Sex and Romance in the Bible
Wow! Does the Bible talk about sex and romance? Yes. A lot.

Gwen asks: What is the Songs of Solomon really about. Is it interpreted just from a man/woman relationship or is it really deeper than that .. for instance maybe about God's relationship with His People Born again in 2003, walking with the Lord and seeking Him Daily. Trying to learn and devote myself to reaching others for HIM. I have a friend on Facebook who is of the Native Alaskan background but reads Christian books to her children and also studies various christian traditions. I would like to be able to explain to her the true meaning of the Song's of Solomon in an effort to Give The Bible a real meaning to her rather than leaving her totally to the various things she reads on internet alone.
Question about A General Question: Meaning of a passage
Motivation - Curiosity: Discussion with friends
Bible view - The Word of God - [question 90, Monday, 09-Apr-2012]

Sometimes it is called Canticles. The King James version calls it Song of Solomon. The actual Hebrew title of this book in the Old Testament is Song of Songs of Solomon, and the Hebrew title is probably the most revealing. Like 'King of Kings', 'Lord of Lords', and 'Holy of Holies', the Song of Songs points to the most excellent, most wonderful song ever sung. This song is all about one thing: romantic love between a man and a woman. Now that is amazing. Who says God is a prude? He is not!

Sex in the Bible

And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife
- Genesis 24:67 [KJV]

Human sexual relations appear throughout the Bible. In the verse in the box, the young man Isaac whisks beautiful Rebekah into a tent and (need we go into detail?) makes her his wife. In 2 Samuel chapter 11, the mighty King David eyeballs lovely Bathsheba as she takes a bath. He grows so lustful that he has sex with her and then kills her husband. Seductive Delilah uses her sexual prowess to conquer the invincible Sampson in Judges chapter 16. In the account of Judah and Tamar (Genesis 38), a man has sex with his own daughter-in-law who dresses up like a harlot. The priest Phinehas kills a man and woman while they are having sexual intercourse in bed by piercing them through with a javelin (Numbers 25). In Matthew chapter 8 Jesus forgives a woman caught in the act of adultery, and tells her to Go, and sin no more. These are just a few examples of sexual activity recorded in the Bible. There are many more.

Not all the Bible passages about sex involve illicit activity. Some are encouraging and speak of the joy God provides using sex in marriage:

Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice in the wife of your youth. As a loving hind and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; Be exhilarated always with her love. For why should you, my son, be exhilarated with an adulteress And embrace the bosom of a foreigner? For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the LORD, And He watches all his paths.
- Proverbs 5:18ff [NASB]

In fact, God ordained the family (husband, wife, children) as the foundational unit of civilization. The family is far more important than communities, enterprises, schools, governments, and all other human institutions. In marriage, all manner of sexual activity is encouraged by God and, even more, it is required by God for proper functioning of the family unit. If there is no sex in marriage, the marriage is broken:

Because there is so much immorality, every man should have his own wife, and every woman should have her own husband. A man should fulfill his duty as a husband, and a woman should fulfill her duty as a wife, and each should satisfy the other's needs. A wife is not the master of her own body, but her husband is; in the same way a husband is not the master of his own body, but his wife is. Do not deny yourselves to each other, unless you first agree to do so for a while in order to spend your time in prayer; but then resume normal marital relations.
- 1 Corinthians 7:2(b) [GNB]

Likewise, if there is no marriage in sex, the sex is broken:

Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
- Hebrews 13:4 [NASB]

Romance in the Bible

how beautiful you are
Tell your wife or girlfriend how beautiful she is. You will be quoting a Bible passage from Song of Songs 1:15.

Probably the biggest lesson of the Song of Songs is the vast distinction between sex and romance. Our secular culture places strong emphasis on sexual activity. If you listen to Hollywood and many other voices today, sex is the same thing as romance. But that is not true. In other words, our human culture tends to equate sex and romance, while the Bible tends to separate them. The Song of Songs stands out in the Bible as a glowing example of romantic love, in sharp contrast to other Bible passages (see above) that deal with human sexuality.

Sad to say, some people miss out on romantic love altogether. They confuse romantic love with sex and think that having sex is romantic love. These people never realize that sex too soon spoils their chances of finding true, lasting romantic love. Don't be one of those people! Don't make that mistake. Read Song of Songs to discover how special romantic love can be.

