Category Archives: The Bible and Sex

5 Times You Teach Holy and Healthy Sex to Your Kids

Parents have a strong influence in how their children view their sexuality and establish standards for sexual intimacy.

Parents have a strong influence in how their children view their sexuality and establish their standards for sexual intimacy. Click To Tweet

And much of that influence is not overt, but rather what we model day by day. With that in mind, here are five times you teach holy and healthy sex to your kids.

1. When you show affection in front of your children.

Young children typically enjoy seeing their parents embrace and kiss, but older children can give us the impression they don’t like it very much. They might roll their eyes, squish up their face, or even say, “Yuck!” Perhaps we don’t want to embarrass them, or perhaps we’re uncomfortable being affectionate when they understand more about romantic relationships, but many couples stop showing much affection in front of their kids.

But even if it feels a little awkward or it causes a reaction from your kids, it’s healthy to show affection in front of them. Children need to know their parents are still committed, loving, and even a little sexy to one another. Flirting, holding hands, hugging, and mild kissing are all wonderful practices for them to see. And yes, it’s good for them to know those actions lead to more intimate encounters that they don’t witness. All of this assures them of their parents bond and the benefits of marriage.

2. When you pursue and protect time alone.

You need time away from your children as a couple. And that time shouldn’t only happen when they are unaware, such as when they’re asleep. Let your children know that Mom and Dad want and deserve time alone together, in the bedroom, without interruption.

Depending on their age, that could mean announcing that it’s Mommy and Daddy’s special time, or that it’s date night, or that you just want to be alone (which teens can decipher and don’t want to know more about). But make a point of letting your children see that a husband and wife pursue and protect alone time, because they enjoy being together in romantic and intimate ways.

3. When you answer their questions about sex.

Sometimes I receive the question, “When should I tell my kids about sex?” For a lot of parents, the answer is “whenever they ask” — to which I could add, “as many times as they ask.” Yes, I think you need to have a specific talk with your children describing the sexual act, but the vast majority of teaching throughout the years will be simply answering their questions.

Think about your own experience growing up: Didn’t you have questions about sex? Who did you go to for answers? My bet is that many of us parents would like our kids to come to us rather than the other options available. So when our children ask us about sex in any way, we need to be open to the conversation, willing to listen to their thoughts and concerns, and able to respond in a way that encourages a positive, God-honoring view of sexual intimacy.

4. When you protect them against predators.

When I was growing up, minors had to intentionally seek out porn; now they have to avoid it like a stream of dodge balls coming at them. And it’s not just pornography, but mature-rated shows on streaming sites and Google searches on unrelated topics. Then there are online chats and multi-player games where a predator could interact with your child. I’m not trying to scare you, but we should be aware of risks out there.

Consequently, our kids need us to be their protectors. This involves talking to them about what’s out there and how to make good decisions. Even young children can understand, “If something on the screen makes you uncomfortable, press this off button, then come and get me or Daddy.” You can talk to tweens and tweens more openly, asking them what they encounter and coaching them on how to handle it. And you can install internet filters on their computers to keep them from being targeted by adult sexual content.

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By the way, you won’t have much moral authority on this one if your internal attitude is “I can look at the XXX stuff, but they can’t.” So if you are struggling with porn use or lust, you need to address that as well. Don’t hold off helping your kids while you work on this sin, but recognize that teens in particular are smarter than you think and, if you keep it up, will likely pick up on you being a hypocrite.

5. When you point them to what God says about sex.

I didn’t leave this point for last because it’s least important, but rather because I want to make sure it’s the last point you hear and process. Our goal with our children should always be teaching them about God’s design for sexuality. As the Creator of sex, what did He say it’s for, how does He talk about it in Scripture, and what does purity really mean? Why is God’s design better than the world’s teaching? And how can they have a great sexual relationship once they’re married?

When they’re young, these messages are as simple as celebrating the way God made their bodies—all of their bodies. As as they age and you answer their questions, bring God into that conversation, making sure they fully understand that sex was and is God’s idea. Demonstrate with your words and actions that sex in marriage is not simply physical, but also emotional and spiritual. Let them know that the Bible likens the marriage relationship to the intimacy God longs to have with us. We are a mirror of His love.

