The message of Ecclesiastes is as timely in the 21st century as when first written some 3,000 years ago. In this readable devotional commentary, in the Exploring the Bible series, Dr Michael LeFebvre defines the message of Ecclesiastes as showing that ‘living in the fear of God gives us grounds for joy, despite the vanities of life.’
As well as being an Adjunct Professor of Old Testament Studies at the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Dr LeFebvre is the pastor of Christ Church Reformed Presbyterian in Brownsburg, Indiana. The material in the book was developed in the course of his ministry in a summer home Bible study and then in a Sunday school class.
Each chapter begins with an historical illustration, which leads to careful analysis of the text. Key issues important for accurate exegesis are addressed in a helpful way. There is an extended study of the Bible’s teaching on slavery.
There are some good contemporary applications, but the book’s applications could have been developed more. Most of these are for those living in the western world. It would have been good also to apply the message of Ecclesiastes to Christians living in the developing world, for whom daily life raises the kinds of questions Ecclesiastes addresses, including poverty and corruption.
The message of Ecclesiastes is also pertinent to non-Christians. When I preached a series on the book, a man who seldom attended our services made sure he heard every sermon.
Christians looking for a book to use in their personal Bible study will find this an excellent choice. It will also provide a good basis for a series of Bible studies for young people or Christians keen to think through the challenges of living in a secular society.
The book’s usefulness in this kind of situation would have been enhanced if a short selection of study questions had been included at the end of each chapter.