Rubel Shelly   -  

LESSON 8 of 8



Text for This Study: Ecclesiastes 11:7 – 12:14

1. What does our narrator say about Qohelet that is complimentary in this closing section? Why say “nice things” about someone with whom he clearly disagrees?

2. By saying that The Teacher had “searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true,” is our narrator endorsing everything he has said? Hint: Writing from The Teacher’s under-the-sun perspective, he had given a correct description of what life is like for those who do not know Israel’s God and follow Yahweh’s guidance for living.

3. By his warning about “making many books,” our narrator seems to be warning his son against thinking that reliable wisdom can be found in the writings and collected proverbs that come from mere human insight – such as Qohelet’s. Explain what this means in relation to the words of the biblical prophets or Holy Scripture. Cf. 2 Pet 1:20-21.

4. What is the narrator’s “conclusion of the matter”? How is it simpler, clearer, and more hopeful than The Teacher’s view of the world and our place in it?

5. Explore the concept of fearing God. (a) Qohelet “fears” the god of his understanding because he is unpredictable (3:1-8), can’t be understood (3:11), and dictates the unalterable outcomes of human lives (9:11-12). What sort of fear is this? Might “terror” be a better word for what he is describing? (b) How is the “fear” of Yahweh different from The Teacher’s dread and terror? In OT Wisdom Literature, the fear of the Lord is called the beginning of both knowledge (Prov 1:7) and wisdom (Prov 9:10). What do claims such as this mean?

Maybe you have seen this bumper sticker: “Life is hard. And then you die!” It summarizes the bleak perspective of The Teacher in Ecclesiastes. His is a world without a personal God who loves his creation and cares for his human creatures. Without hope, life is vanity. It is meaningless. It is Jesus who redeems us from such a worldview. Thus, Tremper Longman writes: “As a result, Christians can experience deep significance precisely in those areas where Qohelet felt most oppressed. Jesus has restored meaning to wisdom, labor, love, and life. After all, by facing death, Jesus conquered the biggest fear facing Qohelet. He showed that for believers death is not the end of meaning, but the entrance into the very presence of God.”