In the first chapter of the Song, we learn this song is King Solomon’s and that he is also a shepherd. There is a bounty of biblical theology in Solomon. Who else do we know that is a Son of David, who is a King and a Shepherd? Solomon is a shadow of the one who says he is greater than Solomon—a greater king, a greater sage, and a greater lover of his people.
The Song of Songs is the most lukewarmly debated book in the Bible. There’s some engagement, but not enough. While the arguments and interpretations of Revelation run red-hot, Song of Songs tends to be entrenched in assumptions. I want you to rethink what you might think about the Song of Songs.
Since I’m doing my Ph.D. work on C.H. Spurgeon and the spiritual sense of the Song, I frequently find myself talking to friends and anyone with ears about the Song of Songs, and I preach from the Song whenever I get the chance. I’m not surprised that most of the people I talk to think the Song is only about romance in marriage—some even believe there is no way the book has anything to say about Christ and the Church or Christ and the Christian.
When I tell people that Spurgeon did nearly 70 sermons from the Song of Songs and that they are all about Christ and the Church, they are baffled. In one sermon, Spurgeon gives seven ways Jesus is like a “bundle of myrrh.” He also gave eight sermons on “I am my beloved’s, and he is mine” (Song 2:16). Spurgeon said about the Song:
“That Song of Solomon is the central Book of the Bible; it is the innermost shrine of divine revelation, the holy of holies of Scripture; and if you are living in communion with God, you will love that Book, you will catch its spirit, and you will be inclined to cry with the spouse, ‘Make haste, my beloved.’”
So how can we catch the spirit of this book? Most of us have probably heard that the Song is only about romance, and for years, that’s what I believed too.
Here are eight reasons we should also embrace the spiritual, Christ-centered interpretation of the Song of Songs.
1.Jesus’s View of the Old Testament. Jesus said the whole Bible is about him (John 5:39, Luke 24:27). Our belief that the entire canon bears witness to the Messiah, to Jesus of Nazareth, must include the Song of Songs—if not, then we don’t have a thoroughly Christian reading of the Old Testament.
2.Illumination of the Spirit. If there is no spiritual interpretation, spiritual significance, or Christological meaning in the book, then the Song of Songs is the only book of the Bible that you don’t need the Holy Spirit’s illuminating power; all you need is an understanding of ancient near-eastern poetry.