The Bible Project describes the Song of Solomon or the Song of Songs as a collection of ancient Israelite love poems that celebrate the beauty and power of God's gift of love and sexual desire. Often the Bible seems at odds with our own cultures seemingly progressive views on sex and relationships. Yet as we dig into this wisdom book, combined with the teachings of Jesus and the letters of the New Testament we find that this conversation is in fact an age-old conflict. The word sex comes from the latin ‘sec’ meaning to divide. The original latin word hints towards an emotion, a longing for an end to alienation, to overcome the divide, to be united, to be one again. In the Book of Genesis we read that Eve was made out of Adam's ribs. What was once one became two but longs to be united again. The Song of Solomon is strange, erotic and unusual and yet its message still holds sway in a culture longing for meaningful sex and relationships.
Sex is God’s idea. But in an over sexualised culture our accepted norms may seem at odds with the ideals of scripture. The same could be equally be said of the dominant culture of the New Testament authors. In Rome, Corinth and Ephesus sexual liberty was as interwoven within society as it is today. Scripture is consistent in placing the same ‘restrictive’ boundaries around sexuality that had been there from the start of creation. We must be culturally relevant, not culturally captive. Yet we are created as sexual beings. How do marry these apparently opposing ideas together?
What should attract you to your spouse or a future spouse? What keeps attraction in a relationship? In the Song of Solomon we follow the story of Solomon and his lover. In this strange and unique book, odd and intimate romantic metaphor is combined with moments of pure kindness and tenderness. What can this ancient piece of literature teach us about relationships today?
The Greek word 'porneia' translated 'immorality' refers to any kind of sexual relation outside of marriage. In his letter to the Thessalonians Paul calls us not to moderation of our sexual impulses, but to total abstinence outside of the marriage bond. Your hopes and expectations about sex - where did you get them? Who is writing your sexual scripting?
Don’t laugh at romance. Marriages can so often kill creativity as we get caught up in duty and responsibilities, leaving spontaneity behind. In relationships we must share how we feel, and what we are afraid of, what we dream about. Listening deeply builds love and closeness. Proximity is not the same as closeness.
When we are choosing a marriage partner, someone with whom we will spend the rest of our lives with, we must marry for intimacy and connection not for looks or convenience. How do we hold marriage in high regard? How do we adopt healthy sex lives filled with holiness and purity? How we become a greater help to our partners, forging companionship and intimacy?
Often the church has made an idol of marriage. And yet there are those that can testify that a season or even a life of singleness can be a season of contentment. How do we use our singleness for God? How do we deal with loneliness and isolation, to be alone well in a culture that doesn’t do alone?
Faithful (adjective): strict or thorough in the performance of duty: a faithful worker. True to one's word, promises, vows, etc. Steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant: faithful friends. Reliable, trusted, or believed. Adhering or true to fact, a standard, or an original; accurate: a faithful account; a faithful copy.