How I Became Acquainted With The Song Of Songs
Hidden in the middle of the Old Testament is a dusty gem, a Bible book that many within the Church have overlooked and relegated to the women’s ministry. I have found it a good indicator that when leaders in the body of Christ stay away from certain books of the bible you might want to check them out and work to understand why. When Paul tells us in one of his epistles 2nd Timothy 3:16, that “All Scripture is inspired by God, and it is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…” He wasn’t saying that just a few books of the Bible are inspired by the Holy Spirit, but all of them. This means that as a Christian, though there are some books in the Bible that we don’t understand, we aren’t afforded the luxury to neglect them as being for us or not for us. They are all for us. The Song of Songs which was Solomon’s seems to be just that kind of book.
The Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s, has been a book that God the Holy Spirit has used to awaken love deep within me both for God and others. I would be lying if I could tell you the measurable reality that this book has had on me, but I can’t. It has literally changed so many parts of my life that I honestly don’t know how to describe it impact on me.
I first became interested in the Song of Songs after listening to a random teaching CD by Mike Bickle from the International House Of Prayer in Kansas City, MO. In this CD Mike talked about how deeply the Song of Songs had touched both him and other great men and women of God throughout Church history. This sparked something within me and caused me to start reading the Song of Songs a chapter a day for several months.After reading for a while, I didn’t have any real revelation from within the book itself but it helped me get a grid for understanding some of the major phrases within it. From this I picked up the CD series that Mike Bickle did on the Song of Songs which is a total of 20 one hour sessions with over 500 pages of notes and I listened to that series over 4 times through over a period of several years. From this series I continued to read my Bible but I also bought several commentaries on the Song of Songs and some books that have been written by different people throughout history. These books, along with CD’s, some music and most importantly the Bible have helped me gain a little bit of understanding about what this book is about and I’m excited to share it with you.
Introduction to The Song Of Songs
In this chapter I am aiming mainly for your mind. As we continue on our study of the Song of Songs I will be primarily targeting the heart, but for this first chapter I am targeting your mind. Our hearts are impacted when we fill our minds with truth. But when we only fill our minds with truth and never allow that truth to impact our hearts we end up with dead religion. It is my passion to never become only passionate about the mind or only passionate about the heart. We must be those whose minds are full and whose hearts are deeply impacted by what is in our minds. We want both, not one or the other and as an entrance into the heart, I am aiming now to impact the mind.
Solomon wrote the Song of Songs around 900-950 B.C. He was also David’s son. The Song of Songs wasn’t the only song that King Solomon wrote. In fact he is quoted in 1st Kings 4:29-34 as writing 1,050 songs. What makes this Song different from all the rest is that the Holy Spirit titled this one “The Song above all Songs” or “The Song of Songs.” The Holy Spirit is drawing attention to this passage and letting us know that it’s a superlative or a statement of highest degree. This book is titled in the same way that Jesus is called “The King of Kings” or “The Lord of Lord’s.”
When the storyline of this book touches our hearts and we start to see the characters of this book as representing our personal lives before the Lord our hearts begin to soar in Christ. And on that note, it’s important that we see this book primarily as a Song and not just a story. I would say it this way, “it’s a story in song form.” The story is a story that we are familiar with. We might not be familiar with the specific story of Solomon and the Shulamite, but after looking at this story for a while we begin to see the life of the Shulamite and the life of King Solomon are both figurative of our lives with Jesus Christ. See, the Shulamite represents the sincere and King Solomon represents King Jesus. Don’t worry about how to see all of it right now, because later on in this chapter we will discuss the different methods of interpretation so that we are looking through a Biblical lens to make such a claim. But right now, allow your heart to be wrapped up in the love story between God and you, King Solomon and the Shulamite.
For some reason God was so moved over His creation being with Him forever, or at least giving them the option of being with Him forever that He sent His only Son, to become a Man, be rejected by His own family and the religious leaders of His day, be tried illegally, sentenced to death, be crushed by the wrath of God, laid in a tomb, risen from death and ascend into heaven so that those who say yes to Jesus can have everlasting life. Do you understand that Jesus did this for you, not for Himself? Jesus didn’t benefit from His own death in the slightest. Paul said that He who knew no sin became sin for us. We have caught the attention of heaven, and God came for us, paid our debt, wiped our slate clean and invites us to sit with Him in heavenly places. Wow! This is our story, and the Shulamite represents us before both God and man.