The Bible likens the #marriage relationship to the intimacy God longs to have with us. We are a mirror of His love. Click To Tweet

Our parental influence is far more than we think at times. This is no guarantee, because we each have free will, but let’s do what we can to set our kids up for a healthy and godly perspective of sex.

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Is Joking about Sex Okay?

My site is called Hot, Holy & Humorous — because those are three aspects of sex in marriage. And if you’ve read or followed me much, you know that I love humor. Indeed, I believe a sense of humor is what makes life more bearable in bad times and more enjoyable in good times.

I’ve been known to crack a few sex jokes and chuckle at innuendos. One of my favorites is when someone asks me about masturbation, and I answer, “Well, now that’s a touchy topic.” And you’ll periodically hear one-liners and laughter in our Sex Chat for Christian Wives podcast.

But is there such a thing as too much sexual humor? Or a type of sexual humor that should be avoided?

Is there such a thing as too much sexual humor? Or a type of sexual humor that should be avoided? Click To Tweet

Is there such a thing as too much sexual humor? Or a type of sexual humor that should be avoided?

Ephesians 5:3-5 says:

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

Hmmm. Should we reconsider how we treat the subject of sex in conversation? Don’t panic yet. Let me outline a few thoughts here.

1. Context matters.

This passage is talking about sexual immorality and impurity, and conversation in that context. A sexual innuendo about one’s body part is one thing when spoken to your spouse and a whole other thing when spoken to someone else. The first is in the context of a covenant relationship blessed by God with intimacy as the goal of that humor. While the second clearly meets the “out of place” definition in the scripture and could lead to the immorality and impurity warned about.

Now this isn’t license to say anything whatsoever within marriage, because our words should always meet the goal of building one another up (Ephesians 4:29). But speaking innuendos to your beloved mate isn’t an immoral or impure act. Indeed, look at how the lovers spoke to one another in Song of Songs — their playful use of metaphors and euphemisms. That’s a good example of how we can use sexual sense of humor in positive ways.

That said, we need to be careful how we speak in mixed company, to ensure that we are not nudging someone toward impurity. Sexual innuendos broadly (like my “touchy” joke above) don’t meet that definition to me — it’s just us laughing at the shared experience of life — but specifics could be problematic.

2. Content matters.

In the commentaries I read on this passage, the most common takeaway was that sin isn’t funny. Coarse joking about things like sexual trafficking, pornography addiction, adultery, etc. are not a Christ-like approach to sin. We can all nod our heads on this one, but let’s be honest: This can be difficult to follow all the time, because we tend to diffuse stressful situations with humor. It’s a go-to coping mechanism for some.

But real brokenness is heart-rending. It pricks God’s heart and should prick ours too. For instance, there were many jokes about Hugh Hefner through the years, but I never thought he was funny; rather, he was sad, pathetic, and damaging. Likewise, nothing about the #MeToo movement is funny for those who have been sexually harassed and/or assaulted.

Living in Texas, I remember vividly when front-runner candidate Clayton Williams lost the governor’s race by making an offhand comment comparing bad weather to rape. It wasn’t simply in poor taste; it was thoughtless and heartless to everyone (women and men) who had been raped. That is sexual humor gone much too far.

3. Consequence matters.

What’s the result of your sexual humor? Is it lightening you and others up about the awkwardness and foibles of the sexual act? Is it convincing us that sex is universally funny in some ways? Is it having a shared moment of humor with a close friend? Is it inducing greater intimacy between you and your spouse?

Or is it causing your spouse or friends discomfort? Is it encouraging your mind to dwell on sexual improprieties? Is it arousing your lust as much as it tickles your funny bone?

The goal is for God’s people to maintain sexual purity and morality, and if your humor doesn’t do that, then you need to take a step back and ask what, if anything, you need to change.

Now, admittedly, I sometimes have a commenter slam me for my sexual sense of humor here on the blog in a way that makes it clear the person is way too uptight. If someone thinks that Christianity means No Joking Allowed, then the problem isn’t really the joke but the audience. Tough crowd. Is this mic on? Of course if you’re married to that “tough crowd,” you need to tread carefully. Encourage them toward lightning up a little, but don’t dismiss their discomfort.

