Ecclesiastes: Is this all there is to life?
The following study of Ecclesiastes is taken from Ray C Stedman book on Ecclesiastes- Is This All There Is To Life. Ray was on the FCAP Board of Advisory until his homegoing in 1992. This will be an 11 part series for you to go through weekly over the next several weeks. The book of Ecclesiastes is very fitting for the times we live in… You won’t want to miss this study it will be life changing!
Note: Ray Stedman studies are used with permission from the author.
“What is your view of approaching death?” asks Ray Stedman. “Do you have some sense of anticipation about it, with the awareness that beyond death is the final explanation of all the unanswered, unexplained questions of life?”
Ray started learning about those great questions in his early years. While he was still a young boy, his mother developed a serious asthmatic condition and could no longer care for him. Later, his father abandoned the family, never to return.
But at the age of 11, Ray asked God to forgive him for his sins, and he put his faith in Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Son of God. Ray began to know the One who is a Father to the fatherless.
He must have sensed his future calling, for as a farm boy Ray practiced preaching to the cows. Following high school he sought a career in medicine, but financial realities put a halt to those aspirations. After the outbreak of World War II, he went to Hawaii to work in industry. While on Oahu, he joined the Navy and discovered a productive ministry to anxious sailors, many of whom would soon be facing artillery barrages and kamikaze pilots.
Following the War, Ray married Elaine and entered Dallas! Theological Seminary, graduating in 1950. He served briefly with J. Vernon McGee and with Dr. H. A. Ironside, pastor of Moody Church in Chicago.
But Ray soon joined a young and vibrant ministry known as Peninsula Bible Fellowship (now Peninsula Bible Church). It was there, in Palo Alto, California, that he would hone his pastoral style and preaching skills, serving God and his congregation until his death in 1992.
In addition to Is This All There Is to Life? Ray has given us such classics as Authentic Christianity; Body Life; and Spiritual Warfare. He has penned a worthy contribution on prayer entitled Talking With My Father; as well as Waiting for the Second Coming, a study on the hope-filled epistles to the Thessalonians. His many other works include God’s Loving Word, on the Gospel of John, God’s Final Word, which opens the book of Revelation, and an in-depth look at the letter to the Ephesians, called Our Riches in Christ. And his comprehensive Bible-study guide, Adventuring through the Bible, remains popular with Discovery House readers.
As he battled cancer late in his life, Ray maintained a realistic optimism that could only come from a solid relationship with Jesus Christ. Ray said, “I can say that looking ahead is a time filled with happy anticipation that God is going to answer all the questions which I have had to leave unanswered, because the full meaning of this present experience will never be brought out until death intervenes. Then will come all the answers, abundantly, satisfyingly, fully.”