Verse of the Day 3-24-13 1 Corinthians 1


Verse of the Day

1 Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother SosthenesTo the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:1-3 ESV

1 Corinthians 1

English Standard Version (ESV)

Greeting

1 Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes,

To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Divisions in the Church

10 I appeal to you, brothers,[a] by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers.12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius15 so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

Christ the Wisdom and Power of God

18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach[b] to save those who believe.22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards,[c] not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being[d] might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him[e] you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Corinthians 1:10 Or brothers and sisters. The plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) refers to siblings in a family. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, adelphoi may refer either to men or to both men and women who are siblings (brothers and sisters) in God’s family, the church; also verses 1126
  2. 1 Corinthians 1:21 Or the folly of preaching
  3. 1 Corinthians 1:26 Greek according to the flesh
  4. 1 Corinthians 1:29 Greek no flesh
  5. 1 Corinthians 1:30 Greek And from him

ABOUT THESE PROPHECIES
Susan operates in the gift of prophecy. In 1 Corinthians 14:1 it
states, “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit,
especially prophecy.” Now we are living and supposed to be
obeying God’s instructions in the New Testament. Although some
believe that spiritual gifts, such as prophecies, have been done
away with, this is man’s thinking and not God’s. God has not
changed His covenant. We are still living in the era of the New
Covenant – which is also called the New Testament. Please
understand that your first commitment should be to the Lord Jesus
Christ and His Word as written in the Bible – especially the New
Testament.
As always, all prophecy needs to be tested against the Bible.
However, if the prophecy lines up with the Bible then we are
expected to obey it. Currently God does not use prophecies to
introduce new doctrines. They are used to reinforce what God has
already given to us in the Bible. God also uses them to give us
individual warnings of future events that will affect us.
Just like in the Old Testament, God uses prophets in the New
Testament times of which we are currently in. The book of Acts,
which is in the New Testament, mentions some of the prophets such
as Judas and Silas (Acts 15:32) and Agabus (Acts 21:21) and there
were others. The ministry of prophets is also mentioned in New
Testament times in 1 Corinthians 12:28, 14:1,29,32,37 as well as in
Ephesians 2:20,3:5,4:11.
Jesus chooses prophets to work for Him on earth. Among other
things, Jesus uses prophecies and prophets to communicate His
desires to His children. The Bible itself was written prophetically
through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Some people say words of prophecy are in danger of adding to the
Bible or taking from it — well the Bible speaks of prophecy as being
a Gift of the HOLY SPIRIT. The way the Bible is added to or taken
from is not through additional words of prophecy received by the
WORDS FROM THE HEART OF GOD

Circumcism-Physical and Spiritual


Understanding the Principle of Spiritual Circumcision

In the Bible God revealed to us a spiritual principle and experience called circumcision. As with all spiritual truth God first revealed it in a physical picture in the Old Testament. In order to understand the Spiritual truth that we are to apply and experience in our Christian lives, it is first necessary to look at the dynamics of circumcision as God revealed them in the Old Testament.

The prevailing idea in most churches is that God’s primary objective is to forgive our sins so we can make it to heaven for eternity. While salvation and the forgiveness of sin is a fundamental objective in God’s plan for His creation, and heaven is our ultimate destination, this falls way short of the complete work God desires to do in and through you and me. It was never a thought in God’s mind that we would find forgiveness only to be left in bondage to sin. It wasn’t God’s intent that you keep repeating a cycle of sin and forgiveness over and over. Here is God’s perfect vision for you…

“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.” Rom. 8:29

Jesus’ death on the cross accomplished much more than simply the forgiveness of sins. It made it possible for you to become like Christ. In order for you to become Christ-like you must get rid of the old flesh nature that is sinful. This is where the spiritual principle of circumcision comes in. Circumcision is the cutting away of the flesh.

God Reveals His Covenant To Abraham

“This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner–those who are not your offspring. Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.” Gen 17:11-14 NIV

When God revealed Himself in a covenant to Abraham He gave Abraham a sign of that covenant … Circumcision. Many times we read right past significant issues never realizing the spiritual message God is trying to impart to us. Almost any thinking person would have to ask a simple question here. Why circumcision? What does that have to do with anything? Why is God so concerned about an extra little piece of skin?

It brings to mind the scripture where God commands the children of Israel not to eat any leaven or even to have it in their house during the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Exodus 12:15). Does God have something against yeast?

In both of these instances God seems to be pretty serious about the people’s obedience to His commands. In both cases the people who didn’t obey were to be cut off from Israel–left out of the covenant. This is serious business in God’s eyes.

In the big scheme of things we can be pretty sure that having yeast in our house or having an extra little piece of skin isn’t a big offense to God. Therefore God must have had something else in mind when He gave these commands.

Jesus asked the Jews an important question. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? John 3:12

God first established spiritual truth with natural laws. Once the principle of the thing was understood, He could make the jump to spiritual truth and application.

Throughout the Old Testament God spoke to Israel in picture form. His commands, although righteous, also carried a deeper prophetic message. The seven yearly Feasts, the temple, all the sacrifices and the minute detail of the elaborate costume of the high priest all bore more significance than the Jewish people (and most Christians) actually knew. So it is with the issue of circumcision.

God has a spiritual truth for you and me to enter into. In order for us to understand it He had to give us a physical demonstration so we could see it. Before we look at the dynamics of circumcision revealed to Abraham, let’s see what the New Testament has to say about the issue.

