I Flunked Song of Solomon 907

I wrote it for ninth graders and overshot the mark.
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You may know I’m writing Old Testament lessons for high school freshmen. Recently I got to the sole lesson on the Song of Solomon.

The instructions I had were quite elementary:

The lesson focus is that last sentence.

In addition to those mandated parameters, I had these of my own:

  • Make it practical for ninth graders.
  • Avoid eye-rolling stretching to make the passage point to Christ and the church.

Well, I finally settled on using these passages:

  • Song of Solomon 2:4 (85)
  • Song of Solomon 4:1-7 (176)
  • Song of Solomon 5:10-16 (143)
  • Song of Solomon 7:10 (107)
  • Song of Solomon 8:6,7 (217)

The numbers in parentheses tell you how many words I dedicated to each passage.

I began and ended the lesson with these paragraphs respectively:

Song of Solomon is a difficult, much-debated, little-understood book. Perhaps it describes a real-life romance. Perhaps it’s more a poem or play to instruct and encourage husbands and wives. Perhaps it’s an intricate allegory illustrating God’s relationship with His people. Perhaps it’s some combination of those. This lesson, though, will help you consider several portions of the Song of Solomon from three different angles: pre-marriage guidelines, marital principles, and spiritual truths pertaining to Christ and the church.

Nothing shall be able to separate us from divine love (Romans 8:35-39). As the church is secure in Christ, so the church must secure her love for Christ alone (Matthew 24:12; Revelation 2:4). We should let Him know in thought, word, and deed that we are His alone.

Considering the parameters I had, I was enamored with what I submitted. Well, that’s too strong. Maybe infatuated. No, not that either. Pleased, anyway.

So much for feelings. I received instructions to please rewrite the lesson. :mrgreen:

(Oh, you’re wondering about the 907 in the post title? Well, 101 is so predictable, passé, and/or blasé.)

Today I started that process by reading through Song of Solomon. Alas, now I’m less optimistic than when I started. 😯

Do you have any passages to suggest (that fall within the above parameters)?

2 thoughts on “I Flunked Song of Solomon 907

  1. Bro. Mark,
    As a single, I sometimes find it difficult to read the Song of Solomon. So when I come to it in my reading-through-the-Bible plan, I look for certain themes. There is the seeking-finding (or winning-wooing) theme with verses such as 1:4, 7, 8; 2:14; 3:1-4; 6:13; 7:14. Or there is the gardens/fruit-bearing theme with verses such as 2:1-3,15,16; 4:12-16; 6:1-3, 11,12; 7:11-13; 8:13.
    I love thinking about that last verse, as if God cultivates our hearts like gardens, and chooses to dwell in them. It is as if we are saying, “You dwell in hearts. Come live in mine!” Does that almost hark back to Eden and what we lost there?
    There is an old poem by Thomas Edward Brown (1830-1897) that says this:

    A garden is a lovesome thing, God wot!
    Rose plot,
    Fringed pool,
    Fern’d grot–
    The veriest school
    Of peace; and yet the fool
    Contends that God is not–
    Not God! in gardens! when the eve is cool?
    Nay, but I have a sign;
    ‘Tis very sure God walks in mine.

    Also, it isn’t easy for me to relate the Song of Solomon to Christ and his Bride, the church. It is much more understandable to compare it to my personal relationship with God… but perhaps that is an odious thought to some.
    Anyway, these comments are probably too late and not helpful, but it was interesting to write about.
    Rachel

  2. Mark, I stumbled here to your blog thanks to your complaint this morning over on Emily Smucker’s complaining post. I’ve subscribed via Feedly. I know, that doesn’t help your visible numbers any, but I thought you might want to know anyway.

    Meanwhile, on this post on S of S: Your quandary reminds me of a time when an “older single” lady friend of mine asked me if I had any advice for her on a good commentary for S of S. You see, she and some other single ladies were studying the book in a small group Bible study. That put me in a bit of a quandary, since I happen to believe that the focus of S of S is quite certainly on human love, including its most intimate sexual expressions thereof. What might a group of single ladies be studying this for? Actually, there are very good reasons for doing so, but my hunch was that they were taking a very different approach to the book. Nevertheless, I bravely sent my friend a copy of Tom Gledhill’s commentary, a readable book that takes the same approach I affirm (http://www.amazon.com/Message-Songs-Bible-Speaks-Today/dp/0830812350/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1429035007&sr=1-1&keywords=song+of+solomon+commentary+bible+speaks). A while later I received a message thanking me for my offering, but saying something about this not being quite the approach that they were taking, so she was passing on the book to her married sister and her husband. Since then my friend has herself married (wonderful turn of events). I’ve thought several times that perhaps I should send her another copy of Gledhill’s book. Perhaps she’d find it more useful upon second thought.

    Blessings!

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