Is it okay to joke about sex? A playful attitude toward sex can help us see this act in a proper light, pursue greater intimacy with our spouse, and bring laughter to our daily lives. None of those things dishonors God’s design for sex.

But if and when our sexual humor is in the wrong context, includes immoral content, or has a damaging consequence, we need to rethink the purpose and power of our words.

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5 Ways to Get Your Church to Address Sex

So your church doesn’t address sex. You’re not alone.

But if you’re like me, or you’ve read the Bible past Genesis 1 and know that God didn’t shy away from sex, you think your church should be able to have a grownup conversation about sexual intimacy in marriage. So how can you get people talking about this important topic in a respectful, helpful, godly ways?

Here are five actions you can take to move the needle.

Blog post title + basic illustration of a church building

1. Offer to teach or facilitate a class.

You know there’s a need, but many churches don’t know how to present material that encourages healthy and holy sex in marriage. Pastors are also in precarious positions, expected and even pressured to teach solely on certain theological issues.

Why not suggest an alternative within your current educational structure? Offer to lead a class or small group. I admit to being a bit nervous myself when I offered to teach a women’s class at my church, but my class was welcomed and well-attended. I came up with my own material, because…well…me. But if you’d rather facilitate, tap into some excellent resources where others will do the teaching portion for you.

Here are three I can recommend for wives:

Awaken Love Class. Led by Ruth Buezis. “The Awaken-Love class is available to women all over the world through our 6-week video series…Together you will watch the videos, read through Song of Songs and discuss the material. Opening up the taboo topic of sex with women you trust will help you uncover a new level of intimacy in your marriage as you learn to talk about sex.”

Passion Pursuit Study Led by Linda Dillow and Dr. Juli Slattery. “For each of the ten weeks, you will watch a 30-45 minute video of Juli & Linda teaching and then have 5 days of homework to complete in your workbook. Each group will need one woman to step up as the facilitator, but Juli & Linda will do all the teaching through the DVD & workbook.”

Boost Your Libido (affiliate link). Led by Sheila Wray Gregoire. “We’re going to have FUN—as I show you how you can move your marriage from BLAH to Blazing, just by understanding how your brain, body, and relationship all work together to impact your libido! This 10-module video based course has lots of information and awesome exercises that will get YOU anticipating sex more!” Now perhaps 70-85% of wives are the lower-drive spouse, but even as the higher-drive spouse in my own marriage (currently), I appreciated this course for addressing distinct ways that sexual intimacy works for wives. While originally designed it for individuals online, it would be easy to facilitate this course in a small group setting.

2. Gift resources to church leaders.

The following three things are true for a majority of pastors:

  • They didn’t receive much ministry training on God’s design for sexual intimacy.
  • They don’t know exactly how to address the topic of sex with their congregations.
  • They don’t make a lot of money, so they’re limited in buying products to research or consider.

Thus, if you want your pastor to address this topic or be an advocate for sex-positive programs and classes, maybe you could gift resources to your pastor(s) that address sex with a godly perspective. Let them see that Christians are speaking out in holy and healthy ways, and your church can do it too.

For instance, my devotional book, Intimacy Revealed, shows how Scripture can be applied to a number of issues couples face in marriage about sex, and even includes prayers for sex. I also have a list of recommended reads here.

3. Host an event.

Sometimes what can kick-off the conversation is an event that gets church members thinking and talking. In this case, you just invite the speaker to come in, and he/she will do the rest. At least during the event. Afterwards, it’s up to the church to follow up and follow through.

Here are just three great speakers you could host, who all speak to women honestly and biblically about sex:

Juli Slattery, clinical psychologist, author, speaker, Authentic Intimacy Conference and Ladies Night Out

Sheila Wray Gregoire, speaker, blogger, an award-winning author, Girl Talk Event.

J. Parker (oh, that’s me!), speaker, author, silly-joke-teller. And I’ve waived my speaker fee for the remainder of the year!

4. Give your testimony.

For years, I was scared to give my personal testimony, because I figured it would go like this:

Me: So perhaps the biggest area in which God saved me in my sexuality. You see, I was quite the tool before I got married—sheesh, half of you would barely recognize that girl!—and then there’s all the C-R-A-P my marriage went through, some of which was due to serious sexual baggage. But woo-hoo! God rescued me.

