Jun22WedJune 22, 2016
Suppose that you wanted to strengthen your own marriage or encourage a spiritual friend by talking about their relationship with their spouse. Where would you turn for wisdom? Marriage enrichment has become such a popular topic in our day that you can find over 20,000 books on the subject through Amazon with 7,000 alone on the subject of ‘Christian Marriage.’ I don’t know about you, that those numbers are overwhelming! Who has time to sift through so many resources?
Fortunately for Christians, the Bible includes the strongest resource for marriage enrichment in the book of ‘Song of Solomon’ (not to mention other New Testament sources). It’s the only book in the world in which the Holy Spirit gave inspiration on the subject of romance. Unfortunately, it’s so saturated with cultural analogies that many Christians have a difficult time seeing relevant application.
Let me help you make sense of this incredible book as we walk through it in our daily Scripture readings this week.
There are four characters in this poetic book: Solomon, the young King of Israel who is described as “beloved”; a dark, young bride who may be Abishag the Shunammite (see 1 Kings 1:4ff. and SoS 6:13); friends of the couple; and on-looking family members. Dialogue between these characters transitions often.
The setting is the land of Israel, possibly shortly after Solomon became king, during a time when vineyards are blossoming, flowers and sheep are scattered across the rolling countryside, and the local fruits (like the pomegranate) are ripe. In this day, women would wear necklaces made with nard and spices in order to be a form of deodorant and perfume and live and work at home until married.
Chapter 1 through verse 11 describes the couple’s dating relationship.
Verse 12 through chapter 2 verse 7 describes a date when they walked outside and she began to daydream.
Verse 8 through the end of chapter 2 describes a second date in which he pursues her.
Chapter 3 begins with young woman’s fears before the wedding ceremony - which is described at the end of that chapter.
Chapter 4 through chapter 5 verse 1 describes the honeymoon in vivid detail.
Chapter 5 verse 2 through the end of Chapter 6 describes the conflicts, compliments and questions during the first moments of marriage.
Chapter 7 through chapter 8 verse 4 describes the vivid details of sexual intimacy.
(Note: please read chapters 4 and 7 with discretion, lest you ‘awaken love’ before it’s time).
Chapter 8 describes the lessons that they have learned about ‘staying in love’ as well as an anecdotal glimpse into marriage by the bride’s brothers in verses 8-9.
There are plenty of parts of this book that I’m still learning. However, I hope that this outline gives you a starting point to better understand God’s perspective on marriage and romance.
May God’s Word continue to amaze us and be sufficient for us to navigate the challenges of this world – including the challenge of marriage, all for the glory of God!