Wisdom? Grief? Knowledge? Sorrow?

edited December 1969 in Faith Issues
Hey you guys, I know I haven't been on in a while but I need some help on something. I have to write an in class essay tomorrow and I need some help interpreting the prompt. I thought since it uses a verse from the bible as a reference, maybe one of you could help. Here's the essay prompt:

The first chapter of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Bible, concludes with these words:

"For in much wisdom is much grief, and increase of knowledge is increase of sorrow." Ecclesiastes 1:18

Write a carefully reasoned, persuasive essay that defends, challenges, or qualifies this assertion. Use evidence from your observation, experience, or reading to develop your position.

I need help to understand the verse.....don't worry, your not helping me cheat, I was supposed to ask around beforehand. Any examples or interpretations are much appreciated.

Thanks, and God Bless, Rebekah ??? ;D


  • To understand this verse perhaps it would help to understand the context within which it was written.

    "Ecclesiastes contains reflections of an old man,the "preacher",as he considers the question of meaning in life.He looks back and sees the futility{"vanity"} of chasing after even good things this life can offer,including wisdom,work,pleasure,and wealth.Even if such things are satisfying for a time,death is certain to end this satisfaction".{Taken from the introduction of the book of Ecclesiastes- English Standard Version}

    "For in much wisdom is much grief, and increase of knowledge is increase of sorrow." Ecclesiastes 1:18

    I think what he is saying is that when a human being increases in wisdom and knowlede there is also a corresponding increase in responsibility,awareness of the human condition,and a deeper perception of the holiness, majesty and power of God.With the aquiring of wisdom man begins to acknowledge the limitations of his frail mortal existence and the transitory nature of this life.He begins to realize that his life on earth is only temporary, he is not the indestructable being he always thought he was but rather as the Holy Bible alludes",What is your life?For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes". This sudden insight causes him great sorrow,a deep and abiding sadness.Sometimes he cries out "I wish I had never been born if this is all I can look forward too.There is no purpose,there is no meaning. Nothing lasts forever.All is vanity".
    Something else is born out of wisdom and knowledge;the understanding that man is a sinful fallen creature,corrupted and diseased.Yes wisdom and knowledge can indeed be terrible when they reveal, for the first time, our true nature. We see ourselves as we truly are.We are disgusted,disillusioned and cannot bear to look upon our true self.We cry out ,"Why did I ever seek wisdom and knowledge.If only I had remained in a state of blissful ingnorance".We suffer this wretched state because along with the knowledge of our own sinful condition also comes an awareness of the reality of a Holy God and His requirements pertaining to righteousness.We greatly despair as we come to relize that we have not lived up to Gods high standards;we have, in fact, miserably failed and fallen short of the glory of God.

    So you can see that enlightenment can bring great sorrow and vexation of spirit.What is the answer to this universal malaise that afflicts the sons of men.Praise be the LORD! For He has sent His only begotten Son into the world to save us,to deliever and heal us from the slavery of sin and to restore us to the innocence of our first parents,and to conform us to the image and likeness of the eternal and true God.

    For Solomon,who most likely wrote the book of Ecclesiastes,wisdom and knowledge were indeed a source of much sorrow and consternation,but to us who live in the age of Grace,these precious gifts are but a doorway into the everlasting wonders of Heaven,friends and councilers along the way on this journey of life.
  • :)

    Rebekah,Let us know how your paper turned out.Maybe you could even post it here and share it with us. :)
Sign In or Register to comment.