Useful Bible Studies > Ecclesiastes Commentary > Study Guide

Ecclesiastes - a 12 week study guide.

Please print this section if you would like to study the Book of Ecclesiastes with a group of people.

Week 1 - Ecclesiastes chapter 1 - There are powerful forces in this world, but even the greatest people are really very weak.

Read Ecclesiastes chapter 1, then discuss these questions:

(1) Why do people become proud? What evidence can you offer to prove that this attitude is foolish?

(2) How do things like the sun, wind and rain prove the greatness of God? What is our proper attitude towards God?

(3) Read Psalm 104 and compare it with Ecclesiastes chapter 1. What does that Psalm say about the greatness of God and the weakness of people? What can we learn from the study of nature?

(4) Compare Ecclesiastes 1:16-18 with Proverbs 2:1-11. Explain the difference between human wisdom and the wisdom that comes from God. Read James 1:5. How can we have the right kind of wisdom?

Week 2 - Ecclesiastes chapter 2 - Work, wealth and pleasure cannot satisfy people.

Read Ecclesiastes chapter 2, then discuss these questions:

(1) Read 1 Kings 7:1-8. Why did Solomon carry out all these great works? And what did he consider that he had achieved at the end?

(2) What can we expect to achieve by our work? Why do these things often fail to satisfy us even for a temporary period? How can people achieve real satisfaction that lasts?

(3) What reasons for the fear of death appear in Ecclesiastes chapter 2? What other reasons are there? Read Hebrews 2:14. What did Jesus do to deal with the fear of death? And who benefits from what he did?

(4) Read Romans 4:1-8. Why does the Bible teach that people cannot save themselves by their own works? How does the Bible say that a person can receive a right relationship with God? How can Solomonís experience help us to understand these things?

Week 3 - Ecclesiastes chapter 3 - God makes everything beautiful at the proper time.

Read Ecclesiastes chapter 3, then discuss these questions:

(1) Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 says that there is a proper time for every human activity. But is there also a proper time to know God? Read Ecclesiastes 12:1 and compare it with 2 Corinthians 6:2. When is the proper time to know God?

(2) Compare the judgements that judges make in this world with the judgement of God. How is Godís work as a judge similar to their work? How is it different?

(3) As the author says in Ecclesiastes 3:19, human life is very similar to animal life. But God gave his commands in Exodus 20:1-17 to people, not to animals. In what other ways does God deal with people in a special manner? And how should this affect the things that people do? Read Ecclesiastes 12:1 and Ecclesiastes 12:13-14.

Week 4 - Ecclesiastes chapter 4 - Peopleís efforts are often without any real purpose.

Read Ecclesiastes chapter 4, then discuss these questions:

(1) Read Micah 2:1-4 and Isaiah 1:21-28. What is Godís attitude when people deal cruelly with other people?

(2) What does the Bible teach about jealous attitudes? See Exodus 20:17.

(3) Compare Ecclesiastes 4:8 with Matthew 6:19-21. What does God consider valuable? How can we prepare now for heaven?

(4) For what reasons does Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 encourage friendship? For what reasons does 1 John 4:19-21 encourage friendship? Read Mark 10:43-45 and John 15:13. For what reasons did Jesus show friendship?

Week 5 - Ecclesiastes chapter 5 - Respect God, and do not love money.

Read Ecclesiastes chapter 5, then discuss these questions:

(1) Should people be afraid of God? Why? What should that fear cause a person to do? Read Hebrews 4:14-16. What has God done so that people may pray to him with confidence?

(2) What causes people to love money? Compare Ecclesiastes 5:10 with 1 Timothy 6:9-10 and Matthew 6:24. How can the love of money ruin a personís relationship with God? What lesson about money can we learn from Luke 12:16-20?

(3) What is the right attitude for people to have with regard to money?

Week 6 - Ecclesiastes chapter 6 - Success in life does not satisfy a personís real needs.

Read Ecclesiastes chapter 6, then discuss these questions:

(1) What do people consider to be a successful life? Read Matthew 16:26. What is a successful life in Godís opinion?

(2) At death, do all people go to the same place (Ecclesiastes 6:6)? Read what the Book of Ecclesiastes says about the place of Godís judgement in Ecclesiastes 3:16-17, Ecclesiastes 12:7, and Ecclesiastes 12:14. What did the author mean by Ďthe same placeí in Ecclesiastes 6:6? Read Luke 16:19-31 and Revelation 20:11 to 21:4. What happens after Godís judgement?

(3) Who knows what is good for people during their lives (Ecclesiastes 6:12)? Read Ecclesiastes 12:14 and Psalm 1. Why did God give his commands? Compare your answer with Deuteronomy 6:20-25 and Galatians 5:14.

Week 7 - Ecclesiastes chapter 7 - As people are guilty of many wrong and evil deeds, they must think about their lives seriously.

