Monday, March 9, 2015

Ecclesiastes, Day 1 Readings

Seeking for Life's Meaning and Rejecting Pleasure  

Today's first reading is the opening of Qoheleth's exploration of the meaning of life.  From the start, the wise teacher cannot avoid two overwhelming facts.  First, all human efforts are eventually wiped away and invisible on the earth.  Second, every human dies.  Given this, it seems that every human attempt to do anything -- knowing that each person will die and their work will eventually crumble -- is nothing.  Often translated "vanity" the recurring word used is "vapor" or "breath" -- everything in
life is merely a 'chasing after wind.'

Read Ecclesiastes 1:1-18  (NIV)   (NRSV)   (CEB)
[links to Bible Gateway open in a new window]

The second reading offers Qoheleth's main line of inquiry in his search for the meaning of life.  Having recognized the futility of human effort, he considers what the best use of time and energy it is for people.  First he considers pleasure, which also includes wealth, but he finds that unsatisfying.  And while wisdom is better than foolishness, the wise cannot prevent their own death.  So the conclusion is that humans should simply eat, drink, and find fulfillment in how they spend their time.

Read Ecclesiastes 2:1-26  (NIV)   (NRSV)   (CEB)
[links to Bible Gateway open in a new window]

Reading the Bible in Its Entirety

If you are planning to read the Bible in its entirety, you should read Ecclesiastes 1-2 today.