” A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code…” Rom. 2:28-29

“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.” Col. 2:9-14

Notice these two New Testament scriptures speak of a “spiritual circumcision.” This is what God is after. The Old Testament law was simply an example and picture to help us understand what God was really after … a heart that was circumcised to him.

What is the significance of circumcision and how do we become spiritually circumcised? Let’s look.

First of all we need to understand the significance of circumcision from God’s point of view. He gave the natural or physical sign to illustrate spiritual truth, so we need to start there.

From our passage in Genesis 17:11-14 we can glean some important facts.

Circumcision was not optional. It was to be KEPT!

Every person had to be circumcised, even foreigners who lived with the Jews.

It was THE sign of the covenant.

Circumcision was to be performed on the 8th day after birth.

Failure to be circumcised was regarded as a breaking of the covenant and was grounds for being “cut off” or removed from the people of God.

To these obvious statements we might add a few other observations.

A person didn’t circumcise themselves. They yielded to circumcision.

Circumcision was the “cutting off of the flesh.”

Circumcision was done in a private, personal part of the body

That which was cut off is unnecessary.

Circumcision was a point of consecration.

It concerned the cutting away of flesh.

From the two New Testament passages we can ascertain that:

God wanted our hearts circumcised

The Spirit performed spiritual circumcision.

Let’s begin to apply these principles to the spiritual circumcision.

Circumcision Was Not Optional

Under God’s Old Testament illustration circumcision is not optional. It is something that the Jews had to submit to. If God’s pictures are to convey any truth at all they must remain consistent. I believe that God was telling us that spiritual circumcision is not an optional part of Christianity. Not to go through spiritual circumcision would be a breaking of God’s spiritual covenant, just as failure to be circumcised was a breaking of His natural covenant. We need to understand this spiritual principle and yield our lives to it.

How does this apply to our spiritual lives? First, many people make a profession of faith in Christ, but their lives never changed. By its very nature, salvation is a life altering experience. It isn’t a mental assent to live better or turn over a new leaf. It is a personal, spiritual encounter with God whereby a person’s very nature is changed from the inside out. These passages in Romans 2 and Colossians 2 point out that the spiritual circumcision is performed by the Spirit of God.

When a person is born again a circumcision takes place. Something of the old flesh nature is cut away and the Spirit of God is imparted. Where no life change take place there has been no spiritual circumcision and thus no salvation.

A Sign Of The Covenant

Circumcision was a sign of God’s covenant. It was the seal, so to speak. The New Testament gives us a “sign of the covenant” and even links it to the old sign. We have just looked at Col. 2:9-14. Notice how circumcision is the common subject, both physical and spiritual; but also notice how Paul brings in baptism and says that a circumcision takes place at that point. Baptism thus becomes the sign of the new covenant, just as circumcision was the sign of the old covenant. Paul says something happens in our lives when we yield to baptism in faith.

I have sought God on the issue of baptism for a number of years and I am convinced that indeed a spiritual work takes place in a person’s life when they yield to baptism in understanding, faith and obedience.

Performed On The Eighth Day

There are several reasons for this. Physically and medically it has been shown that the blood clotting agents in the male blood stream reach their peak on the eighth day after birth and then diminish afterwards to normal levels. This was the practical side of the issue. A baby circumcised some 3000 years before modern surgical methods would not bleed to death.

Spiritually I believe that God knows when we are ready to have something of our flesh cut off. God doesn’t want us to “bleed to death” spiritually, so He works in out lives to prepare us for His dealings.

Another reason is more directly related to spiritual reality. Circumcision wasn’t performed right after birth. Likewise God doesn’t start our Christian life out by cutting deeply into our hearts. While there is a fundamental change that takes place when we get saved, we usually go through a nurturing period where God is very tender and loving.

As we begin to grow and mature God begins the work of spiritual circumcision. Circumcision is God cutting off that part of us that is unnecessary. It is a deep and personal thing and cuts to the very core of who and what we are.

The number 8 in the Bible is the number of new beginnings. Throughout the Bible God did things in series of sevens, seven being the number of divine completion. After God brought His purpose to completion there was a new beginning. This is significant in the context of circumcision for two reasons.

The first is that nobody was ever circumcised before they had experienced one Sabbath. (See the booklet “Keeping Sabbath” in this series of messages for a better understanding of the principle of spiritual Sabbath.) Cutting off our fleshly nature is not easy. We were born with a sense of self-preservation. Nobody likes to deny himself or herself. God did not expect a man to circumcise himself. He was to submit to it. Experiencing spiritual Sabbath is resting in God’s ability to get the job done in our lives. We stop striving and working and we begin to place our faith in God to do what we could never do.

One of two problems exists today in this area of cutting off our flesh. Either we’ve never been told it is necessary, or we set about to do it on our own. Spiritual circumcision is something that we must rest in. It came on the 8th day after a day of rest.

The 8th day also signifies a new beginning. Something is different after circumcision. It is the start of a new thing in our lives. Sometimes people come to know the Lord and are really excited about God, but after a while they get stagnant. Newness comes after the old has been cut off. And the reverse is true also. There are some new things we can’t enter into until we’ve submitted our lives to spiritual circumcision.

Verse of the Day 11-23-12


“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100:4-5 NIV

Proverbs 1

New International Version (NIV)

Purpose and Theme

The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:

for gaining wisdom and instruction;
for understanding words of insight;
for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
doing what is right and just and fair;
for giving prudence to those who are simple,[a]
knowledge and discretion to the young—
let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance—
for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.[b]

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools[c] despise wisdom and instruction.

