Richard Sibbes Sermons on Canticles, Sermon 1.1 (Why Poetry in the Bible)


Geitrams på vollen i Grythengen

(Photo by Øyvind Holmstad)

The second volume of Richard Sibbes collected works contains a series of 20 sermons on Canticles, better know as the Song of Solomon. The title of this work is called “Bowels Opened”, which is rather unfortunate to our ears. It means the depth of compassion which was believed to be in the gut. A Greek word for compassion or mercy was “σπλάγχνον”, which means the gut or heart (I have no idea what the word would be in modern Greek).

While these sermons are textual (they are based upon the text), they wouldn’t sound much like a modern expository sermon. Sibbes reads the text in an allegorical manner, but I’m not precisely sure that allegory really covers his understanding. 

He takes a text, draws a generally allegorical reading — and then he proceeds to consider the way in which a image or theme is developed…

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