My daily exploration of the Bible, taking it one chapter at a time. If I do it everyday, it'll take 1189 days.



Thursday, September 07, 2006

Ecclesiastes 1

Ngah! Nothing makes sense!

Summary:
Bah! It doesn't make any sense! Why do we bother working? Nothing changes. No matter what we do, nature just keep pressing forward.

There is nothing new. The ancients become forgotten.

I'm the King and I've studied everything. We all work in vain. It's pointless. Even my studies are pointless.

Key verses:
2. Meaningless! Meaningless!"
says the Teacher.
"Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless.
9. there is nothing new under the sun.
18. For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;
the more knowledge, the more grief.

My thoughts:
The usage of the word 'meaningless' in all of Ecclesiastes is not entirely clear. It's a key word for Ecclesiastes, so its worth knowing what it means!

Some possibilities are: Like a breath, or fleeting. Void of meaning. I have also heard that it could mean just a general cognitive dissonance. I've tried to express this with my "Bah! It doesn't make any sense!".

Ecclesiastes has a very stoic approach to life. For me, it appears to describe life without Christ. If there is no Christ, then as far as us humans are concerned there is no God, because he is not revealed to us. If there is no God, then there is no point in what we do. We struggle and work without meaning. It doesn't last. It only has temporary significance.

I will also say, though I'm sure Mark would protest, that Ecclesiastes should really be read in light of its conclusion.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Mark hard at work said...

"For me, [Ecclesiastes] appears to describe life without Christ. If there is no Christ, then as far as us humans are concerned there is no God, because he is not revealed to us. If there is no God, then there is no point in what we do. We struggle and work without meaning. It doesn't last. It only has temporary significance."

I think it has as much value if you read it as life with Christ. Even with Christ we [can] struggle and engage in largely pointless work with no [apparent] meaning. Life is still mundane and [apparently] meaningless.

For example, I spend 8 hours of my day sitting at a computer doing administrative for a government department. As far as I can gather this serves no greater purpose (sometimes I suspect it serves no purpose at all...). I am not helping to make the world a better place, I am here for money and experience. Meaningless, meaningless, etc...

2:00 pm

 
Anonymous Mark the protestant said...

"I will also say, though I'm sure Mark would protest, that Ecclesiastes should really be read in light of its conclusion."


I was going to comment on this now, but I'll wait until I have access to a Bible.

2:16 pm

 
Anonymous Mark said...

I was going to post all about my grand theory of Ecclesiastes, but I'll save it for later.

I agree that with your point Ecclesiastes should be read & considered in its totality. Christians often take sections of scripture or individual verses out of context. Particularly bits from the Old Testament (e.g. Jer 29:11, 2 Chron 7:14). But that's worthy of another argument another time...

2:24 pm

 
Blogger Pete W said...

yes... of course sometimes it is helpful to realise the pointlessness of a lot we do.

But the teacher's statement that everything is pointless is not true in Christ.

Yes everything shud be in context...

but then we are perfectly capable of using Pauline manipulative theology to make sure our favourite verses (2 Chr 7:14; Jer 29:11) are still valid! :P

11:36 pm

 

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