Prologue: Exhortations to Embrace Wisdom

Warning Against the Invitation of Sinful Men

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
They are a garland to grace your head
and a chain to adorn your neck.

10 My son, if sinful men entice you,
do not give in to them.
11 If they say, “Come along with us;
let’s lie in wait for innocent blood,
let’s ambush some harmless soul;
12 let’s swallow them alive, like the grave,
and whole, like those who go down to the pit;
13 we will get all sorts of valuable things
and fill our houses with plunder;
14 cast lots with us;
we will all share the loot”—
15 my son, do not go along with them,
do not set foot on their paths;
16 for their feet rush into evil,
they are swift to shed blood.
17 How useless to spread a net
where every bird can see it!
18 These men lie in wait for their own blood;
they ambush only themselves!
19 Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain;
it takes away the life of those who get it.

Wisdom’s Rebuke

20 Out in the open wisdom calls aloud,
she raises her voice in the public square;
21 on top of the wall[d] she cries out,
at the city gate she makes her speech:

22 “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways?
How long will mockers delight in mockery
and fools hate knowledge?
23 Repent at my rebuke!
Then I will pour out my thoughts to you,
I will make known to you my teachings.
24 But since you refuse to listen when I call
and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand,
25 since you disregard all my advice
and do not accept my rebuke,
26 I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you;
I will mock when calamity overtakes you—
27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm,
when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind,
when distress and trouble overwhelm you.

28 “Then they will call to me but I will not answer;
they will look for me but will not find me,
29 since they hated knowledge
and did not choose to fear the Lord.
30 Since they would not accept my advice
and spurned my rebuke,
31 they will eat the fruit of their ways
and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.
32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,
and the complacency of fools will destroy them;
33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety
and be at ease, without fear of harm.”

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 1:4 The Hebrew word rendered simple in Proverbs denotes a person who is gullible, without moral direction and inclined to evil.
  2. Proverbs 1:6 Or understanding a proverb, namely, a parable, / and the sayings of the wise, their riddles
  3. Proverbs 1:7 The Hebrew words rendered fool in Proverbs, and often elsewhere in the Old Testament, denote a person who is morally deficient.
  4. Proverbs 1:21 Septuagint; Hebrew / at noisy street corners

 

Divisions Of The Bible


A portion of the Grek Uncial MS. Codex Vatican...

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The Old Testament.

The Old Testament, or “Old Covenant.” centers around the covenant made at Sinai in the time of Moses. It is divided into three main canonical units, the Law, the prophets, and the Writings.

The Law, or Torah.

The Law has traditionally been known as the Law of Moses, although scholars debate the extent to which the tradition of the Law goes back to Moses himself. There is no doubt, however, that from the time of the discovery of the Book of Deuteronomy in 621 B.C., the Law was the mainspring of Jewish religious life. Deuteronomy became the law of the land. During the exile, Jews turned to the Law for study and strength, and thus the Synagogue was born. By the time of Ezra (450-400 b.c.), the Law had come into its full importance, with almost the exact structure and text that are known today.

In Hebrew the Law was called Torah, meaning “teachings” or “learning.” but in Greek its five books were called Pentateuch, meaning “five vessels” (i.e., of the word of God), for only these five books of the Law were ever acknowledged as authoritative. In the 3rd century B.C., the Greek-speaking Jews of Alexandria began to translate these books into Greek; their work later came to be known as the Septuagint, sometimes written “LXX.”

The Prophets, or Nebi’im.

The work of the writing prophets covered four centuries-Amos, Hosea, Micah, and Isaiah in the 8th century B.C., Zephaniah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Jeremiah in the 7th century B.C.; Ezekiel, Haggai, and Zechariah in the 6th century B.C., and Malachi, Obadiah, and Joel in the 5th century B.C. The date of Jonah, which completes the list of 15 prophetic writings, is widely disputed. The Jews came to consider the historical books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings as prophetic in purpose and thus put them into group designated as the “Former Prophets.” The “Latter Prophets” (or “Writing Prophets”), the second part of the prophetic collection, then contained Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the “Book of the Twelve,” consisting of the Minor Prophets from Hosea to Malachi. By the end of the 3rd century B.C., these writings had been organized and copied in the form of eight scrolls, four for the Former Prophets and four for the Latter Prophets, and had become recognized as standing with the Law in religious authority.

The Writings, or Kethubim.

It was not until the close of the first Christian century, at the Rabbinical Council of Jamnia (about 90 A.D.), that the rest of the Old Testament was finally fixed and declared authoritative. The Book of Psalms was the central feature in this collection of practical and devotional material, which contains wisdom, ethics, liturgy, history, and even wedding songs. The poetic works in this group include Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Lamentations, and the Song of Solomon. Those dealing with Jewish history are Ruth, Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles, while Daniel is apocalyptic (a special type of Jewish literature) and Ecclesiastes a philosophical book. Ecclesiastes and Esther were less widely accepted, and doubts about their authority continued until the Council of Jamnia.

The third division of the Hebrew Bible, therefore, contained 11 scrolls: the 3 large poetic works, Psalms, Proverbs, and Job; the 5 Megilloth (scrolls used on special festival occasions), the Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther; the apocalyptic Book of Daniel; and 3 books of history, Ezra-Nehemiah (in one scroll) and Chronicles (in one scroll). Thus the Hebrew Bible consisted of 5 scrolls of Law, 8 scrolls of the prophets, and 11 scrolls of the Writings when it reached its final canonization at Jamnia. It is in this form and order (with some slight variation) that modern Hebrew study Bibles are printed.

