Explore The Bible: What is Life About?

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How would you complete the statement, “Growing old is . . .”? Whether we are young or old, one should heed the wisdom God has given Solomon in Ecclesiastes 12:1-14 as he brings his thoughts to a close regarding life. Your age and stage of life will most likely determine how you will understand and receive the truth God has given Solomon in this final Explore the Bible Study: What is Life About?. However, one who is wise and desires to finish well with a life that honors God will strive to soak up all the truth God has given him.

Young adults tend to have an entirely different outlook on aging. An article in Psychology Today discovered these thoughts regarding growing old from the perspective of younger adults: “A student in my class told me that she doesn’t know any ‘old people’ who are aren’t sick, so why should she think about old age as anything other than something to dread.” The article went on to pose this question: “What if all teenagers and young adults had a more accurate perception of their own longevity potential, and realized that most have some control over shaping those years? They may make different choices about how to spend their time, particularly their early years.”

This is exactly the kind of wisdom Solomon is now trying to communicate to a younger generation. As you examine the final chapter in the Book of Ecclesiastes, try to picture Solomon, the aging king, acting like the very old grandparent or uncle, giving sage counsel to a younger generation of family members.

Solomon appeals to his young audience in Ecclesiastes 12:1-8 to not delay pursuing God.

Solomon uses metaphors in verses 1-5 to describe the deterioration of the body and the receptiveness of the heart to the gospel as one grows old. We tend to make habits in our youth. As we grow older, not only does one become less receptive, but it becomes increasingly difficult to remember your Creator because of life experiences and because of the natural aging process. 

A recent Barna study reveals the importance of remembering our Creator while one is young. It discovered that nearly half of all Americans who accept Jesus Christ do so before reaching the age of 13 (43%), and that two out of three born again Christians (64%) made that commitment to Christ before their 18th birthday. One out of eight born again people (13%) made their profession of faith while 18 to 21 years old. Less than one out of every four born again Christians (23%) embraced Christ after their twenty-first birthday.

Because of Solomon’s wisdom, the findings of Barna, and wisdom you have gained based upon your own experiences, respond to the following:

  • What actions demonstrate that a young person is pursuing his/her Creator while they are still young? If you are a younger adult, are you pursuing those actions personally? If not, what needs to change?
  • What should you and your church be doing to invest in the younger generation?
  • If you are a parent, how would you evaluate your desire to help your children know, understand, and embrace Christ at an early age? Is it your goal to only see them saved and baptizedW or is it your goal to help them to remember their Creator as they grow old?
  • What does this statement communicate to you regarding remembering your Creator from this day forward? – “Nothing is more painful as you grow older than the remembrance that you forgot Him for so long.”

While conversion is possible at any age, it is less likely as life goes on. Learning to follow the Lord at a young age reaps a lifetime of godly wisdom. We finish well by continuing to focus on God as we age. Solomon once again reminds us in Ecclesiastes 12:5-8 that life is short and death is abrupt and that, once we die, there is an eternity that we face either with Christ or separated from Christ. We should not waste our time on this earth. We should and can finish well if we continually strive to live a life that reflects a growing, vibrant relationship with Christ.

Solomon illustrates from his own life the priority and responsibility a wise man has regarding teaching others - Ecclesiastes 12:9-11.

What was Solomon’s attitude toward learning and conveying truth to others? Solomon was older in age, but knew he still had to remain accurate when imparting wisdom and knowledge. He had to weigh, explore, and arrange the truth God was giving Him in a way that could communicate clearly and accurately to a new generation. He couldn’t get sloppy or careless with the truth.

God led Solomon to write Ecclesiastes to teach us about the valuable wisdom he accumulated over a lifetime of following God. We too should remember that God gives us wisdom so that we can instruct others. We shouldn’t hoard wisdom for our own benefit or wait until some magic moment in history when we feel as if we are wise enough to teach godly wisdom. If we are growing in our faith and our walk with the Lord, then we should, in turn, be helping others as we grow in godly wisdom.

Notice a very important phrase in the last half of verse 11. Solomon recognized that he received the knowledge and wisdom from the One Shepherd, indicating he is referring to God; He recognized there was only once source of absolute truth: The One Shepherd—God Himself.

The one Shepherd’s truth is available to all of us in His Word, and Christians have been given the task of sharing that truth and showing that truth to all generations. The truth is not just words of wisdom, but it is also a Person – Jesus Christ.  The greatest wisdom one can share and the greatest truth one can teach is that of the Good News of Jesus Christ!

Solomon concludes by giving a warning against learning for the sake of learning in Ecclesiastes 12:12-14.

Seeking wisdom never ends; there’s always more to learn. Even if we were able to learn all there is to learn, life isn’t about accumulating wisdom but knowing God. To fear and obey God means we will always be aware that He will judge mankind. Solomon reminds his listeners that all the knowledge in the world will not cease the judgment that will come because God will bring every act to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil.

In the end, life’s meaning isn’t about what you know but Who you know and how we revere and live for Him! Only through faith in Jesus Christ can we be set free from the futility of sin and come to know, trust, and revere God as He truly is.

How are you remembering your Creator?

Billy Graham once said, “When granted many years of life, growing old in age is natural, but growing old with grace is a choice. Growing older with grace is possible for all who will set their hearts and minds on the Giver of grace, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Additionally, as we grow old we should be growing in wisdom and teaching what we have learned to others so that they too can discover and remember their Creator through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

The downloadable teaching helps provide more details for this study along with some tools you can use in guiding a group Bible study. Be sure to use this as a supplement to your study of the Explore the Bible Study resources provided by LifeWay.

Download PDF Version                  Download Word Version

NOTE: The downloadable teaching helps include a list of 10 Essential Truths for Living Life “Under The Sun” that could be used as a way to conclude the study of Ecclesiastes. It is also available in the Explore the Bible Study Guide and the Daily Discipleship Guide.

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