Ecclesiastes and ChatGPT

Yesterday, the bible study group members received a WhatsApp group message. Yes, bible study is on and we’re starting to look through the book of Ecclesiastes. Dinner would also be soup and homemade bread.

It turned out we enjoyed a pumpkin and curry soup plus a potato, leek, and bacon soup. The soups and bread with real butter were amazing.

Back to Ecclesiastes.

I thought this would be a good opportunity to get a head start. So I asked ChatGPT a couple of questions about the book.

Here’s what I received from ChatGPT.

Hello! The Book of Ecclesiastes is one of the books of the Old Testament in the Bible. Traditionally, it is believed to have been written by King Solomon, the son of King David and Bathsheba, who ruled over Israel in the 10th century BCE. However, some scholars debate the authorship and suggest that it was written by another author or authors during a later period.

The Book of Ecclesiastes is a philosophical work that reflects on the meaning of life, the nature of existence, and the pursuit of wisdom. It is a reflection on the human experience of life “under the sun,” which is often characterised by uncertainty, transience, and vanity. The author explores various themes, including the futility of material possessions, the inevitability of death, the limits of human wisdom, and the importance of enjoying life’s simple pleasures.

The book’s overarching message is that life is fleeting and ultimately meaningless without a relationship with God. The author encourages the reader to fear God, keep His commandments, and find meaning and purpose in serving Him. The Book of Ecclesiastes is considered a profound work of literature and has influenced many philosophers and writers throughout history.

The phrase “under the sun” is a recurring motif in the Book of Ecclesiastes, used by the author (traditionally believed to be King Solomon) to emphasise the temporal and worldly nature of human existence. It refers to life as it is experienced on earth, apart from any consideration of an afterlife or spiritual realm.

The phrase “under the sun” is used throughout the book to describe the human condition and the experiences of life that are common to all people, such as labour, pleasure, wealth, and death. The author uses this phrase to emphasise the limitations and frustrations of life “under the sun,” highlighting the fact that human wisdom, wealth, and accomplishments are ultimately fleeting and cannot provide lasting satisfaction or fulfilment.

In using this phrase, the author is highlighting the contrast between the limited, fleeting nature of human existence and the eternal nature of God. He encourages the reader to recognise the transience of earthly things and to seek meaning and purpose in a relationship with God.

What did I learn?

Our bible study leader who is also our pastor, said he thought it was reasonably settled that the authorship wasn’t Solomon, but someone who wrote in the style of Solomon.

We discussed briefly the wisdom books, viz., Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes as a set. We learnt that elements of the Psalms would also qualify as wisdom literature.

In the group we use a few different translations. I tend to use the ESV and NKJV while others use NIV, NLT, and NET.

I was at first unsure about the discussion we were having about meaninglessness when it dawned on me the ESV and KJV use the word vanity.

It turns out, ChatGPT gave me the head start I needed.


By Gary

I like to eat. I'm also annoying.