The Apocrypha.

During the last two centuries before Christ and the first Christian century, a number of Jewish writings had appeared but failed to gain acceptance at the Council of Jamnia. These books are now called “Apocrypha”; the word is from a Greek term meaning “hidden” or secret.” Originally its use suggested that the books so designated contained esoteric truth to be communicated only to the initiated, being hidden from the outside world. It was the great Latin scholar Jerome who, in the 5th century A.D. first applied the term to these books.

Some of these documents were expansions of Old Testament books, especially Esther and Daniel. Some, such as Ecclesiasticus and the Wisdom of Solomon, are of the nature of wisdom literature. Jewish fiction, as exemplified in the books of Tobit and Judith, is also included. First Esdras is little more than a combination of parts of Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah. two important historical books are those of I and II Maccabees, and the group also includes the important apocalypse known as II Esdras.

The Apocrypha were included in the Canon of the Septuagint, the translation of the Old Testament made for the Greek-speaking Jews of Alexandria, which became the Bible of the early Church; these books appear also in the Old Latin Bible, as well as in the Latin Vulgate, Jerome’s revision. They were carried over into the early German translation of the Latin Bible made in the 14th century, as well as into English translation made by Wyclif (Wycliff) in the same century, Both the Greek and the Roman Church have always recognized the apocrypha as canonical. The exclusion of these books from the bible came as a result of the Reformation. When Luther translated the Old Testament from the Hebrew, these books were of course absent; but recognized their presence in the Latin Bible. Luther translated them and put them in a group by themselves, between the Testaments. there they remained in most Protestant Bibles until the 19th century, when publishers, led by the British and Foreign Bible society, voluntarily began to omit them.

The length of the apocrypha in comparison with the Old Testament and New Testament may be seen from these figures (based on the King James Version):

Old Testament:    Chapters: 929     Verses: 23,214     Words: 592,439

New Testament:  Chapters: 260     Verses: 7,959       Words: 181,253

Apocrypha:           Chapters: 183      Verses: 6,081       Words: 152,185

The New Testament.

The title “New Testament,” or New Covenant probably originated with Paul’s delineation of the two covenants of history in II Corinthians 3:6-16. Probably Jeremiah’s famous words in 31:31-34 were associated in Paul’s mind as he wrote.

The Gospels.

Although the Gospels stand first in the New testament, they are of later date than many other books found there. When the New Testament was collected, however, it was only natural that the place of priority be given to the four accounts of Jesus’ ministry: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (although this order was not always followed in early collections). The Evangelists had the Old Testament biographies of Joseph, David, Elijah, Moses, and others before them as examples (Luke seems especially to have been so influenced); they also were aware of the practice of the Greeks, for the art of biography was by no means a new one. Yet the Gospels were a new literary form in many respects, standing by themselves as evangelical documents to proclaim the “good news” (the meaning of “gospel”) of God’s redemptive action in the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke are called the “Synoptic Gospels” because they are so closely related and share a common point of view. John’s Gospel in many ways preserves an independent tradition and is, by far, the most interpretative of these books.

The Acts.

The Book of Acts is described as history, but it is far more. its primary message is the story of Christianity’s spread throughout the civilized world. It is history seen from the evangelistic and missionary viewpoint, centering in the life and activity of the Apostles who established the early churches.

The Epistles.

The majority of the books in the New Testament might be classified as correspondence. Letter writing was a common means of communication in the first Christian century, as archaeological discoveries have abundantly revealed, and the early church was no exception. Paul was the most prolific writer of those who contributed to the New Testament, and much of his contributions is typical of personal correspondence of that age. Among the writings traditionally ascribed to him are Romans, I and II Corinthians, Galatians, Esphesians, Philippians, Colossians, I and II Thessalonians, I and II Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and Hebrews.

Modern scholarship has questioned the Pauline authorship of several of these letters, especially I and II Timothy and Titus, which are often called the Pastoral Epistles because they deal mostly with the administration of the organized Church. Hebrews, which is not in letter form and does not name its author, has from early times been questioned because of its distinctly non-Pauline nature. A few late manuscripts ascribe Hebrews to Timothy, but its author is unknown. Usually Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon are called the “imprisonment letters,” since their contents imply that the author was writing from prison.

Another group of letters in the New Testament is referred to as the”Catholic” or “General” Epistles. The term “Catholic,” meaning “universal,” designates those letters that are addressed to larger and more inclusive groups, in contrast to the local church or individuals addressed in the Pauline letters. James, I and II Peter, and Jude are so designated. Some scholars include the Johannine letters with the “General Epistles” while others consider them a third group. First John lacks the salutation and epistolary ending characteristic of letters. Traditionally the Johannine letters have been credited to the Apostle John, although in the 20th century some debate has centered on this assumption.

The letters of the New Testament tell of many of the churches founded by Paul and reveal even intimate and personal details of the author’s relation to various congregations and persons. More important, however, these letters by Paul and others give additional insight into the content of the Christian message and its application to life situations. In fact, some of these letters resemble theological treatises or sermons more than personal letters (Romans, Ephesians, Hebrews, I John), while others are essentially practical in their applications to life (I Corinthians, Philemon, James).

The Revelation.

