“Also, if two lie down together, they will be warm, but how can one be warm?”
As I previously mentioned, Christians very often understand this passage in the context of marriage, and there is indeed truth to the idea of a husband and wife keeping the bed warm together. Some of the Rabbi’s took this in a more spiritual sense, suggesting that if one person slumbers in their faith and grows cold in their heart, the other’s role is to warm the faith of the one who has grown cold. And while there is some truth to this interpretation, in my experience as a pastor, it more often tends to run in the opposite direction where the cold one draws the warm one into his or her spiritual slumber.
In context, though, there is another reading that we ought to give a fair hearing. In the context of the previous verse, Solomon is also reflecting on the benefit of having a partner during times of challenge (when one falls). Likewise, in times of survival, to have a companion is a good and valuable thing. Indeed, on the most basic and literal level, when one is in danger of hypothermia, another person to embrace and share his body heat can mean the difference between life and death. Further, were one to break a leg or be injured, to have another person there as a first responder can mean the difference between life and death.
And with that in mind, there too, can be extrapolated a spiritual application. Just as there are physical dangers in this world, there are spiritual ones as well. And, during times such as these, to have another believer or a group of believers near you to walk alongside of you is priceless. The most fundamental application of this is a believing family and the second is like unto the first, and that is a solid, Bible-believing church. And if the church is living and practicing faithful preaching of the Word, the sacraments, and spiritual discipline, perhaps those old Rabbi’s have a point in the ability of believers being able to draw those growing cold in their faith back to a robust faith in which they can live.