Song of Songs

I have just finished reading Song of Songs, the great love poem between a man and a woman that the Bible contains.  In parts it is quite graphic, but it masks its graphic nature with poetic symbolism.  I have heard some say that this book was only given to Jewish men when they came of age, I have heard others say that it shouldn’t really be in the Bible.  If someone attempted to accomplish in modern America what the writer of Song of Songs accomplished in ancient Israel, how would we view it?  Would it be too much for us? 

Some say that the Song of Songs is only an allegory about the love God for mankind through Christ.  Of course, all love reflects the Divine love if it is truly love.  All love stories are an allegory of God’s self-sacrificial love.  I have heard it said that all loves are a sub-category of agape. Does love cross to lust if it becomes ‘physical’?  What are we to learn from Song of Songs?  Do we have to ‘spritualize’ the book in order to accept it?

What should Christian talk on sex look like?  When should we have it?  What poetry can we write?  When does art become license to sin?  When does fear of sin stifle wholesome art?

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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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5 Responses to Song of Songs

  1. transphormed says:

    First of all, kudo’s for another great topic. More Christians should think this critically about sex, love, poetry, and art. In response to your first questions, no, i don’t think it would be ‘too much’ for us. Granted, as staunch little Christians our fundy churches would reject the effort so as to refrain from the appearance of evil(because sex is evil, jk), but for as much sexual content pervades the humor, fashion, literature, and media of today, one more poem would more likely just go unnoticed.And that’s part of the bigger problem amongst contemporary Christians. Overly sexualized lifestyles go for a dime a dozen today, in the church and in the world. Yet for as steeped in a sex-crazed culture as Christians are, there is a line drawn between a lingerie tv commercial being ‘just another commercial’ and ‘oh, we can’t talk about sex in church’. Hypocrisy. This is one area where, for lack of Godly worldview of sex, our world is informing our faithstyle (lifestyle of faith), instead of the other way around.Your last question however, hit me personally, because it is not a fear of sinfulness that prevents me from creating more graphic art, be it visual or written. It is the fear of judgment by fellow Christians. I know the difference in my conscience between art created to stimulate the ‘old man’ in me and art that, with dignity, rejoices in the beauty of our imago dei. None the less, the creation of art that celebrates the pinnacle of God’s creation is seen as sinful by those around me.

  2. sammuel says:

    ha, I’m going to send you a story I just wrote.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Art as a license to sin and vice versa:I’ve often wondered why there is a saturation of music which flounders in its own ambiguity, Or why the story telling potential of movies is raped for “humor” and violence, or why the possibilities of immersion in an entirely different world is substituted for the common vices of human nature in video games.Is it a sin to create something reflecting the nature of humanity if it refocuses our view of God?I think not, but why does this “art” attract me to sin instead of repulse?I would think that is the real sin

  4. Justinbuege says:

    I was actually thinking about a topic quite like this one the other day in your class. (dont worry I can multi-task) Most Christians I know would consider it sin to look at a painting of a naked/scantly dressed woman. After questioning why, I came up with what I know call the placebo effect on our minds. We have been brainwashed into thinking if something comes close to the perfect God created it to be, ex. the human body, we need to stay away from it because it is automatically sinnful. I call this way of thinking a placebo effect because, in this contex, there is nothing wrong with the body, it is accually very beautiful, it is just very easy to pervert the good for evil very easily so we stay away. So in response, I love the book, I think it should be read by all who are mature enough, and I would love to read a modern version. But I also think the Christian community as a whole would be up upset to say the least

  5. alexgoreham says:

    People say they want to be in control of their own lives. Really?…. Well if they were, they would have died a long time ago. First, we are not in control of our vital organs. We do not tell our hearts to beat or lungs to breath. If we did, what would happen when we went to sleep? We would never wake up. I think the “The West” has a huge problem with people telling them what to do. I know i do sometimes. The matter of the fact is that God needs to be in control of our, my, life. Authority is not bad, especially if its God, who loves us so much more than we can ever understand. What else is new…I am not perfect. ALEX GOREHAM

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