The last book of the Bible is the only one of its literary type in the New Testament, though it has affinity with some of the Old Testament books, especially Daniel. The revelation is an apocalypse )from a Greek word meaning “revelation”), telling its message by use of signs, symbols, and visions of cosmic drama. Coming out of the suffering and persecution of the early Church, it is an unveiling of the Christian hope and confidence in the ultimate triumph of God and the vindication if His people.

The Language Of The Bible


psalms in Aramaic

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Bilingual inscription (Greek and Aramaic) by k...

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11th century Hebrew Bible with targum, perhaps...
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The Old Testament was written in Hebrew, a Semitic language adapted from the ancient Canaanites and Phoenicians, as recent discoveries at Ras Shamra on the coast of Syria have made abundantly clear. There are also certain affinities with the other Semitic languages of ancient Syria, Assyria, Babylonia, and Arabia. During the long period of its growth, the Old Testament reflected a number of developments and semantic changes of its language, as scholars have come to understand. In addition, dialect differences between the north and south of Palestine have noted.

A few portions of certain books of the Old Testament and some words and phrases of the New Testament are recorded in the Aramaic language. The ancient Aramaeans inhabited particularly the region of Syria, but their language with its simplified script, was gradually adopted in everyday life all across the Near East. By the 5th century B.C. it was the lingua franca of the ancient world and therefore used by the Jews. In fact, when the Law was read in the synagogues by the time of Ezra, it was necessary to translate it into Aramaic so that the people might understand (Neh. 8:7-8). The following portions of the Old Testament were composed in Aramaic: Ezra 4:8-6:18; 7:12-26; Jeremiah 10:11; Daniel 2:4-7:28.

Because Aramaic was the language Jesus spoke, traces of Aramaic remain in the New Testament: Talitha Kumi, “maiden, arise” (Mark 5:41) and Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34), Paul uses “Abba, father” (Rom. 8:15), and Maranatha, “Our Lord cometh” (I Cor. 16:22). Although the point has been much debated, it is almost certain that all the New Testament books were written in Greek. Essentially the thought life of the Mediterranean world was Graeco-Oriental by the 1st century A.D., which saw the writing of the New Testament.

Rome ruled the world; yet Paul wrote to Rome in Greek, not Latin. The Greek used in the New Testament, however, was the everyday language, called koine’, which means “common.” It had descended from the language used by Alexander the Great and his armies at the time of their conquests more than two centuries earlier. It might be called “post-classic” Greek. New Testament Greek is not uniform throughout, for it varies from the semi-literary style of Luke, which approximates the classical, to the nonliterary style of the Gospel of Mark and Revelation.

Ecclesiastes 1:1-18


Solomon builds the temple

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Solomon_dedicates_the_temple

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Solomon builds the temple

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Solomon Dedicates the Temple at Jerusalem, c. ...

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The picture is a Greek Catholic icon depicting...

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The picture is a Greek Catholic icon depicting...

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King Solomon in Old Age (1Kings 4:29-34)

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Solomon and the Plan for the Temple, as in 1 K...

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Piero della Francesca: Legend of the True Cros...

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King Solomon, Russian icon from first quarter ...

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Ecclesiastes, (קֹהֶלֶת, Kohelet, "son of ...
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Ecclesiastes 1

1The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

2Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.

3What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?

4One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.

5The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.

6The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.

7All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.

8All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.

9The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

10Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.

11There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.

12I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem.

13And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.

14I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.

15That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.

16I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.

17And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.

18For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

The Search For Meaning:

Ecclesiastes is one of the favorite books of the Bible for skeptics, scoffers, atheists and certain of the cultists. The reason for that is that there are certain passages in this book which seem to deny that there is life after death, that it is all over when this life ends. Atheists love to contend that the book of Ecclesiastes seems to confirm that view. That is why they frequently quote from it. Hedonists love this book too because it apparently endorses a rather Epicurean lifestyle. Those who pursue pleasure as the chief aim of life — and there are a great many of them in this country today, as the United States is probably more hedonistic than any nation that has ever existed — love the book because again and again throughout it we are exhorted to an “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we must die” philosophy. Then there are passages in this book which are the favorite texts of those who declare that even if we survive beyond this life we enter a period of quietness, a time when we have no knowledge or desires. This teaching falls in line with those cultists who teach “soul sleep,” i.e., that when the body dies the soul goes to sleep within the body.

But all of these groups fail to note what we must note right from the beginning, that this book is an examination of secular wisdom and knowledge. The book clearly states at the outset that it is limiting itself to that which is apparent to the natural mind. One of the key phrases of the book is the continual repetition of the words, “under the sun.” What does a man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?” Verse 3 asks. We find that phrase used again in Verse 9. That is the limitation put upon this book.

Ecclesiastes is a collection of what man is able to discern under the sun, i.e., in the visible world. The book does not take into consideration revelation that comes from beyond man’s powers of observation and reason. It is an inspired, an accurate book. It guarantees that what it reports is what people actually believe. but it is an examination of those beliefs. The book is not merely a collection of ancient philosophy, for what it talks about is very much up-to-date and extremely relevant. Here is what you will hear propounded in soap operas, in political speeches, in the radical or conservative movements of our day. Here is what you will hear in the halls of academia, or on the streets of any city. In this book the philosophies by which people attempt to live life are brought into consideration and examined. That is why Ecclesiastes is so practical and up-to-date.

