Ecclesiastes 16-17 May 2011
The book of Ecclesiastes presents a powerful message on the meaning of life and how to experience it. It demonstrates that life does not make adequate sense until and unless we acknowledge who God is and we live accordingly. In fact, it argues that God orders or allows circumstances in our lives and in the world so that we are pressed to do just that. The message strikes a responsive cord in the hearts of Christians as well as non-Christians, and it exposes the futility of trying to find the meaning of life without knowing God. Unfortunately Ecclesiastes is also the most difficult book in the Bible to interpret consistently. The basic problem is that it seems to be filled with pessimism and full of contradictions. How then can it even be considered the inspired word of God? But when the book is interpreted as a piece of Old Testament wisdom literature in the form of a speech designed to persuade the audience to "fear God and keep His commandments," the problem disappears and a coherent and compelling message emerges.
Dr. Leong Tien Fock
Dr Leong Tien Fock is Research Coordinator of Malaysia Campus Crusade for Christ. His research focuses on applying the Old Testament to how we think and live. He is also an adjunct faculty of the East Asia School of Theology in Singapore. He holds a doctorate in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures from the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr Leong has been teaching a course on Ecclesiastes for more than 10 years.