Ecclesiastes

n02060_ecclesiastes

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Age Group

Youth

Brief Description

Intersection includes complete resources for teaching both younger and older youth, including learner’s materials, teaching guides, and handouts. The teaching guide is options-based, so teachers can customize sessions to match their favorite approach.

“Ecclesiastes”

This unit explores the book of Ecclesiastes. The writer of Ecclesiastes asks troubling questions about God, truth, and life–ones teenagers also ask. Although the writer appears skeptical and hopeless, the book is not a sad observation on the emptiness of life. He affirms that meaning can be found by enjoying the simple things as we follow God faithfully.

Session One deals with the Teacher’s search for meaning. He seemed skeptical because he doubted and questioned commonly held religious ideas. Over and above questioning and raising doubts, Ecclesiastes affirms life’s uncertainty: the only thing certain is that nothing is certain. In other words, everything that happens is ultimately beyond human control. God is sovereign. Any meaning derived from life can only be gained by following God faithfully.

A Session Two review of Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 focuses on a poem that does not bear the Teacher’s previously pessimistic tone. For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven (3:1). In other words, perhaps life is not completely empty and meaningless after all. Maybe there are some appropriate times for certain actions. He seems to be saying something like the following. “Life is simple: Do the right thing at the right time and enjoy the simple things as you follow God.”

Some youth question if it matters how they live, if they have anything to contribute, or if they can make a difference. They wonder what one person can do to influence the world. A Session Three study of Ecclesiastes 9:13-18 focuses on the story of an individual with few or no resources who led his city to overcome a king’s army. Use the story to help your teens see that they can make positive contributions to the world.

Session Four deals with decision-making and consequences. The fact that we do not understand everything about life should not keep us from acting. Even though we cannot guarantee a specific outcome, our possibilities for success are greatly enhanced if we take some sort of action rather than sitting idly by and doing nothing. The Teacher dares us to live, offering wise guidance and encouraging us: “Don’t just sit there, do something.”

A Session Five review of Ecclesiastes 12:9-14 affirms that the meaning of life can be found in having reverence for God, following God’s guidance, and knowing that God holds everyone accountable. Throughout the book, the Teacher encourages us to ask difficult questions about what matters most and challenges us to avoid simplistic answers about God, truth, and life. Mature believers are willing to ask questions about their most basic beliefs and practices in an all-out search for truth about God.

by Rick Jordan

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The purchaser of this file has permission to print twenty copies of this Learners Study Guide. Neither the file nor the printed contents may be sold copied or transferred to another person or church. The purchaser may make a backup copy of the file.

The purchaser of this file has permission to print one copy of this Teaching Guide. Neither the file nor the printed contents may be sold, copied or transferred to another person or church. The purchaser may make a backup copy of the file.

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