The first three verses introduce the theme of the book:

The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher,
vanity of vanities! All is vanity
What does man gain by all the toil
at which he tolls under the sun? (Ecclesiastes 1:1-3 RSV)

First, we learn that the writer is, “the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.” We immediately recognize that that could refer to no one but King Solomon. “The son of David” could refer to any descendant of David who sat on the throne after him, but this particularly relates to Solomon, as several things in the book will confirm.

Many of the critical commentators of our day question that view, and very few of them accept it. They try to date the book after the Babylonian exile, some 500 years after Solomon lived. That is the habitual stance of critics of the Old Testament. But their views have been proved wrong again and again, based, as they think they are, upon an examination of the culture of the day. I think, however, that we shall have no problem accepting the fact that it is indeed Solomon who shares with us in this book the wisdom that God taught him throughout his life.

The translators, unfortunately, here refer to Solomon as “the Preacher.” I am sorry they used that term. I know the book sounds a little preachy at the beginning. On reading that second verse it would be so easy to affect a “stained-glass” voice. In a modern audience this, of course, would turn everybody off. The word for Preacher is the Hebrew word Qoheleth, which really means, “the one who gathers, assembles, or collects things.” This is an apt title for the author of this book who has examined and then collected together the philosophies by which men live. But I think a more accurate English word to translate this would be “the Searcher.” Here is a searching mind which has looked over all of life and seen what is behind the actions of people. That is the word which I am going to use wherever the word, “the Preacher,” occurs. It is not really a preacher or proclaimer but a searcher that is in view.

This is indeed a search, and, if you are concerned about what he discovered, he tells us. You do not have to read the last chapter to find out the results of his search because he puts it right here in Verse 2: “Vanity of vanities” — that is what he found. Vanity here does not mean pride of face. Some of you ladies — maybe even some of you men — spent too much time in front of the mirror this morning. Not only did you finish what you needed to do to make yourself presentable, but you admired it a little. We call that vanity, pride of face, but that is not what this Searcher is talking about. The word here, in the original, means, “emptiness, futility, meaninglessness, blah-ness.” That is what he is talking about. His view of what he found out in his search through life is put in those terms. Emptiness, a feeling of futility — that is what life brings.

Nothing in itself, the Searcher claims, will satisfy. No thing, no pleasure, no relationship, nothing he found had enduring value in life. That is why my sub-title for this study is, “The Things That Won’t Work.” Everybody is trying to make them work; everybody has seized on one or another of these philosophies, these views of life, and tries to make it satisfy him. But according to this Searcher, who has gone through it all, nothing will work. When he says, “Vanity of vanities, emptiness of emptiness,” that is the Hebrew way of declaring the superlative. There is nothing more empty, this man concludes, than life.

In Verse 3 we have the question which he continually used in his search: “What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?” What is the profit of it to him? This is an interesting Hebrew word, meaning, “that which is left over.” After he has sucked dry all the immediate delight, joy or pleasure out of something, what is left over, what endures, what will remain to continually feed the hunger of his life for satisfaction? That is the right question. It is the question we all are asking. Is there anything that will really minister continually to my need — that summum bonum, that highest good, which, if I find it, I do not need to look any further? Is there a key to continual pleasure, delight and joy in life?

The Searcher raises a very pertinent question right at the beginning. This is the search which this book will take upon. Verses 4-11, where he amplifies this a little, are a brief introduction to exactly what he means, Verses 4-7 describe the sense of futility which nature gives us as we live in this natural world; and Verses 8-11 describe the sense of futility that every person individually feels as he faces life.

Verses 4-7:

A generation goes, and a generation comes,
but the earth remains for ever.
The sun rises and the sun goes down,
and hastens to the place where it rises.
The wind blows to the south,
and goes round to the north;
round and round goes the wind,
and on its circuits the wind returns.
All streams run to the sea,
but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
there they flow again. (Ecclesiastes 1:4-7 RSV)

— the endless cycles of life. The Searcher’s theme is stated in Verse 4: Humanity is transient, but nature is permanent. A generation goes and a generation comes — the human race passes on from this life, comes into life, lives its term and goes on — but the earth remains forever.

He has three proofs of this, the first of which is the circle of the sun. The sun rises in the east, runs across the heavens, apparently, and sets in the west; then it scurries around the dark side of the earth while we are sleeping, and there it is in the east again in the morning. That has been going on as long as time has been counted, as far back as we can read in human history. It is endless; it repeats itself again and again.

Then he speaks of the circuit of the winds, south to north. This is unusual, because we have no evidence that men understood scientifically the fact that the wind, the clouds and the great jet streams of earth run in circles. This is evident to us in our day because we can see from a satellite picture in any news broadcast the great circles of the winds. How they knew this back then I do not know. But Solomon knew it, though the scientific world of that day did not seem to understand it.

His third proof is the circuit of the evaporative cycle. Thirteen elders and pastors from this church have just returned from a backpack trip to the Sierras. There the mountain peaks were milking moisture from the clouds which passed over all you dry people down here. We had torrents of rain, hail, and even snow falling upon us while we were huddling in our little plastic tents, enjoying this backpack experience. Where does all the water which endlessly drops out of the sky come from? The answer, of course, is that it comes from the ocean. Out here to the west an invisible evaporative process is at work by which the water that runs into the sea never raises the level of the sea because there is an invisible raising of that water back up into the clouds. These clouds then move east by the circuit of the winds and drop their moisture again, and this goes on forever.

