Anyone interested in preaching the Song of Songs (SoS) needs to read the concerns of John MacArthur. MacArthur’s four-part series is entitled “The Rape of Solomon’s Song.” MacArthur raises some issues that should be in the forefront of the preacher’s mind as he crafts his message for his particular audience concerning the SoS. However, the impetus for the articles is really, in MacArthur’s own words, the “crass” preaching of Mark Driscoll (see some transcript excerpts of Driscoll’s sermon here).
While Driscoll may go where angels fear to tread and incur MacArthur’s censure, one wonders how MacArthur would exposit such a text that is deep in metaphor and needs to be explained (carefully and sensitively) for a contemporary audience to understand this portion of God’s word and apply it to their lives. While MacArthur refers those who ask that question to his study Bible as an example of how he would expound the text of the Song (part 3), surely that is not all he would say in a message. If he did, one wonders why he would skip SoS 7:2-5 without any comments entirely (The MacArthur Study Bible, 949)! While Driscoll may read (and explain) too much into that most intimate scene, MacArthur errs by saying nothing.
I am at a loss to know how to preach the SoS by following MacArthur’s example in his study Bible or his premise that the Song “speaks in secret terms about that which should be kept secret” (part 2).