Topics: Books of the Bible, Christian Life
You can download a PDF of a Four-Part Conversational Bible Study Based on Ecclesiastes. If you use it, let us know in the comments!
How to Use this Study:
The author has composed this study in a conversational tone, lacking the typical “student handout” or “leader’s guide.” Hence, the study can be used in a conversational Bible class setting, or even in personal devotion and study. Use the left column as the “Monologue” of the author, either read it verbatim or use it to develop your own talk as the teacher of the class. Whenever the author makes a direct reference to scripture, consider leading students to open the Word and do likewise. The right hand column provides “Asides” to the primary monologue, interesting tidbits as if the author were seated next to you during his own lecture, sharing added insights.
Lesson 1: Wisdom Literature Overview
Wisdom and literature. Two attention grabbing, IPod popping, XBox dropping words guaranteed to stir interest, right? Right. Wisdom. Connected with old people, life experience (both of which well see are very true!), and the three guys who brought gifts to baby Jesus. Literature. Greatly dreaded in the high school and college ranks, associated with long, warm, gazing-out-the-window afternoon classes and DWMs (dead white males). Who wants to read about wisdom literature?
Lesson 2: Ecclesiastes, Tom Cruise, & Scientology
What’s the point of it all? Where is the significance in my life outside my little sphere of family and friends? What can I do that will be talked about ten years, twenty years after I die? I’m never happy with what I have and always want something else. The DVDs I saved so hard to purchase five years ago I never watch today, or have swapped for something newer. The games that thrilled me when they were new seem antiquated with bad graphics and silly plot lines today. What satisfied me ten years ago seems trite and pointless now.
Lesson 3: Ecclesiastes and Life Under the Sun
Qoheleth sat at the top of his class. He was a rich king and had it made! Yet, he lacked something, was curiously empty, and so began rooting around for something that would make sense of it all, take the randomness out of life, provide meaning or purpose to his existence, fulfill him. He recorded his own experiences and his observations of human nature and the world as he saw it. His search began “under the sun,” in the material world, the earthly plain, apart from God. What is life like without God? Where can meaning be found if one looks only to oneself, only to Me, only to the here and now?
Lesson 4: There is Meaning in Life
Can we glean any message from Ecclesiastes apart from Qoheleth’s pessimistic assessment of life under the sun? Yes! The answer is to look beyond the material world, beyond ourselves, to a relationship with God. Once we are in that relationship, everything changes. It’s like being in love–everything is different. The grass is greener, the sky more blue. As the loving relationship changes everything, so does a relationship with God. No longer are we limited to life under the sun. Qoheleth found meaning in the rather simple things in life once he was in a faith relationship with the Creator of the Universe.