The writer is suggesting that there is something wrong in this. It is backwards, somehow. Man ought to be permanent and nature ought to be transient, he suggests. There is something within all of us that says this. We feel violated that we learn all these great lessons from life, but just as we have begun to learn how to handle life it is over, and the next generation has to start from scratch again.

The Scripture confirms that something is wrong. The Bible tells us that man was created to be the crown of creation. He is the one who is in dominion over all things. Man ought to last endlessly and nature ought to be changing, but it is the other way around. Man feels the protest of this in his spirit. We have all felt this. We all protest, inwardly, at least, the injustice of losing the wisdom of a Churchill, the beauty of a Princess Grace, or the charm of a John Kennedy. Something is wrong that all of this is suddenly taken away from us, while the meaningless cycle of nature goes on and on endlessly. Yes, the human spirit feels that strongly. That very pertinent question is going to be developed in the theme of this book.

But furthermore, the Searcher says, the present experience of every individual confirms this sense of futility. Verse 8:

All things are full of weariness;
[Actually, “full of weariness” is one Hebrew word which ought to be translated “restless.”]
a man cannot utter it;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
nor the ear filled with hearing.
What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done;
and there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there a thing of which it is said,
“See, this is new”?
It has been already,
in the ages before us.
There is no remembrance of former things,
nor will there be any remembrance
of later things yet to happen
among those who come after. (Ecclesiastes 1:8-11 RSV)

His thesis here is: “All things are restless.” He has observed that there is an inherent restlessness in everything. In fact, it is so widespread nobody can possibly describe all the restlessness of life.

He has two proofs of this. First, human desire is never satisfied: “The eye is not satisfied with seeing.” My wife’s mother is 95 years old. She is just a shell of a person now, but her mind is still sharp and clear. The other day we had her in our home and somebody mentioned a far-off place. Immediately she said, “Oh, I wish I could see that.” Despite her years, the eye is not tired of seeing; it longs yet to see other places, other realms, other customs. The eye is never satisfied.

Nor is the ear ever satisfied with hearing. We are always alert to some new idea or something new that has happened. That is why news programs are always popular. Television, radio and newspapers all cater to this hunger of the ear to hear something. Some juicy gossip about a Hollywood star will sell thousands of magazines and newspapers. That is why we tune in on soap operas. We just cannot tire of hearing something new. Some new way of making a profit, for instance, always makes its appeal. The Searcher’s argument is that the ear never tires because human desire is never satisfied; it is a consequence of the restlessness that is built into life.

But second, he says, even though we long to see or hear something new, nothing new ever really shows up. Life is a rehash of what has been before; it is the old played over and over again. That is his argument. This too is a result of the restlessness that is built into life. Although something looks new to us, actually, “there is nothing new under the sun.” Somebody immediately objects and says, “Wait a minute! They didn’t have radio, television, space travel or any such thing until just a few decades ago. Why even you, Ray Stedman, ought to be able to remember way back to the days before they had any of those things!”

When Don Broesamle and I were in Hong Kong recently, spending a couple days of rest after a rather exhausting travel and speaking schedule, we stayed at the wonderful old British Peninsula Hotel on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong. Right across the street from us was a newly built planetarium, and Don and I went to see there The Search For Other Civilizations. It is always exciting to me to sit in those domed rooms. The lights go down, the stars begin to appear above like the brightest stars on a summer’s night, and you suddenly feel the sense of eternity, you sense the greatness and the magnificence of the universe.

The show began by showing the great statues on Easter Island, in the Pacific Ocean, raising the question, “Where did these great statues come from?” These statues are huge, 20 feet or more in height, made of great stones that weigh hundreds of tons. Who erected them? Where did they come from, and how did they get there? Nobody has ever been able to answer those questions. Then the show took us into areas of South America where huge geometric patterns have been worked out over acres of ground. These designs have obviously been made by man, or some intelligent creature, yet they cannot even be seen unless they are viewed from the sky. This raises the question, “Why would any people draw figures on the ground so huge that they cannot be seen unless they are viewed from the air?” Many have surmised that past civilizations did have ways of rising above the earth. Perhaps visitors from space used these patterns. Other mysteries, such as Stonehenge in England, are propounded and compounded as one explores the earth. It struck me that that planetarium show was a confirmation of what the Searcher of Ecclesiastes declares, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done.” Other ages will repeat it. “There is nothing new under the sun.”

Why then do things appear new? His answer is in Verse 11: Man’s memory is faulty; we have forgotten things that once were. The planetarium show confirmed that. One excerpt showed the Mayans of Central America, the actual blood descendants of a race of intellectual giants who once lived in the area, who erected temples filled with mysteries that the present generation of Mayan Indians has long forgotten. They cannot explain them; they do not understand them. They have lost the knowledge of the past. This is what this writer declares. Our memories are so short that we lose what we know — and, he suggests, it may happen again. All these technological marvels that we are so proud of may one day disappear in a great nuclear holocaust. Viewing our television sets or some such things, future generations may well ask, “What in the world is this jungle of wires for? What did they do with this thing?” That is the problem. “There is nothing new under the sun.”

So the question is raised, “Is this all life is about?” Is it merely an empty pursuit of that which never satisfies? Can no breakthrough be made whereby something can be found that will continually meet the hunger of man’s heart, to give an unending sense of delight, satisfaction and joy? That is the search.

