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Ecclesiastes captures the toil and joy, fleeting success, and unanswered questions that we all experience in our work. Yet the book’s picture of work is also deeply troubling. "I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had spent in doing it, and again, all was vanity and a chasing after the wind" (Eccl. 2:11).
But does Ecclesiastes really portray work as vanity, or is there a way to sift through the many vain ways of working to find a core set of meaningful ones? In contrast to human life under the sun, "whatever God does endures forever" (Eccl. 3:14). These eternal glimpses give us an understanding of the character of God, which helps us make sense of life. In any case, Ecclesiastes makes a vital contribution to the theology of work through its honest, unvarnished look at the reality of work.
The Song of Songs, also known as the Song of Solomon, is love poetry. Yet it is also a profound depiction of the meaning, value, and beauty of work. The Song sings of lovers who court, marry, and then work together in an ideal picture of life, family, and work. We will explore themes of hardship, beauty, diligence, pleasure, passion, family, and joy as they are depicted in the wide variety of work seen in the Song of Songs.
These Bible studies are part of The Bible and Your Work Study Series. Each book contains Scripture references, thought-provoking questions, and prayers to help you explore what the Bible says about work and apply it to your life in positive, practical ways. The lessons in each chapter are designed for thirty-minute lunch breaks, although they can be used in other formats as well.