Eccles. 1:1 Who wrote this book of the Bible and what was his position (see also Eccles. 1:12; Prov. 1:1)?
Eccles. 1:2 What did Solomon, King of Israel, say was vanity/meaningless?
Do you agree that all/everything man does (all human efforts) for himself (self-centeredly) in light of eternity and not having a good relationship with God by fearing and obeying Him is meaningless/futile/vanity/a waste, and why?
[Only what’s done for the glory of God and His will is meaningful, fulfilling, and has lasting value.].
Does this include such things as Bible reading, prayer, evangelism, building up other believers spiritually and living a holy life because you love God and people, and why (Phil. 4:8; Col. 4:2; Matt. 28:19-20; 1 Thes. 5:11; 1 Pet. 1:15; 1 Cor. 16:14)?
[The Bible teaches that doing the work of the Lord is not in vain, 1 Cor. 15:58, and that includes evangelism and building up believers spiritually, 1 Cor. 3:5-8, 10-14; Acts 14:7, 15, 21-23, 26. Knowing Christ as Lord, Phil. 3:8, through faith, Jn. 17:3, and obedience, 1 Jn. 2:3; Jn. 7:17, is also valuable and meaningful.].
Eccles. 1:3 What is the obvious answer to this rhetorical question (also see Eccles. 2:11, 22-23)?
[“under the sun” – means “here on earth”].
Are you spending your time here on earth toiling to achieve something that in the end will not be deeply and permanently satisfying nor gain you anything eternally (no ultimate profit), and why?
Read Mark 8:34-38! What question did Jesus ask in Mark 8:36?
Are you seeking to gain the whole world (or maybe just a part of it) at the expense of losing your soul in hell (if you are not a Christian), and why?
Or, if you’re a believer/Christian, are you seeking to gain the world (its materialism, riches, or self-centered pleasures) at the expense of losing godliness, great spiritual gain, faith, real living, and favor with God (1 Tim. 6:6-10; Lk. 16:13; 12:15)?
Psa. 39:5-6 To what did the Psalmist say that each man’s life is compared (Psa. 39:5)?
Do you ever meditate on the fact that the span of your life is as short as one quick breath?
Do you think you should be doing anything different with your life, realizing how short it is?
If so, what?
How does man bustle about (becomes busily active), Psa. 39:6?
Man heaps up wealth not knowing what?
Are you accumulating a lot of wealth for yourself, not knowing whose hands it will eventually be in when you die, and why?
What does Eccles. 1:10 have to say about a man who claims that he has discovered something new?
[Solomon didn’t intend to deny human creativity but rather the “complete” newness of people’s accomplishments. The rounds of nature are like all human endeavor (e.g., position, power, popularity, prestige, possessions, pleasure, exploration, conquest, discovery, travel, transportation, communication, etc.).].
There is no lasting satisfaction/fulfillment in any of the above things in parentheses, only weariness (Eccles. 1:8).
Eccles. 1:11 What does the Bible say about those (people) who are yet to come?
Do you think of people such as Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, or the Wright Brothers (who played an instrumental role in many lives because of their accomplishments) when you use electricity, drive your car, or go on a plane trip?
Are you trying to make your mark in life (by getting a Ph.D, a good-looking boyfriend/girlfriend, a fantastic mate, lots of money, a fancy car or house, a prestigious career, popularity, more people in your Bible Study group than others have, etc.) in order to be respected, be fulfilled in life, find happiness and security, or just because you don’t want to be outdone by others, and why?
Eccles. 1:8; Prov. 27:20 What does the Bible say about man’s eyes?
Are you or would you be content with being a godly person as you grow in knowledge and faith in the Lord through reading His Word, or are your eyes seeking after worldly pleasures and possessions (see 1 Tim. 6:6-7)?
Eccles. 1:17-18 What did Solomon consider as chasing after the wind (worthless)?
[Solomon is referring to worldly, humanistic wisdom and philosophy (wisdom without the true God), like Freudian psychology, Spock’s child-rearing philosophy, Plato, Marxism, New Age thinking, Darwinism, existentialism, agnosticism, etc., which lead to grief and sorrow. He is not referring to godly wisdom or knowledge.].
[Folly is foolish ideas, actions, and/or pleasures, and might include such things as: Russian roulette, drag car racing on a residential street, having pre-/extra-marital sex, taking illicit drugs, binge drinking, gambling, etc.].
Are you ever prideful because you are intelligent and wise in the eyes of the world, and why?
Eccles. 2:1-10 What did King Solomon say that he denied himself of (Eccles. 2:10)?
Give some examples that he lists.
Has it ever been your goal (now or in the past) to go through life and deny yourself nothing?
After King Solomon had surveyed all that he had done and all that he had toiled to achieve, how did he then consider everything (Eccles. 2:11)?
What does God say about people involved in self-centered, worldly pleasures (2 Tim. 3:2, 4-5; Titus 3:3; Jas. 4:1, 3)?
Eccles. 2:17-18 Why did Solomon hate all things that he had toiled for under the sun (i.e., on earth)?
