Ecclesiastes: The Inspired Book of Error

Solomon was in an unusual position to undertake the investigations reflected in this book. Judah and Israel were at peace during his forty year reign, he had all the wealth he needed and he was known at the smartest man in the world. He set himself to discover what life is all about.

Bible Studies in the Book of Ecclesiastes

Please click the heading above to see the messages in this series.

Things that Don't Work

The Search for Meaning
Eccles 1:1-18
Life in the Fast Lane
Eccles 2:1-26
That Wonderful Plan for Your Life
Eccles 3:1-22
Why does God allow This?
Eccles 4:1-5:20
Things are not What they Seem
Eccles 6:1-7:14
Whoever said Life was Fair?
Eccles 7:15-8:1
Can We Trust Government?
Eccles 8:2-15
Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life
Eccles 8:16-9:10
The Only Way to Go
Eccles 9:11-10:15
How, Then, Should we Live?
Eccles 10:16-11:10
Before It's Too Late
Eccles 12:1-14

Overview the Book of Ecclesiastes

from Adventuring Through the Bible

The book of Ecclesiastes, or "the Preacher," is unique in scripture. There is no other book like it, because it is the only book in the Bible that reflects a human, rather than a divine, point of view. This book is filled with error. And yet it is wholly inspired. This may confuse some people, because many feel that inspiration is a guarantee of truth. This is not necessarily so. Inspiration merely guarantees accuracy from a particular point of view; if it is God's point of view it is true; if it is man's point of view it may be true, and it may not. If it is the Devil's point of view it may or may not be true, as well, but the Devil's ultimate end, of course, is evil. Inspiration guarantees an accurate reflection of these various points of view.

Therefore the Bible does have much error in it. Whenever false views of men are quoted or set forth, the Bible is speaking error. Whenever Satan speaks, most of his statements are in error, and even the truth that he uses is twisted and distorted, and therefore is erroneous.

So it is quite possible to "prove" all kinds of utterly false things by quoting the Bible. because in that sense the Bible is filled with error. But the Bible always points out the error which it presents and makes it clear that it is error, as in the case with this book. Because of its remarkable character Ecclesiastes is the most misused book of the Bible. This is the favorite book of atheists and agnostics. And many cults love to quote this book's erroneous viewpoints and give the impression that these are scriptural, divine words of God concerning life.

But right away in its introduction this book is very careful to point out that what it records is not divine truth. It presents only the human view of life. You'll find that over and over, throughout the whole course of Ecclesiastes, one phrase is repeated again and again: "under the sun," "under the sun." Everything is evaluated according to appearances alone-- this is man's point of view of reality and is utterly exclusive of divine revelation. As such, Ecclesiastes very accurately summarizes what man thinks.

Ecclesiastes is not atheistic; to be atheistic is to be unrealistic, and the Bible is never unrealistic. An atheist is one who has convinced himself by long argument that there is no God, even though every inward testimony of his conscience and the structure of the universe around him are constant witnesses to the fact that there is a God. For the most part, only the educated man is an atheist. Or, the man who does not desire to face life's realities, because he wants to convince himself that there is no God to whom he must answer. But this book is not atheistic, even though it is written from a humanistic point of view.

Ecclesiastes views God as men in general view God -- as a not very vital concern of life. sort of a high-calorie dessert which you can take or leave. There is no understanding of God as a vital, living Lord, an authority in life with whom one can have a personal relationship.