Ecclesiastes: Life Under The Sun

Ecclesiastes : Life Under The Sun

Is life pointless? That is the question that the author of Ecclesiastes asks. It is the question we will explore over the next few weeks as we dive into this great book.

Ecclesiastes is not a book on many people’s reading lists – unless you are in need of a little melancholy moment. It’s also a book often misunderstood. It’s a book full of connections to us and life in 2019 and offers starkly modern insights into the human condition. At times the writer of Ecclesiastes appears to be a rationalist, an agnostic, a sceptic and a fatalist, but I want to suggest Ecclesiastes is actually a book about Faith.

Over the next few weeks we will be exploring this fascinating and thought provoking book, working towards the centre from both ends. Study materials for small groups will be posted below along with other resources. Join us for 'life under the sun'.

Sunday 5th May: Is Life Pointless?   Ecclesiastes 1.1-18, 12.9-14

Meaningless, meaningless, is the first introduction to this book. What are we to make of chapter one? Is the writer having a really bad day or is there more to it? Ecclesiastes is a clever, provocative book that starts by unravelling the conventional wisdom of the day (and our day) and finishes by leading us to true wisdom – 'fearing God' (12.13)

Sunday 12th May: The Pursuit of Happiness   Ecclesiastes 2.1-11, 12.1

As part of his quest for happiness and meaning,  the 'Teacher' experiments with one thing after another, always applying the wisdom that God had given him (Ecclesiastes 2:3, 9). In this chapter, he searches for a satisfying meaning to life through having fun, working hard and accumulating wisdom and influence, but finds each on its own to be lacking.  In the end, and at the end of the book, he reveals how true happiness is found – in remembering your creator (12.1).

Sunday 19th May: A Time to Trust  Ecclesiastes 3.1-14, 11.5

We come to a section of Ecclesiastes that is often quoted: a time for everything. There is a purpose to everything that happens in life. Things happen, even when we don’t know why and do not welcome them. Our response is to trust God even when we cannot understand his workings (11.5). 

Sunday 26th May: A Cord of Three Strands Ecclesiastes 4.1-16, 10.1-3

Solomon describes problematic human behaviours that contribute significantly to the heavy burden of life under the sun, and these examples make it clear that human dysfunction plays a significant role in the struggles that characterize life. He observes five characteristics of the world’s system that people depend upon for worldly success: oppression, rivalry, greed, isolation and instability. So what will we ‘buy’ into?