What did God say to the man who wanted to take life easy and live for himself, Lk. 12:20?
Are you saying the same thing that the rich man said in Lk. 12:19?
Who should we be rich (spiritually and eternally) toward, Lk. 12:21?
How does a person become rich toward God (Matt. 6:20, 24; Gal. 6:9, 10; Matt. 25:23; Lk. 19:17)?
List some things that you can do that would be considered rich toward God (1 Cor. 3:8, 11-14; 9:23-24; Mk. 10:28-30; 2 Cor. 5:10, 15; 2 Tim. 2:12).
Why did Solomon’s heart begin to despair over all of his toilsome labor under the sun (here on earth) – Eccles. 2:21?
Without whom can’t man eat or find enjoyment in life (Eccles. 2:25)?
What does God say that He would give to the man who pleases (obeys) Him (Eccles. 2:26)?
What will God give to the sinner (Eccles. 2:26)?
Wouldn’t you rather please (obey) God now and receive true wisdom, knowledge and joy?
Or, are you storing up wealth for yourself as the sinner does, only for it to eventually be handed over to the one who pleases God?
When and how do you plan to please God?
Eccles. 3:18-20 Like the animals, what will happen to man’s fate?
Has the thought of your dying soon (even if you live to be 75 years old) influenced you to take life seriously (see Jas. 4:14)?
If so, how?
Eccles. 4:4 From a human point of view, what does all labor and all (worldly) achievement spring from?
Are you ever envious of others and try to out-do them (e.g., in the kind of car/truck you drive, the kind of house/apartment you live in, the clothes or shoes you wear, the job you have, the money you make, in how many people you witness to, and in how many people come to your Bible study, etc.), and why?
How did King Solomon consider everything that he had ever accomplished under the sun (on earth)?
How does true fulfillment come to the believer in Christ (Jn. 15:10-11; Col. 3:12 with Eph. 5:18 and Gal. 5:22-23)?
Are you a fulfilled Christian because the Holy Spirit is controlling your life and you’re choosing to live obediently for Christ?
Eccles. 4:9-12 Why is it good to have a (godly Christian) friend?
Eccles. 4:13 Who is better than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to take warning or instruction?
Do you seek God’s wisdom and warnings from His Word and from spiritually-mature Christians about important decisions, or do you stubbornly think that you know best (see Prov. 3:7; 1:5; 12:15), and why?
Eccles. 5:4-5 When you make a vow or promise to God, what should you do?
What is better not to do (Eccles. 5:5)?
Do you ever unthinkingly make promises to God (e.g., you will obey Him if He does something for you first) and then not fulfill them?
What do you think you should do before making a vow to God?
Eccles. 5:10 What does it say about a man who loves money and (material) abundance?
What is meaningless?
Do you love or pursue money or material abundance, thinking that you will be satisfied when you finally possess them?
Eccles. 5:15 What does a man take with him when he leaves this life?
Knowing that you too won’t be taking anything material with you when you depart this life, what should your attitude be (see Phil. 1:21; 2 Cor. 5:15)?
Eccles. 6:1-2 What are some of the things that God gives to some people?
But what does God sometimes not enable them to do?
Have you ever been deceived into thinking that you will surely enjoy your wealth, possessions and honor when you possess them or when you retire from your career?
[Comparing Eccles. 6:2 with Eccles. 5:19 demonstrates that the ability to enjoy God’s blessings is a bonus – a gift of God, not a right or guarantee. God calls the person who forgets this truth a fool (Lk. 12:20).].
Psa. 39:11 How does the Lord sometimes consume the wealth of man?
Are you accumulating wealth because you self-centeredly want an expensive car or clothes, a fancy home, prestige, etc.?
How does realizing that God can consume your wealth like a moth affect your perspective about everything that you have/own?
Do you look to people or put your trust in people for your meaning or security in life (e.g., family, friends, boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, etc.) rather than in the Lord, and why?
Do you trust in yourself for direction and decisions in life, instead of in the Lord, and why (e.g., Jer. 29:11; Rom. 8:38-39)?
Eccles. 12:8, 13-14 What was King Solomon’s conclusion of the matter (after God gave him true wisdom)?
Do you fear God by hating evil/sin and keeping His commands (Prov. 8:13; Psa. 112:1), or are you still seeking the sinful pleasures of this world?
What does God say about every one of our deeds (also see 2 Cor. 5:10)?
As a result of this study, do you plan to make 2 Cor. 5:15 and Phil. 1:21, 27; 2:2 your purpose in life, and why?
[Meaninglessness! Such is life “under the sun” (on earth, apart from God), ending in brokenness. The heart of Ecclesiastes is the theme repeated in Eccles. 3:12-13, 22; 5:18-20; 8:15; 9:7; and Eccles. 12:13. Only in God does life have meaning and true pleasure. Without Him nothing satisfies, but with Him, we find satisfaction and enjoyment. True joy comes only when we love, trust, and obey Christ.].