Before the Searcher takes us into the details of this search — which begins in Chapter 2 — he gives us a word as to his qualifications, in Verses 12-18. These fall into two divisions, his position, and his diligence. Verses 12-14:

I the Searcher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven; it is an unhappy business that God has given to the sons of men to be busy with. I have seen everything that is done under the sun; and behold, all is emptiness and a striving after wind.

What is crooked cannot be made straight,
and what is lacking cannot be numbered. (Ecclesiastes 1:12-15 RSV)

This man’s position gave him unusual opportunity. He was a king, the highest authority in the land; no one would challenge what he did. And he was a king in a time of peace. For 40 years during the reign of Solomon no armies battered at the walls of Jerusalem, as they had been doing all through history and are threatening to do today. His father had amassed great wealth of which Solomon was the heir, and he himself had increased this wealth. For 40 years of the nation’s life there was no demand for expenditure for munitions. It was a time of peace and great wealth. Furthermore, during this time the Gentile nations were sending delegates to Jerusalem. The Queen of Sheba came all the way from the ends of the earth, she said, to see and hear the wisdom of this man. Solomon had great opportunity.

Furthermore, he was able to investigate widely. “I applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven,” he says. He could get into everything. But, with all candor, he has to state, “It is an unhappy business that God has given to the sons of men to be busy with.” That translation misses something of what he meant. In the Hebrew it is not “the sons of men,” rather, it is “the sons of man.” The word is Adam, “the sons of Adam.” So the reference is not to the conglomerate of humanity, it is to the nature of man.

I think he is making reference here to the fall of man. He is recognizing the fact that it is difficult for men to discover answers. There is something wrong inside of man. It is a tricky business for a man, who senses an overwhelming curiosity to discover the secrets of life around him, yet he finds himself baffled all the time by an inadequate understanding. Man cannot put it all together.

Furthermore, he was able to investigate even the opposites of things. “I have seen everything,” he says. Yet there were certain limitations inherent in that. That is what he quotes in a proverb, “What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be numbered.” It is difficult for man to discover the answers to life, because when he sees something wrong there is yet somehow an inbuilt difficulty that prevents him from correcting it. Have you ever felt, as I have, that when things go wrong in your family, although you long to put them right somehow you cannot get hold of it, you cannot make it right? “That which is crooked cannot be made straight.” One of the great frustrations of life is that no matter how hard you try there are some things you cannot set straight. Also, no matter how much you may discover, there is information you would long to have that you cannot find. “That which is lacking cannot be numbered.” That was this man’s problem.

Then he speaks of his diligence, Verse 16:

I said to myself, “I acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.” And I applied my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a chasing after wind.

For in much wisdom is much vexation,
and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow. (Ecclesiastes 1:16-18 RSV)

For you students who have just gone back to school, that is a great verse to memorize. “He who increases knowledge increases sorrow.” That is true, sad, but true. It is no argument for not increasing knowledge, though, because the alternative is even worse; ignorance is foolishness.

Isn’t it remarkable that the Man who for all ages has been the personification of wisdom is also the one who is called “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief”? (Isaiah 53:3). Yet this Searcher kept on, despite the increasing frustration that the more he knew the more he knew he did not know. At the close of his life, Isaac Newton said, “I have been paddling in the shallows of a great ocean of knowledge.” He too felt the frustration of not being able to encompass more.

This gives us a clue as to when this book was written. It must have been in the latter years of the reign of Solomon, after he had had ample opportunity to investigate all the areas of life and had done so. Following that period, which the book of First Kings describes, he fell into spiritual decline, led away by the idolatry of the wives he had married from foreign nations. This enlightened son of David, with all his knowledge of the law of Moses and all the insight of the word of God, actually ended up bowing down to lifeless idols in the heathen temples which he built for his wives in Jerusalem. But there was, apparently, a time of recovery.

One of the Targums of the Jews has an interesting word here:

When King Solomon was sitting upon the throne of his kingdom, his heart became greatly elated with riches, and he transgressed the commandment of the Word of God; and he gathered many houses, and chariots, and riders, and he amassed much gold and silver, and he married wives from foreign nations. Whereupon the anger of the Lord was kindled against him, and he sent to him Ashmodai, the king of the demons, and he drove him from the throne of his kingdom, and took away the ring from his hand, in order that he should roam and wander about in the world, to reprove it; and he went about the provincial towns and cities in the land of Israel, weeping and lamenting, and saying, “I am Coheleth, whose name was formerly called Solomon, who was King over Israel in Jerusalem.”

There is no reference to this period in Scripture, so this may not be trustworthy. But it may be true. There is suggestion in Scripture that there came a time when King Solomon saw the folly of what he was doing, and repented. This book is his considered proclamation from a chastened mind of what he had learned from life. This is not an angry young man speaking. These are the words of a man who has been through it all and is sharing with us what he found in his search.

Did he find an answer? Did he find that key to life that makes everything yield up its treasure of joy? The answer to that is, Yes, he did, and he tells us the answer in this book. But his answer is not what he has started out with here. What he found “under the sun” was emptiness, but he went on to find something more than that. That is what this book declares.

Prayer:

Thank you, Lord, for this wise, wise word. Thank you that the answers to life are not found in the wisdom of man. No human institution can give us the key to living. It must come from your loving hand, often through much pain and sorrow as we work our way to these great answers of life. Guide us now, guard us and help us to wait and learn and be attentive, remembering that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Title: The Search for Meaning Author: Ray C. Stedman
Series: Things that Don’t Work Date: September 19, 1982
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