It’s best if we see the Song of Songs as having two major parts. Though so much takes place within the Song and we will cover a ton of it, it’s best if we see the Song as having two major sections. The first section takes place in Song of Songs chapters 1-4. In these 4 chapters we see the bride as being focused mainly on her inheritance in Christ and what she can receive in the Godhead. Though this isn’t a bad thing to pursue, it’s only half of the story. The other half is Song of Songs chapters 5-8. And in these chapters we see the bride make the shift from seeing her life as being primarily her own, to belonging to Jesus. In the last half of the book we see the bride no longer referring to her life as her own, but belonging to Jesus as His bride forever. What gives the bride so much strength to receive this twofold inheritance is the way that Jesus expresses His love for her throughout the entire Song.
Something that I have learned being around healthy prophetic ministry is that God doesn’t need to point out all of our sin and short comings, specifically in public, or really at all when He is speaking through a prophetic vessel. The reason for this is because God the Holy Spirit has been at work in the heart of the receiver for months and years prior to the prophetic voice speaking into them. So what God does is He comes and offers something better than where we are at, so that we let go of the lesser and grab the greater. This doesn’t mean that God excuses sin, but rather it just means that He doesn’t motivate us by telling us how worthless we are and how messed up we are. He motivates us by telling us what He has for us. In doing this He clearly understands that we will most likely say no to sin and yes to serving Him and being in partnership with God. This principle is so powerfully seen in the life of the bride through her entire journey into full bridal maturity in Christ. God sees that she’s weak, scared, sinful and uncomfortable but He doesn’t address any of those things. He only addresses her according to what she is longing for at the heart level. Many of you identify yourself based on what’s taking place in your life externally, but this isn’t the main way how God address us. God understands that our external is the fruit of the internal, so instead of changing the external He goes after the internal. The bride had so many longings to be loved, to feel beautiful and to be adorned. Jesus is going to come and address all those causing passion and fervency to arise.
How To Interpret The Song Of Songs
I would in no way call myself a scholar on the Song of Songs, but I have studied the Bible, prayed it through, looked at several books and a couple of commentaries to gather up some understanding on the subject. One of the big questions that comes up when you talk about the Song of Songs is the principles of interpretation. This might be the most important part in this entire chapter. It’s also critical to state that this book hasn’t been given so that Christians can argue with other Christians about what this book “really” means. This is a book to enhance love and there are several ways to view and one way is not more right than the other. We want to bless people as they see something in this book that awakens love in them either for a spouse or for King Jesus.
Generally, there are three schools of thought when it comes to interpreting the Song of Songs which is Solomon’s. The first school of thought is called “The allegorical view.” Those that adhere to this viewpoint see the Song as being mystical and figurative. They see the facts and points of the Song as a framework to spring off into deeper truths about Christ and His Church. This viewpoint has been the most popular for the past 1,900 years of Church history and more than 900 years before that. What is important is that when we seek to make something allegorical in the Bible that we first approach the text or the book with the clear understanding that what we are looking at was and is literal, factual and historical. In 1st Corinthians 15:46 Paul tells us “However, the spiritual was not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.” What Paul is telling us here is that when we approach the Bible we must understand that we don’t first spiritualize it, but rather take it as being literal. And from that reality we can then make spiritual application. First natural and then spiritual.
The second school of thought is called “The Naturalistic view.” The Naturalistic view sees the Song of Songs being mainly and often only a literal love Song between Solomon and the Shulamite. The natural view sees this book as instruction in real love, between two people that are married. This view has only become really popular in the past 100 years.
And lastly there is the “Typical/Spiritual View.” This view seeks to build a bridge between the allegorical view and the naturalistic view. It sees the Song as truth that contains facts but that it can also be viewed as being spiritual and having allegorical content. This is the primary school of thought that we will be working from during our study of the Song of Songs. This book has been inspired by the Holy Spirit, to demonstrate both the sacred love in marriage and the holy love that God has for His people. Because we are looking at this mainly as an allegory between Christ and His bride doesn’t mean that we are taking away from the natural love Song that is actually being told. Sometimes the different groups that stand on one side or the other of this book fight and argue about what it should mean. This is foolishness and we are not interested in getting into any conversations like that.
