Scripture Text:(click to open in a new window)
1. Where did you first meet your “one and only”?
2. Complete this sentence: “Love is . . . ” Compare your definitions for what they have in common.
3. What do you think is the major difference between men’s and women’s perspectives on sex?
4. (If married) how are your sexual expectations different from your spouse’s?
5. The beloved regrets her culture prohibited public expression of her love for her husband as opposed to her brother (8:1). What do you wish was different about your culture’s sexual expectations, and their effects on you?
6. Which of the following best captures your idea of sex in marriage?
- the supreme moment of human celebration
- the one experience a couple shares only with each other
- a movement toward intimacy
- an exciting desire to give and receive from the one we love
7. What surprises you the most – and the least – about today’s passage?
- Solomon’s romantic nature
- his wife’s romantic nature
- Solomon’s focus on her body
- her sexual initiative
- the Bible’s recording this couple’s playful and creative sex life
8. Which of the lovers’ suggestions do you find most powerful?
- I will climb the palm tree and take hold of its (your) fruit.
- Let’s go to the countryside and spend the night in a village inn.
- I will give you my love beside the blossoming trees.
- I have stored up for you every delicacy, both new and old.
- Your left arm is under my head and your right arm embraces me.
9. Which aspect of this passage is most important to you?
- the attractive physical descriptions
- the sense of belonging
- the feeling of being desirable
- the sensual experiences
10. What “love potion” seems to be a favorite of this couple? Is their marriage any less sacred for their playfulness at sex? Why do you think so?
11. What does it tell you that the woman has an equal role in the dance of love and sex (chapter 7:11 – 13)?
12. Why the repeated charge to the daughters of Jerusalem (8:4; also 2:7; 3:5)? Is this meant to warn any who may have prurient interest aroused by this candid love story?
13. What do the beloved’s words in chapter 8:6, 7 mean?
- Don’t let me go.
- I won’t let you go.
- Love is the strongest of emotions.
- Passionate love is out of control.
- Sex can be bought, but love can only be given
14. Many of the love metaphors in today’s text deserve a second look (chapter 8:6 and 7). How is married love like an owner’s seal? Like death? Or like fire? (For example, would a death-like love be a fatal attraction, or unbearable, or irreversible? Like-wise, would a fire-like love be dangerous, or unquenchable, or capable of burning hot and then dying out?)
15. What is the point about the price of love (8:7)?
- the one with the most toys win
- sex can be cheaply bought
- love must be freely given
- other: __________________
16. In 9:8 – 14, we have a series of flashbacks to bring closure to this story. How does her family both encourage and discipline her to save herself for marriage?
17. What lover’s freedom does she assert in the end? What is memorable about their last words to each other?
18. Using the sense of taste as a sexual symbol (which this book does), how would you describe you and your mate’s sex life – and how would you like it to change?
- full-course dinner
- snack on the run
- gourmet extravaganzas
- meat and potatoes
- feast or famine
- well-balanced diet
- mystery meals
19. The beloved had stored up both new and old delights for her lover (7:13). Get alone with your spouse and share with each other: (1) good memories you have about past romance and lovemaking; and (2) your hopes and dreams for new “delights” yet to be enjoyed.
20. Take time to think about the degree of exclusiveness in your relationship with the one you love. Do you actively and openly prefer your beloved to all others? Do you work to make yourself preferable? How so?
21. When were you last jealous for the good of your beloved? Ask the Author of love for the gift of single-minded love today.
22. What makes sexual freedom within marriage possible? Explain your answer.
- time spent together
- reassurances from each other
- environmental factors
- internal factors
23. How important is the sizzle factor in friendship that leads to marriage? Even if all other systems indicate “go for it”, should two friends marry who do not have irresistible physical chemistry?
24. What’s wrong with premarital sex (and/or cohabitation) to see if the sexual (and/or familial) compatibility is there? Would such an experiment even be valid without a commitment factor secured only in marriage blessed by God?
25. This story only speaks of the woman saving herself for marriage (8:8, 9). Isn’t sexual purity equally incumbent on men? Why or why not?
26. How would you compare the Song of Songs in its approach to love, sex and marriage with today’s culture? What healthy antidotes to casual sex, emotional insecurity and self-destructive thinking does this Song offer?
27. What aspect of this love poem were for you erotic? Which were romantic? Why then do you think this Song is in the Bible?
28. Using the allegorical approach, how is Christ’s love for you like the king’s love for his bride? Where have you experienced His painful, possessive, persevering and priceless love?
29. Who would you recommend this book to? Why?
30. What is the strongest ending note of the Song of Songs for you?
- what matters is the intensity of my feelings for my spouse (8:6, 7)
- what matters is my commitment to my spouse (8:6, 7)
- what matters is how my spouse sees me (8:10)
- what matters is that my love is freely given (8:12)
- what matters is the we’re together and in love (8:13, 14)
31. If God’s view of sex in marriage is conveyed in the Song of Songs, then why do so many couples experience nothing like it?
- because sex has been distorted in our culture
- because they have hang-ups from the church
- because they have hang-ups from their past
- because they don’t work at it
- other: ________________
32. How is God’s love for you like this couple’s love for each other?
33. How do you see your spirituality relating to your sexuality?
- it doesn’t
- sexuality and spirituality are opposites that tug at me from both ends
- sexuality and spirituality are opposites that keep me balanced
- sexuality and spirituality both connect me with others
- spirituality helps me express my sexuality in ways that affirm God’s lordship of life
34. What is your greatest need regarding your sexuality?
- expressing my sexual needs
- feeling good about myself
- receiving forgiveness for the past
- controlling my impulses
- the security of physical closeness
- other: _____________________
35. (If married) rank from 1 to 6 the respective strengths of your marriage (with 1 being the highest). Then get together alone with your spouse to discuss your answers.
- sexual passion
- communication about sex
- spiritual intimacy
With the next post (on Monday August 4), we will resume our regular posting schedule (one post every weekday). Our topic will continue to be the life and writings of Solomon. Our focus will be the book of Ecclesiastes.