NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Bible Studies For Life curriculum.
Bible Passages: Ecclesiastes 2:12-17, Ecclesiastes 7:23-29
Discussion Question: When have you seen common sense make more sense than book sense?
Food for Thought by Juan Sanchez*:
Military conflicts. Civil wars. Corrupt governments. Violence. Drug addiction. The news is constantly reminding us our world is falling apart. But what can we do?
“Education is the answer!” We hear this frequently. If we’ll just educate people, they will learn to overcome their prejudices. Education will correct their thinking and take them beyond their ethnic hatred, violent temperaments and addictions. Education will enable us to get along with each other, and with ourselves.
If your perspective is that people are basically good, then education may seem to be the logical solution: good people can be taught to choose what is good and right. Unfortunately, that is not the case; it’s certainly not the biblical perspective. The Bible reminds us that our sin and rebellion are at the root of the world’s problems. Education has its benefits to be sure, but it can only do so much. What we need is the wisdom that comes from God.
No one in the world was wiser than Solomon. In his quest to find meaning in life, it’s not surprising that Solomon would turn “to consider wisdom, madness and folly.” Even with all its advantages though, human wisdom cannot answer life’s ultimate questions. From a secular point of view — a view of life lived only “under the sun” — human wisdom cannot explain the intelligent design of the universe, order as opposed to chaos, the complex design of the human body, or concepts such as love or joy.
Solomon resolved to test “all this by wisdom.” In other words, he applied human wisdom to what he saw and experienced all around him. Yet he had to admit, “It was beyond me.” The existence of the world with all its intricacies was “beyond reach and very deep” when he tried to explain it by mere human wisdom. Though Solomon’s quest to find meaning by pursuing wisdom proved challenging, his search produced three conclusions:
1. Sin affects our relationships. Because of sin, even the marriage relationship can often be a place of conflict.
2. Wisdom is rare in this world. Solomon confessed that he only found “one person in a thousand” who was wise.
3. All humanity is sinfully corrupt. Only when we pursue God will we find the wisdom we need to answer life’s questions and to live righteously in this world.
This divine wisdom provides the answer to the problem of evil. When God made this good world, Solomon declared, he “made people upright.” But instead of living in this upright state and pursuing God, Adam and Eve pursued their own sinful scheme to be like God. And we continue today to foolishly pursue our own schemes.
But that’s not the end of the story! God came to earth to bring us back to Himself. The wisdom we need comes from pursuing God through faith in Jesus, and that wisdom leads to righteous living.
Bible Studies for Life
Bible Studies for Life connects the Bible to life for adults, students and kids. Bible Studies for Life helps individuals and groups know God’s Word through trustworthy content, creates biblical community through engaging and conversational group studies, and helps people engage the culture missionally by unpacking what the Bible says about real-life issues. More information can be found on the Internet at www.biblestudiesforlife.com.
Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool or ordered at LifeWay Christian Stores.