Read Ecclesiastes chapter 7, then discuss these questions:

(1) What benefits do people hope to gain when they attend parties? Why did the author of Ecclesiastes advise people not to go? What attitude did he think that people should have? Why?

(2) Why do most people not choose to think about their lives in a serious manner? What would they discover if they did do that? What is Godís opinion about the state of peopleís lives?

(3) If God created men and women to be perfect (Ecclesiastes 7:29), then why are there so many troubles in this world? Discuss what Ecclesiastes 7:11-14 tells us about troubles. Then discuss what Psalm 46:1-3 says. Can we trust God to protect us?

Week 8 - Ecclesiastes chapter 8 - The process of judgements in this world does not give a good life to everyone.

Read Ecclesiastes chapter 8, then discuss these questions:

(1) What is the proper attitude to have when a wicked person dies? Read 1 Kings 21:17-29 about the wicked king, Ahab. What should we learn from such incidents? What can we say on such occasions?

(2) In what ways is Godís judgement better than human judgements? Read Ecclesiastes 7:20 and 7:29. Is Godís judgement better for us? Do we want a judge who knows everything?

(3) Do good people often get what wicked people deserve (Ecclesiastes 8:14)? Can you give examples where this has happened? Read 1 Peter 4:12-19. How should Christians behave when this happens? Why does it happen?

(4) Why does the author insist that it is better for Godís people (Ecclesiastes 8:12-13)? Who are Godís people? What is better for them?

Week 9 - Ecclesiastes chapter 9 - The same kinds of events happen in everybodyís lives, but people should still desire wisdom.

Read Ecclesiastes chapter 9, then discuss these questions:

(1) What gives people the impression that everything in their lives happens by chance? What is really happening? How do you explain the facts in Ecclesiastes 9:11? Test your answers against the story in Ecclesiastes 9:13-15. Was it luck or chance that saved that city? Was it luck or chance that caused the people not to remember the wise man?

(2) The author emphasises chance because he wants to show the certainty of one particular event. What is that event? What will be its effect on our lives, and how can we prepare for it?

(3) Read Proverbs 3:5-7 and Job 28:27-28. What does it really mean to be wise? And how can we become wise?

Week 10 - Ecclesiastes chapter 10 - Foolish desires and lazy attitudes cause serious troubles.

Read Ecclesiastes chapter 10, then discuss these questions:

(1) Read Proverbs 22:13, Proverbs 23:19-21 and 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13. For what reasons do people become lazy? What effect can this have on a personís relationship with God?

(2) Read Ecclesiastes 10:16-17. How do a leaderís attitudes affect the people whom he leads? What qualities should a church leader have?

(3) Read Ecclesiastes 10:12-14 and James 3:1-12. How can we learn to say the right things?

(4) Prepare a list of the dangers that Ecclesiastes chapter 10 mentions. How does the chapter say that we can avoid those dangers? What is the right attitude for Christians to have towards possible dangers?

Week 11 - Ecclesiastes chapter 11 - Most people are not preparing in a sensible manner for the day when God will be their judge.

Read Ecclesiastes chapter 11, then discuss these questions:

(1) Compare Ecclesiastes 11:9 with the advice in Psalm 119:9. Read some of the Bibleís accounts of how young men have behaved, for example 1 Samuel 16:18-23; Proverbs 7:6-23; Luke 2:41-52; 1 Timothy 4:12. How does the Bible encourage young people to behave? What, therefore, is the meaning of Ecclesiastes 11:9?

(2) What does the author mean by the Ďdays of darknessí in Ecclesiastes 11:8? What effect will it have on a personís life to remember them? Compare this verse with Ecclesiastes 12:1. What does the author mean by the instruction to Ďrememberí?

(3) Read Ecclesiastes 11:1-2 and Hebrews 12:1-4. How should Christians prepare for their troubles? And how should they behave when troubles happen?

Week 12 - Ecclesiastes chapter 12 - Only a right relationship with God can prepare you for old age, death, and the judgement of God.

Read Ecclesiastes chapter 12, then discuss these questions:

(1) Compare Ecclesiastes 12:7 with Genesis 3:19 and Ecclesiastes 12:14. What happens to a personís body and spirit at death?

(2) Read Acts 3:19 and Ecclesiastes 12:1. How can we receive a right relationship with God? How will that prepare us for death? How will it prepare us for the rest of our lives?

(3) Read Ecclesiastes 12:9-13 and Romans 15:4. Which are the best books, and how can we find them?

(4) Compare Ecclesiastes 7:20, Ecclesiastes 7:29 and Ecclesiastes 12:14. As all people are guilty, how can anyone be ready for Godís judgement? Read Peterís answer to this question in Acts 2:22-41, and Paulís answer in Romans 4:1-8. How can we be ready?


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