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Bible Commentaries

F.B. Meyer's 'Through the Bible' Commentary

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 11 Chapter 12

Book Overview - Ecclesiastes

by Frederick Brotherton Meyer


The Vanity and Value of Life

I. The Prologue, Ecclesiastes 1:1-11

II. The Testing of Life’s Experiences, Ecclesiastes 1:12-18; Ecclesiastes 2:1-26; Ecclesiastes 3:1-22; Ecclesiastes 4:1-16; Ecclesiastes 5:1-20; Ecclesiastes 6:1-12; Ecclesiastes 7:1-29; Ecclesiastes 8:1-17; Ecclesiastes 9:1-18; Ecclesiastes 10:1-20; Ecclesiastes 11:1-10; Ecclesiastes 12:1-7

1. The Preacher’s Experience, Ecclesiastes 1:12-18; Ecclesiastes 2:1-26

2. The Preacher’s Observation, Ecclesiastes 3:1-22; Ecclesiastes 4:1-8

3. The Preacher’s Counsel, Ecclesiastes 4:9-7:10

4. The Preacher’s Commendation of Wisdom, Ecclesiastes 7:11-9:18

5. Proverbs-Life’s Closing Scenes, Ecclesiastes 10:1-20; Ecclesiastes 11:1-10; Ecclesiastes 12:1-7

III. The Epilogue, Ecclesiastes 12:8-13


The word “Ecclesiastes” is from the Greek, and means “Preacher.” The book is really a sermon, designed to teach the unsatisfying nature of worldly pleasures and attainments unless God rules the heart and life. The great lesson is “that man’s true wisdom lies in fearing God and looking forward to the judgment.”

The word “vanity,” which occurs thirty-eight times, is the keynote of the book. How true happiness may be attained is the problem the author endeavors to solve.

{e-Sword Note: The following material was presented at the end of Ecclesiastes in the printed edition}



(a) Into what three divisions does this book naturally fall?

(b) How is the construction of the main division indicated?


(c) What does the name “Ecclesiastes” mean?

(d) What is the keynote of the book?

Ecclesiastes 1-12

Each question applies to the paragraph of the corresponding number in the Comments.

1. Why do men fail in the search for happiness?

2. Why are material possessions unable to confer happiness?

3. What spiritual lessons may be learned from the life of the farmer?

4. What is the final teaching of the book?

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020
the First Week of Advent
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