Thursday, June 11, 2009

Old Testament survey (21): Ecclesiastes

The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?

One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever. The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose. The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits. All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us. There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.

I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith. I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
(Ecclesiastes 1:1-14)

For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow. (Ecclesiastes 1:18)

Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 2:11)

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; (Ecclesiastes 12:1)

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)


[1] Ecclesiastes, from Thru The Bible Radio with Dr. J. Vernon McGee ©, with free downloads Notes & Outlines (PDF), Complete 5-Year Study (MP3)

In Ecclesiastes we learn that without Christ we cannot be satisfied—even if we possess the whole world and all the things that men consider necessary to make their hearts content. The world cannot satisfy the heart because the heart is too large for the object. In the Song of Solomon, we will learn that if we turn from the world and set our affections on Christ, we cannot fathom the infinite preciousness of His love; the Object is too large for the heart.

The key word is vanity, which occurs thirty–seven times. The key phrase is “under the sun,” which occurs twenty–nine times. Another phrase which recurs is “I said in mine heart.” In other words, this book contains the cogitations of man’s heart. These are conclusions which men have reached through their own intelligence, their own experiments. Although Solomon’s conclusions are not inspired, the Scripture that tells us about them is inspired. This is the reason for the explanatory: “I said in mine heart,” “under the sun,” and “vanity.” (Read the complete article)
[2] Book of Ecclesiastes, from (this website is also available in Afrikaans, Arabic, Bengali, Burmese-Myanmar, Cebuano, Chinese - Simplified, Chinese – Traditional, Hausa, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Malaysian, Persian-Farsi, Portuguese, Quechua, Sesotho, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog, Tamil, Thai, Urdu, Vietnamese, Zulu, and 70 other languages)
The first seven chapters of the book of Ecclesiastes describe all of the worldly things “under the sun” that the Preacher tries to find fulfillment in. He tries scientific discovery (1:10-11), wisdom and philosophy (1:13-18), mirth (2:1), alcohol (2:3), architecture (2:4), property (2:7-8), and luxury (2:8). The Preacher turned his mind towards different philosophies to find meaning, such as materialism (2:19-20), and even moral codes (including chapters 8-9). He found that everything was meaningless, a temporary diversion that, without God, had no purpose or longevity.

Chapters 8-12 of Ecclesiastes describe the Preacher’s suggestions and comments on how a life should be lived. He comes to the conclusion that without God, there is no truth or meaning to life. He has seen many evils and realized that even the best of man’s achievements are worth nothing in the long run. So he advises the reader to acknowledge God from youth (12:1) and to follow His will (12:13-14). (Read the complete article)
[3] Ecclesiastes, from Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)
This is the book of man “under the sun,” reasoning about life; it is the best man can do, with the knowledge that there is a holy God, and that He will bring every-thing into judgment. The key phrases are “under the sun;” “I perceived”; “I said in my heart.” Inspiration sets down accurately what passes, but the conclusions and reasonings are, after all, man’s. That those conclusions are just in declaring it “vanity” in view of judgment, to devote life to earthly things, is surely true; but the “conclusion” (Ecclesiastes 12:13) is legal, the best that man apart from redemption can do, and does not anticipate the Gospel.

Ecclesiastes is in five parts:

1. Theme, Ecclesiastes 1:1-3.
2. Theme proved, Ecclesiastes 1:4-3:22.
3. Theme unfolded in the light of human sufferings, hypocrisies, uncertainties, poverty and riches, Ecclesiastes 4:1-10:20.
4. The best thing possible to the natural man apart from God, Ecclesiastes 11:1-12:12.
5. The best thing possible to man under the law, Ecclesiastes 12:13,14.
Further study (Be like the Bereans! Acts 17:11)

[1] Chasing The Wind – A Life Of Futility, Commentary On Book Of Ecclesiastes, by Paul Apple and Douglas Smith

[2] The Good Life (Ecclesiastes Overview), by Keith Krell

[3] The Poetical Books, by J. Hampton Keathley, III

[4] Materials by David Malick
[5] The Theology of Ecclesiastes, by M. James Sawyer (download Word doc)

Sermons on Ecclesiastes (Be like the Bereans! Acts 17:11)

[1] Looking in the Wrong Places, by Bobby Earls, First Baptist Church, Center Point, Alabama

[2] Sermons from Central Baptist Church - Lowesville
[3] “Why?” is the Wrong Question to Ask, Ecclesiastes 8:16, from Palm Springs Baptist Church, CA

[4] Serving God With All Our Might, by Pastor Les Walthers, Grace Reformed Baptist Church, Rocky Mount, NC

[5] The Urgent Duty of the Young, Part 1, by Pastor Dean Allen, Albany Baptist Church, Albany, New York

[6] A chapter in God's story, by Matt Watts

[7] Man’s Search for Happiness #2 - Where Happiness is Found, by Chris Hodges

[8] Sermons by Jim Barrett
[9] Session 1_Glimpse of Reality, by Rob Schweyer

[10] Out of Control pt 7, by Chad McCartney

[11] Sermons by Alan Macgregor
[12] Eccl 1_12-18, by Michael Walsh

[13] A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste, by David Madden

[14] The Great Experiment, by Andrew Evans

[15] Sermons by John Watkins
[16] Studies in the Book of Ecclesiastes, by John Stevenson
For other available sermons, please surf to Sermon / Preaching resources. Sermons are also available from South McGehee Baptist Church, McGehee, Arizona; Central Baptist Church, Lowesville; First Baptist Church, Mountain View, Missouri; Swift Creek Baptist Church; Word of Life Baptist Church, Pottsville, Philadelphia; Palm Springs Baptist Church, California; South Woods Baptist Church; Grove Baptist Church, Ulster; Dudley Baptist Church, United Kingdom; Independent Fundamental Baptist Sermons, Fundamental Christian Radio Broadcasts, Off-Site Audio Page and The Christian Radio Tuner

Notes: (1) This ministry does not necessarily endorse or share all the views and opinions expressed in the materials, resources or links mentioned in these posts. Please always refer to the Articles of Faith and Biblical distinctives of Baptists when you study these materials. (2) This lesson is part of the projected 300 plus lessons. From time to time, the lessons will be updated, revised, combined, formatted, and edited to comply with the VOA Simplified English word list. Later on, these lessons will be categorized, numbered sequentially, and made available as PDF downloads.

No comments: