|Approach to this
Have you ever wondered how "The Song of Songs, which is Solomon's," found a place in the collection of sacred writings we know as the Old Testament — the "all scripture" which Paul assured us was inspired (Song 1:1; 2 Tim. 3:16)? You have probably heard a few verses from it used to describe Christ, but what about the rest of the story? It may be nice literature, but does the majority of it have any significant spiritual value?
Seeing the beloved as Christ as represented by Solomon, we may appropriately look for the church in His bride (Eph. 5:22-27). So what does the story say about the church-bride? Clearly she wanted to be with her beloved; but is there more?
I believe there is. I see the story as a prophecy predicting the struggles and development of Christ's true New Testament people through the centuries. So please join me in exploring the deeper significance of the Song of Songs.
We will see a consistent chain of truth in what might seem like only a dreamy poem stuffed with figures of speech. I don't expect Solomon had any idea that his love story was tracing events thousands of years into the future. Only our God who knows the future as clearly as the past could have directed his thoughts.
I'm not offering passive entertainment. I want to challenge you, so don't let me off easy. If something doesn't look right to you, check it out. See what you can find that I missed.
the Song of Songs
I hope you enjoy the excitement of puzzle solving in the Song of Songs. Of course we would not want to become so absorbed in abstract theological and literary implications that we lose the inspiration of seeing Christ and the beautiful love relation He offers us. And if we fail to personally identify with the bride and the daughters of Jerusalem, we will have missed the whole purpose.
My mention of time periods and various topics such as the church in the wilderness, is in no way intended to be critical of people with any particular religious affiliations. God's true people are those who hear His voice and follow as He reveals truth (John 10). The church as an organized society is different from the church as people whom God recognizes as His faithful ones. These two appear in the Song of Songs as the daughters of Jerusalem and the bride. Of course both fellowship and personal relationship are important.
You may be curious about my religious background. I am first a joyfully devoted follower of Jesus. I am also a lay member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. However, the interpretation of the Song of Songs outlined here is not a recognized teaching of my church. It is a study in a new area.
The commentary is presented as a springboard for your study. I have prepared the material carefully and prayerfully, and I feel that the Spirit has led. God's message as I have seen it here is firm and powerful. As already suggested, I do not hold that my ideas are above being improved and corrected. After all, "no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation" (2 Peter 1:20). Our understanding of truth grows (Prov. 4:18). So it's all right to question my interpretations. Just use the occasions to search the Scriptures and ask God for wisdom.
The basic ideas of this book first appeared in a book I published in 1992. It is now out of print.
May God richly bless your study of one of the more obscure parts of His Word.
I am indebted to the study of Marian G. Berry whose writing has directed me to see the story of the church in the Song of Songs, although I have not seen light in some of her other work.
I have also appreciated the advice of William H. Shea and his article, "The Chiastic Structure of the Song of Songs," in Zeitschrift Für Die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, 1980, No. 3, Walter De Gruyter, Berlin, New York.