In Ecclesiastes 12:9-11, the author claims that he has sought to speak “words of delight”, as well as “words of truth”. How does he go about striking both of these chords (encouragement and truthfulness) throughout the book?
The author says that all of life is “vanity” (1:1-11), even after obtaining all wisdom and indulging in all of the pleasure that life had to offer (2:9-11). Have you ever felt this? Finally obtaining something that you had been pursuing, only to find that it did not satisfy you like you thought it would?
Do you find feel pressure to live a life that will be remembered long into the future? Why or why not? How does the gospel free us from this excessive burden?
In Ecclesiastes 2:17-23, the author says that he hated life, and was given over to despair, and was unable to rest at night. Why is it that a life marked by pursuing worldly pleasure ends up this way? Have you had similar experiences in your life (despair, frustration, sleeplessness)?
In Ecclesiastes 2:22-26, in the midst of his language about vanity and despair, the author says that “there is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil”. How is this possible? How can we find joy in the midst of a life that is ultimately meaningless?
Consider the theological truth that God wants us to experience joy in this life. How does this reality affect your soul?
On the heels of his other notes (life is meaningless, enjoy life while you can), the author gives us assurance that God will make everything right, and that he will judge the righteous and the wicked (Ecclesiastes 3:16-17). How is this truth meant to encourage our souls, and help us to persevere?
What does the author identify as the end of the matter (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)? What would it look like for us to internalize this reality, and live in light of it?
How do we see some of the themes from Ecclesiastes echoed in the person and work of Jesus? (Mark 8:36, Luke 12:13-21, Luke 18:19, John 2:1-11, John 11:28-44)