Contextual Wisdom

March 19, 2012 at 9:43 am | Posted in Ecclesiastes | 6 Comments
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And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

As we study the book of Ecclesiastes, you’ll find that many of the principles put forth don’t seem to fit in with the joy we usually proclaim when we talk about the Bible. Many of these sayings, taken alone, with an earthly perspective, don’t seem to match up with the promise of Romans 8:28 – even though they’re clearly from God. However, the conclusion of Ecclesiastes teaches us that the principles of how God works, when combined together, make all things work together for good to those who are the “called” – the “ekklesia” – those who are separated out of this world unto God by faith.

That’s where the word “Ecclesiastes” comes from – the Greek Word for a “called out assembly.” In Hebrew the word is “qoheleth” (ko-HAY-leth), which means “preacher,” or one who presides over an assembly while speaking to them. The Greek word “ekklesia” is where we get the word “ecclesiastical,” which means “related to a church.”

The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

Ecclesiastes 1:1

The human instrument that the Holy Spirit used to write the Book of Ecclesiastes appears to have been King Solomon, and it was probably written near the end of his life. It is generally accepted that the Holy Spirit used Solomon to write Proverbs and Song of Solomon, as well.

King Solomon is known for two main things: wisdom and wealth. He was probably the richest human being in the Bible and possibly the entire world. He was even richer than Job. As Solomon began to look back, he spoke about the things he had done and all the experiences he had and all the tests he conducted to determine the meaning of life.

One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever. The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.

Ecclesiastes 1:4-5

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 1:9

We have to be careful about taking doctrine from books like Ecclesiastes and Job. One of the practices of the cults is to take isolated Bible verses out of context and build fanciful doctrines around them. Here are a couple of examples in Ecclesiastes Chapter 1 of statements which contain greats truths in their context but could seem contradictory of other passages of Scripture on their face:

That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.

Ecclesiastes 1:15

For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

Ecclesiastes 1:18

Ecclesiastes is full of these kinds of statements – when isolated they don’t seem to fit in with the doctrine of the rest of the Bible.

Here’s an example from Job:

As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more.

Job 7:9

To get the correct understanding, we have to look at who’s speaking. It is true that someone said Job 7:9, but what he said is not always true.

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  1. […] is a local assembly of believers, but there is a greater sense in which “THE CHURCH,” is the called-out assembly of all the true Christians in the world. This Church is both the Body (I Corinthians 12:27) and the […]

  2. […] Christians will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. In the meantime, we meet at His house in an assembled congregation at periodic times to worship Him, and to not only talk about, but to actually thank Him personally […]

  3. […] 1. Contextual Wisdom 2. Nothing New under the Sun 3. Darkness under the Sun 4. Break It Up! 5. Right Where You’re Supposed to Be 6. Do Birds Sing about Eternity? 7. Good Timing 8. Order in a Fallen World 9. Working for a Living 10. Fresh, Frail, or Fruitful? 11. Two Kinds of Heart Medication 12. Don’t Ruin Your Name 13. Would You Rather? (Wisdom of Solomon Edition) (*) 14. Don’t Lose Your Balance 15. Accurate Timing 16. The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men 17. Fooling or Ruling? 18. A Fly in the Ointment 19. His Heart Was in the Right Place 20. A Little Bird Told Me 21. Fortifying the Fulcrum 22. Indulgent, Incompetent, or Industrious? 23. Life’s Big Adventure 24. Under the Sun vs. Over the Sun […]

  4. […] Holy Spirit used the human instrument, King Solomon, to write the book of the Bible we know as Song of Solomon. There is much debate, disagreement, and […]

  5. […] 1. Contextual Wisdom 2. Nothing New under the Sun 3. Darkness under the Sun 4. Break It Up! 5. Right Where You’re Supposed to Be 6. Do Birds Sing about Eternity? 7. Good Timing 8. Order in a Fallen World 9. Working for a Living 10. Fresh, Frail, or Fruitful? 11. Two Kinds of Heart Medication 12. Don’t Ruin Your Name 13. Would You Rather? (Wisdom of Solomon Edition) (*) 14. Don’t Lose Your Balance 15. Accurate Timing 16. The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men 17. Fooling or Ruling? 18. A Fly in the Ointment 19. His Heart Was in the Right Place 20. A Little Bird Told Me 21. Fortifying the Fulcrum 22. Indulgent, Incompetent, or Industrious? 23. Life’s Big Adventure 24. Under the Sun vs. Over the Sun […]

  6. […] is the first mention of the Church – the ekklesia – the called-out assembly. It is also the first open discussion about His […]


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