Ecclesiastes 1: 1-11

Ecclesiastes 1: 1-11

  1. What word is repeated most in verse 2?
  2. What does the author ask regarding toils and labour?
  3. What shape is brought to mind by the processes listed?
  4. How does man’s life compare with the natural processes?
  5. How do you try to ‘get ahead’ or store more than you need?

Working to amass stuff, gather wealth, or gain in any way is pointless.  The world was not designed that way.  If we look at nature we see cycles.  We see that the earth sustains itself.  To be provided for means to have enough.  Just like the earth’s processes we are designed to sustain not gain.  The word ‘meaningless’ (NIV) is problematic.  The word in Hebrew speaks of a breath that passes away or a vapour.  If we remember that this life is brief and that we are going to die, we won’t value the pile of resources that we leave behind.  How could you feed back into nature’s system more?

Going Deeper

Observation Questions

  • Whose words are these?
  • What remains for ever?
  • What phrase is repeated in verses 3 & 9?
  • What are all things, more than one can say?
  • What is there no remembrance of?

Interpretation Questions

  • Who is the Teacher? Is it a proper name?  Is it the author or someone the author is pretending to be?
  • If the earth is viewed with permanence, how should mankind be treating it?
  • What does ‘under the sun’ mean?
  • If ‘wearisome’ (NIV) was translated ‘hard work’ how would that change the meaning of verse 8?
  • How do we resolve the issue that people do remember famous people from one generation to the next?


  • Why don’t people read Ecclesiastes?  How could Ecclesiastes become a more commonly read book?
  • Why are Christians perceived as being ‘Creationist’ but being anti-Creation?
  • How could Christians be more proactive in saving God’s planet as a whole rather than just humans?
  • How does ‘The Circle of Life'( ) in The Lion King reflect Ecclesiastes 1?  How does it differ?
  • How much is ‘enough’ for you?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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