Step 1: Opening and Introduction to the lesson – Personal Testimonies from last week’s study and Reflection: What gossip about yourself got back to you and made your blood boil? How did you react? In trying new things, which are for you: Cautious? Venturesome? Uninterested? In what areas are you most likely to experiment?
Step 2: Hear – Read: Wisdom Part 2. Ecclesiastes 7:15 –8:1.
Step 3: Explore – Discover the Passage
- What observations inspire these warnings (vv. 15-18)? What is meant by over-righteous (v. 16)? By over-wicked (v.17)? Would the teacher ever say, Nothing to excess, everything in moderation? How does such a view square with genuine fear of God (v. 18)?
- Is v. 20 a confession, an excuse or an accusation? What light does v. 20 shed on verse 19? What is the danger in paying attention to gossip or hearsay (v. 21)? What theme unites vv. 19-22?
- In vv. 23 and 25, what are the teacher’s goals? How do hey differ? What does he conclude about these goals? What is meant by the scheme of things (vv. 25,27)? How do the two stories about woman (vv. 26, 28, 29) differ? What is the basis for his pessimism: Sampling of a thousand wives (v. 28; see 1 Kings 11:3)? Experience with human nature (v. 20)? Revealed truth of creation and the Fall (v. 29)?
- Is the search of many schemes (v. 29) our fault, or our fate? Why? In light of 7:24, how is 8:1 best understood? What is the advantage of wisdom in this verse?
Step 4: Connect – Apply the Passage:
- Who sees you as an extremist? In what? Has such extremism helped or hindered, your ability to minister? How so?
- What do you do when you find sin in your life? How does this affect your self-image?
- When might you curse others (v. 22)? How can you break that habit?
- Are you ignorant of the scheme of things, or all too aware? In what ways can you increase in such wisdom? Are you a snare to others (v. 26). Or an up-righter (vv. 28-29)? How so?
Step 5: Reflect: Who is like the wise man? Who knows the explanation of things? Wisdom brightens a man’s face and changes its hard appearance.