die. At the beginning of the song, the singer is wondering why there aren't four for all four passengers.

    " And that preacher whispered
    "Can't you see the promised land?"
    As he lay his blood stained Bible
    In that hooker's hand "

    The preacher's last act was to save the hooker by giving her the bible, and by doing so, bringing her to God. God saves the hooker and she turns her life around. The other preacher says "bless the farmer, and the teacher, and the preacher", meaning bless those who showed her the joy of an honest, good life. Without that, he wouldn't be there today.

    I'm not religious (I'm agnostic) and this is just my interpretation of the meaning of the song.
    kingskywalker94on March 12, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is beautiful.

    My interpretation is that the song writer was listening to his Preacher tell a story about his (the preachers) mother who happened to be a Hooker "searching for a lost soul" when she encountered a Preacher. That Preacher on the bus showed her and gave her the Bible. The Preacher on the bus ends up dying, but the Hooker does not. The Hooker ends up turning her life around and raises up a son who becomes a Preacher.
    James14on September 18, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI understand. The songwriters simply forgot about the driver, so they started to tell he was Jesus. And it fits perfectly to the lyrics. Don't you see??? 'Why there's not four of them heaven only knows' The hooker stayed alive, so the driver's cross is missing, because he should have died also. So the driver was somebody strange....
    nychtalopiaon February 09, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentJames pretty much hit it square, and the concept of the "three wooden crosses" seems pretty clear to me. Five people were on the bus; the farmer, the teacher, the hooker, the preacher, and the driver. Three of the passengers do not survive...the hooker and the driver survive, but they're should have been four...maybe the driver is a reference to Jesus guiding the lost souls.
    Maloner885on July 08, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentA lovely song about how a group of people are tragically killed out of negligence, but it's okay because a prostitute survives and takes her survival to be an act of god.

    So while the woman is forever traumatized from the experience and turns to religion to cope, a person of learning who shares their passion for knowledge with others is killed, the world loses somebody whose work contributes to feeding hundreds or thousands. But the prostitute raises another preacher so apparently the incident had a positive result.
    MSD19on January 23, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWell, I like this song to listen to, but I don't agree with the lyrics.
    Simplethings18on March 09, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI don't understand the lyrics.
    anotherdayon September 16, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreat song. The song makes great sense to me. Very easy to understand. Very beautiful. Randy Travis has a great voice. It makes the song that much better.
    scarredon November 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyea, i agree whit james14
    grungebeavis15on December 14, 2006   Link
  • 0
    Song Meaningthe bus driver is not part of the meaning of the song she is just afiller to prove its a bus


    One was heading for vacation
    -the hooker
    One for higher education
    -farmer
    And two of them were searching for lost souls
    -the teacher and the preacher

    I guess it's not what you take
    When you leave this world behind you
    It's what you leave behind you when you go
    -when you die its not what you take with you to heaven that matters its what you leave behind on earth, is not what you learned is what you taught

    This is my meaning of this song, i have talked with family, friends and even my pastor about the meaning of this song and have been looking for a bible verse that could have been the scripture for the sermon in the song, that brought on the story.
    hope4faithon December 08, 2010   Link

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