What Does the Song of Solomon Teach us about Relationships and Sex? – Part 1

Sex isn’t a topic that’s discussed often in the church, if at all. It can even be a taboo subject among Christians. Something they do but definitely not something they discuss.

When we compare the church to the world, we see that there is quite a difference between the two. The world talks about sex constantly. Movies, T.V. shows, the news, articles, and conversations with friends are often dominated by the subject. I mean you can hardly watch a television show without some random comment or scene thrown in there that’s really unnecessary, and the only role it plays is just to glorify sex.

But why is there such a difference? Why don’t we talk about sex in the church? Especially when we consider that almost the entirety of one of the wisdom books — the Song of Solomon — is dedicated to the subject.

Now, the Song of Solomon isn’t without its controversy. Many have questioned why it’s in the Bible. It’s been kept out of the hands of teenagers and young adults. It’s been allegorized, historicized, and misinterpreted in an effort to diminish the raciness of the book. But while all that and more has occurred throughout the centuries, it still remains a valuable book.

At its core, it’s about a relationship between a king, presumably Solomon, and his wife. It tells the story of their courtship, wedding, and relationship thereafter. It does so with vivid poetic imagery that at times leaves us, modern-day readers, guessing at the meaning and wondering why the woman is blushing when in today’s terms his comments would be taken as more of an insult than a praise and would probably warrant a slap. But for all its difficulties, the Song of Solomon is inspired Scripture that teaches us about God’s desire for sex and relationships.

What, then, does the Song of Solomon teach us about relationships and sex?

(1) Relationships and Sex should occur between a man and a woman (vs. Gen. 1:27-28; 2:24; Rom. 1:27-28; 32)

That idea — that relationships and sex should only occur between a man and a woman — is fast becoming out of step in our modern world. But while the traditional view is fast becoming out of step, it is the biblical view. One that’s upheld in the Song of Solomon. When you read the book, the love story, including the intimate parts, are portrayed between a man and a woman. That is the relationship that is celebrated by the book. That’s the relationship God endorses and promotes.

Lest someone claim the Song of Solomon only represents one type of relationship, God’s explicitly clear in the rest of the Bible what He endorses. In Genesis 1&2 we learn that a man and woman were created. Verse 27 of chapter 1 reads,

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Ge 1:27)

And in verse 28 we learn that:

“…God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”” (Ge 1:28)

Then in verse 24 of chapter 2, we are told that,

“…a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Ge 2:24)

This tells us that God’s original plan in creation was for one man and one woman to be together for life. If that’s not clear that it’s God’s plan for a man and woman to be together, we also learn in Romans 1 that:

“…God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” (Ro 1:26–27)

God gave them up to these unnatural relations because of their refusal to recognize him as the one true God despite the evidence He has provided. He gave them up to homosexual behavior, which we are told in verse 32 is something that warrants God’s punishment.

You see, despite what our culture proclaims and trumpets as acceptable, the Bible tells us that it’s nothing more than an aberration, a departure from God’s original plan for creation. If those in our culture are honest, they know this too. They show they know that when they say things like: “This is the new normal.”

So one of the things we learn from the Song of Solomon is that God’s design and plan is for relationships and sex to occur between a man and a woman.

Question for Reflection

  1. What are your thoughts on the Bible’s plan and God’s design for sex and relationships? Do you agree or disagree? And why? (NOTE: Since this is an emotionally and politically charged topicI’m looking for thoughtful, gracious, loving, and engaging answers/comments.)

Resources

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Post developed from my sermon What does the Song of Solomon Teach us about Relationships and Sex?

 

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Why Do We Read the Bible?

In Joshua 1:8 God speaking to Joshua says,

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Jos 1:8)

Joshua highlights one of the main reasons we are to read and meditate on the Bible — “so that [we] may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.” As much as the Bible is an intellectual exercise, intellectual knowledge shouldn’t be the main reason we read the Bible.

Instead, one of the main reasons we are to read the Bible is so that we can live according to God’s will and bring Him glory.

Our Benefit

As you can see, there is a benefit in living according to God’s will. It allows us to be prosperous and successful. Apart from popular opinion, God is not out to punish us or to take the fun out of life. God wants us to flourish. He wants us to be successful. If we live according to God’s Word, more often than not that’s going to happen. Not necessarily in a health and wealth gospel type of way, but in a real biblical since we will be prosperous and successful.

Warning

But, I have to warn you, as you make reading, meditating, and seeking to live according to the Bible a practice in your life, you will find that: The Bible, at times, will provide the encouragement you need to keep doing what you are doing. However, at other times, you are going to find that the Bible will call you to think and live differently.

No Surprise – The Bible Will Disagree with Us

The Bible calling us to live and think differently shouldn’t be a surprise to us. When you study 2 Timothy 3, you learn that the Bible is useful for:

  • Teaching
  • Reproving
  • Correcting
  • Training in righteousness

When we come to the Bible, then, we should not only expect it to encourage and teach us, but we should also expect it to disagree with us from time to time. If you think about it, that has to be true — the Bible has to disagree with us if it’s going to teach, reprove, correct, and train us so that we mature in Christ and live as God would have us live. Honestly, if you find that God’s Word never disagrees with how you are living or thinking, you can be sure that you aren’t reading and applying it correctly.

Why Things Need to Change

The way we live and think must change because we are a people who have been deeply affected by sin. It has corrupted our mind so that we live and think in a way that’s unhelpful, that doesn’t produce human flourishing. So we need God to come in and correct and teach us so that we can live in a way that not only pleases and brings Him glory but also causes us to flourish as humans.

Question for Reflection

  1. How has the Bible disagreed with you this week?

Resources

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Post developed from my sermon What should we do with the Bible?

The What, How, and Why of Meditating on Scripture

Psalm 1:2 says,

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he mediates day and night.” (Ps.1:2)

A couple of years ago, I watched the movie Eat, Pray, Love. The movie is about a lady trying to find herself. In the process, she travels to India. While it’s a bit cliche, it’s what everyone who’s trying to find themselves do. While in India, she encounters a guy who tells her about one of his recent meditation experiences. One day, in particular, he had gone on the roof to meditate. As he was meditating, he was able to clear his mind in a way he hadn’t been able to do before. As a result, the universe came rushing in and provided him the insight he was seeking. While that’s an Eastern and secular idea of meditation, that’s not what the Bible is encouraging.

Biblical Meditation

Meditating in a biblical sense is much different than what’s commonly practiced in Eastern Religions, and even in our secular culture. God doesn’t want you to hum in a monotone tone, with your legs crossed in an effort to completely clear your mind so that the universe can come rushing in. Instead, God’s encouraging you to do the exact opposite, to fill your mind with Scripture, to turn it over and over in your head in an effort to understand it and apply it to your life.

An Everyday Practice

Meditation is something we should practice each day after we get done reading the Bible, which means we aren’t to close the book, check the box on our reading plan, and never think about what we read again. Instead, we are to meditate on that day’s reading throughout the day.

I find the best way to begin meditating on a text is either to memorize it, put it in my own words, write a journal entry, or a blog post. Once I do one of those, I’m better able to think about, to meditate on, what I read for the remainder of the day.

Why Meditate?

You might be wondering: Why do I need to do this? Isn’t reading God’s Word enough? Yes, reading God’s Word is a good practice. But the reason we are to take this extra step is so that we can come to a better understanding of how the Bible applies to our life. In order to do that, we need to think deeply about Scripture.

Question for Reflection

  1. Do you take the time to meditate on God’s Word?

Resources

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Post adapted from my sermon: What should we do with the Bible?