Tommy Nelson delves into a book that many pastor's would be afraid to touch in this book on romance. Oh, and by the way the word touch there was pun intended. As a side note, this book is only recommended for people beginning their journey towards marital bliss.
The Book of Romance
“Based on what God knows about us. He has provided an instruction manual in the Song of Solomon with eight very enlightening, explicit, and highly practical chapters on the topics of love, sex and intimacy.” -Tommy Nelson
I first heard about Tommy Nelson, pastor of Denton Bible church, when I was looking for study material on the book of Song of Solomon. We had seen this church many times as we passed through Denton, Texas while we studied Linguistics at Baptist Bible Translators Institute. In fact, our oldest daughter Chloe was born in Denton.
Pastor Nelson brought a very practical approach to a book that is often allegorized and hardly ever preached in the bible because of the graphic content of the book. The jury is still out for me as to how this book is ultimately intended to be interpreted, but there is no denying that it has a literal sense that cannot be allegorized when one studies in detail the statements that it makes.
The book follows the evolution of romance in relationships through the stages of dating, courtship, marriage, the honeymoon, conflict resolution and continued faithfulness throughout the marriage covenant. Nelson follows a system of finding a spouse that was common in the "good old days" of no-strings attached dating before courtship.
In Song of Solomon, Nelson sees a pattern of romance through the stages of married life. In Song of Solomon 1:1-8, we see the attraction of the two lovers. Song of Solomon 1: 9-2:7 spans the dating stage of their relationship. Once they have reached a time of commitment in 2:8-3:5, their courtship begins. The climax of their courtship leads to their wedding in 3:6-11. The entire chapter 4 through chapter 5 verse one is the honeymoon stage. Chapter 5:2-6:3 details their first fight in their marriage while the remaining verses of chapter 6 detail the resolution of their conflict. In Chapters 7-8, Nelson explains the depth of growth in their marriage as time goes on.
Key lessons in the book
Pastor Nelson's focus on the two tiers of attraction was an important reminder for those who have not married yet. He describes the first tier of attraction as physical from verses 1-3. The book begins with a statement of her desire to be kissed by this guy and then she compliments his smell. For you single guys out their a bath every now and then might help. The second tier is even more important though: an attraction to inner qualities. In the end of verse three, she extols his godly name as pressed oil. A person's name represented their reputation and character. Notice that she likens it to pressed oil. Even under pressure, his reputation excelled. She ends with a statement that all the girls know how great this guys is.
As Nelson progresses to the honeymoon stage, he gives some very practical suggestions from the book of Solomon. From 4:1, he pointed out that for the woman sex always begins in the mind. Before jumping under the sheets and getting down to business, Solomon praises her beauty. As he describes her beauty piece by piece, his wife cannot help but smile. This is evidenced by the description of her teeth in vs 2. In vs 4, she stands tall and straight before her beloved because there is no shame in the marriage bed.
If you are looking for a book to hash out the technical meaning of the book of Song of Solomon, this is not necessarily the book for you; although there are some helpful definitions in the book. Pastor Nelson's book is primarily geared toward giving a practical application of the book to dating, courtship and marriage. Considering we often hide from topics like these in Christianity, I would recommend this book as a good study for husbands and wives and those considering marriage.
If you would like to check out this book it can be purchased from Amazon here.