At a Bible seminar in Asheville, NC, speaker Ron Hutchcraft said jokingly 'The Song of Solomon was written to allow male and female students in seminary to write love letters to one another.' This, no doubt, is true. But that lesson is not restricted to seminary students. When you read the Song of Songs you will find that it records the conversation and inner thoughts of two people who are madly in love with each other. The Song of Songs is, first and foremost, a collection of love poems. Here are some examples from the Good News Bible translation:

The Woman: Your lips cover me with kisses. Your love is better than wine. There is a fragrance about you; the sound of your name recalls it. [1:1]

The Man: You, my love, excite men as a mare excites the stallions of Pharaoh's chariots [1:9]

The Woman: I hear my lover's voice. He comes running over the mountains, racing across the hills to me. [2:8]

The Man: How beautiful you are, my love! How your eyes shine with love behind your veil. You hair dances like a flock of goats bounding down the hills of Gilead. [4:1]

The entire book is filled with quotes like these, celebrating the width and depth of genuine romantic love between a man and a woman. This is no surprise, for God Himself designed people to love each other in extra special ways, far more special than the animal-like ways of sex. After all, the Bible says that men and woman are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26), separate and distinct from animals. If you want to know what true romance is like, read Song of Songs. Use it as a measuring gauge to tell the difference between true romantic love and sex.

Often young people ask a personal question along these lines 'How will I know when he (or she) is the person I should marry?' The standard Hollywood answer is 'Oh, don't worry, you will know automatically, as if by magic.' Hollywood's answer, however, is wrong. The sexual drive God built into human beings is so strong it easily clouds our thinking when it comes to matters of sex and romance. Rely instead on wise people you trust, on God's inner leading, and on the Bible to answer the important question of who to marry when you are alone and away from sexual influences. Read the Song of Songs to get insight into the deep feelings associated with true romantic love, and how they differ from the feelings you get from sexual attraction.

(By the way, I like the Good News translation of the Song of Songs because Bible scholars have carefully analyzed the text and assigned the quotations to The Man and The Woman. Sometimes in other translations it is not easy to discern who is speaking.)

Check Your Relationships

dating couple

Check your relationships. If you are in a relationship with a member of the opposite sex, be sure you have him or her in first place. Everything about the Song of Songs gives the beloved person priority over the person who is doing the loving. Does that describe your relationship? Would you ignore your beloved to gain your own satisfaction? If so, that's not love, it's animal lust. The Apostle Paul sends this message clearly when he speaks of true love in I Corinthians (box below)

Also, if you have a personal relationship with God, use Song of Songs to check that relationship as well. Are you lifted up by worship? Do you adore Him the way He adores you? Can you say to God 'How beautiful you are!' as the Man says to the Woman in Song of Songs 1:15? Do the attributes of I Corinthians 13 apply? If not, work on your relationship with God. It needs improvement!

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
- 1 Corinthians 13:4 [NASB]

God and the Jewish People / Christ and His Church

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
- Ephesians 5:31ff [KJV]

AFTB prefers literal interpretations over all other types of interpretation, wherever possible. If the literal interpretation makes sense, and if it aligns with other biblical concepts, then use the literal interpretation. Bible teacher M. R. DeHaan used to say 'If the plain sense makes good sense, don't turn it into nonsense.' That is good advice.

As Gwen indicates, with Song of Songs there is an allegorical interpretation that aligns with other biblical concepts, so it should be considered as well. The relationship between the Man and the Woman in Song of Songs can be taken as a reflection of the relationship between God and His people.

In the somewhat infamous passage about husbands and wives in Ephesians 5 (box above), the Apostle Paul says that loving romantic relationships parallel the relationship between Jesus and his eventual Bride, the Church (i.e., all true believers). This can also be applied for the love relationship between God and his chosen people, Israel. In fact, God loves Israel so much, as we learn from the book of Hosea, that He takes her back even when she has done Him wrong. This should be encouraging for every Jew, Gentile, believer, and non-believer in the whole world. GOD LOVES YOU!

Mon, 26-Jun-2017 22:32:25 GMT, unknown: 642719 ABRIKB1KGWHHs
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