The Message of Ecclesiastes, By Derek Kidner alt

The Message of Ecclesiastes

The Bible Speaks Today Series

Revised Edition

by Derek Kidner

The Message of Ecclesiastes
  • Length: 96 pages
  • Published: July 18, 2023
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: A0632
  • ISBN: 9781514006320

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What is life all about? In the end, is it no more than a wisp of vapor, a puff of wind, a mere breath? So says the Preacher in the book of Ecclesiastes. But is this the whole message of Ecclesiastes?

With imagination and clarity, Derek Kidner introduces this unusual Old Testament book that speaks so powerfully to each new generation. He reveals how the Preacher confronts difficult questions and examines extremes of human experience, facing the fear that God is distant and nothing has meaning. Finally, however, we are led to encounter the God who was present all along, who cares about the details of our lives.

Part of the beloved Bible Speaks Today series, The Message of Ecclesiastes offers an insightful, readable exposition of the biblical text and thought-provoking discussion of how its meaning relates to contemporary life. Used by students and teachers around the world, the Bible Speaks Today commentaries are ideal for those studying or preaching the Bible and anyone who wants to delve deeper into the text. This revised edition of a classic volume features lightly updated language and current NRSV Scripture quotations with a new interior design.


General preface
Author’s preface
Chief abbreviations

A. What is this book doing in the Bible? A reconnaissance

B. What is the book saying? A running commentary
1. The author, the motto and a survey of the scene (1:1-11)
2. The search for satisfaction (1:12–2:26)
3. The tyranny of time (3:1-15)
4. The harshness of life (3:16–4:3)
5. The rat race (4:4-8)
6. A backward glance over Ecclesiastes 1:1–4:8
7. Some reflections, maxims and home truths (4:9–5:12)
8. The bitterness of disappointment (5:13–6:12)
9. A backward glance over Ecclesiastes 4:9–6:12
10. More reflections, maxims and home truths (7:1-22)
11. The search goes on (7:23-29)
12. Frustration (8:1-17)
13. Jeopardy (9:1-18)
14. A backward glance over Ecclesiastes 7:1–9:18
15. Be sensible! (10:1-20)
16. Towards home (11:1–12:8)
17. Conclusion (12:9-14)

C. What are we to say to this? An epilogue


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Derek Kidner (1913–2008) was warden of Tyndale House, Cambridge. He wrote several volumes in the Tyndale Old Testament Commentary series and the Bible Speaks Today series.