To many of us, Song of Songs is a puzzling book. Often we’re not sure whether we should read it as romantic poetry or as allegory, and an answer either way raises new questions. Why is a love poem a whole book of the Bible? If it’s allegorical, what are we to make of the imagery used? And if we’re not married or dating, should we be reading this book at all?
As a part of Scripture, Song of Songs is God-breathed and useful to instruct all Christians, single or married, divorced or widowed, straight or struggling with same-sex desires. Pastor-scholar Iain Duguid steers a middle way between allegorical and literal approaches, showing that this book’s celebration of the love between a man and woman can not only shape our thinking about human relationships but also give us profound insight into the love that Christ has for his bride, the church.
“So is the Song of Songs really about sex or Jesus? Iain Duguid steers a wise and pastoral path between those simplistic choices. He demonstrates how this poetic book on the excellencies of human love is not merely a practical marriage guide nor an allegorical representation of the coming Christ. Rather, this book is the best song of all songs because it provides divinely inspired insights into the blessings and weaknesses of human love in order to point us toward the goodness and necessity of the grace of God, whose love is perfected in Christ alone.” — Bryan Chapell, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church, Peoria, Illinois
“This book helps us. As a wise and seasoned pastor, Iain gently weeps with us in our broken search for false loves. Yet he strongly rouses our affections to the One whose love is true, satisfying, lasting, romantic, and alluring. Practical, tasty, and invigorating, Iain’s prose and poetry offer a timely guide for those who desire the lovers of Solomon’s Song to disciple them in Jesus.” — Zack Eswine, Pastor, Riverside Church, Webster Groves, Missouri; Director of Homiletics, Covenant Theological Seminary
“Iain Duguid takes a book of the Bible that many Christians are intimidated by and showcases it in its rightful place as the finest of songs. Perhaps we’ve been as insecure about tackling the allegorical and literal interpretations in this song as we may be in our own relationships. Not anymore! This commentary will prove that of all the songs written to explore the age-old questions of love, the Song of Songs is the one that we cannot and do not want to get out of our heads.” — Aimee Byrd, Author, Housewife Theologian and Theological Fitness; cohost, Mortification of Spin
Iain M. Duguid (PhD, University of Cambridge) is professor of Old Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia. He has written numerous works of biblical exposition, including Esther & Ruth in the Reformed Expository Commentary series, Ezekiel in the NIV Application Commentary series, and Numbers in the Preaching the Word series.
Richard D. Phillips (MDiv, Westminster Theological Seminary) is the senior minister of Second Presbyterian Church of Greenville, South Carolina. He is a council member of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, chairman of the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology, and coeditor of the Reformed Expository Commentary series.