If this book touches you through the natural school of thought, receive it and if it touches you in an allegorical style, than receive it that way. One doesn’t have to take from the other and in fact we can only take the allegorical approach from the Song because of the natural story that is first told. Remember, the natural first and then the spiritual. This is a holy book, anointed and inspired by the Holy Spirit to awaken love in us for Christ.
It’s also very important to note that this book isn’t better than the other books of the Bible. We are not exalting the Song of Songs outside the cannon that God has inspired. This is one book of 65 other books that have been given to us to instruct us in all things concerning doctrine, reproof and edification. What makes this book different from the other 65 books of the Bible is because of what it teaches from start to finish. From chapter one and verse one all the way to the eighth chapter and final verse, it’s all about love and really the first and second commandment. What makes this book different from the others is that it speaks mainly of love. The other books of the Bible have much to say about many different topics including love, not solely about love. We don’t want some sort of off balance approach to the scriptures, but we also want to understand the specifics directions in which the Holy Spirit was leading when He inspired certain books of the Bible.
What Is Bride Of Christ Theology?
When I start talking about the bride of Christ in Church and around Christians, lots of questions come up. It’s important that we remain very Biblical in our approach to understanding both our role as the bride of Christ and Jesus’ role as the Bridegroom God. The Bible has much to say about the bride of Christ and Jesus as the Bridegroom. Whether we like the idea of being a bride and Jesus a Bridegroom, we don’t get a say. This is actually how Jesus has set up His Kingdom and we have been invited into this reality with Him. It’s also important that we understand Jesus isn’t only a Bridegroom, but also a King, a Judge, a Prophet and a Priest among other things. Jesus is like a diamond with not just one facet but many. We must spin this Diamond all the way around to fully understand what’s alive in the heart of God for us. With all that being said, I believe that one of the best paradigm’s for us to use when looking at Jesus is through the lens of a bride and Groom. The reason for this is because we see the God who gave up all for the sake of love. When we see the extravagant love that God has displayed to us through Christ, it causes the same extravagant love to arise in us for Him. It’s the wholehearted abandonment that’s known best through bride and Groom.
If you have given your life to Christ, you have actually been betrothed to Christ. What this means is that you aren’t actually married to the Lamb yet, but in the engagement process. What’s powerful about this process is that when Jews were engaged if they were to break it off during that period it was considered a divorce. A great example of this was with Mary and Joseph when Mary became pregnant with Jesus. Joseph realized what would happen to both of their reputations if word was leaked to others because of what the Holy Spirit was doing in Mary. The reason this matters for you is because you don’t want to wait until the wedding supper to live like the bride, you want to enter into that identity right now, in this age. When I put the ring on my wife’s finger I was saying no to every other woman and yes to her. That means that I now live my life different, even though I’m not yet married. I am living like a married man even though I am only engaged, and so it is in our current relationship with Jesus. We are to live like the bride now, not just in the age to come.
Being the bride of Christ isn’t about being male or female but rather a position of nearness and privilege to Jesus’ heart. If you’re a man don’t worry, I’m not asking you to put a dress on and high heels, far from it. What I am asking you to do, is see Jesus as the God who gave up everything for love and respond to Him in the way that He has loved you. For men, being the bride of Christ doesn’t take away from your masculinity, it actually adds to it. If you’re a man, God is calling you to be tough, but also tender. Men must be gentle with women, able to listen, apologetic but also strong, willing to work hard, get dirty and do whatever needs to be done to make things in life work. And just because you’re a woman, it doesn’t mean that you have better understanding than men about being the bride of Christ. Being the bride is about loving God in the way that He loves you. It’s whole hearted, fiery love that says yes to Jesus and no to everything else.
The Bible starts with a natural wedding taking place in Genesis One and Two between Adam and Eve and it ends in Revelation 21 and 22 with a spiritual wedding between Christ and His Church. In Revelation 22:17 John has this to say about God’s end time people “And the Spirit and the bride say come!” John doesn’t see an army, a family or a workforce arising at the end of this age when Jesus return, but a bride. This is where life is headed for the believer and I encourage you to buckle up your seat-belt, sit back and enjoy the journey as we venture deep into the heart of God for answers about His life and love for us and our life and love for Him.