The Bible's X-Rated Book - Why is it Here? - August 2022

by Pastor Pete Panitzke on August 05, 2022

Today and tomorrow we will be reading Solomon’s Song of Songs (read chapters 1-4 here). It is a love song between a husband and wife, probably written early in King Solomon’s reign, about 970 BC.
 
I found this 
summary by Chuck Swindoll to be helpful:
 
The Song of Solomon’s willingness to broach the topic of physical love within marriage has made many of its readers throughout history uncomfortable, so much so that Rabbi Aqiba had to vigorously defend the book’s place in the Jewish canon even as late as AD 90 at the Council of Jamnia. But as a testament to the beauty of the marriage relationship in its fullness, Song of Solomon stands out with its uniquely detailed vision of this beautiful reality.
 
The fullness of the union that takes place at marriage is described in some of the most splendid poetic language in the entire Bible. In a world where so many speak of God’s special gifts with coldly clinical or apathetic statistical language, the passion of Solomon’s poetry refreshes a world thirsty for the truth about marriage. Solomon began his rendering of this relationship with the two lovers in courtship longing for affection while expressing their love for one another (Song of Solomon 1:1–3:5). Eventually, they come together in marriage, the groom extolling his bride’s beauty before they consummate their relationship (3:6–5:1). Finally, she struggles with the fear of separation, while he reassures his bride of his affections for her (5:2–8:14). All of this reinforces the theme of the goodness of marriage.
 
Because the Church is the bride of Christ, you can also read this song remembering that the Savior sees you as his beautiful bride, not because of your personal perfection, but because his forgiving love covers over every sin.
 
We are privileged to see the Savior’s love most clearly in Paul’s letter to the 
Romans (read Romans 1:1-23 here). Over the next couple of weeks we will read Paul's systematic presentation of the gospel as he prepared the Roman church to provide assistance for his mission efforts to the western edge of the Mediterranean Sea.
 
When you begin to get bogged down in the details of Romans, it may be helpful for you to glance back at Song of Songs and just hear the Savior say to you: "How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful!" (Song of Songs 1:15) 

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