Tag Archives: Bible and sex

Q&A with J: How Is Solomon the Expert on Marital Love?

This is a question that landed in my inbox a while ago, and I wrote back a quick answer. But re-reading through emails, I decided I wanted to tackle the question of Song of Solomon here. Because I suspect many of you, especially women, have wondered how a rampant polygamist seems to be the Bible’s expert on sexual intimacy in marriage.

One thing I’ve been wondering about for a while now, is how frequently you and other marriage bloggers reference the Song of Solomon to cite evidence of how God is sex-positive. I fully understand that sex is a beautiful God-given gift that unites my husband and [me]. I just don’t get why Solomon is the Biblical expert on marital love when he had 1000 wives and concubines (1 Kings 11:3). This doesn’t support the sort of fidelity that I sense that God wants from us.

blog post title + illustration of king's crown

Okay, I’m about to say something potentially shocking, but here it goes anyway: I don’t think Solomon wrote Song of Songs.

He might have, but it wouldn’t surprise me to someday be introduced to some other guy in Heaven who says, “Hey, I hear you’re a big fan of my book!” And then I’m all like, “Oh yes! Will you sign my copy and take a selfie with me?”

That’s my opinion based on my study of the issue. But there are three main positions on whether Solomon was the author of this erotic book in the Bible.

1. Solomon’s favorite wife

King Solomon had a special affinity for this one wife, so he wrote about how that special relationship. Scholars say this was likely early in his youth, perhaps his first wife, before he was tainted by the many wives and concubines he took throughout his reign.

Song 6:8-9 does say:

Even among sixty queens
and eighty concubines
and countless young women,
I would still choose my dove, my perfect one—
the favorite of her mother,
dearly loved by the one who bore her.

But as a woman and wife myself, I’m rather distressed by this idea. If I was such a peach of a wife that this beautiful book of love was penned about me, why would my husband go marry and bed 139 other women? And calling me your “favorite” among 140 women sounds like reaching into the Dove Dark Chocolate bag, eating one, and saying it was the best. How can I trust that statement when you plan to eat the whole bag?!

Image result for reverend fun marriage

All that said, it really was a very different time. So applying our cultural standards to the time in which Solomon lived and the position he held (e.g., some of those marriages were politically motivated for kingdom peace) isn’t likely to give us a full understanding. If Solomon did write the book, we should place this story in the context in which he existed.

2. Solomon wrote from observation, not experience

Solomon wrote the poetry to describe passionate love he observed among two lovers he envied. This view says that essentially Solomon saw what another had, noted it was beautiful relationship, and creatively captured the essence of it to celebrate godly, sexual love.

At first, I thought, Well, that’s creepy. So he was enviously stalking some couple and writing about their sex life? But then I realized that I also write fiction, and I kind of did that with my book, Behind Closed Doors: Five Marriage Stories. My stories aren’t nearly as erotic as Song of Songs, but storytelling authors always put themselves in the shoes of someone else (fictional or nonfictional) and convey the message from that point of view.

And most of the time, envy isn’t the motivator; rather, the author wants to tell a story they find intriguing and useful to others. Perhaps that’s what King Solomon did — tell a story he liked, hoping it would inspire others to greater love and intimacy in their marriages.

DESCRIPTION: Guy hitting on a girl using Song of Solomon for inspiration CAPTION: YOUR HAIR IS LIKE A FLOCK OF GOATS

3. Solomon didn’t write the book

Rather, Song of Songs was written by someone else in his kingdom about his own marital love. Indeed, some ancient texts bear the name of the person to whom the writing was dedicated rather than the author itself, as a way of giving the work greater weight.

Back then, they didn’t look at plagiarism the way we would. You writing something and attributing it to a well-known figure could be viewed as praise and honor of that person. It was more like ghostwriters these days, who share the glory or even give it to the person whose name appears on the book cover, but they get a book out and get paid.

For recent examples, Donald J. Trump’s The Art of the Deal was actually written by Tony Schwartz, while Hillary Clinton’s popular It Takes a Village was written with the (uncredited) help of Barbara Feinman. And if you think all those celebrity memoirs were written by the celebrities themselves, think again.

Mentioning King Solomon within the book and attributing it to him would have been seen as a compliment or a gift. Certainly, this book was embraced by the people and Jewish scholars, and perhaps Solomon himself.

Does it really matter who wrote it?

It’s uncomfortable being unable to verify biblical authorship. It’s so much easier when you have a letter from Paul directly saying, “I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write” (2 Thessalonians 3:17). Well, there’s no doubt there who’s talking.

Instead, it’s possible Solomon didn’t write Song of Songs, but it’s quite possible that he did. We just don’t know for sure.

