Sharing Scripture, May 5-11
The Royal Love Song
This is a tool for you to use if you lead a Sabbath School (SS) class or small group. It is keyed to the Bible texts used in the current week’s Adult SS Lesson and includes a brief story from current news you can use to introduce the discussion and then a series of discussion questions in a relational pattern designed to build fellowship and spiritual reflection.
Texts: Song of Solomon; Genesis 2:7; 1 Corinthians 7:3-5; John 17:3; 1 John 1:9; Romans 1:24-27; Galatians 5:24
Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick have broken the Hollywood stereotype with their 30-year marriage. While other high-profile marriages seem to hit the rocks on a regular basis, Kyra admits that her heart still goes “fluttery” whenever Kevin is around. They take their wedding vows seriously and adhere to a few rules: “Keep the fights clean, and don’t have sex with somebody else,” says Kyra. “Both of us knew this was forever, so when we fight, it’s not so scary.”
Their key to success is to make marriage their first priority. “Of course, the kids come first in planning your life, but it’s incredibly important to keep your relationship as a couple strong,” advises Kyra. “It’s the foundation on which everything is built.” This bond helped them endure the loss of their life savings in 2008 to convicted con man Bernie Madoff—a financial disaster that could take down other, less-secure marriages. 
Since marriage and family life was established at creation and is foundational to God’s plan for humanity, it’s no surprise that Scripture has a lot to say about intimate personal relationships. This week’s lesson looks at the Bible book that is dedicated to this intimacy: The Song of Solomon. Opinions on this book range from pretending it’s not really in the Bible to regarding it as a manual for successful marriage relationships.
One aspect of human sexual relationships Song of Solomon emphasizes is that the human body and the spirit are both considered equally good. Many religious systems consider the material flesh as evil and the spiritual nature as good. This dualism leads many to feel guilty about sexual pleasure, even in the context of marriage. The Song of Solomon has none of that. The beauty of the book is that it shows God to be the creator and originator of human joy through the intimacy of a shared sexual experience. God is not a prude when it comes to the marital experience!
As important as a physical relationship is for a lasting and fulfilling marriage, the lesson reminds us that “in sickness and health, ‘til death do us part” means true love goes deeper than just sex. As we move through various stages of family life—courtship, marriage, children, careers, empty nest, and eventually retirement—true love never fades. Someday, when physical intimacy diminishes as a part of a couple’s relationship, it’s the deeper bonds of love and companionship that will endure to the end.
Connecting: Using a 1-5 scale, where 5 = “Greater than any Hollywood love story,” and 1 = “It appears they were locked together in a gladiatorial death-match,” how would you rate your parents’ love for each other? On the count of three, everyone raise the corresponding number of fingers. Those who choose, please briefly share what you can about the love relationships in your childhood home.
Sharing: How have you typically viewed the purpose of the Song of Solomon as it relates to its place in Scripture?
- I like it, but I wouldn’t read it to my kids for their devotionals
- It really seems out of place
- It’s all a prophetic metaphor for Christ’s love for the church in the last days
- It shows me that God cares about every aspect of what it means to be human, including experiencing true human love relationships
- It’s interesting as a piece of historical literature, but I have a hard time accepting that it’s inspired by God
Applying: Traditional wedding vows often seem to come from the 19th century. How would you change them for the 21st century? Your facilitator will keep track of your suggestions as you craft a new set of vows. Just for fun, have a married couple in your group do an impromptu vow renewal with this updated set of promises.
Valuing: As you personally reflect on your circle of friends, can you identify any couples you are concerned about? What indicators do you see that cause you concern? Pray for these couples, and for the wisdom to help them, if that’s possible.