Them:

If you’re frightened to speak up too, I get it. I really do. But those faces are not at all what has happened.

In fact, when we confess our struggles to one another, most of the time we discover that others are struggling too and people are glad someone spoke up. You could be the first one to break that unspoken rule of silence that isn’t helping any of us and instead introduce honesty and a willingness to support one another, even one another’s marriage beds.

Be careful how and when you spill your story, of course. But go ahead and talk about how God has worked in your sex life. I know my Heavenly Father has worked wonders in mine.

Be careful how and when you spill your story, of course. But go ahead and talk about how God has worked in your sex life. I know my Heavenly Father has worked wonders in mine. Click To Tweet

5. Be a positive voice for sexual intimacy.

Just be the voice among friends who speaks positively about sex. You wives know what I’m talking about: Sometimes the discussion among women turns to sex, and the comments are, sadly, negative. “Ugh, he wants it all the time!” “I’m too tired for sex.” “What’s the big deal anyway?”

Or they might in favor of sex in marriage, but still wrong: “You need to have more sex for your husband.” Um, how about more sex for your husband and you, since God made it a mutual thing we gals are also supposed to really enjoy!

You can slowly but surely start to turn the tide by being the positive voice in the room. Positive doesn’t mean pushy, but let others know that God is the author of pleasurable sex, that it’s an act intended to create and express intimacy, and that it’s worth pursuing a healthy and holy marriage bed.

Even if you only convince one woman, that’s one wife who now has incentive to seek God’s design for sex and has an advocate for her marriage—you. One by one, we make a difference.

What couples resources do you recommend for churches? What has your church done that has been helpful in promoting positive, godly sexuality?

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What Is Lusting?

You’d think defining lust would be a simple enough task. Just open up Merriam-Webster, read the definition, and you’re set. But it’s not that simple. At least there’s still a lot of confusion about what constitutes lusting. I receive questions about it fairly often.

Today I’d like to take a stab about clearing up exactly what lust means and what it doesn’t, as well as when lust is okay and when it’s not.

Blog post title with illustration of woman facing forward and a thought bubble coming from her head

What Lust Is and Isn’t

Dictionary definition

Let’s start with that Merriam-Webster definition. The first entry to consider is “usually intense or unbridled sexual desire,” and the second is “an intense longing/craving,” such as a lust for power. That should rule out a few things that people sometimes want to list as lust, such as:

  • noticing an attractive person
  • saying someone is attractive

Mind you, these may not be wise choices in certain contexts, but they aren’t lust. These actions are no more inherently dangerous than noticing a beautiful sunset or commenting positively about a work of art.

While God prioritizes inner beauty, our Divine Sculptor also made some rather appealing exteriors. I mean, if you can’t acknowledge that the Chrises — Evans, Hemsworth, Pine, and Pratt — are good-looking men, you don’t have eyeballs. Not to mention guys named Idris. But I digress.

Biblical definition

More importantly, let’s look at the biblical definition of lust. That’s what really matters to us, right? While there are other relevant scriptures, our concern about lust mostly stems from this verse: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Jesus says lust = adultery. Obviously, that’s a line we don’t want to cross.

Now the Greek word for lust in this verse is epithumeó. This word appears 15 other times in the New Testament. Do you know how many of those times it’s translated in the NIV as lust? None. Not a single one.

In fact, you might be surprised to see the other verses where epithumeó appears, such as:

For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it (Matthew 13:17).

And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer (Luke 22:15).

What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet” (Romans 7:7).

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want (Galatians 5:17).

Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task (1 Timothy 3:1).

(See footnote below.)

As you can see, the word used by Jesus to mean lust isn’t strictly negative. It can have positive connotations as well. Epithumeó simply means a strong desire (that second Merriam-Webster definition), and the problem occurs when our strong desire is in conflict with what God intends for us to have — like someone else’s spouse.

Again, with these verses it becomes clear that lust isn’t merely noticing someone, but rather having a strong desire or longing. Lust happens when it reaches the level of coveting — when you think sexually about someone you’re not married to or dwell on their physical attributes in your mind.

