Everything Is Not Meaningless

Tremper Longman | August 24, 2015

Editors’ note: This series analyzes perplexing passages of the Bible. Previously:

“Completely meaningless,” Qohelet said, “completely meaningless! Everything is meaningless!” (Eccl. 1:2)

Thus begins the reflections of Qohelet, often translated Teacher (NIV) or Preacher (ESV), though the Hebrew Qohelet means neither, but rather Assembler. Later we will consider the significance of this name, but first we will explore the significance of Qohelet’s conclusion that everything is meaningless.

To properly understand the book of Ecclesiastes it’s critical to understand there are two speakers with separate messages in the book, not just one. Qohelet speaks in the first person (“I, Qohelet”) in the body of the book (1:12–12:7), but his words are framed (1:1–11 and 12:8–14) by a second speaker who talks about Qohelet (“he, Qohelet”).

The Message of Qohelet

Simply stated, Qohelet’s message is this: “Life is hard and then you die.” He has tried to find the meaning of life in wisdom…

To read the rest of this article, visit http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/everything-is-not-meaningless.