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Ecclesiastes 12:8-14

Talks for Growing Christians

Final Authority and Advice

Ecclesiastes 12:8-14

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Lesson Number 15

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Ecclesiastes concludes with the author’s authority.
  2. Ecclesiastes concludes with some final advice.

Practical Application

  1. Base your life on goads and nails!
  2. Read critically!

Questions

  1. The perspective of Ecclesiastes that has been presented in these lessons considers this book of the Bible as the __________ record of what Solomon reasoned and that his reasoning is accurate and ________. This perspective is taken in the context that Solomon, the inspired _________, sometimes writes from the viewpoint of “under the sun”, that is, how things appear to be __________ divine revelation, and that Solomon at other times writes from the viewpoint of “above the sun”, that is, the way things really are when _____ and ____ _____ are taken into account.
  2. The words of verses 9-11 are another strong indication that ________________ is the Preacher and the ___________ of Ecclesiastes. What connection is there with the other Old Testament written by this person?
  3. Who is the person referred to by Solomon as “one Shepherd” in verse 11?
  4. Why does Solomon describe the words of the wise as goads and the words of scholars as well-driven nails?
  5. Describe briefly the final advice given by Solomon in verses 13 and 14.

Answers

  1. The perspective of Ecclesiastes that has been presented in these lessons considers this book of the Bible as the inspired record of what Solomon reasoned and that his reasoning is accurate and correct. This perspective is taken in the context that Solomon sometimes writes from the viewpoint of “under the sun”, that is, how things appear to be without divine revelation, and that Solomon at other times writes from the viewpoint of “above the sun”, that is, the way things really are when God and His Word are taken into account.
  2. The words of verses 9-11 are another strong indication that Solomon is the Preacher and the author of Ecclesiastes. The references to his wisdom (v 9), his setting out many proverbs (v 9), his words being words of truth (v 10), and his use of wise words (v 11), all point to Solomon and his authorship of the book of Proverbs.
  3. Solomon does not refer to himself as the Shepherd. When he uses the adjective “one” in describing the shepherd, it is a good indication that Solomon was referring to the Lord Himself. Most translations indicate this by capitalizing the “S” of Shepherd.
  4. Solomon uses the term “goad” to describe God’s words of wisdom, because one purpose of them is to goad us into right action, just as a goad directed oxen into the right direction. Solomon used the term “nails” as a further description because the words of wisdom of Scripture are like well-driven nails in that they give stability to life. They hold life together.
  5. The final advice Solomon gives to his readers in verses 13 and 14 is that we should accept the life that God has given to us and live it joyously and make the most of every opportunity. In doing so, we should fear God, that is, honor Him and revere Him and serve Him. Also, we should remember that our lives will be judged by God Himself, the hidden things and both the good and the bad things in our lives.

Discuss/Consider

  1. Discuss the several ways that Solomon secured his authorship and authority in the final verses of this book of the Bible. When recognizing the many different viewpoints of the structure and teachings of Ecclesiastes, consider the importance of these final words of chapter 12.

Challenge

  1. When you read the Bible, do you accept it as the truth? And when you read other books, do you read them critically, using care to discern truth and error? Constantly compare and test what you read with the truth of Scripture! Read critically!

Key Verses

  • “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether it is good or whether it is evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

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