HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Searching for the Meaning of Life: Studies in the Book of Ecclesiastes
Author: Paul Earnhart
Publisher: DeWard Publishing, 2018
Related website(s): http://www.deward.com (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Teens and adult
Rating: ***** 5 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Earnhart, Paul. Searching for the Meaning of Life: Studies in the Book of Ecclesiastes (published in 2018 by DeWard Publishing Company Ltd., P. O. Box 6259, Chillicothe, OH 45601). Ecclesiastes is one of the more difficult Biblical books in the Old Testament to understand. Is it just a cynical view of “life under the sun” presented by a jaded old man? Or does it contain observations and conclusions that are eminently valid but impenetrable to man by his unaided wisdom? This world gives no clue as to life’s purpose, provides no answer to man’s ultimate longing, and furnishes no resolution to life’s jarring contradictions and inequities. The author, who is called “Koheleth” or the Preacher and identifies himself “the son of David, king in Jerusalem,” reflects upon his own futile efforts to find ultimate meaning and purpose amidst life’s perplexities. After wrestling through the themes of the world’s bewildering contradictions and frustrations, he concludes that nothing “under the sun” will ever fulfill the eternal longing which God has put in the heart of man. In the confidence that the God who sits above the sun will bring an ultimate resolution, man finds his center, not in the world of vanity, but in the God of eternity.
Author Paul Earnhart is a faithful gospel preacher whose name has been familiar to me practically my whole life and whom I have known ever since around 1980. For several years he, along with Dee Bowman, Ed Harrell, Brent Lewis, and Sewell Hall, co-edited a religious journal known as Christianity Magazine, for which he wrote a regular monthly column called “Mining the Scriptures.” The 32 short chapters in this book are taken from that series of articles. Recently, I had the privilege of sitting at Paul’s feet while he taught a day-long class on Ecclesiastes. His insights into the book reflect many years of diligent study and experience. If you’re looking for some help in gaining a better understanding of Ecclesiastes, Searching for the Meaning of Life is a must-read. In fact, it contains words of wisdom and good advice that will provide any reader food for thought. “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).