About 6 years ago, after reflecting with a pastor friend about where I wanted to be in 10 years he asked me, “if you were going to invest the next 5 years of study into a book of the Bible, what would it be?” My response was to understand the Bride of Christ, and so began my journey into the Song of Songs.
It’s been interesting to talk about this with my friends because most readers of the Bible are freaked out by the sexual language and vivid imagery.
As I’ve studied and read, I’ve found that many of the Jewish scholars and Medieval Bible scholars considered this to be the most important book of the Bible. It’s only in the last 120 years that we’ve shunned it as far too difficult and uncomfortable to apply to the life of the believer.
There are 3 general ways to read the book, all of which are appropriate and acceptable to common biblical scholarship.
1. It’s a picture of godly romance. Learn to love your spouse better by reading this book.
2. It’s a metaphor for God’s relationship with his Church and the nation of Israel.
3. It’s a metaphor for the love relationship between God and the individual believer.
So, because of these powerful applications, there are 7 benefits that quickly come to mind as I reflect on why every believer today must be familiar with the themes and prayers of Song of Songs.
1. We are instructed in godly sexuality.
2. The romance is full of normally experienced emotion. The words of Song of Solomon is not fantasy or a writer’s emotional wanderings; it describes many of the emotions I’ve gone through in loving my own wife.
3. The metaphor of Jesus the bridegroom coming for a bride is the most important and highest picture of our relationship. Slave of God, brother of Christ, child of God, friend of the bridegroom are all good, but lack the intimacy of a lover.
4. Our society is over-sexed. A youth leader who is uncomfortable to talk about the images and themes of the Song is the only one in her youth group.
5. It reflects the seasons of a believer’s life in Christ. The Song does this in a drama rather than in prose – much easier to remember and reflective of our royal position in God’s family.
6. We can learn new intimate language for prayer. The Song is full of intimate language that can teach us how to speak with the One who loved us first.
7. It brings revelation of the emotions that God has for us. When I wonder, “What is God thinking about me right now?” the Song will help me.
I’d like to invite you to set a weekly rhythm of reading and understanding this most important Book of the Bible. If that’s a little overwhelming, here are some helps that I’ve used and reused: Union & Communion free on Kindle, Song of Songs (Watchman Nee), Song of Songs mp3s.
How about you. What do you think is the most important book of the Bible?