Philip Graham RykenCrossway / 2019 / Trade PaperbackOur Price$5.004.5 out of 5 stars for The Love of Loves in the Song of Songs. View reviews of this product. 2 Reviews
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Bob HaytonSt. Paul, MNAge: 35-44Gender: Male5 Stars Out Of 5Help in understanding and appreciating Song of SolomonApril 8, 2019Bob HaytonSt. Paul, MNAge: 35-44Gender: MaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5If you were to list the most popular books of the Bible those most preached from or commented on would Song of Solomon make your list? Probably not. In his new book "The Love of Loves in the Song of Songs", Philip Ryken points out that in actuality for most of Church history (up through the 1600s), Song of Solomon would find its place near the top of that list (p. 44)! This is surprising to anyone familiar with Solomon's Song because no book in the Bible is more sure to bring redness to the face when read aloud in mixed company! Indeed the book is a collection of love poems centering on the relationship between a man and woman, which like many love poems can be quite suggestive and evocative (almost erotic).
For those who need help in understanding and appreciating the Song of Solomon I recommend picking up Philip Ryken's new book "The Love of Loves in the Song of Songs". This book helpfully includes the entire biblical text (ESV) of Song of Solomon alongside Ryken's easy to read devotional thoughts on this fascinating (and often troubling) book.
In earlier eras of the church, Song of Solomon was often interpreted allegorically as a way to sanctify its use in the church. Ryken approaches the Song in a similar way noting that it "awakens a desire for intimacy that can be satisfied only by a personal relationship with the living God." (p. 44). He notes how sexual imagery is often used to describe Israel's rejection of the exclusive worship of Jehovah. And marriage itself is a picture both of God's relationship with Israel, and more especially (from our perspective) Christ's relationship with the Church. Yet Ryken stops short of reading the book allegorically: there are parallels between the relationship between Christ and the Church in the relationship idealized in Song of Solomon, but there is also something to be learned with regard to human relationships as well.
The context of the love relationship described is, according to Ryken, a covenant marriage: he affirms that the book upholds traditional Christian teaching that sexuality is intended to flourish within (and only within) a marriage between a man and a woman. Ryken also holds that the book uses Solomon as an ideal figure but the relationship described is not necessarily Solomon's. He doesn't speak too dogmatically on that interpretive point, however. Ryken does draw out important lessons from the book with regard to singleness, purity, engagement and marriage and more.
But Song of Solomon is more than a marriage manual or typological description of Christ and the Church. It is poetry. Ryken often describes the book as a collection of song lyrics: "Read this book the way you read the liner notes to an album of love songs" (p. 31-32). Ryken masterfully reads the poetry and follows the Hebrew text to spell out who is talking and sets the stage, so we can follow along and enjoy the love poems and their underlying story.
One other point deserves mention with respect to Ryken's handling of the text. Ryken does not eagerly proclaim Song of Solomon as a manifesto on sexual liberation. Instead he finds its instruction on marital love appropriately muted by the poetic nature of the book, and not as graphic or explicit as quite a few modern writers envision.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading "Love of Love". It rekindled my appreciation for Solomon's Song. I highly recommend it.
Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher. The reviewer was under no obligation to offer a positive review.
contemplativereflections4 Stars Out Of 5Book Review: The Love of Loves in the Song of SongsFebruary 22, 2019contemplativereflectionsIn "The Love of Loves in the Song of Songs," Philip Ryken brings readers on a tour through the Song of Songs to gain a deeper understanding of love, marriage, and the gospel. The central premise is that the Songs of Songs offers us a guide on God's design for marriage in this world and the next. More specifically, the marriage covenant in its earthly form is a signpost towards the heavenly marriage between Christ and His church. Ryken discusses each chapter of the Song of Songs in detail and brings out important truths critical to all Christian believers whether married or single. Firstly, the author emphasizes the communal aspect of having godly, experienced Christian believers guiding couples who are contemplating marriage. Secular society views marriage as a personal affair between two individuals which can easily become self-serving and sinful. In our relationships with others and with Christ, we also need the watchful care of mature believers to ensure we are walking in God's ways. Secondly, Ryken points out that intimacy should be in the context of marriage and not before it. Many temptations can arise when two believers are in such bliss that they neglect the lurking dangers of sinful desires. Sexual sins are forgivable by the grace of God but Ryken urges believers to stay far from flirting with sexual temptations. Moreover, we need to maintain our purity in our relationship with Christ by actively abstaining from arousing sinful desires and fleeing from temptations. In addition, the author states that marriage is not merely about physical intimacy and sexual union but also the union of friendship and companionship between the two lovers. Ryken takes a careful approach by not viewing the Song of Songs as an allegory or narrative but as a love poem that describes the joy of love and marriage. By doing so, the author avoids incompatible and unnatural interpretations of the text while drawing out valuable observations that implicate our relationships with others and Christ.
I recommend this book to all those who feel discouraged by how far culture has departed from the ideal marriage depicted in the Song of Songs. The beautiful imagery of the progression from two strangers to oneness in marriage between the lover and his beloved re-orients us to God's design for marriage. Furthermore, when we properly reframe our perspective of human love and intimacy through Scripture, we can gain a greater understanding of the steadfast covenantal love that God has for His people. No matter how many times we fail to be the perfect wife worthy of the perfect groom, God never ceases in covering us with His grace and mercy when we turn to Him for forgiveness and acceptance. Ryken asserts that Jesus is the key by which we unlock the treasures of this love poem to cure the longing in our souls for intimacy and love. This is because Jesus is the perfect Lover who sacrificed Himself so that we can be joined to Him forever when He returns to marry His bride.
In compliance with Federal Trade Commission regulations, I was provided a review copy of this book from Crossway.
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