Regardless, I feel confident that Solomon wasn’t sitting among his harem penning this book as a hypocritical act.

Consider this: If you traveled back into my past and said, “Hey, that girl is going to have a lot of good stuff to say about Christian sex,” a lot of people would have laughed, including me. The idea would have been preposterous! Who was I to say squat about godly sexuality? But at this season of my life, God seems to be using me to do just that.

However, I know people who had great stuff to say about God earlier in life and got off track later. You can find plenty of examples of those people in the Bible. Didn’t God still use them? Perhaps that’s where Solomon fits. 

But whoever wrote it—and the most prevalent, traditional view is Solomon—God made sure it was included in our canon. Song of Songs is part of the inspired Word of God.

Ad for Ebooks: Hot, Holy, and Humorous & Intimacy Revealed

Additional reading: Insight.org (Chuck Swindoll) – Song of Solomon; ESV.org – Introduction to The Book of Song of Solomon

Isn’t Praying about Sex Kind of Selfish?

This past week, protests in Charlottesville, Virginia quickly became violent, and a young woman was run over and killed. In Barcelona, Spain, fourteen died when an Islamist militant plowed his vehicle into a crowd; a hundred more were injured.

In some regions in the world, starvation is still a real possibility. And disease, civil war, and economic hardship are daily challenges. Christians are persecuted in some nations, all the way to their life being taken. Sex trafficking is happening across the world, and each day children are abused emotionally, physically, and sexually.

My heart breaks just writing about these things. So, in the midst of all of the evil and pain in the world, how can we go to God and ask Him for help with our sex life? Aren’t there way bigger issues worth His time and our focus?

Blog post title + man praying, up close

When I recently asked on Facebook what my readers wanted me to cover about sex and prayer, this is what one commenter said:

I’ve wrestled with this one a bit, but am slowly getting better at understanding that if something is important to me, and is righteous, than it’s important to God. But there is still a nagging feeling in the background when I ask for help regarding our marital intimacy that says, “this isn’t that big a deal, there are people starving in this world, I know this sounds selfish of me…but”.

I know he’s not alone. And it’s a good question: With people starving in the world, isn’t praying about your sex life kind of selfish?

With people starving in the world, isn't praying about your sex life kind of selfish? Click To Tweet

Here are some thoughts to consider.

God is infinitely able to hear our prayers.

We exist in time. We check clocks, keep calendars, make appointments at specific times. All of our to-dos are therefore done in a linear fashion: I take out the trash, then I do the laundry, then I write my post, then I have lunch. I can’t do all of those things at once.

We tend to place God in time too, even though He’s not. In fact, of all the ways to explain this, I think a scene in the movie Bruce Almighty did a really good job. Here’s what might happen if we had to deal with prayers.

But that’s not God. He’s infinitely able to hear and address everyone’s prayers at once, from the plea for justice for a sexually abused child, to the prayer for patience of caregivers whose burden is heavy, to your request to find greater unity in the marriage bed.

Your prayer for your sex life isn’t taking any time or effort away from God dealing with the “big issues.” He’s got it all covered. Because He’s, well, GOD.

C.S. Lewis wrote a fabulous, and more thorough, essay addressing the issue of God’s ability to answer many prayers at once: “Time And Beyond Time” from Mere Christianity. Check it out.

God cares about everything about you.

Have you ever listened in on a conversation of moms talking about their infants or preschoolers? They can describe everything from their child’s major personality characteristics down to exactly what they found in the last diaper. If their child gets a splinter in his precious little finger, they stop everything and tend to relieving that little bit of pain. I consider this a helpful mental picture when I think about God, my Heavenly Parent. He’s totally into everything His kids have got going. And He’s far better at it than we are, so He really can attend to all the poop going on in our lives.

Just listen to these descriptions of how God cares for us:

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways” (Psalm 139:1-3).

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book” (Psalm 56:8, NLT)

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Luke 12:6).

If God is familiar with all of our ways, keeps track of all our sorrows and collects our tears, and has numbered the hairs on our head, I think He cares about our sexual intimacy. Especially since He talks about sex quite a bit in His Word.

Rest assured, He wants to be there. He’s the parent who wants to know every detail and to be the one you come to when you have a splinter in your heart or when things are going well.

God cares about our sex lives.

In this section, I almost want to say, “Go read everything else I’ve ever written about God and sex.” Because it’s basically my entire mission to convince people that God has something to say about our sex lives and that it’s really, really good stuff.

However, I will point to one particular post, which might be an eye-opener for some: Is Christian Sex in Marriage a Threesome?

