A Theological Introduction to Ecclesiastes (pt. 3): Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Christ

[This is the final post on a theological introduction to the book of Ecclesiastes. See parts one and two].Ecclesiastes 3

Themes

Finally, there are a number of themes to consider in the book of Ecclesiastes. The ESV Study Bible lists six. These include:

  1. The Tragic Reality of the Fall.
  2. The ‘Vanity’ of Life.
  3. Sin and Death.
  4. The Joy and Frustration of Work.
  5. The Grateful Enjoyment of God’s Good Gifts.
  6. The Fear of God.

These six themes rightly observe the contents of the book. Yet, they do so in a thematic way that doesn’t sync with the biblical framework of creation, fall, and redemption. Therefore, let me suggest a four-fold scheme that augments these themes and helps us see the rudimentary features of the gospel in Ecclesiastes. Continue reading

A Theological Introduction to Ecclesiastes (pt. 2): Date, Title, Genre

[This is the second part of a three-part series outlining a theological introduction to Ecclesiastes].

Ecclesiastes 2Date: Tenth Century

If Solomon is the author (see part one), the date is pretty easy to determine (10th Century B.C.). A better question might be—on the basis of Solomon’s wise but foolish life—when did Solomon write this?

The book itself portrays an aged and chastened king calling young men to avoid the mistakes he has had made. From Solomon’s life we have much to learn, and the point that Solomon wants to drive home on the basis of his own life is twofold:

  1. Fear God and keep his commandments
  2. Beware the vanity of material pleasures

This is the counsel of an older man, whose pain drives him to warn others of his mistakes. Continue reading

A Theological Introduction to Ecclesiastes (Pt. 1): Authorship, Authority, and Intertextuality

[This post starts a three-part series aimed to introduce Ecclesiastes and draw a few theological implications from its overview].

Ecclesiastes 1

To get a handle on the book of Ecclesiastes it is imperative to understand who the human author is (or in this case, who is the most likely candidate). Likewise, since Ecclesiastes is part of the biblical canon, it behooves us to see how the New Testament cites Ecclesiastes. Last, since Ecclesiastes is one of many wisdom books, and one of three in Solomon’s corpus (Proverbs and Song of Songs being the other two), we will consider how Proverbs and Ecclesiastes relate to the life of Solomon and how a structural comparison with Proverbs helps us better understand this enigmatic book.  Continue reading