The wisdom literature section of the Old Testament offers a very practical side of theology, speaking to the institute of marriage, the journey of becoming wise, and the reality of the vanity of this life. Books like Song of Solomon, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes each speak to everyday life.
Song of Solomon
One school of thought depicts the poetry in this book as the dialogue between a husband and wife. It unveils the love ladder of the courtship, the wedding, and the honeymoon. Although explicit in its content, the man and woman living together within the context of marriage are connected spiritually, emotionally, and physically. The Song of Solomon provides a practical theology about marriage that is healthy and balanced. It demonstrates the following characteristics: attention to his needs and her needs, the intentional projection of commitment and loyalty, the importance of offering encouragement and praise rather than criticism, and the need to playfully interact with one another.
This book offers four choices to its readers: choose this day to be naïve, foolish, a mocker or a wise man. Becoming wise is obviously the goal. Proverbs offers guidance in the areas of dealing with anger, patience, poverty, wealth, et cetera, and ultimately urges its reader to gain understanding. In doing so, it lays the foundation of wisdom as being a healthy respect towards God.
Depressed, busted, and disgusted, the teacher in Ecclesiastes tells of how he explores every pleasure under the sun, yet nothing provided him with a sense of meaning in life. He labeled everything as vanity. In the majority of the first eight chapters, the teacher over-indulges in luxury, philosophy, alcohol, and properties and finds himself alone and hopeless. He comes to the end of his life and realizes that fearing and obeying God, nothing is truly meaningful in life. In the end, he advises the reader to acknowledge God from his youth and to follow God’s will.
With these things in mind, the Holy Scriptures, though very rich and deep in their meanings, can be seen as offering truth that is palatable and applicable to everyday life. In other words, it presents us with a very practical theology of God and life.
Ford, David. Theology: A Very Short Introduction. OUP, New York, 1999.
Stanley, Charles. Song of Solomon. www.intouch.org, 2012.