In the span of a week, we looked at three books that fall into the “wisdom literature” genre. You may be familiar with the book of Job and with Ecclesiastes; both are fairly well-known books. What you may not be familiar with, however, is the Song of Songs, also called the Song of Solomon. There is a great deal of debate among scholars and among those who interpret this book with regards to what this book is addressing. Interpretations of this book generally fall into two camps. Some think that this book is an allegory for God and the church, thinking that God is the “groom” and the church is the “bride” of this story. Others (myself included), think that this book is about a literal groom and bride who are celebrating their marriage with physical intimacy. A lot of people are uncomfortable with this perspective, but in my thinking (and in the thinking of many others), why would God not want a book to be included in the Bible about marriage and about the physical relationship that goes along with marriage? At the Fall, the relationship between men and women was damaged (Genesis 3:14-19); why wouldn’t God want a book in the Bible about the restoration of this relationship? From this perspective, we can see many beautiful truths about marriage (and about singleness) in this book. For one, the couple of Song of Songs (I don’t believe the groom is Solomon, by the way, but that’s another story) pursues one another and is intentional about showing their love to one another. Another excellent truth to pull away from this book is the idea of purity in singleness. Physical intimacy is a gift from God, but it is one that He has reserved for marriage, as is shown in the bride’s constant admonitions to her friends to not awaken love before it desires. If you have never read Song of Songs, or have always looked at it from an allegorical perspective, I would encourage you to try reading it literally, as a bride and groom celebrating their marriage. This book gives us a beautiful picture of a marriage based on unity and love.
As we move into studying the prophets, my next post will include some tips on interpreting prophetic literature, and we’ll take a look at the book of Amos. It only takes about half an hour to read Amos. Thanks for praying for Michael this last week; he feels good about his Joel teaching, and will post a summary of his lecture soon.
Main Idea: All is vanity without fear of the Lord and obeying His commandments.
Reason Written: Written to show the way in which life is meaningless without fear of the Lord.
Timeless Truth: Life is meaningless unless God is the center of one’s life (Ecclesiastes 1:1-11;2:1-26;12:1-14).
Song of Songs
Main Idea: A celebration of the intimate physical relationship God intended for marriage.
Reason Written: Written to show the way in which God intended marriage to be the appropriate expression of physical intimacy.
Timeless Truth: Physical intimacy is a healthy expression of love within the context of marriage (Song of Songs 1:1-8:14).
Main Idea: God’s perspective on suffering is greater than man’s finite wisdom.
Reason Written: Written to show the sovereignty of God over suffering.
Timeless Truth: God’s ways are beyond man’s understanding (Job 38-41).