So many of us have the view that God is present in all these areas of our lives, except the marriage bed; that’s really a private place between husband and wife, no one else invited — including the Big Guy. But that’s neither biblical nor wise. As you saw in the scripture above, God discerns our going out and our lying down, including when we lie down with our spouse. He’s omniscient, meaning He knows what’s going on in your bedroom!

And I simply cannot tell you enough about the positive impact I experience when I realized that God had something to say about every single area of my life — including the bedroom. Aligning my desires with His in my sex life, a goal I still work on, has made all the difference in how I view sexuality and how we experience sexual intimacy in our marriage. If He cares that much, then of course we can talk to Him about it; any part of our sex life is fair game for discussion with God.

Any part of our sex life is fair game for discussion with God. Click To Tweet

I hope this helps make some feel more comfortable talking to God about their sexuality. Don’t worry if it’s awkward at first. Just trust that He listens and cares and answers.

When You Don’t Know What to Pray for Your Marriage

On Saturdays, I’m encouraging us all to pray more for our marriages and marriage beds. But yesterday, I was in a chat window with Chris of The Forgiven Wife and said: Will you write my post on prayer for tomorrow morning? I got nothing.

Yep, as much as I have to say and love to write, there are still times when I stare at the blank page and what comes out is a big fat zero. Thankfully, Chris is a smart and encouraging friend who wrote back: No, I won’t write it. But that’s exactly what you can write about: how to pray when you got nothing.

Well, there is this scripture: “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” (Romans 8:26). So I guess groaning is an option. 😉

But as I chatted more with this friend, we discussed one of the best approaches for when we don’t know how to pray: Just pray the Scripture.

Title with woman praying, sunrise in background

For instance, you can open up the Psalms, find a relevant chapter, and simply make the words your own as you pray to God. But I also want to show you how this is easily done with marriage and intimacy verses.

Let’s take verses from the “Love Chapter,” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

How do you make that into a personal prayer to God? Here’s one example:

Oh Lord, please help my love to be patient and kind. God, I know that love does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. But I struggle with these things. Love does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Yet, I have done all of those in my marriage. Please forgive me and help me to love more perfectly. Never let me delight in evil but rejoice with the truth. Help me to welcome honesty and truth in my marriage. Guide me to always protect, always trust, always hope, always persevere in my marriage. Give us a love that never fails — a love that resembles Your love for us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

You can leave some of the language as is, change other wording around to apply directly to you, and insert your own thoughts as you go.

What about a scripture that applies directly to your sexual intimacy? Let’s look at the oft-cited 1 Corinthians 7:3-5:

The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

And here’s my rendering of a prayer with that passage:

Dear Father, I pray that my husband will fulfill his marital duty to me, and I will fulfill mine to my husband. Help me to embrace that I do not have authority over my own body and to yield my body to my husband. In the same way, remind my husband that he does not have authority over his own body but should yield it to me. And help us to be responsible and loving with that authority You’ve given each of us. May we never deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that we may devote ourselves to prayer. Then bring us together again and keep us from Satan’s temptation. Strengthen our self-control. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

These aren’t the only ways to pray the Scripture — just my examples. I used this approach somewhat in A Prayer for Your Sexual Intimacy and A Prayer about Sexual Temptation. For other scripture ideas, here are some that work for marriage:

Ephesians 5:21-33

Proverbs 5:15-19

Philippians 2:3-8

Psalm 128

If you have other scripture suggestions, please leave them in the comments.

Also check out my devotional book, Intimacy Revealed, which includes 52 prayers for the sexual intimacy in your marriage.

Intimacy Revealed Book CoverWhat does the Bible say about sexual intimacy?

Quite a lot actually. From marriage-specific scriptures to biblical principles, Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Sex in Marriage guides Christian wives through weekly devotions that shed light on God’s gift of marital sex.

Each week includes a Bible passage, application, questions, and a prayer. These short devotions will deepen your understanding of God’s design of sexuality and encourage you toward a holier, happier, and hotter marriage.

Ebook:
Amazon / Kindle | Barnes & Noble / Nook |
Kobo Books | Scribd | iBooks

Print:
Amazon

The Beatitudes in the Bedroom: Experiencing God’s Promises

The Beatitudes. Lately, I’ve been covering how these principles can be applied to our marriage and marriage bed. However, I’d be surprised if some of you haven’t thought of an image like this during this series on my blog:

Bee - Attitudes!

(Yes, I used to work in Children’s Ministry.)

That’s really not a bad way to think about these commands from Jesus: They are attitudes that we take and people we want to be, whether we’re dealing with fellow church goers, co-workers or friends, or our spouse. And the be-attitude we adopt impacts how we view our world, including sexual intimacy in our marriage.

