Step 1: Opening and Introduction to the lesson – Personal Testimonies from last week’s study and Reflection: At what age did you say, I know more than my teacher or parents? What creative science project do you remember? What material goods are on your all-time wish list?
Step 2: Hear – Read: Wisdom is Meaningless / Pleasures are M…: Ecclesiastes 1:12-2:16.
Step 3: Explore – Discover the Passage
- Where has the teacher searched for wisdom? What is the burden in verse 1:13? Why is God blamed for it? Why does wisdom bring sorrow and knowledge bring grief?
- What paradox does the teacher find in hedonism (vv. 1-3)? What do thes key phrases tell you about the perspective of this passage: a) During the few days of their lives (v. 3)? b) Under the sun (v.11)? c) In days to come (v. 2:16)?
- What great projects does he undertake (vv. 4-8)? What desires were such projects meant to satisfy? During these projects what is the teacher’s relation to wisdom (vv. 3,9,12-13)?
- In verses 12-16, to what does wisdom refer: Spiritual insight? Street smarts? Survival skills? Upright behavior? Does folly here mean something similar to wisdom, or something opposite?
- How is light better than darkness? What does this says about the difference between wisdom and folly? Why is this teacher so unhappy with what so many would call success?
Step 4: Connect – Apply the Passage:
- Where under heaven have you searched for meaning? Where have you found it? In what instances has knowledge caused you sorrow?
- What is the most important project you have undertaken in the last year? How do you measure your success in that?
- Do you see yourself as more led by your heart, or by your head? In what areas do you find yourself controlled more by your desires than by wisdom?
- Do you regard death as the final tragedy or the final triumph? Is the death of the fool different from the wise? How can you prepare yourself for death? How does a passage like this help you focus on the truly important things in life? What are they?
Step 5: Reflect: The wise man has eyes in his head, while the fool walks in the darkness: but I came to realize that the same fate overtakes them both.