Summary: Manuscript: Is this Inspired error? Explore that and see if that’s true and then see how this helps us be wise.
How Ecclesiates Can Make us Wise. Text: Eccl. 1:1-2
“Series on Living Wisely in a Meaningless Word”
By Andrew Chan, Senior Pastor, PBC, Vancouver, BC
June 3, 2001
Today a new series… on Pentecost Sunday, lives of bunch of cowardly disciples were changed forever… fearful once they were, suddenly with the coming of the Spirit as Jesus predicted bold they became. Not even fearful of death as they witness to the power of Christ and His resurrection. Life began to take on a whole new meaning for this bunch of ragged disciples of Jesus. Yet today there are any who choose unwise courses in their lives. I trust that this series will help you steer your lives and avoid many mistakes of the past and live righteous lives and live it wisely in a meaningless world. Turn with me to Eccl.1:1,2…
1 These are the words of the Teacher, King David’s son, who ruled in Jerusalem.
2 “Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “utterly meaningless!”
Right off the bat the words get u, doesn’t it? It speaks very quickly to the human heart does it not? Could he be right? We feel those moments of tension, desperation, loneliness, pain, pressure, and in our darkest hour, we cry meaningless… all is meaningless… why try? Just the other day a pet poodle chewed off a woman’s lower lip while she slept. Can’t even trust a house pet? Who knows you may be lunch for Fifi?
According to Sharon E. Crawford in The Macon Telegraph now the victim will have to have reconstructive surgery to reconstruct her lip, using skin from her buttocks area. That’s just it, am I just a piece of meat?
Why live another day in a world where you can wake up one-day find your body parts missing? Even the Bible seems to say so! Look here it is right there in v.2. “everything is meaningless” and from a king who ruled in Jerusalem who access to everything a man ever wants, all the free time, every pleasure, at his disposal. And he says “meaningless”… Kinda do a double take and say “Yikes! I work like a dog to live like a king and now even if I reach the pinnacle of success be a king like Solomon, it ain’t quite enuff?” But isn’t the Bible about hope. Why did God allow this book to exist? Everything is meaningless? Doesn’t seem to square with the whole flavor of God’s word, does it? Oh, in our hearts we want hope, we cry for it, long for it, want it desperately.
Did not Jesus say that he has come to give life fullness and meaning in John 10:10 (NLT) “My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.” There must be something wrong. This feels like a Mac trying to be an IBM machine, or an orange that thinks he is a pineapple. Definite incompatible viewpoints here!!
Indeed, as famous preacher, Ray Stedman rightly calls this book “The Inspired Book of Error.” But how can God’s book, the Bible, support error, and also be accepted as inspired, truthful and real then? Listen to Stedman’s explanation:
There is no other book like it, because it is the only book in the Bible that reflects a human, rather than divine, point of view. This book is filled with error. And yet it is wholly inspired. This may confuse people, because many feel that inspiration is a guarantee of truth. This is not necessarily so. Inspiration merely guarantees accuracy from a particular point of view; if it is God’s point of view.
WHY IS THIS AN ERRONEOUS BUT INSPIRED BOOK?
A. INSPIRATION DOES NOT MEAN EVERY WORD IN THE BIBLE IS TRUE
“These are the words of the Teacher, King David’s son…”(V.1) Very quickly, we know these words are of a human. It contains the observation from a man’s point of view, not from God’s but a man’s. This man is, according to tradition and from the data in the book, Solomon, King David’s son. This book was written when he was already quite old, having experienced life and tried out all sorts of things and approaches to life. He certainly had the means and the opportunity to experienced what he wrote he experienced. So what he wrote was from his observation of life… Apparently he had turned his heart away from God as recorded in 1 Kings 11:4,6 (NIV) “As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been… So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD; he did not follow the LORD completely, as David his father had done.”
Furthermore, there is no strong “Thus saith the Lord” recorded in the book. Let us be aware that the Bible also records man’s point of view i.e. his speeches too– may be true may not be, also speeches of the devil too. So inspiration guarantees only an accurate reflection of the views recorded by those who made it. We know there are false views that are quoted such as speeches of Job’s friends and Satan’s twisting of God’s Word is recorded such as his speech to Eve, “You will surely not die” (Gen.3:4) in direct contradiction and twisting of “for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Gen. 2:17). Furthermore, we know of countless cults and anti-God movements that have arose out of misquoting and using them as “proofs” for erroneous teaching as they wrench Scripture texts out of it divinely inspired context and all you’ll get is heresy. In fact according to Stedman this book is the favorite of atheists and skeptics because it contains lots of support for humanistic ideas. Thus, though inspired these words of Ecclesiastes may be, it is no guarantee that those are true words, in fact quite the opposite.