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Sabbath School Lessons on Ecclesiastes
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 37 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 8: God Made Man Upright? What Happened? *
Introduction: When is the last time you took a good, hard look at
your life? I've just about finished a book about a middle-aged man
who essentially looked at his life and tossed out a great deal of it.
Funerals tend to make us look at our life. So does a series illness.
Solomon invites us this week to look carefully at our life and
consider what we see. Let's jump into our lesson!
- A Good Name
- Read Ecclesiastes 7:1. What is good about perfume and a
good name? (They attract people to you.)
- How easy is it to put on fine perfume?
- How easy is it to acquire a good name?
- Why is a good name better than fine perfume? (It
is the work of a life-time.)
- How many sins (or mistakes) does it take to ruin
- Let's skip down to Ecclesiastes 7:20 and read it. If
everyone sins, how do you acquire and protect that good
- Read Ecclesiastes 7:2. What do you and Solomon notice
about funerals? (When you are looking at your dead friend
or relative, or when you are looking at the hole in the
ground, it hits you that this is your destiny.)
- What is good about that? What is superior about the
house of mourning than the house of feasting? (If you
seriously consider your life, you are less likely to
make the mistake that will ruin your life and your
- A Good Life
- Read Ecclesiastes 7:8. Would you rather be young or be
- If, as I expect, you answer "I'd rather be young,"
then how can Solomon be right in saying the end of a
matter is better than its beginning? (At the end of
your life, at the end of a story, you know how things
- My father's death and funeral were a very sad time
for me. It was the first time any close relative had
died. I remember that amid all of that sadness, one
thought gave me relief. I thought that now I could
never disappoint my father. That had been a very big
goal in my life, and now that the final bell on earth
had rung, this challenge in my life was over.
- Why is patience better than pride? (Read Proverbs
13:10. Patience helps to get things done. Pride does
- Read Ecclesiastes 7:10. I think of the saying that if we
forget history, we are destined to repeat our old
mistakes. Does this contradict Ecclesiastes 7:10?
- There was a time in my life, in the late 60's and
early 70's when clearly the "old days" were better.
Cars were better in the early 60's than the late 60's
and early 70's. Interest rates were up in the late
70's. People who had central heating were going back
to heating their homes with wood stoves. I know back
then I thought and said things were better in the old
days. What is wrong with that? (We need to be careful
about making such statements. Time may have erased
from our memories some of the difficulties of the
past. Plus, how do such statements help us now?)
- Read Ecclesiastes 7:11-12. Would you like to inherit a lot
- If so, why?
- Solomon equates wisdom with inheriting money. Why are
- Why would wisdom help protect your stuff and your
life? (When I was a kid, I used to see a postcard
that said, "If you're so smart, why ain't you rich?"
The assumption is that being smart should help you to
become rich. Solomon says that these are equivalent
blessings. Just as money can protect you from some of
the adversities of life, so can wisdom.)
- How are inheriting a lot of money and wisdom
dissimilar? (You have little control over what you
inherit. On the other hand, you can learn wisdom from
- Read Ecclesiastes 7:13-14. Is this trust or resignation?
- Read Ecclesiastes 7:15. Is there a connection between
righteous living and living well? (Solomon says good and
bad times arrive, the best thing to do is enjoy the good
times when they come because your righteousness may not
guarantee you a good life.)
- Would you agree with Solomon? At least, would you
agree this side of heaven? (A consistent problem with
Ecclesiastes is that Solomon appears to leave heaven
out of the picture until he gets to the end of the
- Read Romans 8:18. How does Paul see this issue?
- Read Ecclesiastes 7:16-18. Barry Goldwater (a prominent
American politician) famously said, "Extremism in the
defense of liberty is no vice." Can you be too righteous?
Can you be too wise?
- When Solomon says "it is good to grasp the one and
not let go of the other" does he mean it is good to
grasp righteousness and not let go of wickedness?
- If so, how would you reconcile that thought with
Matthew 5:48 where Jesus tells us to be perfect
as our heavenly Father is perfect? (The
commentary, Be Satisfied, interprets these
verses in Ecclesiastes as warning us against
self-righteousness and pride. Don't think you
are too righteous or too wise.)
- Read Ecclesiastes 7:21-22. Are you interested in what
other people have to say about you?
- Have you overheard someone saying something bad about
- Do you ever say bad things about good people who you
- If you have, what is Solomon's advice to you?
(You should shrug off some negative comment
about you because you know you have made
negative comments about other good people.)
- Read Ecclesiastes 7:26. In what situation could a woman be
- What is the downside to such a relationship? (It
hurts you more than death.)
- What does it mean that her hands are chains and her
heart a trap? (Inappropriate love takes you places
you do not want to go. It binds you.)
- What is the solution to this? (Escape!)
- How can you escape? (The sinner does not escape,
but the person who desires to please God can
- Gender Revolt
- Read Ecclesiastes 7:27-28 and tell me what the smartest
man who ever lived discovered?
- Ladies, should we just burn this book? Or, is there a
reasonable explanation for Solomon's statements?
- Guys, my bet is that there are less than a thousand
men in your Bible study class, so I should hear some
complaining from you too, right? (This lesson goes to
about 26,000 people each week. If they were all men
(they obviously are not all men), Solomon would say
that about 26 are righteous. Pretty poor odds, if you
- Is this just what you are likely to hear from a man
with a 1,000 wives ( 1 Kings 11:3) who led him astray?
- Read what Solomon said about a wife in Proverbs
12:4. Was he just having a bad day when he wrote
Ecclesiastes 7:27? (Solomon is telling us that
very few people are righteous - regardless of
- Read Ecclesiastes 7:29. What is Solomon trying to teach us
about our life? (Realize that you are not perfect. Only
God has the ability to make us what we should be.)
- Friend, have you examined your life? If you have, no doubt
you have seen your character defects. Jesus offers to
cover your imperfect character which His perfect character
(see Hebrews 7:26-28). Isn't it about time you accepted
- Next Week: Seeing Through a Glass Darkly.
* Copr. 2007, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.