Home > Bible Study, Christian Authors, church life, Ecclesiastes > Dr. Barrick’s Ecclesiastes Series

Dr. Barrick’s Ecclesiastes Series

I’m now going through one of Dr. Barrick’s teaching series, a Sunday School class from about three years ago, on the little-taught book of Ecclesiastes.  Consisting of 19 audio lessons (unfortunately missing the audio files from Ecclesiastes 11 and 12), the study also includes “notes” PDF documents used in the classes – including the notes for the last two chapters.

My only previous study experience with Ecclesiastes was several years ago, a sermon series from a local (and basic, superficial teaching level) church in which the pastor’s overall conclusion was that the book of Ecclesiastes describes life from the viewpoint of unsaved man.  That pastor also considered Solomon’s salvation doubtful or questionable.  As I’ve since realized from regular reading and study in many other Bible books – and Dr. Barrick brings out this point very clearly in the Introduction – no books of the Bible are authored by lost men, and the three books authored by Solomon  (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon) clearly show that Solomon was a believer.  God may have used a donkey and a false prophet to verbally express His word at a point in time, but that is quite a different matter than the written word of God and all associated with that idea of the canon of scripture.  Solomon’s three books reflect three main periods of his life: Song of Solomon in his youth, Proverbs in his adult life, and then Ecclesiastes late in life, after Solomon had gone astray for a time (1 Kings 11) and then was brought back into relationship with the Lord – at which time he wrote Ecclesiastes, reflecting back on that time of his backsliding.

The introductory material is interesting, in which Dr. Barrick points out many interesting things about the book of Ecclesiastes.  One surprising point:  the Jews include the reading of Ecclesiastes in their celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles, a festival of great joy.  Dr. Barrick also lists several theological topics found in Ecclesiastes – this in response to one of his seminary professors years ago, who had told the class that Ecclesiastes had no theological value:

  • God’s Sovereign Control Over Man
  • God’s Providential Grace
  • God’s Eternality
  • God’s Creatorship
  • God’s Perfection
  • God’s Justice and Holiness
  • God’s Abode
  • God’s Omnipresence and Omniscience
  • God’s Omnipotence
  • God’s Preservation of His Saints
  • Reverential Fear of God
  • Obedience Before Sacrifice
  • God’s Word

As a Sunday School class with some interaction, it’s not the easiest to listen to – since the comments from the class participants are off-microphone, and sometimes Dr. Barrick himself moved further away from the mic.   Aside from the silent pauses though, most of the content comes through clearly – and the six page documents for each session also provide excellent study material, in-depth summaries of the audio material.

  1. September 12, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Provocative quote: “The truest of all men was the Man of Sorrows, and the truest of all books is Solomon’s, and Ecclesiastes is the fine hammered steel of woe.”

    Herman Melville, Moby Dick; or, The Whale (1851), s.v. Ch. 96 – “The Try-Works”; on American Literature at http://www.americanliterature.com/author/herman-melville/book/moby-dick-or-the-whale/chapter-96-the-try-works [accessed 24 AUG 2013].

    Dr. Barrick is not alone!

    Highly recommended (in obvious disagreement with Tremper Longman’s assessment!):

    J. Stafford Wright, “The Interpretation of Ecclesiastes”, Evangelical Quarterly 18 (1946), pp. 18-34; in Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., ed., Classical Evangelical Essays in Old Testament Interpretation (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1972; Portland, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2008); and on Rediscovering the Bible at http://rediscoveringthebible.com/InterpretationOfEcclesiastes.html [accessed 6 MAR 2013].

    J. Stafford Wright, “Ecclesiastes”, in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary with The New International Version of the Holy Bible, Vol. 5, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, gen. ed. Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991).

    See also:

    Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Ecclesiastes: Total Life, in Everyman’s Bible Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1979).

    Tom V. Taylor, Studies in Ecclesiastes (Gospel Folio Press, 2013); on Amazon at
    http://www.amazon.com/Studies-Ecclesiastes-Tom-V-Taylor/dp/1927521408 [accessed 12 SEP 2013]. Here is the editor’s blurb on Tom Taylor’s work (Source: Amazon, op. cit.):

    “Most commentaries on Ecclesiastes are glum to grim. Tom Taylor has found some rays of light “under the sun.” He is convinced that most have a tortured view of what Solomon’s “preacher” is saying, and he has stepped forward to give us the “up side” in this common sense view of this common sense book. It challenged my thinking. Whereas I have hitherto looked at the book as an inspired account of how a natural man thinks, now after reading Taylor I will think again. As Paul in Romans One teaches us that natural revelation has taught from the creation about God’s eternal power and God-hood, so here in Ecclesiastes we see that natural revelation of God so clearly. Taylor is saying this contains more than the unaided human intellect. Here we have God’s revelation of Himself in the natural world that we live in. All of this is given to us from the preacher’s vantage point “under the sun.” JOHN BJORLIE, Editor”

    • September 12, 2013 at 2:58 pm

      Thanks for the additional resources, including that summary from J. Stafford Wright on the rediscoveringthebible site (the same site that has Dr. Culver’s book and other good premillennial resources). Nice to see others that agree with Dr. Barrick, that Ecclesiastes is much more than a natural man’s approach to the world.

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