These daily online studies are adapted from our Quiet Time Bible Guide. The studies go through the Old and New Testaments in just over two years. The approach taken by our quiet time Bible studies does not include answers. The goal of the study is to help you dig into Scripture for yourself. You can go deeper using a commentary, Bible background guide or Bible handbook.

Ecclesiastes 8:2-17: How Shall We Live Under Authority?

For more context before you begin studying, read this introduction to the book of Ecclesiastes.

Does your foot automatically come off the accelerator pedal when you buzz by a police car on the side of the road? Do your eyes then anxiously glance up to the rearview mirror? Sure we respect authority. But do we really appreciate how living under authority can greatly enrich our lives? In this study, the Teacher outlines some positive benefits of relating to both human and divine authority.

Warming Up to God

Tell the Lord about events in your life or in world affairs that have angered you. How have you responded to that anger? Allow God to share your feelings, and remember that he too seeks an end to pain and despair.

Read Ecclesiastes 8:2-17

Discovering the Word

  • Why does the Teacher encourage obedience to authority?
  • What is significant about the fact that human authority is limited (v. 8)?
  • What unjust uses of authority are described (vv. 9-11, 14)?
  • How would you characterize the Teacher's answer to these injustices in verses 12-13?
  • How does God's authority, alluded to in verses 15-17, contrast with human limitations in verses 7-8?
  • In the face of life's injustices and uncertainties, the Teacher argues for enjoying life (v. 15). Why?

Applying the Word

  • According to verses 16-17, human wisdom is very limited. How should knowing this fact encourage you to fear and trust God?
  • What is an unsettled situation in life that you need to entrust to God?

Responding in Prayer

Ask your Father to increase your faith and hope as you seek to follow him despite difficult circumstances that you do not fully understand.