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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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Philip Ryken on Teaching Song of Solomon

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rsz_ryken_small_image-300x200.jpgIt takes some courage to teach the Song of Solomon. It also requires interpretative decisions and, according to Phil Ryken, a willingness to slow down and enter into the poetic imagery of the book, which he describes as “the liner notes to an album of love songs.” Ryken, president of Wheaton College, preached through Song of Solomon in chapel at the college from 2015–2016 and is working on a book that will be released in February 2019, The Love of Loves in the Song of Songs.

In our conversation, Ryken discusses some of the interpretative challenges to the book, the narrative flow, how to handle the erotic imagery, and how to apply the book not only to married people but also to those who are single or same-sex attracted.

You can listen to the episode here.

Resources recommended by Phil Ryken

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