The book of Ecclesiastes contains the thoughts of “the Philosopher,” a man who reflected deeply on how short and contradictory human life is, with its mysterious injustices and frustrations, and concluded that “life is useless.” He could not understand the ways of God, who controls human destiny. Yet, in spite of this, he advised people to work hard, and to enjoy the gifts of God as much and as long as they could.
Many of the Philosopher's thoughts appear negative and even depressing. But the fact that this book is in the Bible shows that biblical faith is broad enough to take into account such pessimism and doubt. Many have taken comfort in seeing themselves in the mirror of Ecclesiastes and have discovered that the same Bible which reflects these thoughts also offers the hope in God that gives life its greater meaning.
Outline of Contents
Does life have a purpose? (1.1—2.26)
Sayings about life (3.1—11.8)
Concluding advice (11.9—12.8)
This book contains the thoughts of a very wise person known as “the Philosopher” (or “Teacher”). The Philosopher reflects deeply on the contradictory nature of human life, on God's mercy and justice, on the seasonal nature of life, the nature of time, and on many other topics that continue to engage people today.