Detailed outline of the Book of Ecclesiastes – two discourses on life and death

Author (1:1) Theme: The meaninglessness of human efforts on earth apart from God (1:2) Introduction: The profitlessness of human toil to accumulate things in order to achieve happiness (1:3–11) Discourse, Part 1: In spite of life’s apparent enigmas and meaninglessness, it is to be enjoyed as a gift from God (1:12—11:6) Since human wisdom and endeavors are meaningless, people should enjoy their life and work and its fruits as gifts from God (1:12—6:9) Introduction (1:12–18) Human endeavors are meaningless (1:12–15) Pursuing human wisdom is meaningless (1:16–18) Seeking pleasure is meaningless (2:1–11) Human wisdom is meaningless (2:12–17) Toiling to accumulate things is meaningless (2:18—6:9) Because people must leave the fruits of their labor to others (2:18–26) Because all human efforts remain under the government of