LESSON 1 of 8
ECCLESIASTES: A WORD TO THE WISE
Text for This Study: Ecclesiastes 1:1-11; 12:1-14
1. What past familiarity do you have with Ecclesiastes? What impression do you have of the book? What “dispute” about including it in the Bible is mentioned in this video?
2. What books belong in the category of Old Testament “Wisdom Literature”? What did Rubel give as his personal way of identifying these books and their value?
3. How are the words “fool” or “foolish” and “wise” or “wisdom” used in Ecclesiastes? Do they have to do with intellectual ability? Or do they describe something else?
4. Explain these three key terms and ideas found in Ecclesiastes:
a. “Under the sun”
b. “Meaninglessness” (“Vanity” in KJV)
c. “Fear of God”
5. The critical thing from this first lesson is to understand the two voices heard in Ecclesiastes. This technique is called a “framing device” for the material found in the book.
a. Who is “The Teacher”? Are we to understand his words as representing Yahweh’s truth and will for the covenant community?
b. Whose voice “sets the state” for The Teacher’s long speech?
c. NOTE: The Teacher’s long lecture is from 1:12 – 12:7 and the Father-to-Son framing of it opens with 1:1-11 and closes with 12:8-14.
Eugene Peterson (The Message) suggests that Ecclesiastes is built on a “case study” of King Solomon’s failed life. In his words, Solomon “began as the wisest and ended as the most foolish of the Hebrew kings.”