One more time, I want to give you the passage from the Sermon in the Mount that we refer to as The Beatitudes. If you’ve been following this series, you may be tempted to skim these familiar verses, but I encourage you to really read through them and let each sink into your mind and heart.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:3-10The Beatitudes in the Bedroom: Experiencing God's Promises

There are two more verses that complete this section of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” They expand on the final beatitude of “Blessed are those who are persecuted….”

Now I firmly believe that God’s commands reach every aspect of our lives. But His promises delve into every crevice as well. What if, living according to the Beatitudes, your marriage experienced these promises? What if your marriage itself:

  • belonged in the kingdom of heaven
  • was comforted
  • inherited the earth
  • felt filled
  • received mercy
  • saw God
  • was called a child of God
  • knew the kingdom of heaven

Sounds pretty good, huh?

In wrapping up my own study of this passage, I read a little further in Matthew 5. Now the Books of Matthew and Luke both give an accounting of Jesus’ sermon, and while there is a great deal of overlap, their different perspectives give us a slightly take on what was said and when. No, this isn’t a problem in verifying the truth of what Jesus said; rather, it’s how eyewitnesses report the same incident — with main points that agree and enough variations in detail to conclude they didn’t rehearse a false story. But Matthew may have chosen what came next in his account, rather than this being the order in which Jesus delivered his words.

Still, I was intrigued when I read:

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:13-16

That’s how I often feel about the godly sexual intimacy. While it’s a very private affair, how we conduct ourselves in this area can become a public testimony to the world about our Christian commitment and our spiritual fruit.

As you pour yourself into sexual intimacy, as one of several forms of intimacy you can have in marriage, some of that goodness overflows and shows. Your relationship is holier, heathier, and happier. Your friends and family may never fully know what all is behind your better, stronger, sweeter marriage, but your light shines.

My prayer for you and your marriage is that you will be blessed. That you will be salt and light. That you will experience God’s promises.

Blessed are those…

Let’s be those. Let’s be blessed.

The Beatitudes in the Bedroom: The Merciful

Recently, I’ve been looking at the Beatitudes in the Bedroom, how this passage relates to our marriages and marriage beds. To get us started, let’s review the Beatitudes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:3-10

If you want to read the ones I’ve covered so far, check out Poor in SpiritThose Who Mourn, The Meek, and Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness. And now we’re up to the merciful.The Beatitudes in the Bedroom: The Merciful

I already know what some of you are thinking: Please talk about how my sex-resistant spouse needs to have mercy on me and give me some much-needed physical intimacy!

I’ll actually get to that. But first, I did a bit of word study on the Greek term used for mercy: eleeo (pronounced el-eh-eh’-o). I expected to see New Testament verses about how God showed us mercy when He saved us from sin. But the most common use occurred when Jesus was healing the sick. People often approached Jesus and cried out, “Have mercy,” just before he cured them of their ailments.

So eleeomercy,” often connoted healing and wholeness.

And honestly, that’s what so many of our marriage beds need. Not just frequency of sex or mutual pleasure, but healing and wholeness to be able to engage fully in the experience of sexual intimacy God gifted marriage.

In what area of your sexual struggles do you wish you could cry out to Jesus, “Have mercy!” and know that His healing would immediately follow? Did you experience sexual abuse in your past? Have you struggled to get past your spouse’s prior infidelity? Are you continually tempted by porn? Do you have pain during intercourse? Have you faced the hollow ache of infertility?

We can cry out for God’s mercy, and He delivers. Not always on the timetable we want or in the way we expect, but He is faithful:

“The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23, NLT).

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

But the Beatitude here isn’t about God’s mercy specifically, but our mercy: “Blessed are those who merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Thinking back to the physical and emotional ailments we experience in our marital bedroom, what is your beloved dealing with? What baggage or challenges confront him when it comes to sexual intimacy?

Have you shown him mercy? Helped him seek healing? Contributed to his wholeness?

We can get so caught up in our own perspective that we fail to fully consider what sexual issues are mate is confronting. Maybe your husband is trying to break a porn habit or facing a lower sex drive or aching for more sexual intimacy with you. Whatever his concerns, can you show mercy?

And no, I’m not suggesting having pity sex. Rather, true mercy involves reaching out with your heart. Indeed, Romans 12:8 advises that if we show mercy, we should “do it cheerfully.” Grudging compassion isn’t compassion at all.

Mercy might include more sex, more communication about sex, counseling about sex, or a myriad of other options.

But let’s seek one another’s healing and wholeness. Let’s extend to our spouse what we wish to receive from God.  Let’s be merciful in our marriage beds. And then, let’s see how God blesses us.