Lust happens when it reaches the level of coveting — when you think sexually about someone you're not married to or dwell on their physical attributes in your mind. Click To Tweet

Revisiting my comment above, some celebrities are rather attractive men. But it’s one thing to recognize that, and another thing to seek out shirtless photos or flip through images in your mind or talk up how that person turns you on. No, no, and no.

Lust isn’t gender-specific

Did you notice all of my examples focused on women finding men attractive? Because one other thing lust isn’t — a purely male problem.

Too often when we talk about lust in churches or Christian circles, we assume that men struggle with lust and women really don’t. That’s balderdash.

First of all, not every guy struggles with lust, and second, plenty of women have issues with lust. Although Jesus speaks in Matthew 5:28 about men lusting after women, it’s pretty clear throughout the Bible — in stories and other verses — that women also have issues wanting what they shouldn’t have.

What’s the percentage breakdown of how the genders struggle with lust? I don’t know. Maybe it’s 70% of men and only 30% of women, but if you’re in the group that struggles, does it really matter? Don’t you just need an understanding that improper, selfish longing happens with both sexes and that God wants something much better for you?

Desire versus physiology

Finally in this section, I want to touch on an issue some worry about: When you see an attractive person and your body responds sexually, is that lust?

When you see an attractive person and your body responds sexually, is that lust? Click To Tweet

Let’s go back to Matthew 5:28: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Where does Jesus say the lust originates? It is in your eyeballs? In your groin? Or in your mind and heart?

God recognizes that we are physical beings here on earth. Having eyes that see a person doesn’t make you lust. Likewise, an erection or lubrication or a tingling in your nether regions could simply be a physiological reaction. What matters is the choice you make in your mind about how to view someone.

Now some might be saying that there’s not a conscious moment when you think, “Hey, I’m going to lust.” Rather, it just happens in a split second, as if your brain is responding to your genitals instead of the other way around.

As someone who mastered rationalization in my premarital promiscuous past, I’m just going to call you on that fish tale. Maybe you haven’t yet figured out how to interrupt the communication channel between your sexual physiology and your free-will brain, but you are making a choice and God calls you to make a different choice. He believes that — with intention and prayer and even support — you can do it, and so do I.

You shouldn’t feel guilty for having an arousal reaction that you cannot control, but own the part you absolutely can control — your decision whether or not to lust.

When Lust Is Okay and When It’s Not

Surely, after reading those examples, you can see that not all epithumeó longings are bad. Some are praised! Having a deep desire for something in line with God’s will gets a golden stamp of approval. In those cases, “lust” all you want after the thing God also longs for you to have.

Which means that lusting after your spouse is not only okay — it’s good. Deeply good. Godly good.

Lusting after your spouse is not only okay — it's good. Deeply good. Godly good. Click To Tweet

Sexual desire for your husband or wife is God’s intention for your marriage. When you think about their attractiveness, when you dwell on their physical attributes in your mind, and when you look longingly at your beloved, you’re in line with God’s will.

Go read Song of Songs and how often those spouses are basically like, “Hubba hubba, I love lookin’ at you, babe!” (Loose paraphrase.) Take, for instance, just these few verses from Song of Songs 7:6-8:

How beautiful you are and how pleasing,
  my love, with your delights!
Your stature is like that of the palm,
  and your breasts like clusters of fruit.
I said, “I will climb the palm tree;
  I will take hold of its fruit.”

Wow, that husband clearly has a strong desire for his wife. And God made sure that’s in our Bible!

So perhaps we need to re-frame how to talk about lust. To summarize:

  1. Lust isn’t just about sex. It’s about strong desires that can be in line with God’s will or not.
  2. Noticing and acknowledging beauty isn’t lust in and of itself. It has to go further into desire, longing, coveting.
  3. Even the sexual connotation of lust can be healthy and godly when it’s in the right context — just like sex. God blesses both in the confines of a committed marital union.

A related Greek word, epithumia, is also translated sometimes as lust (most notably in 1 John 2:16) but also more often desire — because the sexual connotation that the word lust has in modern English simply doesn’t apply to many of these verses. Thus, translators moved away from translating epithumeó and epithumia as lust between the time of the King James Version (1611) and more modern translations such as the current New International Version (updated 2011). For a full list of these verses, click HERE.

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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.

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