Up until now, the Old Testament book Song of Solomon has mostly been directed toward adults, married or unmarried. Author Chris Ray, however, is now seeking to shift that focus to a younger audience in his latest book Song of Solomon for Teenagers: And Anyone Else Who Wonders Why They Are Here.
"It is apparent when looking at the statistics for divorce, suicide, drinking and drug abuse that we must be missing something," Ray revealed. "This book is about just that."
Song of Solomon has recently become a popular topic within the Christian community today, with renowned pastors like Mark Driscoll and Ed Young speaking from or referencing the vivid verses in their books or sermons on sex and marriage.
Song of Solomon for Teenagers targets many of the issues specific to teens – though it has been more widely received by adults up until now – with its main goal to prevent "sexual missteps."
"In our society, sex is a cheap substitute for love," the youth minister told The Christian Post.
When teens begin having sex, they stop listening and engaging with God, no longer moving forward in their relationship with Him, settling for second best instead. This includes teens that are "really going towards God" in earlier years as well.
"It seemed to me that God wanted us to tell them the truth about love before they started having sex," Ray explained to CP.
"God had the plan from the beginning. We have the tendency to twist and pervert the truth but I want to get people acquainted with their wonderful God before they settle on second best."
"The Song of Solomon is about love. Real love is way more than sex," the father of five clarified. "Song of Solomon explains why we were born. The simple fact is that life is all about love. God is love. It's all about God. [And] this God has chosen to love us."
The book is organized as a verse-by-verse commentary and is inspired from his previous teachings on Song of Solomon.
"It had the best results of anything I have ever taught," Ray said, who has been working with teenagers for more than 25 years. "In fact, the first class [I taught this to] is now in their mid-thirties and as [far] as I can tell every one of them still goes to church and pays attention to God."
When asked how he wisely approached and addressed the topics broached in Song of Solomon, given the controversy surrounding its interpretation, Ray stated, "Stop and think about it. Did God write soft porn?"
"Not the real God. Did He write a book that children should not be allowed to read? Not the real God. In fact, the real God says every word He gave us is important.
"I would not want to be in the shoes of a person who used this book as ... a soft porn type," he said. "If you read my book you will see that God is not like that. Sex is not like that. If, in fact, this is the greatest Song anyone can sing (and it is), it is no secret that the devil doesn't want anyone singing it."
For Ray, the devil has a large role in distorting sex and man's interpretation of it. "Our adversary doesn't want us to be happy, well adjusted, loving people. He wants us using and abusing the way truly selfish people do [but] God has the answer."
"My goal is that people of all ages will see what life is really all about," the Indiana resident hoped for his book. "God had an overriding purpose for our life."
Song of Solomon for Teenagers: And Anyone Else Who Wonders Why They Are Here is the first of Ray's God Wrote It to You series.
Concerned that youth today are too distracted to see the "good their lives should be," the church leader began the series to inspire teens to open their eyes and realize that God "wrote to them" before they did something they would later regret as an adult.
"Adults seem to have gotten more out of it than teens," Ray described. "I think that may have something to do with the fact they now see the truth and wish they had seen it when they were younger. In other words, they now have the regrets I am trying to stop the teens from having."
"I don't want anyone to miss it," he concluded.
Chris Ray's book is currently available as a softcover and e-book on AuthorHouse, and is on sale now. Purchase Song of Solomon for Teenagers here.