Scripture Text:(click to open in a new window)
1. In trying new things, are you cautious? Venturesome? Uninterested? In what areas are you most likely to experiment?
2. What gossip about yourself got back to you and made your blood boil? How did you react?
3. What observations inspire these warnings (verses 15 – 18)? What is meant by “over-righteous” (verse 16)? By “over-wicked” (verse 17)?
4. Would the Teacher ever say, “nothing to excess, everything in moderation”? How does such a view square with genuine fear of God (verse 18)?
5. Is verse 20 a confession, an excuse or an accusation? What light does verse 20 shed on verse 19?
6. What is the danger in paying attention to gossip or hearsay (verse 21)? What theme unites verses 19 – 22?
7. In verses 23 and 25, what are the Teacher’s goals? How do they differ? What does he conclude about these goals? What is meant by “the scheme of things” (verses 25, 27)?
8. How do the two stories about “woman” (verses 26, 28, 29) differ?
9. In reference to Question #8, what is the basis for Solomon’s pessimism?
- sampling of “a thousand wives” (verse 28; 1 Kings 11:3)
- experience with human nature (verse 20)
- revealed truth of Creation and the Fall (verse 29)
10. Is the “search of many schemes” (verse 29) our fault or our fate? Why?
11. In light of chapter 7:24, how is chapter 8:1 best understood? What is the advantage of wisdom in this verse?
12. Who sees you as an “extremist”? In what? Has such extremism helped or hindered your ability to minister? How so?
13. What do you do when you find sin in your life? How does this affect your self-image?
14. When might you “curse” other (verse 22)? How can you break that habit?
15. Are you ignorant of the scheme of things, or all too aware? In what positive ways can you increase in such wisdom?
16. Are you a “snare” to others (verse 26) or a “uprighter” (verses 28 and 29)? How so?